Being an artist today is a busy life. There’s not much time for Livin La Vida Loca. There are bills to pay, applications to write and pictures to paint. Marketing is another field. Sometimes it’s hard to keep focus. Luckily I’m a quite experienced project manager and motivator.
What does an artist do all day?
You probably think that: Making art is the most important thing that artists do. But there is more to it than painting.
- Daily tasks like mixing paints, preparing panels for painting, sealing them, cleaning brushes.
- Weekly chores like paying bills, ordering new material, shipping out fresh work, organizing and cleaning the studio.
- Administrative duties like scheduling appointments, answering email and press queries, communicating with gallerists, dealers, and collectors.
- Marketing responsibilities like photographing new pieces, managing social media, writing newsletters and blogs. Uploading new work and maintaining the webshop.
When in the studio I try to structure my day to create periods of flow. Multitasking is not my cup of tea. Time management and focus is my secret weapon, because my energy goes to whatever I’m focused on.
You don’t always get what you wish for. You get what you work for.
I coach myself the same way I coach others and make sure to keep track of my projects in order to get where I want.
Real Artist or not?
I believe anyone can become an artist if you really want to. But the work of great artists resonates with the audience and makes you feel something. True artists love what they do and make art to communicate something.
My work is about how the mysteries in life unfold in different ways. I paint from my heart to explore and express what cannot be said in words.
They say it takes about 10 000 hours of practice to master a discipline. Some art teachers claim all artists will make about 1000 ugly paintings in their career. I think I’ve done my fair share by now.
Studio time is Happy Time
I love going into my studio. Studio time is a happy time, even if the creative process sometimes gives rise to frustration. There are lots of decisions to be made every single day. So when in doubt I take a break, I take a walk or I dance. My experience is that moving my body helps boost creativity.
A day in my studio involves playful experimenting. Risk taking is vital and daring to fail is part of the learning curve. “What happens if I try…” is one of my mantras in the studio. I follow my curiosity and am willing to be different.
Long hours in the Zone
When I’m focused I normally work long hours. When being in the zone, or in flow, in creative mode I have a tendency to forget eating and drinking, so my husband cooks and when he’s at work he kindly reminds me.
I’m not very fond of taking breaks. I prefer working till I’m finished and then call in the day to socialize with my family. Before going to bed I make sure to get some most needed unstructured time to reflect, or compost if you like. Without composting time my mind goes crazy, and I end up spending most of the night more or less awake figuring out new things to explore in my art practice.
As an artist I am well aware that I need to take care of my most important tool: My Body. Therefore I make sure to get my beauty sleep to increase health and well-being and to enhance cognitive ability and get those creative juices flowing.
My Studio Assistant
Every artist needs a muse. My studio assistant is the best! He has neither experience or a degree in fine arts. But he supports me in his very own special ways, and our life drawing sessions are wonderful. He loves modeling.
I would never ever swap him for another studio assistant.
Time to Reflect
Time to reflect is an important part of the creative process. Some days I spend more time looking at my paintings than painting. Why is that so? Artists have different creative processes: Some enter the studio with a clear idea in mind, start a new canvas and paint the picture. Just like that.
My creative process is more like this: I start with an idea, and then the painting becomes something else. I love the playful initial stages of the painting process where I explore happy accidents. For me the hardest part is taking a painting through the messy middle to the clarifying stage and finishing it.
No wonder I need time to reflect, or compost if you like. That’s why I have several paintings going on in my studio. So when one painting stops, I can continue working on another. I normally have loads of work in progress in my studio, but all of a sudden there are piles of finished paintings, too.
Writing about Art
Writing helps me reflect and clarify things. I’ve always enjoyed writing and I’ve been blogging about various topics for about 20 years.
7 years ago I started this art blog hoping to share some inside views from living the vida loca as an artist. Initially the art blog was meant for a smaller audience of family and friends, but I soon realized I have views and followers from all over the world. And that’s a boost!
Putting your work out there is part of the game. If no one sees what I create, and no one wants to buy my art, I really need to win the lottery.