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Saturday, April 04, 2015

Get in the Studio and Paint!

'Marsh Study'              5x7             pastel              ©Karen Margulis  
It can be a challenge to find time to paint. Maybe you work full time. Maybe you are busy with taking care of family. There are plenty of things that demand our attention and painting can't always be at the top of the list.  But what happens when you do get some illusive free time? It can be hard to get back into the art groove.

I received  a great question from a reader and would like to share my thoughts with you. She asked:

" I was wondering if you could give me any advice for structuring my painting days... The problem is I go days without painting because I work full time but then when I get some days off I have no idea where to begin..."

'Back to New Mexico'             5x7            pastel              ©Karen Margulis    $50

The simple answer is to get into the studio and paint. But it isn't quite so simple. Having free time to paint can almost be paralyzing. So much to do and so little time to do it all!  So what happens? We putter around the studio. We organize. We look through reference materials. We end up wasting a lot of our precious time.  We need to find a way to break this cycle and get back into the painting zone quickly. Here are some things that have helped me:

  • Take time to get organized. If you spend a free day organizing and prepping  you won't have to do these things on your next painting day. When I worked full time I would stock up on precut papers. I would cut paper to smaller sizes and attach a reference photo so when it was time to paint I had several subjects ready to go.
  • On painting days begin the session with a small quick study. I like to do 10 minute studies (like the paintings in this post) They are warm ups and often doing one or two gets my creative juices flowing. I am then ready to settle down and paint something larger or more involved.
  • If you really don't get big blocks of free time make the most of short breaks and paint something small. Again having your supplies set up and ready makes a huge difference. While a big studio is nice, a small spot where you can keep some painting supplies handy is all you really need for small studies.

These are the block-in stages for today's paintings. Big simple shapes!


robertsloan2art said...

Great article again. Managing intermittent painting time is difficult. All your suggestions are good ones that have worked for me in the past. Most of all organizing my supplies and having them easily at hand.

What I face is not being able to predict when or how long I'll be able to paint. Having my pastels organized and ready, precut paper at hand, new little metal clip board for 5 x 7" to 8" x 10" paintings handy too helps a lot. So does cutting down good paper to those convenient sizes.

I may leave it half finished after a session but if I get one started I do usually come back to it the next time I feel up to painting. Disability is sort of like working around a job where I'm on call. It schedules its own hours but I do get some free time, just no idea before it comes that I'll have it.

Vanessa said...

Wow you post is right on time. I am facing this as we speak. I haven't painted in a very long time primarily because of working full time, family/child responsibilities...etc. you know how it goes. But you have some great tips which I'll try use to get back into the swing of things. Always enjoy your posts :)