|'A Good Day' 5x7 pastel ©Karen Margulis|
I wish I could be so disciplined in other areas of my life. Daily Painting is a habit that came easily for me. I have stuck with it since 2005. I rarely miss a day of painting. Some days I'll paint two or more paintings. Some days I don't get into the studio so these extras make up for my lost time.
Daily painting has been the key to my growth as an artist. As you all know there is no substitute for time spent at the easel. No amount of reading or studying or watching art videos will make us better artists if we don't put this book learning to practice.
It's a new year and a great time to establish good art habits. I have been writing about art habits this week. By now you probably have some idea of the goals, resolutions or habits you want to start in 2016. Starting is good. But the trick is keeping the habit going! How is this possible?
|a piece of scrap paper works great for a daily painting|
|a quick underpainting on Uart paper|
- Step One: Know the Habit you want to establish. Understand exactly what you want to do. Ask yourself why you want to do it. What results do you expect. Commit to the habit. You have to truly WANT to do it. It can't be something you do because someone tells you it would be a good thing. You have to be invested in successfully adopting the habit.
- Step Two: Make it Simple to do the habit. So often Daily painting habits fail because we get in our own way. We make it too difficult. So it is too easy to make excuses. Make it easy to paint. Set up your supplies in a place where you can leave them out. If you have to set up and clean up every single day....it gets tiresome. Excuses will be made! Prepare paper in advance. Have a stack of reference photos ready (choosing subject matter can be such a time killer!) Get set up for success! Note: it isn't always easy to find time to paint every day. Find a schedule that works for you but realize that a painting session of just 15-20 minutes is better than nothing. If you don't have time consider doing quick studies rather than big masterpieces.
- Step Three: Reward Yourself! Habits are formed because the action we do rewards us. If done on a regular basis our brains will begin to anticipate the reward....we will start to crave the reward so we do the activity. We will do the activity no matter what is in the way. Think about runners who still need to run in the rain. Think about smokers who smoke despite knowing it is bad. They crave the reward so they do the activity. This is important! We need to be rewarded for doing the daily painting....what's in it for me? why should I paint everyday? Figure out what makes the daily painting satisfying. How can you reward yourself? I discovered that for me, my reward was the satisfaction of doing a blog post and recording my progress. It was my reward. The feedback was a bonus. It kept me going and still serves as my reward. Find your reward and get ready to make daily painting a habit!
If you'd like to read more about habits I recommend this book: "The Power of Habit "by Charles Duhigg