7 THINGS YOU CAN DO IN YOUR STUDIO TO BE MORE PRODUCTIVE
JUST A QUICK NOTE
Last weekend I conducted a 3 day figure drawing workshop at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art in conjunction with the closing of my exhibit with local sculptor Mike Hannon. The workshop was a lot of fun. A great group of 15 student/artists attended. The figure models were fantastic. Hats off to Kat and Lauren. There was a lot of drawing, and also a lot of discussions, laughter and learning. My thanks to everyone who attended the workshop. I hope that each and every student came away with something that they can use to inject their own art with more energy, expression and emotion. Thanks to Karen Kile and all the staff at SLOMA for the opportunity to teach this workshop and for making sure that my students and I had everything we needed.
7 THINGS YOU CAN DO (OR NOT DO) IN YOUR STUDIO TO BE MORE PRODUCTIVE
1. DO NOT ORGANIZE
Get to work! I talk to more artists who tell me that when they go into their studios and are not inspired to do any work, they begin to organize their space. No! That's not the way to get inspired. That's a way to get tired. You get inspired by working and creating. Organizing your studio is another way we procrastinate. (See last weeks post: The "P" Word). Start creating as soon as you enter your work space. If you have a painting in progress, begin to work on it. Even if you do not know what you are doing or what to do. (Action quiets fear). If you do not feel like painting, draw something. Anything. Doodle, scribble or sketch. If you really do not know what to do, see No. 5 below.
2. DO NOT LET THINGS OR PEOPLE DISTRACT YOU
We are easily distracted by email, the phone, pets, children, spouses, the mail, sounds, food, etc. Do not answer the phone. Don't check your email. Tell your family that you are not to be disturbed. If you hear the mail being delivered into your mailbox, leave it there and keep working. It will be waiting for you when you are finished. Everything and everyone will still be there, waiting for you, until you are finished.
3. SET THE MOOD
How are you feeling? Energetic, quiet, nervous, anxious, distracted, etc? What will help you focus and be creative? A cup of hot tea or a tall glass of iced tea? A burning candle? Energetic music, soft music, talk radio, a book on tape, T.V., or silence. Lately, I prefer silence and iced tea.
4. WORK ON SEVERAL PIECES AT ONCE
Don't put all of your creative eggs in one basket. (Unless working on one thing at a time is your preferred method). I have found that I am more productive when I am working on several pieces at the same time. I get more art done and I am more focused because I have more pieces that need my attention. I am too busy making choices and decisions to bet bored or tired or stuck. I tend to stay in the studio for longer periods of time. And, I find that if I have three or four pieces in progress at the same time, they begin talking to each other, influencing each other and helping each other. If I get stuck on one piece, I have several others that I can work on which keeps the momentum going. I often find the solution for a piece that I am having trouble with as I am working on one of the other pieces.
5. CREATE ABSTRACT GROUNDS
If I am really stuck, creatively blocked or just not inspired and motivated to work on any of the pieces in progress, I will spend a session creating abstract grounds for future pieces. This is a lot of fun. You get to play with materials, experiment with techniques and try new things. All with no pressure to produce anything. I can do this for hours and I often get great ideas for future pieces while I am engaged in this process.
6. WORK HARD AND TAKE LOTS OF SHORT BREAKS
I work best when I work hard for half an hour or so and then take a 5 minute break. I go outside to get a breath of fresh air, some sunshine and, maybe watch a bird or two. And then I get right back to work for another half hour or so of hard work and then take another 5 minute break. I may refill my iced tea. Then it's right back to work. And so on. Getting into a rhythm like this allows me to work hard, take breaks and stay focused. If I work too long for an extended period of time, I get tired too easily. If I take long breaks, I find it hard to get back to work and even harder to regain momentum.
7. MAKE A LIST
At the end of your work session, look at all of the pieces that you are working on, and make a short list (3 to 5 items) for each piece, of the things that you know you want to work on the next time you are in the studio. Then, whenever you do get back into the studio, whether that is the next day or the next week, you will know exactly what you want and need to do to each piece and you can get right to work and productively create. This is a great habit to get into.
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HOW TO CRITIQUE YOUR OWN WORK
Creating your work is different than stepping back and assessing your work. Learn how to apply a discerning eye to your own work once you've put the brushes down.