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Try these 7 tips to keep your painting practice on track while navigating life’s inevitable curveballs.
By Marla Baggetta
Whether you’re trying to scrape up money for supplies as a college student, supporting a family in midlife, facing can’t-miss job deadlines or taking care of aging parents, things come along that can test your commitment to making art. Hang in there … and keep the following truisms in mind when it comes to creative self-expression and art-making.
It’s your gift to others. Making art isn’t selfish. When you’re happy and at peace, those around you are profoundly affected. Art has a far-reaching impact even if you’re not a professional. Art’s energy is spread to everyone within your sphere. If you’re grumpy and miserable, that affects others, too. Why not choose to be happy and choose art?
Be prepared for what’s coming. When it comes to getting older, we’re all headed in the same direction. Although it’s not always pretty, we can prepare and try to be graceful about it. If the hard stuff hasn’t hit yet, buckle up, buttercup! It means being ready to paint through distractions and tragedies. Art heals us.
Give yourself permission. As far as I have it figured, I’m getting one turn on this earth, so I’m going to give myself permission to leave it all on the easel. Please join me.
Make it an everyday practice. Like yoga or meditation, art takes work, and I find that inspiration comes from the work. If I only painted when conditions were perfect, I wouldn’t be a painter. Set aside time every day to spend as an artist, Make it a discipline—just like brushing your teeth.
Tell your friends. If times are especially tough and you’re dealing with something difficult, let your friends know. People want to assist. Let them.
Set boundaries. If you’re a parent, a caregiver, or a friend, set clear boundaries regarding what you can and cannot do. Let people know how important your art is, even if they don’t completely understand. If you tell them, they’ll respect how much it means to you.
Take care of yourself. It’s just like flight attendants tell us: In case of emergency, take care of your oxygen mask first, and then tend to those around you. For artists, it means not ignoring our creative impulses. Treat yourself to an art workshop or a painting holiday with artist friends to nurture your creative energy.
Meet the Author
Marla BaggettaBaggetta studied at the Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, Calif. She worked as a commercial artist before turning to painting. Baggetta has been recognized for her pastel, acrylic and oil work. She holds Signature status with Pastel Society of America, as well as Master Circle with the International Association of Pastel Societies. She offers online painting instruction for artists of all levels. PaintingLessonsWithMarla.com.