Productive Creatives Part II: 5 Steps To Progress

Posted: February 3, 2012 in Art Business, Art Supplies, Create, Inspiration
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In Part One we looked at key qualities of Productive Creatives.  But what’s the driving force behind those concepts and how can we apply it to visual artists?

If you want to paint more, grow your career and learn new techniques, one must strengthen and build the discipline muscle.

It’s the single most potent weapon or tool behind any successful endeavour or person.  Without it we are lost.  Or sub par. Strengthen and one can do anything. It’s up to you.

The challenge is committment.  Instead of stating Big Goals or dreams desired but not practical or possible right now, make a list of small commitments, steps you will (not can but will) take towards them.

If practiced daily they will become good habits and you will ultimately create big changes.  Be patient but no excuses.  Nothing worth accomplishing was ever easy.

For instance,

1. Don’t resolve to “Make more time to paint.”

COMMIT to setting aside a specific amount of time, be it an hour a day or 3 days a week.  If time is limited try Journaling.  It’s a convenient way to record inspiration, paint or draw every day.

Choose portable mediums like a sketch pad along with Prismacolor pencils, Copic markers or watercolor sticks to add color.  Journal while waiting for an appointment, at the laundry mat or in the car waiting to pick up the kids. You’ll be surprised at your productivity is this newfound time.

2. Don’t resolve to “Be more creative.”

COMMIT to scheduling activities that inspire new art. Join a weekly painting group, visit the library and scan the art section for inspiration and instruction, attend a workshop, visit a museum. Try a new medium by purchasing a  starter kit. Check out an art gallery or artist’s studio during open house events. Invest in a new instructional DVD or book.  There are also many free How To videos on YouTube.  All of these ideas will help you to be more creative and motivate you to make new art.

3. Don’t resolve to “Clean up your studio.”

COMMIT to organizing one area of your studio a week.  Start with a part of the room you are not working in. Take inventory and separate the materials you use daily from those you use on occasion or not at all.  Build shelves, add hooks and fill storage carts with supplies. Organization is key.

Keep what you need in sight and everything else in clear cases, totes or boxes so you can find things more easily. 

ArtBins (Hull’s has a nice supply) last forever, come in all sizes & colors and are made for that purpose.  Donate unneeded supplies.  After you have cleaned the area commit to putting away your materials when you complete a new project. Before you know it you will be more organized than ever! 

4. Don’t resolve to “Be a professional full time artist.”

COMMIT to sharing your artwork with everyone. Don’t be afraid to tell others about your art and let them know you are available to create art for hire. Stay humble yet confident in your work, always.

Build a Web portfolio and keep it accessible.  Also keep photos of any art you create for compensation in a presentation case for a professional look.  It can have an immediate impact when there’s no computer around to show your work.

Have business cards with you at all times.  Market yourself!  Write a blog. Join art groups in your area.  Reach out to others on Facebook. The more you expose your art, the more opportunities you create to make art. You never know when the right situation will present itself.  Also, come to terms with the fact that not everyone will like your work.  It’s a fact of life in any artistic field.  Just so long as you believe in it.  Enjoy your art and opportunities will come from your enthusiasm.

5. Don’t resolve to “Master your art”.

COMMIT to practicing and learning new things. Practice. Practice. Practice. DAILY.  The more you practice, the more you will discover about the art you are creating and where your magic lies.   Take pictures of your first paintings and put them in your studio or workspace for easy referral.  They act as an archive to see where you have been and can refresh ideas and patterns.

 Study artists who inspire you.   Keep learning.

Try a new medium or product.  Experiment with techniques and materials.  Keep asking yourself  “What if ?”  Break the Rules! Note what you are trying: Amounts, “What happens when”, Materials, Temperature, Drying times, Color mixes, anything you want to remember.  To master your art you must DO & think your art continually!

With these small goals you will slowly but surely improve the artist in you and reach larger objectives.  If you focus on positive results you will also create exciting discoveries, opportunities and admirers.  Others are drawn to positive energy. It’s attractive (and negative people are far more common. It’s easier).

Above all be happy with your art and share it. You will make those around you happy at the same time.

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