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Space for creating

There is nothing that kills the desire to paint more than not having room or supplies. In reverse, nothing helps the artist"s muse more than having a studio and a well stocked arsenal of materials. Some times it is necessary to give yourself permission to be an artist. Sometimes you have to give yourself incentives and figure out how much you really want to be an artist. Do you want it enough to trade that morning cup of coffee for a morning painting?

Every day I go into my small studio in a spare room, and I paint for half an hour. It's a ritual that I developed with the intention of normalizing studio time. I give myself leave to work on anything I want during this time. I experiment, I play with color, and sometimes I just prime canvas with tones that suggest moods I might want to use later. Its a habit that has served me well. It's now easy to just walk in and start painting. I don't have to be in the mood. I don't have to search for supplies. I just need to reference material which is usually from photos on my phone or from my computer.

Afternoon is generally when I start serious paintings. I have the surface primed already and start by blocking in areas and establishing value. I may add colors that I will use to set the mood and give more depth later when another color is applied. This is the time when I feel the most freedom. Nothing is written in stone and huge changes are still allowed! Several hours later, it's harder to make major adjustments. At this point, I like to set the piece aside while I work on something else. It's helpful to have it in a place where I can glance over at it and let myself be struck anew. I also put it where I can see it in a mirror which gives the brain a totally unbiased look. I will cycle through many paintings this way. There will often be ten to fifteen in rotation. This takes me to 95% done. I finish the piece by photographing it and examining it, and then framing it and examining it. I take it out of the frame and varnish it when I am satisfied with the end result. This might all happen in two days, so don't be daunted by a process. Find something that works for you and follow through to get quality paintings!

Everyone is different! Your process should be geared to work for you. Not a morning person? Middle of the night when there are fewer distractions might be the way to go! Have a TV show that you can't miss? Painting right up to the start of it may give you that sense of urgency that a deadline imposes. My point is, customize your day to suit you and what helps you create.

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