If you’re reading this, chances are art is a big part of your life. It’s something that you look forward to doing and that brings you a lot of joy and satisfaction.
But what happens when life gets in the way?
You have a big project due for work, family comes to visit, a loved one is ill. I’ve noticed for most people I work with that the art time is the very first thing to go.
I’ll get to that later when I have more time – when my mother’s illness clears up, after my trip, after I get that closet cleaned up, when the kids are settled in school, when the remodel is complete, when I retire, etc.
At first, when you pass by your work area, you feel that pang of longing and regret. Eventually you learn to close off those feelings and suppress that longing to be creative again.
I’d like to propose that, as artists, the basis of a well-composed life be laid upon a foundation of the following non-negotiable items:
I used to think I had to spend long days in my studio to get “enough” art time in. But strangely, I never felt like there was quite enough time for my art. It felt like a battle between my art time and all the other responsibilities in my life.
From the start, I had a disciplined and regular studio schedule, yet my creative time often felt like feast or famine. Some days were reserved for teaching and others for the studio. On my studio days, even after being there for many hours, I couldn’t tear myself away. I would stay way too late and leave feeling over-tired and over-hungry.
That changed dramatically when I was invited to be in an exhibition in which I had to complete a work of art each day for five weeks.
So I set aside time each morning to create. Sometimes 20 minutes, sometimes 90 minutes.
I was amazed at how connected I felt to my art with such a minimal commitment. Once I got in a groove, I found myself thinking about my pieces all day long. I was working on them in my head even when I wasn’t in my studio.
Although my regular studio practice involves working 4 days a week for longer periods of time, there are intervals in my life when I am on the road teaching or have consuming non-art projects at hand. For these times, I created what I call 15 minutes a day.
I found that even devoting just 15 minutes each day to making art, I am able to make startling progress on an idea or project.
I set a timer for 15 minutes and when that timer goes off, I am free to get up. I don’t worry because I know tomorrow I can pick up where I left off.
I’ve found this 15 minutes a day works best first thing in the morning before life’s demands begin pressing in.
I’ve shared this practice with the artists in my Artist Mentorship Program and it’s been awesome to watch a dedicated studio practice bloom where previously there had been none.
By setting aside even a small amount of time daily to be creative, you will find yourself with more energy, a greater sense of contentment and a capacity to give generously of yourself to others having tended to your deepest needs first. Your creative energy will gather steam and ideas will flow more freely. You’ll be more at ease with the process, allowing for greater experimentation and more accepting of the inevitable “failures” or mistakes”.
Most importantly, you will start the day with the satisfaction that you have made time for that which matters most – that connection to your deeper self – that creative Source within.
All from just 15 minutes a day.
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