No Time to Paint? Gail Sibley, "The Plug," Unison pastels on UArt 400, 3 1/4 x 6 in. Finished after a few tweaks.

No Time To Paint? No Excuse! Painting A Plug In 20 Minutes

So you think you have no time to paint? One of the things I learned doing the 31 in 31 challenge last month is that there really is always a way to carve out time to create art.

I spend a lot of time on my computer these days, e.g. working on my blog, connecting with members of the HowToPastel Facebook group, or developing my online courses. I often feel desperate for and incapable of finding time to get in my studio, but having done the challenge, I realize that’s a crock! It’s easy to make excuses about having no time to paint. So what to do about it?

So let’s say you only have 20 minutes. Grab a small item, anything. Grab a small piece of pastel paper; I’m sure you have bits and pieces floating around your studio. Grab your sketchbook and do a one-minute thumbnail. Then select a small set of pastels and get to work!

Me? I plopped down a bathtub plug on a handy piece of colourful paper, did a really quick thumbnail, and selected my Unison starter kit of 16 pastels. I looked around for a small piece of sanded paper and spied the UArt 400 scrap I’d been using to test pastels when working on my shoe series. Choosing this piece meant I could also show how, amazingly, pastel can cover pastel! I set the timer – 10 minutes – and got to work. (I had to reset the timer for another five minutes admittedly but I blame that on taking time for progression photos.)

Let’s take a look at how it all went.

No time to paint? The plug

First – the plug

No Time To Paint? The wee quick thumbnail

The wee quick thumbnail

No Time to Paint? The Unison 16 half-stick starter set from which I chose my pastels

The Unison 16 half-stick starter set from which I chose my pastels

No Time to Paint? The scrap of UArt paper that I had previously tested colours on

The scrap of UArt paper that I had previously tested colours on

No Time to Paint? I decided to gently brush the pastel that was on the paper rather than leave them as harsh individual lines.

I decided to gently brush the pastel that was on the paper rather than leave them as harsh individual lines. This also softened the lightness of the paper underneath and brought the values a bit closer together.

No time to paint? The charcoal sketch of the plug over the underpainting created by the brushed pastels

The charcoal sketch of the plug over the underpainting created by the brushed pastels

No Time to paint? First two pastels applied to create the background. I love seeing the hints of colours beneath!

First two pastels applied to create the background. I love seeing the hints of colours beneath!

No Time To Paint? The start of colour on the plug itself (I felt the cast shadow ON the plug was quite warm) and the shadow cast by the plug. Limited palette restricting my choices!

The start of adding colour to the plug itself – I felt the cast shadow on the plug was quite warm – and initial indication of the shadow that’s cast by the plug. Limited palette restricting my choices of colours!

No Time To Paint? More colour applied on the plug itself

More colour applied to the plug itself

No Time To Paint? More details - more colour, the text on the plug, and the metal ring

More added – more colour, the text on the plug, and the metal ring. Also clarifying the shape of the plug by working negatively (using the green of the background to define the shape).

No Time to paint? A quick look at the previous photo in black and white.

A quick look at the previous photo in black and white.

No Time to Paint? Added shadow to bits of the writing on the plug and began adjusting plug's cast shadow

Added shadow to bits of the writing on the plug and began re-adjusting the plug’s shape and its cast shadow.

 

No Time to Paint? Gail Sibley, "The Plug," Unison pastels on UArt 400, 3 1/4 x 6 in. Finished after a few tweaks.

A few tweaks and DONE! Gail Sibley, “The Plug,” Unison pastels on UArt 400, 3 1/4 x 6 in.

 

No Time To Paint? Gail Sibley, "The Plug," Unison pastels on UArt 400, 3 1/4 x 6 in - in black and white

Gail Sibley, “The Plug,” Unison pastels on UArt 400, 3 1/4 x 6 in – in black and white. Looks fine.

No Time To Paint? The eight Unison pastels used

Although I used only eight Unison pastels, remember all those lovely colours underneath are affecting the whole thing painting.

 

I know it’s small, I know it’s not brilliant, but what it is is pastel on paper. And that’s waaaaaaaayyy better than just thinking about doing something, or thinking I have no time to paint.

It’s amazing how anything and everything can take us away from our art. Life has a way of distracting us from the essential thing we’re here to do, or from the thing that brings us joy, or even the thing that brings us accolades from others. I’m not sure why it is that we so often don’t create art first thing, before anything else.

If you think you have no time to paint, think again. Actually, stop thinking and go paint!!

 

I’d love to hear from you so please leave a comment. Do you think you have no time to paint? Or do you paint every day? Do let me know 🙂

Until next time,

~ Gail

 

PS. Remember, you can always schedule a FREE 15 min call with me to talk about anything – even about ways to get you into your studio to paint. Just click here to schedule a call.

 

28 thoughts on “No Time To Paint? No Excuse! Painting A Plug In 20 Minutes

  1. Cate Kauffman

    I will certainly consider saving my scraps and bits. I have to laugh seeing the plug because it’s the sort of odd bit that I have been known to focus on and paint and my husband always thinks I’m nuts… until someone wants to buy it.

    Reply
    1. Gail Sibley Post author

      LOL! Paint what moves you with all your heart and someone else will respond to it! Even a mundane ole plug.
      And YES, keep all those precious scraps of (expensive) sanded paper – there’s always a use for them!

      Reply
  2. Susana

    That was so instructive Gail, thank you, and now we have no excuses about not having time to paint 🙂 I have to admit I might have just chosen some colors more close to the natural colors of the plug. But it is actually choosing the reddish one that creates the difference. Could you please comment on your thoughts on choosing the red in this example, and that “not so natural” colors in your other paintings that simply makes it so much more vibrant?

    Reply
    1. Gail Sibley Post author

      Hi Susana, yes, no more excuses (hah hah!).
      Great question about choosing red. Well, first off, I had a very limited palette of colours to choose from (the Unison set). Remember, I was working from life and that means you can see more – more value shifts and more colour shifts. And just more colour! I could see there was warmth in the shadow and since red is what I had (really my only warm choice in mid-dark range), that’s what I used. The thing is, you can ALWAYS tone down bright colour. So why not start with it? Also, remember if colours are in the right value, it’s amazing how our eye and brain can make it all look “natural.”
      Hope that helps!!

      Reply
  3. ChrisD

    Well, I’ll never look at a sink plug again in the same way I’ve always done!
    I think one of the keys to shoeing in a painting, in a short time-spell, is just being physically ready and set up. At least, it is for me. I have to do most painting in an attic room, up three flights of stairs, with poor light levels. Recently bought a daylight lamp that clips to the easel or workboard; unfortunately I can’t use it to illuminate an object at the same time as the work-surface, so I have to improvise with another lamp balanced on boxes. The alternative is to lug the pastels (or a selection of) downstairs along with pastel-paper and board, where the daylight is better. Perhaps I should just try and create a second, more portable set of pastels…..you can see how I’m thinking because it’s essential I don’t spend half my window of opportunity just setting up! Despite this, I manage to pastel on 3 (sometimes 4) days per week.

    Reply
    1. Gail Sibley Post author

      Hah hah! Delighted to have changed your ply-looking eyes!
      Chris, you brought up a very good point. Yes, the more things are easier to grab and go, the better. The more to set up, the more you have to think, the more you don’t do (and by ‘you’ I mean ‘one’). So yes, it would be helpful to have a limited palette downstairs and some small pieces of paper and board all ready to go. Having said that, you are doing great with your painting time!!

      Reply
  4. Gailen lovett

    Gail, this is a little gem of pastel knowledge! I loved the way you worked around a scrap of paper previously used to test colors and used it as an underpainting. The best part is you have raised the status of the mundane to something you actually want to look at – magic!

    Reply
    1. Gail Sibley Post author

      Gailen thank you for your kind words! Maybe paintings some mundane object is an idea for the HowToPastel Facebook group’s weekly challenge!

      Reply
  5. Betty Smith

    Gail, I love it when artists’ take something simple and make it just beautiful!!!! I like how you came up with the background, too! I’ll try it when I’m next able to paint. I would actually put the “plug painting” in my kitchen~~!~~

    Reply
    1. Gail Sibley Post author

      Thanks Betty. Yes, look around at any old scraps and reuse them!
      And you know, that painting’s still available….Shoot me an email if you’d like to purchase it 🙂

      Reply
  6. David Attwood

    Thanks, Gail, for all your instructional posts and blogs. Have a great Thanksgiving and may your new year bring more exciting creativity into your life! Blessing!

    Reply
    1. Gail Sibley Post author

      Oh David you are sooooo welcome! Thank you for taking the time to drop a comment here. And thank you too for your good wishes.
      Happy Thanksgiving to you!!

      Reply
  7. Liz Griffith

    Gail, your painting is gorgeous. Who knew a sink stopper could be so beautiful? I love this post. If I had to choose the most important lesson I learned from the 31 in 31 challenge, it would be the point you share in this post. There is always SOME time for painting. Take it! Of course, what I can get done in 20 minutes is probably not going to look as polished as I would like, at this point. I have to remind myself that that will come with regular practice. Taking the time is important not only for improving my painting skills, but also for the enjoyment of it! Being creative is good for my well-being. Thanks so much Gail for sharing your work and your process.

    Reply
    1. Gail Sibley Post author

      Liz, how very kind of you.
      I think it’s so easy to make excuses not to paint (I speak from experience!). The thing is to not care whether you make a mess or not because it’s in the DOING that we learn. And not caring, well, that’s just plain hard!
      I love what you said about creativity being good for your well-being. I think sometimes, we don’t realize how much truth is in that statement!

      Reply
    1. Gail Sibley Post author

      Geez Heather, thanks so much. It’s amazing what can become an object to paint when we keep our eyes open for the possibilities of light and dark patterns and colour opportunities!! And yes, love using up scraps of ‘used’ paper 🙂

      Reply

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