Finding Time To Paint (Write/Sculpt/Create anthing...)

I was going to paint today. No, really. I was.

The cute couple who are the subjects in my current portrait commission are on my easel right now looking at me as if to say, "Come paint our hands now. And how about clothes, for Heaven's sake?" I've looked back longingly and apologetically in return, but have not painted. I've vacuumed the gallery, taken photographs of two children for a portrait later in my schedule, sold a print, a bracelet and some cards to visitors, discussed the possibility of representation with an inquiring artist, eaten lunch -a bite now and then as I could dash into the kitchen between visitors, and I've composed this newsletter to send out to you. I haven't painted.

I think I know why:  I was taught to do my chores first and then play.  Like I was taught to eat my spinach and clean my plate before I could have dessert. 
Because painting is the funnest thing ever, I think I have to earn it.  I have to deserve it- I have to do my chores and eat my spinach first.
But what if you make a living doing what you love?  The rules get all tangled up in our heads.  Is painting (writing/sculpting/playing music/designing, etc.) now the play or the chore? I can't tell you how many times I've heard, "I wouldn't want to paint for my living, because then it would be work, not play."

It's never worked that way for me. Painting is the funnest thing, whether I'm painting a commissioned portrait or painting something of my own conception.  Getting paid to do it is an added layer of joy, not something that transforms the process into drudgery. So, what's the solution, you ask?

I think paintings get done when I schedule them in like they're important, too.   Women especially "get" this, I think.  We're learning to schedule ourselves into our own days along with the tasks of home and work.  It's intention backed up with actually writing it down.  Between "Do the laundry" and "Bank," you write "2:00-3:00 Paint." 

To REALLY make sure we do it, we can tell a friend what we intend and then plan to call that friend to report in once we've done it.  Learning to be accountable to ourselves is easier when we use our natural urge to be accountable to others.

Deadlines are fabulous motivators, too.  Painting for a specific competition or for someone's birthday gift or because you agreed on a certain due date with a client... all can light the fire under us to align ourselves with our easels and get started.  Waiting for the muse isn't smart. The muse shows up when we've got a smudge of Cadmium red on our right cheek or when we've lost track of time because we're typing fast and our brains are full of the story we're telling.

So... it's time to close up the gallery and I'm packing up the cute couple to take home with me. I've promised them hands and clothes. And I keep my promises.

One-Day Online Portrait Painting Workshop July 2, 2011

Study with Susan Carlin… from home.
Move your portrait painting skills forward with a
One-Day Online Portrait Painting Workshop
Saturday, July 2, 2011
$60. tuition includes video pre-instruction, day-long workshop, two assessments of your work-in-progress during the workshop, with suggestions for how to proceed, and one assessment-and-suggestion session a week following the workshop. REGISTER NOW!

With registration, and at two weeks prior to the workshop, you will receive:
• a high-resolution image file of the workshop reference,
• a supply list,
• the address and password for the website where you may watch the pre-instruction videos, and where the workshop will be held.
The day of the workshop you will receive:
• instruction in the art of painting a portrait,
• two assessment-and-suggestion critiques of your painting, if desired.
One week following, if you take that time to put finishing touches on your painting, you’ll receive:
• a third assessment-and-suggestion session.
By registering early, you’ll have plenty of time to carefully complete your sketch on your painting surface in preparation for beginning the painting on the day of the workshop.
At 9:30 Saturday morning, July 2nd, I will discuss my process as I start from a white canvas panel and paint the portrait as you follow along and paint from the same reference.
At midday, you may take a digital photograph of your painting and email it to me so that I can put it on screen and discuss what is working well and how you might improve it when you resume painting. At this time you’ll see the paintings of the other artists attending the workshop, and get to know them better through the chat as we discuss each other’s efforts.
We’ll paint again until 4 p.m., completing our paintings. Again, you’ll send me a photo by email for assessment and suggestions. When we’ve completed those, we say, “goodbye and well done!” A week later, July 9 at 10 a.m., we meet up again for another assessment-and-suggestion session for those who’ve painted further on their portraits that week. We celebrate our accomplishments!

What you won’t have to do when you register for this workshop:
• Pack up your art supplies and carry them anywhere. (Savor this one… Ahhhh…)
• Find someone to feed your dog or cat… or spouse.
• Drive to another city.
• Pay for a hotel room.
• Dress up. Or dress at all. (Stay in your jammies… who will care? Ahhhh….)
If you would like your final painting’s image to be posted on my blog (with or without a link to your site), there will be a $10. fee option at the end of the workshop. I’d love to show off your work!
I hope you’ll join us for a fun, heart-racing day of painting your socks off!