Being An Artist and Why Moms Rock

Tonight after we messaged our good nights, I get a message from Mom with a link

6 Ways to Balance Your Day Job
with Being an Artist

It tells of a doctor who also teaches pastel classes and how he combines his work life with making art, in six ways. I’m going to list them here but do read the article for his details. I was so touched by Mom sending me this link and also pretty happy because some of these things I have been figuring out on my own and they’re true! The article discusses these:

1. Do 20- to 30-minute timed studies, without prep work.
2. Always have a palette and painting gear ready to go.
3. Keep painting clothes in the car.
4. Learn to love what’s local.
5. Teach or join a class.
6. Set goals and clear intentions.

1. I used a timer when I quilted both to keep on task and to keep from over-doing and causing injury. Painting, I’m trying to get started sooner, more directly, and do more shorter/smaller paintings. I tend to get too fussy and stopping sooner and staying simpler is a continuing theme.

Sketching in scene at OOMs

2. Gear is in the car and has been for awhile. Recently I moved from an LLBean type tote bag to a backpack and upgraded my tripod. My goal was to simplify my gear – it’s way too easy to bring way too much stuff – to make it easier to go a little distance more easily. The tripod fits into a side pocket of the pack and a couple clips take care of my folding chair. Having it all in the car though means I can stop on the way home or after an errand or I can grab out a sketchbook and small palette and brushes and just go do something. I would add to this: have some duplication of gear if you can so that you don’t have to take everything out of the car if you want to work at home.

3. I don’t keep painting clothes in the car except for big brimmed hat and my hiking boots. My work clothes are pretty casual though and I’d wear them anyway. (I do keep a couple t-shirts in there in case I get called to a current-events type rally/protest)

4. This came up in class today, that you can spend a lot of time driving around looking for places to paint or you can just figure out to paint in your yard and spend the time painting. Although I have painted a little in the front yard lately, I have figured out a few places along my travels and not too far from home to go and paint. I can choose based on light conditions or where I’m going but it saves a lot of time. I figure if Monet could paint a cathedral multiple times I could find something to paint at my local pond or master the geraniums. I do try to take alternate routes when traveling to scout out new places to paint.

5. I can say that I’ve enjoyed each watercolor class I’ve taken locally. I’ve been encouraged and supported and learned stuff. And, even more importantly, it is a commitment to spend time doing this. Side bonus: people think you’re more serious if you say you’re taking a class and that’s ok too.

6. I don’t know if I have set goals exactly but I’m sort of going with – what’s the point of waiting? Do it now.

Bonus: Buy flowers and fruit to paint and use the cats as models. Thanks Mom!

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