Make Time For Art - image of a planner

Make Time For Art, Your Art

“I need to clear all the day-to-day stuff before I go into my studio. The problem is, once I do that, I usually don’t feel like painting – I’m too tired or I don’t have enough time. I just don’t seem to be able to make time for art.”

I hear this A LOT! And believe me, I completely relate. (I wish I didn’t, but I do!)

Funny how, as artists, we have a deep need to create, to express our artistic vision, and yet that priority, our first priority, our primary duty as artists, often seems to sink to the bottom of the to-do list. It keeps getting pushed below mundane tasks like laundry and email, things that hardly matter in the big scheme of things, things that won’t be remembered a year from now and certainly not at the end of our lives.

And more importantly, these aren’t things that lift us up, nor are they things that satisfy us in a richly rewarding way. And this is what making art does for the creative soul!

Recently, however, I made a discovery that was such an eye-opener, such a revelation, that I had to tell you about it. 

It’s this.

During the October 31-pastels-in-31-days Challenge, what happened was I did my painting first, to get it out of the way. Let me repeat that. I did my painting first to get it out of the way. So, contrary to the days outside of the Challenge when I would get my blog done, my emails written, my errands run before painting, I was, instead, getting my painting done first

This is most interesting don’t you think? 

Let’s have a look at the reason this happened: 

  • I had made a commitment to myself, to paint daily for a month 
  • I also had made a commitment to the HowToPastel Facebook group, to show up daily and post my finished piece, no matter what it looked like 
  • This was a goal (paint daily) with a deadline (31 October)/ this was a project (a 31-day Challenge) with a finite end (after 31 days)

We all know the benefits of painting in a regular consistent way. Benefits such as: 

  • The more you paint, the more it becomes a habit
  • You end up with a stack of paintings which is a reward in itself
  • You’re more open to risk-taking and trying new things (doesn’t work today? try something different tomorrow)
  • You grow as an artist

What I’m talking about in this blog post, however, is how to make time for art. So let’s have a look at how we can make this happen.

Make Time For Art: Gail Sibley, "Scissors 8 - Fit To Be Tied," Unison Colour pastels on UART 500, 8 x 12 in. Sold
Gail Sibley, “Scissors 8 – Fit To Be Tied,” Unison Colour pastels on UART 500, 8 x 12 in. (Day 30) Sold

How to make time for art

  1. Make appointments with yourself. Go right now and find at least three times in your week where you can book at least 30 mins. And if it’s possible, make that an hour, or two, or three. Write it in your planner or calendar or daybook, wherever you check to see what your day ahead looks like.
  2. Create accountability. Do your painting and post it. Ask artist friends to help you stay accountable. What is your reward for staying on track?
  3. Set a goal or a project and give it an end date e.g. in three months I’m going to have 10 finished paintings OR I will paint Mon-Wed 10am to 1pm for 2019 OR I will arrange a solo show for the end of 2019 and will have 30 paintings ready for it. Write down that plan where you can see it. Then break it down into doable chunks and book those chunks of time into your calendar to make it happen. 

This is how you make time for art. 

Make Time For Art: Gail Sibley, "Scissors 5 - All in Red," Unison Colour pastels on UART 600 paper, 6 x 10 in. (Day 16) Available
Gail Sibley, “Scissors 5 – All in Red,” Unison Colour pastels on UART 600 paper, 6 x 10 in. (Day 16) Available

Soooo carve out that place in your week for the one thing you feel pulled to do  – your art. Think of it as a gift to yourself. 

Also, consider it as vital and unmissable as a doctor’s appointment or any other kind of appointment you wouldn’t dream of missing. You turn up no matter what. This is non-negotiable time. And that means saying ‘No’ to social engagements during those marked-off times. The same goes for errands, or email, or cleaning, or any day-to-day task that distracts you from your art-making time. Also, remember to set the boundaries with family and friends. They will adjust if you take yourself and your time seriously. 

Life has a habit of eroding this precious art-making time away. So make a schedule and hold yourself to the commitment. That’s how to make time for art!!

To end this post, I want to share with you a poem by John O’Donohue called “A Morning Offering.” My sweetheart Cam gave me a printed version years ago and it continues to remind me to stay true to my own artistic journey.  I hope it will move you as well. 

And now I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts on this topic so please be sure to leave me a comment. Do you make a concerted effort to block out time for your art? Or is it a random happening? Let me know!

Until next time,

~ Gail

PS. Here is the book the poem “A Morning Blessing” comes from. It’s a book full of moving poems for all sorts of occasions. If you click the link and once there, click ‘Look Inside’ the book, you’ll be able to read the poem.

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77 thoughts on “Make Time For Art, Your Art”

  1. Hi Gail….it’s so true that you have to create time every day…meaning actually very frequently….I do 30minutes of pastel pencil art every day after my kids sleep…I’m actually carrying a doodle pocketbook with me…doodle art during travel, post lunch at work, waiting times, when you are tired physically…but you could sit and doodle…
    Those small bits of practice makes huge difference in long term.
    Thanks for your post.

    1. Sujanith that’s so wonderful to hear! Thank you for sharing how you consistently keep your art-mind and art-hand active every day. And yes, it does make a difference!!

    2. I agree! I lost my husband 4.5 years ago and that pulled the rug out from under my art career. I am just getting back into it and these small sketches are working for me. They all tend to be my pets, but they require FAST sketching & quick observaton. I started posting these to my Facebook friends each day.

      1. Jeanie I am sorry to hear about your husband.
        I’m also happy that you are getting back to your art-making and using your pets as subject matter. They are perfect to sharpen your observation skills!!

    3. Hi Gail,
      I love the idea of earmarking times in my diary to get into my studio. I’m very lucky to have a space to
      Paint and struggle to get to it as you describe.
      I’m going to try putting three 1/2 hours slots in to start and see how this works .
      Also having a goal of painting so many paintings by deadline is a fab idea too … I will try that too.

      1. Debbie that’s grand to hear!! I’m happy to hear you have a place to paint as this gives you a place to go and BE. I think just being in our studio space helps move us forward. Let us know how it goes!!

  2. Hi Gail,
    Thank you for being so generous with your wonderful posts. It helps me a lot. Your demos on YouTube are pushing my landscape paintings to a much better stage of learning.
    I’ll keep this blog with me everywhere and read it again and again.
    And a little poem just made my heart pounding and willing to try any new idea no matter what.
    I am going to Mexico for the holidays, and I’ll draw everything around me, and think of your advice to spend 30 or so minutes to do what I always wanted to do, but didn’t have time.

    1. Oh Natalka, that’s so sweet of you to say you’ll keep this blog to read again and again and that the poem affected you deeply. Thank you!
      And I’m delighted to know my videos are helpful. (Will work on doing some more in the next little while.)
      LOVE that you are making a commitment to draw what’s around you while in Mexico. I know you will feel wonderful doing so!

  3. Do it first. I actually have some do it firsts each morning. Yoga, alternating with dancing around my room, because the cold morning air is not my friend. These are the habits that keep my body strong. But the firsts for my mind and spirit come right after these. Painting makes me feel good. It’s as simple as that. My mood is lifted with painting. Thanks for the reminder to schedule what my soul loves, too.

    1. Oh yes!! Do. It. First!
      And I can appreciate your other firsts. I too have morning firsts including an exercise routine. I like that you dance to defeat the cold 😀
      Thanks for reminding us of our various parts – mind, body, spirit – and to take care of what each needs and loves.

  4. Your post could not have come at the most perfect. I truly struggle with this on a daily basis. Helps to see it written out with rules to follow, (not that I didn’t already know them). I will do better!!
    Thanks for your wise words!

    1. Love to hear that the timing of this post worked perfectly for you Marcia 🙂
      I think writing down/blocking off the time will help to keep this most important activity front and centre. Let us know how it goes.

  5. You’re doing a great job with your website, Gail! I love your paintings, the way you head right in with color. They’re all beautiful. I can draw, but I struggle with color, seeing shapes, etc., the stuff I need to get better with to use pastels, and your blog has helped me with those things. I’ve done a few pastels that I’m proud of, that are hanging in my house and in friend’s and family’s homes. They’re mostly portraits of pets or people or my summer tomatoes, things I really care about. I never miss reading your blog!

    1. Bonnie, thanks for your lovely comment! It’s always a joy to hear I am helping along the way. It’s also pretty darn nice to hear compliments about my work as well so thank you!!!
      I can’t think of anything better than painting subjects you care about. I also think that when you paint what you love, your passion comes through and makes for stronger work. And no doubt your friends and family feel that in the work that hangs on their walls.

  6. Thank you! This is good. Exactly what I needed to hear. See I’m also a professional musician so my painting gets put aside. I love the 30’day challenge and I’m hoping to find a friend to do it too.

    1. Kathryn you are sooooo welcome! Gosh you have two creative paths. Interesting that music is your profession and so of course it comes first. And I assume then that the day-to-day bits and pieces don’t waylay you. I do like that you want to get back to painting though. Hope you can persuade a friend to do a 30-day challenge with you. The accountability and companionship make this the way to go!

  7. Hi Gail
    I read your blog with great interest and felt kinda glad to know that others struggle with when’s a good time to start painting! I work long days during the week but feel really excited on weekends with the prospect of getting into my studio, then I run around like a crazy woman trying to get the chores done so I can carve out the time in the afternoon – by that time I often find my creativity is low. I once heard someone talking about what time of the day they were most creative …. and I thought I could not answer that because I have never tried any time other than afternoon! So I am going to turn it around to my time in the morning and chore time in the afternoon! – will let you know!

    1. Ahhhh Deirdre, I know exactly of what you speak, running around to get errands done so you can have the clarity of time and space to work at your art. And yet, your energy is low when you get to it. So I’m DELIGHTED to hear you say you are going to leave chores to the afternoon. I know you’ll feel great about it because a) once you have been creative for the day you’ll feel awesome no matter what and b) you’ll have that yes-I-did-it-! energy for the remainder of the day. Let us know!!

  8. Hi Gail!
    Thanks for mentioning the book! I will look for that one!
    On your thoughts on making time for art, whilst I understand how this worked for you, I go with Georgia O’Keefe’s philosophy, “One works because I suppose it is the most interesting thing one knows to do. The days one works are the best days. On the other days one is hurrying through the other things one imagines one has to do to keep one’s life going…..” I keep those “other things” to a minimum, but I cannot settle to work without them out of the way!
    Thank you for the blogs! I really enjoy them.

    1. Thanks for your addition to the conversation Diane and for Georgia O’Keeffe’s wise words. I love especially like when she says “..one imagines one has to do…” We often are kept from the creative impulse by these “other things”. And yes, I understand what you mean when you say you “cannot settle to work” without the mental space of things done. The trick is not to let those “other things” distract you and delay you from your art-making. From the sound of it though, you have all in hand 🙂

  9. Often, we read great reminders like this, and say, “Oh, yes, that’s right. I must do this!” And then move on to the next task and forget our resolve. But capping it with this great poem, you remind us that sometimes it is the little fears that hold us back, not the big ones we know to fight, but just the mundane fear of not having enough time or energy to get the ‘urgent’ things done, rather than the ones that are important to our souls. Thanks for the double reminder; I’m going to act on it!

    1. Oh Ralph, I got goosebumps reading your comment! Thank you for your words, for the clarification between what’s urgent and what’s important. Urgent so often shoves important out the way but in the end, it’s doing what’s important that will matter most.
      I love your determined last comment!

  10. I was really enjoying getting into the habit of painting every day during the 31 day challenge. I was irritated that I had other commitments that kept me from doing all 31 days…..e.g. going out of town for a few days, and doing another form of art for a craft Christmas show to which I had committed. Well, once I got those things out of the way, I realized how much I missed getting my hands dusty and dirty with my beloved pastels!! Now, I’m back at it, and happy to be free to paint. Being retired, I find that painting satisfies my desire to be productive and creative as I get lost in the process. Beautiful poem by the way!!

    1. Thanks for sharing how you missed your pastels, getting dusty and dirty, when you had to be away from them. I’m so glad you are now back pastelling again. feels so good, doesn’t it?!
      (And glad you liked the poem.)

  11. Great post Gail, love the poem!!!
    I agree…find the time of day that works for you and commit to making your artistic journey a priority. If you have a full time job or are raising kids maybe the time you have is very limited…but even a few minutes a day can make a difference over the course of a year.

    I started with pastels and learned all I could about the medium/substrates during several years of 30in30’s…it was a great kickstart and really made me step up to the plate (not just dream of being an artist…but putting in the hours and hours of commitment it would take to achieve my goals). Those Challenges really kicked my butt at the beginning but now are a great way for me to pick a theme and try something new.

    Through that effort I now know my most creative time is in the morning (4am-noon)…my motto “If I’m not painting by 10 am…I’m probably not painting”…although I’d have to add, don’t get a new puppy…reeks havoc on your “schedule”!

    1. Hah hah – puppy life!!
      Thanks so much Cindy for sharing your thoughts. And yes, working full time at another job and/or raising kids certainly can put a crimp in the art journey. But as you say, even a few minutes each day can make a compounded difference. Just a wee sketch here and there – over lunch or while the kids nap. It all counts!
      Glad to hear the 30/31 day challenges are so helpful. I know what you mean. They get you to focus and be intentional on what you need to do for that time period. The tricky thing is carrying it into daily life after the Challenge!
      Love that you have discovered your best creative time. And even though you have your motto, there’s no saying what can happen creatively between 10am and noon…;-)

  12. Thank you, what a great idea! All I want to do is art and life continues to get in the way. 😐 I will definitely try putting art first and setting appointments with myself. As always thank you for the great tips. Also, I enjoyed the poem. 😃

    1. Yay!! Yes, make it an unmissable appointment Nancy. And it’s a good idea to have an artist friend with the same appointment at the same (or similar) time with themselves. That way you can check in with each other later to confirm that you ‘went’ to your appointment 🙂

  13. Hi Gail:
    What you have written about is so pertinent! Not only the part that says you need to make time for your art, but also something else which resonated deeply with me. You see, I started making art/being an artist very recently. I was too intimidated before, I had less time, I knew I couldn’t really be any good as an artist because long long ago, in school, the drawing teacher said I could not even draw a straight line., etc etc…you get the ‘picture’.
    When you wrote:”Also, remember to set the boundaries with family and friends. They will adjust if you take yourself and your time seriously” – that really hit home. If I don’t take my art-making seriously, why should anyone else?
    So, here’s to more Art in our lives!

    1. Oh Moushumi I almost cried when I read your response. I find it soooo heart-wrenching whenever I read about someone’s early art life being off-railed by the careless and uncaring comment from a teacher. I hear this waaaaaaay too often! I do hope it happens less nowadays.
      Even so, here you are, making art, despite those critical comments. Love that you picked up on that last part of the blog post about taking yourself and your art-making seriously. Again, it’s funny how art is often relegated to hobby status by so many people (especially those not involved in creating) when in fact, we as artists have such an important task – to reflect the world back to those who cannot see all its wonder. Even in what others perceive as ugly, the artist can show the beauty and the relevance.
      And I cheer with you – here’s to more Art in our lives!!!

  14. During 31in31, I had to ignore many important things. No, not just the dust on the ledges, but things like helping neighbors, talk-time with my husband, shopping for food so meals were of good quality…the list goes on. As a retiree, I feel privileged to do these things for myself and others and I miss that during the month of October. I’ve done 31in31 twice now, religiously painting every day, and the growth is exponential. I love it. I may do it again next year. But there are too many sacrifices required to keep up that pace. I prefer to paint when the spirit moves me – the perfect subject, the person who needs my talents (memorial pet portraits), the open beautiful day. I suppose that will leave me as a duffer for the rest of my 20 years and that’s OK.

    1. Andrea, thanks for your voice in this conversation. I know and appreciate the sacrifice it takes to create a daily painting and I applaud you and all those who create daily during the 31-in-31 Challenge. I think we each need to find our own ease with our artistic journey.

      The main point of this post is that over the long haul, those of us with an artistic pull, with a need to express an artistic vision, are often sidetracked by the needs and structures of life and sometimes, just sometimes, we need to say, it’s time for me to make art. Leonardo da Vinci, on his deathbed, was said to have expressed his regret at not painting more (rather than spending so much time on scientific inventions). The creative way is a gift, a gift that in some cases is rarely used much less unwrapped. I think you know and use your gift and are fully aware of its existence. Its pull will remind you when you have been away too long.
      And dear Andrea, a duffer you are not. You are a lover and appreciator of life who can feel the perfection of each day. And that is what our lives are about are they not?

  15. Hi Gail,
    I love that you’ve shared this. It’s funny, but I already do this with my journaling and a daily email. Then I settle into work (editor of a newspaper and writer or whatever “chores” are on hand for the day) and my pastel painting gets pushed to the side.

    My new daily plan will be to use painting as a celebratory break between my sitting work. After journaling and the morning email, I’ll go directly to the studio and spend time painting before sitting back down at the computer. I’ll still have time to get other projects done.

    And I love the idea of posting daily progress on Facebook. That will be a way to keep me on my toes.

    Again, thank you.

    1. Sasha, I’m sitting at my computer air-punching with glee – YES!!! I love your new plan! And using art as a celebration – what could be better? Thank you for giving us a peek into your life.
      Let us know how it goes!

  16. I now have a New Years resolution….switch my studio time to the mornings and make all other errands and appointments in the afternoon. My mind will be fresh and my body energized. Thanks for the reminder to prioritize what’s important in my life!

  17. That’s quite inspirational got to read the above blog Gail. I too have problems in doing anything personally for myself, except perhaps dentist/GP appointments. Some may say it’s OCD but I’m ‘old school’ in which I’ve been brought up to to always do what I hate most first…even what’s on my plate is eaten first, and only then I feel I may take the prize/treat of going what I want, and I find it incredibly difficult to change that habit. However, your idea in blocking out time on my calendar, strangely enough, seems such common sense to do and something that I’m convinced will work for me, like you said, a revelation moment! Such a simple thing to think about and can’t think why I’d not thought or considered trying it before?

    Anyway, to make this work for me I’m going to realistically wait till after Christmas as I’m so booked up until then. I’ll let you know how I get on, and in the meantime, thank you and please keep on painting and showing off your work!

    1. Lindsey, I TOTALLY get where you are coming from!! Get all the awful stuff done up front, eat the yucky things on the plate first so you can enjoy the yummy ones. I hear you!!! And yet when we examine that way of doing things, it just doesn’t make sense! I used to leave the very good chocolates I got at Christmas until later. By then, often they were stale. And then someone (actually I think it was Cam!) said, what if you get hit by a bus tomorrow? then you would have missed out on the best things, and only consumed the okay things. Whoa!! That definitely had me looking at the way I do things. Life is short, enjoy the good stuff first!! And that includes your soul’s desire…like making art. And still, it’s hard to change the habits of a lifetime.
      LOVE that appointment-making might change things up for you Lindsey!! Try it, believe in it, and let us know how it goes!
      (And thank you for the ra-ra about my art :-D)

  18. Gail,what a terrific post! I have a bad back injury which has prevented me from doing much including art and the art is calling me! The excerpt from that book was so soothing and wonderful and hit me to the core. My soul needed to hear every word. Thank you. 💖

    1. Kim I am so sorry to hear about your back injury. But I am glad to hear that art-making calls to you! And when you are ready to succumb to the call, art will embrace you with open arms!
      I’m glad the poem resonated with you. It is a calling to the soul for sure.

  19. I love that poem and your reading of it. I will listen to it again and again. Sometimes, as of late, I don’t have to make time for art because it makes time for itself. The impetus to create and my unique ‘voice’ as an artist push their way to the front of the line and I am all to happy to surrender. Those moments are most pure. It’s not premeditated, it’s impulsive. My heart starts pounding as I walk across the driveway into my studio and listen and feel for the direction of that session. As I age I realize the small stuff is really small and so insignificant. You can clutter a life away with such busy-ness but to be an artist, ah – what a treasure. There are so many moments to just be present for with pastel in hand and heart directing mind towards that which we love to do – CREATE!!

    1. Tracy, I could just reach out and HUG YOU!!!! Thank you for expressing so beautifully your own personal art impulse. And also for pointing out the irrelevance of so much of the small stuff that clutters up and takes such a front seat in our lives. THANK YOU!!

  20. Thank you for this post. My husband and I own a restaurant. It is difficult finding help so, many times (like during the busy season) my plans to make art time a habit gets waylaid. I printed this off so I can refer back to it and get myself back on track more quickly. I always enjoy your posts. Thank you and Happy Holidays!

    1. Oh Maureen, a restaurant?! I can certainly understand why art-making can be relegated to the back-burner (!). I’m so happy that this post will help you find your way to creating more regularly. Happy holidays to you too!!

  21. I find all your blogs so helpful, but this one especially hit home. The thing I need so much and that gives me so much—my art—-so often gets low priority in my day, my week, my month, my year. When I do push it to the top, I am so much happier and fulfilled. I love the idea of scheduling it—actually writing down that on this day and at this time—I’m painting. I think I will start my painting sessions with that powerful and inspiring poem, A Morning Offering, I just may write out that last sentence and put it on my studio wall to see every time I paint. Thank you Gail.

    1. Thanks so much for chiming in Salli! I love that you KNOW how good art-making feels when you do it. You’ll be amazed how scheduling your time to paint can motivate you to get in your studio. Put it first and the rest of the day will follow.
      Happy that you find the poem inspirational. It’s such a great reminder about what’s important!

  22. I agree wholeheartedly with your blog. It is true of anything we claim we don’t have time for. If you put it down on your calendar like any other appointment, you can make it happen. Time is precious and I see that more and more as I get older and you have to manage it to get the most from it.

  23. Your post along with your reader’s comments are very insightful. For the last 8 months I have been trying to walk every other day and have been very successful. I had some incentive for health reasons. I want to continue with this good habit and I think I will try to make time to paint on the days I don’t exercise, a kind of reward for exercising the day before. Tomorrow is an exercise day for me so Mon, Wed and Friday will be paint days for me this week. There I’ve said it , shared it and now I only need to follow through with it. Hopefully in a few months it will be another good habit.
    As always, thanks for the inspiration.

    1. WONDERFUL Glenda!!!!
      First how awesome to be in the walking habit – it’s so good for the body but also the mind (clear out those cobwebs and let ideas flow!) and the spirit (there’s so much in the world to enjoy!).
      Second, adding painting as a reward – that’s just plain brilliant!
      Third, scheduling it in your calendar – oh yes.
      And finally, saying out loud that you are going to do it – yay for you! We are your witnesses. Do you have a painting buddy you can check in with who might make the commitment with you?
      Bravo Glenda!

  24. Dear Gail, thank God you take time to maintain this blog and time to create your wonderful paintings! Only recently I came to the same conclusion and made a decision to treat my art-making with more respect, which means, stop putting it at the bottom of my to-do-list and paint in the early afternoon BEFORE having done all my chores. It’s definitely a good feeling. Painting in the morning I haven’t dared yet – but I will now!!
    Thanks for all your advice and encouragement!

    1. Thank you for your appreciation Gabriela 🙂
      I’m delighted that you already make sure that your art-making doesn’t sink to the bottom of the list. And now, make the leap and put it first!! Whoo hoo!!!

  25. Late to the fray, Gail….running around since your post was made, having to do things for other people. Unless I’ve missed it, there’s one situation which no-one’s mentioned, and that is dealing with time when one’s “other half” is approaching retirement. For years I’ve had hours to myself each day, to paint. Now that is changing and I’m finding that I am losing four days out of seven because the semi-retired hubby is very efficient at commandeering my time….always “things that must be done” or “could you spare a minute”. The only way I can see of solving this is to lay down a calendar where painting/hobby time is clearly marked and shouldnt be changed unless there’s a real crisis….non-painting folk just don’t understand that art requires concentration and time-dedication to improvement.

    1. Chris I feel for you and have seen this exact situation happen before. That transition is usually easier for the person doing the retiring. Often they have no idea what an impact being around every day can have on the other person. I do think as you say that the visual on a calendar will help. Also having a heart-to-heart conversation about what painting means to you and that you need that time for yourself. Also, talk about how you managed your time prior to his retirement and that you still wish and need that time. Feel free to schedule a call with me if you want to talk a bit about this. (You can do that here.) Your creative ‘me’ time is important and having it will feed your relationship. Without it, all sorts of resentments and frustrations and anger can arise. I’ve seen it happen!

  26. HI Gail, thank you for inspiring post.
    I joined the 31in31 challenge. What works for me is to be creative every day on different ways: thinking about the subject, serie or theme, draw the subject so I get to know the item and improve my drawing skills and then put the pastel to paper. So every evening is me time.

  27. Gail, thank you for this! I recently committed myself to full time for my art. I’m not painting the entire 8 hrs, but whatever I’m doing, it’s art related.
    I am so blown away by your work lately! That’s a testament to daily practice.
    And I loved this powerful poem…it could be my mantra. You delivery of it was beautiful.
    Thanks for all you do!!

    1. Becky congratulations! I’m so happy for you! So then, you must have your time scheduled as if it were a job you were going to – in the best sense of the word.
      Glad you like the poem and my reading of it 🙂 It really tugs at my soul!
      Thank you for your kind words about my artwork – I do believe it does come down to daily practice AND letting go and taking risks.

  28. My college painting professor once told our entire class that we “would not paint when we left university…” – that it would be a challenge, that life would get in the way, we’d make excuses, etc…. it IS a challenge to make time for it, but I’m learning daily that if it is what feeds the Soul, then IT is a necessity. Thank you for this post! And, if any of your followers have interest, we’re making time for pastel in June 2019, with wonderful instructor/Australian painter Lyn Diefenbach!

    1. And wasn’t your professor sadly right Kathryn?! It’s great that he warned you about how life can interrupt and distract from the creative process and following an artistic life. And that life, for some of us, IS a necessity! Thanks for popping in and leaving your thoughts.

      Very exciting that you will have the lovely and talented Lyn teaching with you. More information about this retreat can be found here

  29. This continues to be a serious struggle of mine. I work full time and have a young family so painting time can often be non existent. But what I have found nevertheless is that when you are consistent, everything else adapts and people adjust to some degree. I definitely need to make it a point to be more consistent and dedicated to carving out that time… It can often feel so frustrating looking at my easel having not touching it in a week or more. Thanks for posting this and being that extra nudge to make it happen 🙂

    1. Working full time and raising a family takes huge amounts of time, energy, and effort. So bravo to you for making time for your art! You are right that if you are intentional and committed, things and people will flow around that space you make for creating. You know what you need to do, feel the frustration when you haven’t been at the easel, so make that appointment with yourself, turn up and be with your art. Just being with it can bring great joy and once you’re there, you never know what else may happen!

  30. I absolutely needed to see/read this today. I’ve hardly done any art at all this past year and I put it down to the fact that I was always so busy in my day job, by the time I got home I was just too worn out. But part of the reason was also my set up in my office/studio. My painting area had got crunched in right next to my computer and it just wasn’t really convenient to move everything out of the way and get my table easel and pastels out. Just today I had a re-arranging session and have created another workspace, away from my computer desk, where I can work on my pastels or my art journaling whenever I want to. I love it! There’s no stopping me now!

    1. THAT’S AWESOME Jayne!!! I’m glad the timing of this post came to you at the right moment and you’ve now made art-making a priority. AND made it easy to work on. You go girl!! Here’s to a year full of painting!

  31. Pingback: Stealing Time for Art – stepstoartisttips

  32. Hi Gail,
    Wow your blog is so helpful.
    Yes this is exactly what I struggle with although I have seen some improvement recently. I also took part in a pastel challenge with Unison Colour this year with the sole goal of seeing if I could make my time in studio a priority, and I was pleasantly surprised that despite any obstacles I honoured the commitment to myself and the group. I also have seen that when I offer to paint a picture for someone it is easier to manage time to see that it is completed on time – once I get started that is- I need to stop putting it off until I’m left short of time and it is “create or show up empty handed’. The hoards of ideas I want to paint remain untouched and that is sad as that is me not giving room for my creative voice to develop. I did paint one picture this term that was just for me though, oh no wait it is still a work in progress. I like your idea of doing it first, I need to try to do that even if it is just a thumbnail in the morning to warm up – Hooray for today. And I like the idea of accountability- perhaps I should write the ideas that are in my head and put them somewhere so that my plans are visible and not just hidden in my heart.
    Thank you for letting us know we are not alone in this struggle to make art a priority.

    1. Melanie, thanks for your wonderfully in-depth comment about your own struggles with making time for your art. It’s funny isn’t it that there are times we can do it…and often those times are connected with a commitment to others as well as ourselves. I think accountability can play such a big role in getting things done. I like your idea of putting your ideas up where they are visible for you to see every day, not just, as you say, hidden away in your heart….or even a closed sketchbook. So do that and let us know how that experiment works. I really am interested!! They say that writing down your goals will help make them happen…maybe this will be true of you starting to work on your ideas simmering away inside of you.

  33. Hi Gail, I’m definitely all about the re-frame so after reading your article it’s time for me to ‘make time’ for my art ventures rather than ‘trying to find time’ and then finding art slips down the priority ladder. I also love your encouragement to make a commitment and schedule goals into a diary. So, I’m going to do that too!

    I’m off to begin prioritising my creative side 🙂
    Thank you!

    1. I’m so glad this was helpful Jay! It behooves us to prioritize our art, and to choose to make time for it. Our art-making is important but feels less urgent than some of our daily life tasks which may be part of the reason it slips down our to-do list. But it is urgent, as well as important, as far as our creative soul is concerned!

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Gail Sibley

Artist. Blogger. Teacher.

My love of pastel and the enjoyment I receive from teaching about pastel inspired the creation of this blog. It has tips, reviews, some opinions:), and all manner of information regarding their use through the years – old and new. Please enjoy!

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