The problem with painting is, I just can’t paint fast enough. Unlike photography, where you capture a moment in an instant, you need lots and lots of time to capture a moment in a painting.
Over the last few years, I have worked out that I need at least 2 to 3 hours of uninterrupted time to make it viable to start painting. UNINTERRUPTED!! Wow, what a word. The phone rings, the washing machine beeps “finished, hang me out and put another load on!” The fur child looks at me with those sad, “take me for a walk” golden retriever eyes of hers. It’s constant and never ending to what interrupts our days.
As a painter, especially of oils, there is a prep time and a cleanup time tacked onto any painting session, no matter how short or long it is. Preparing your palette, mixing colours and loads of contemplation (otherwise known as procrastination). Cleanup involves scraping palettes and cleaning brushes, which is a three-step process in its self.
Slowly, with practise and reading and studying of other artists (I still take weekly painting lessons in an advanced class of other painting enthusiasts), I am learning skills and studio practises that help me to paint faster. I now have a dedicated studio outside of the house and of course…out of hearing distance of the dreaded washing machine!
I have dedicated 3 painting days per week and will attempt to stretch it to a fourth day this year. I exercise straight after school drop off, this way the fur child is happy and sleepy the rest of the day and my energy levels are better. I organise food shopping, cleaning, appointments and the occasional and much-needed coffee with girlfriends on my “days off”. When all else fails and I don’t get my 3 full days, I break it down into chunks to add up to about 12 hours. It doesn’t seem much, just small strategies, not long and plentiful painting days but its amazing what you can achieve with the right mindset and hard work.
Lets face it though, life has a way of changing course every now and then, especially as a mum and despite all good intentions. There are many weeks, when no matter what I do, no painting gets done. I try not to get too frustrated, instead, I spend more time planning, dreaming and researching. I’m in one of those times now… the long summer holidays and time with my beautiful girls.
I know, when school goes back and routine kicks back in, I’ll be on fire! Full of excitement to start all the paintings I have dreamt of over the last 2 months.