Years ago I complained to a friend that I didn’t have the time do something. His response floored me. Instead of sympathetically agreeing with me, he said, “No Jay, you have the time. What you don’t have is the PRIORITY of time.”
Painters Are Made, Not Born.
Ever wonder how an artist spends their week? I have. In fact, I do more now that I’m officially “an artist”. How do productive artists organize their time to create art? Here are a few great work habit examples:
- Jerry Seinfeld writes at least one joke a day
- Earnest Hemingway wrote 500 words a day, while standing
- Stephen King writes several pages a day, even on holidays
- Jay Holobach, well, he’s learning
Harvard Business Review (September 2015) interviewed Salman Rushdie:
These are all great examples of solid work habits but how do they organize their week in order to allow these habits to flourish? Show me the behind the scenes. After all, the road to Hades is paved with good intentions. I quickly realized if I didn’t prioritize my week, it would do it for me and not necessarily how I wanted.
Getting the groceries, cleaning the house, and doing the laundry may make my wife happy but they consume valuable art time. When I stopped looking at being an artist as, well, an artist and started thinking in terms of how I used to run multi-million dollar programs – everything became clearer for me. I needed structure.
Every painting that has inspired me has had structure or what we painters call “composition”. Hmm, maybe my week needed a stronger composition. With that, I began approaching my week like I did a blank canvas. I push the paint, it doesn’t push me.
This has taken me a few iterations to find my rhythm and your actual mileage may vary. With that said, here’s a high level look at how I have chosen to approach my typical week:
|Church and Painting (still life or plein air)||Painting (still life or plein air)||Painting (still life or plein air)||Morning: Study – books, blogs, videos
Afternoon: site visits
|Morning: Groceries, dry cleaning, bank etc
Afternoon: Practice – value studies, etc
|Morning: Clean house, laundry
Afternoon: Painting (still life or plein air)
|Run around w/wife pretty much all day. Wahoo!|
Notice I’m trying to feed both my Knowledge and Skill as I live the week. I think scheduling time to be intellectually curious is regenerative. Let the brain roam I say. Sometimes it’ll even come back.
This is just how I’ve set my week up to get the most out of it. I’ve already completed 22 paintings since January 1st ranging from 11×14 to 20×40 and everything in-between. I’m seeing growth and my confidence is quietly humming a new tune. I get excited thinking about where I’ll be a year from now.
How about you? What are you doing to organize your week to “make your art”. Feel free to share below in the comments. Let’s help each other.
I’ll say it again: Painters are made not born!
Until next time: Connect | Engage | Unleash