Friday, August 15, 2014

Are your tools ready for work?

Friday August 15th newsletter excerpt...
So are you still picking up beach glass and pouring sand out of your sneakers or are you back at work?
If your holidays are over you are probably a bit surprised to find yourself getting back into your old routine so quickly – almost like you hadn’t been off work at all.

Well here is a simple tip that will help you add some freshness to your ho-hum routine:

Get Your Tools Ready!

...because you are going to get busy creating.

Of course I am talking about your art making tools but this applies to any hobby.
It can be difficult to fit activities that delight us into our regular busy schedules. And let’s face it, sometimes the thought of setting up can be so daunting that we start to lose our enthusiasm.

Imagine you suddenly found yourself with the unexpected gift of an afternoon off from work or perhaps a Saturday morning all to yourself. How long would it take for you to dive into some delicious art making?

Would you be able to pick up your pencils right away? Or, if you are like a lot of people, would the preparation be an event? For example, would you have to clear away all sorts of papers and catalogues and other objects to find a surface area big enough to work on? Would you have to go searching for that really great desk lamp that gives you the bright light you like to work under (and possibly have to hunt up the extension cord)? Would you have to go digging for a sheet of paper, muttering under your breath that you hope you find something decent to work on because you sort of remember running out last time and you are sure you forgot to pick up more...
You get the idea.

So my suggestion this week is for you to get your tools and your space ready so that when a bit free time becomes available you can take advantage of it.
I know this sounds simple and obvious but given the amount of times I have heard students talk about this issue over the years, I believe it is something many people struggle with. It doesn’t take much to dampen our spark of enthusiasm and the effort required to get our stuff ready can be just the dose of cold water we didn’t need.

This isn’t about having a separate studio room in your home. Please don’t use the excuse about how you can’t draw or paint because you don’t have a studio! This is about having some small space cleared and always available. This is about having your art supplies stocked up and accessible. If you have to stand on a chair to get a box of art materials down from a closet shelf, I am thinking you probably don’t actually ‘move your tools’ very often.

my pencils patiently wait for me

 If you can’t leave your supplies out, why not pack up a tote bag with some basic essentials? You can hang the tote up, out of the way, but the best part is that you are ready to take your art making on the road if the opportunity presents itself.
You can sketch in waiting rooms at the doctor’s office, in coffee shops, in the car while you wait for the person you are meeting or picking up...Choose to be the odd person – the one not checking their email and text messages on their smart phone.

Of course you know that drawing regularly (even quick sketches) improves your drawing skills exponentially. I am just repeating this truth. I need to be reminded too!
I can hear you painters moaning about how I don’t understand. You point out that you can’t possibly paint in a waiting room. Of course you can’t but you can do some thumbnail sketches for your next piece, can’t you? Something is better than nothing, no?

Of course, one of the great things about working in a dry medium, like coloured pencil, woo-hoo J, is that you can start and stop easily. I have put down my pencils many times so that I could get something into the oven for supper or so I could start another load of laundry. Then I return to my work in progress.
My point – art making can fit into your everyday world.

So why not make your shift from vacation life back to regular life more exciting by making sure art is part of your normal routine?

Why not spend a bit of time this weekend getting your tools ready? And then grab those tools the first chance you get next week. Let’s rock your world! Being back from vacation is going to be more than okay. J


Katherine Thomas said...

Wonderful post, Teresa! I hope you, too, have spent a Saturday afternoon at your beautiful drawing desk full of pencils!

Teresa Mallen said...

I haven't had much drawing time BUT my tools are ready. :-) Thanks for reading!