Artistic Productivity | Cornerstone of a Successful Art Career

Having spent over 20 years in the gallery business, I’ve noticed a key common trait of financially successful artists: they are constantly in the studio, hard at work. I would describe these artists as productive and prolific.

The realities of the art market today are such, that in order to generate regular sales and establish a strong collector base for your work, you have to have significant inventory. To a certain degree it’s a numbers game. You have to have enough work available so that you can show the work in a variety of venues and get the work in front of enough people to reach the buyers.

My research has shown that, on average, successful painters are creating nearly 80 pieces per year. Successful sculptors are sculpting 55 pieces per year. No matter what your media, you should be working to increase your productivity and boost the number of pieces you are creating.

 

Source: Xanadu Gallery's 2009 State of the Art Survey

Simple Suggestions to Become More Productive

Dedicate consistent time daily to your art

Even if you can only carve out an hour or two, set aside fixed time daily that will be devoted to creating.

Focus

Try and keep studio distractions to a minimum. Turn off your computer and phone while you are working. You will be far more effective and productive if you aren’t constantly being pulled away from your art by the constant stream of distractions that plague our lives.

Set Production Goals

By setting goals about how many works you are going to create, you will push yourself to work harder to reach those goals. I suggest setting a weekly production goal. It doesn’t matter what that goal is, (and it can vary widely depending on medium and style) you  will create more work when you have a production goal.

Quality

Of course, productivity isn’t the only factor – successful artists also create high-quality work. Creating a tremendous supply of poor-quality artwork will not lead to success. In today’s competitive art market, quality has become even more important.

An artist once asked me, “Which is more important, quantity, or quality?”

“Yes!” I replied.

For today’s artists, it’s not an “either, or” proposition. To be a financially successful artist today you must be both efficient and proficient in your craft.

Can You Wait for Inspiration?

Some artists would argue that trying to be more productive is futile, as inspiration doesn’t come on demand. I love artist Chuck Close’s response to this idea:

01f/34/arve/g2661/072“The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case.”

Chuck Close

What Do You Think?

Has productivity played an important role in your art career? What are your greatest challenges when it comes to productivity? Do you have advice to share with artists who are struggling to create more? Share your thoughts and comments below.

Graph Source:  Xanadu Gallery’s 2009 State of the Art Survey

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54 Comments

  1. Great advice, thanks. Several years ago, I started with a 20-minute timer every day (because I could certainly show up in front of the canvas for 20 minutes–even if only to stare at it) and developed a paint-every-day habit. I only give myself 5 days a month away from the studio.

    Now I’m restless and irritable if more than a day goes by without me painting, and average about 3 hours a day over the month.

    BUT–even with that schedule, I’ve never created more than 40 paintings in a year. My plan this year was to go smaller; looks like I’ll need to if I want to hit 7 paintings a month, or 80 for the 2018!

    P.S. I first heard “Inspiration is for amateurs; do the work!” in Pressfield’s War of Art, and can attest to the accuracy of Chuck Close’s comments above. Thanks again.

  2. I agree with the Chuck Close comment that ideas and inspiration can flow in the context of the art work process, while an artist is at work. And in that process inspiration may appear that shifts one off in a modified or totally different direction. But he also somewhat dumps on the idea that one should wait around for inspiration to appear. Sometimes it does when it is your expectation and you are open to it and your attention is elsewhere and an idea will pop up out of nowhere. At times I have been listening to music or watching an interesting video and gotten some dynamite ideas about my work out of nowhere. The bottom line is to be open to and expect inspiration at all times no matter what you are doing (expectation underlined!).

    1. I don’t disagree with Chuck Close, but I totally agree with you, Stan. (How’s THAT for diplomacy?! I can see or hear one tiny aspect of a color, shape, texture or opus and be inspired to run with it in my way. What I get from Chuck C. is don’t sit on your pallet waiting for the paint to absorb into the skin.
      KW

  3. Inspiration can come from many sources, however, I believe the strongest inspiration comes from doing the work itself. That push, drive and constant testing of our creative abilities! Thank you for your blog!! Jo-Ann Boback

  4. This post is so timely and validating as my new year’s resolution for my business was to focus and put myself on a production schedule especially since I have a very heavy art festival schedule this spring/summer. Every Sunday I plan what I’m going to work on for the following week, select sizes I’m going to work on, the images I’m going to work with and get everything ready. By Monday, I know exactly what I’m going to work on and no longer have these unfocused and erratic starts/stops. I’ve set a goal of 5 pieces a week (1 large wall piece, 1 mid sized piece and 3 small pieces, like 5x7s). This production schedule has also helped me focus on themes which are helpful in launching series to my email subscribers and followers (i.e. this month I’m working on vintage mills, next month old barns). This plan has seriously helped me with production, focus and discipline. Thanks for the Chuck quote, it is perfect!

  5. Great Article and Chuck Close is right on about finding inspiration through dedication and work. At the same time Inspiration is not exclusive to hard work, and time to absorb subjects, their colour and shape, etc also come from intently observing it and immersing ourselves in it; perhaps painting it in our minds. As a landscape painter I go out daily and sometimes focus on the movement of Tide pools or Waves for hours on end. I often photograph them not as reference but to remind myself of the experience or to practice composition. It is after these times that I find a stream of paintings come most efficiently. To fight starting is the hard part but setting a goal does help and usually the size to depict the experience is where I start as colour comes naturally to me. Also, I spend much of my time doing other things besides painting such as looking at original art, playing with my dog, skiing or demonstrating (for groups or on my YouTube Channel). I do these things in order to keep painting – It’s part of my process. I believe it’s about knowing oneself and putting that into our work, including the peculiarities and joys that come along. Thanks for this forum Jason – another vehicle for inspirations to be shared.

  6. Last year was difficult because I was changing genre and the new direction is much more difficult for me. So this year I’m just going for it and whether or not I have an idea I’ll just plug away. I put that into practice yesterday and wouldn’t you know it, I came up with new ideas as I was working. The new piece is called Leap of Faith because that’s exactly what’s happening–I’m leaping into the abyss and we shall see where I fall.

  7. Chuck Close is right. Some days I just go to my studio and paint something…anything. Voila! All of a sudden I’m into it and working on a piece I hadn’t anticipated. Sometimes a little “warm-up” piece will turn into something good or eventually something larger.

  8. I don’t wait for inspiration. I show up whenever I have a spare minute and inevitably the joy of being in the studio creating, takes over.

    Still, looking at those numbers I’m seriously under producing as a sculptor. Yikes! I’d have to produce 4.58 sculptures each month (whether new or editions) to be productive by these numbers. Granted, my sculptures are highly detailed figurative pieces requiring a degree of anatomical accuracy. If I were creating more stylized sculptures or very small works I could probably produce more. Casting expenses aside, it’s still depressing to consider.

    1. I agree that a sculptor dependent on casting, mold making, etc and the expenses that go with those kinds of assistance modify the expectations of the annual output that a sculptor can produce – the expenses are too prohibitive, to allow almost daily production. After all, dreaming-up and executing the image is one thing, production is another. In combination with painting, drawing, and other media, ones production may vary with detail, size, and style of painting. I agree that one has to be producing art and imagery on an almost daily basis.

  9. Great post!! Thank you Jason. For my part, I work 7-8 hours 5 days a week at the Studio. The funniest is that, in reality, often people have no clue of the amount of work, focus and energy that it demands. I try to keep a healthy balance with work and the ”outside world”, but really the focus is on production and quality, signature, and achieve better and better each time. I hate the starts of each project, i really do. But something happens during the ”battle” and then it is there and it is happening. Something you just sense. I try to keep as close as possible to my ”targets” in terms of daily production, and everyday, it is like catching up the train at the right time, work routine is necessary even if you do not feel like it , you need to do your daily hours at the studio.

  10. That is an interesting idea because, in my circle of artists, NOT being prolific has nothing to do with inspiration or not having great ideas. A lot of Native American artists I know sell reproductions of the same pieces over and over again. They only put out a few new pieces a year and count on the reproductions for cash flow. They do get some recognition within a small community but not great notrriety. Others, like some of my relatives, have been doing exactly the same pieces for 30 years. They make a good living at it but I don’t put what they do in the same category as artist, it’s more like artisan.

    My dilemma is that I have to be out of the studio running workshops to pay my bills and it makes it difficult for me to get a large inventory or to innovate. I have been looking for something that will make my art distinctive from other Native American carvers and I think I’ve got it but getting into the studio to experiment is difficult because of the bills I have to pay.

    But I completely agree that inspiration comes from working. The moment I have a stone in my hand or see one, I know what I want to do with it. I don’t do a lot of planning ahead of time and then go out looking for stone. I go to the quarry and see what I can make with the stones there. I’m happiest when i’m in the studio carving. All I want is to be able to do that all the time and not have to worry about where the rent will be coming from.

    1. When life takes over and you can’t make art it’s time to look closely at your schedule. Maybe get up 1/2 hour earlier and set that 1/2 hour as your art making time. Even a small amount of work every day will result in production. Not as much as you want right now, but when it gets established as a habit, it will help. Someone told me it takes three months to develop a habit. Good luck.

    2. Hi Josy, I can relate to the teaching aspect getting in the way of the pure creative drive of new projects. I spent many of my years teaching classes in one medium or another and it can take away from your own creative goals. The benefits of teaching (my field was watercolour then) was the pure practice made me much faster and more proficient in what I was doing. I was able to sell some of the class projects and yes, it payed the bills. I also learned a lot from my students because some times they would ask tough questions that I had to come up with answers for. However the down side of it, was that a good teacher puts a lot of planning into the class and has to spend time with marketing classes and teaching to the middle. I have recently been able cut back on classes and I now focus on just a few major workshops per year. I do not teach weekly or evening classes anymore and only keep a few private students on sessions of 4 prebooked classes at a time. But it is definitely a challenge and sometimes not a great financial option. Good luck with this.

  11. I needed this! Not that I hadn’t known it but being reminded. I need to get on with it. “Just do it”’ like Nike. My studio is a mess. That’s been my biggest excuse. With Christmas holidays I got into decorating. Making my own. It was fun but now it’s past time to put it away. Have a show coming up. I procrastinate!! My biggest downfall. Husband is sick, laundry, cleaning. .. ok I am today going to spend 1 hour on my art. Small steps.

  12. Great post! I think that serious Artists spend dedicated time in their Studios because they understand that constant production is the only thing that will keep them relevant. I have a regular schedule that gets ramped up during the winter months. Chuck Close is spot on, don’t wait for inspiration! Another quote that I like is from Thomas Edison: Opportunity comes dressed in Overalls and looks a lot like work. Thank you for your insights.

  13. Chuck Close is right on the money (pun intended) I’ve been in a studio slump far a month and last night I locked myself in the studio and prepped a few boards and sat in front of them. before long I could feel the creative juices starting to flow. As the saying goes “Get up and show up” .

  14. Since I decided to do art full time, I have become an art curmudgeon. All I do is work in the studio. I don’t socialize, my friends think I am boring, my grown family feels that I have no time for them. I resent time taken away from my work. I know that to produce and hone my skills in painting, to have less fear, and try and learn some marketing, there is no time for anything else. I love this quote by writer Steven Pressfield in “The War of Art”
    “The artist committing himself to his calling has volunteered for hell, whether he knows it or not. He will be dining for the duration on a diet of isolation, rejection, self-doubt ,despair, ridicule, contempt, and humiliation.
    The artist must be like that Marine. He has to know how to be miserable. He has to love being miserable. He has to take pride in being more miserable than any soldier or swabbie or jet jockey: Because this is war, baby, And war is hell.
    I admit that this is a little over the top, but it speaks to me in the sense that if you want it, you have to be willing to sacrifice many things for the art.
    I recommend this book. You may hate it or you may find inspiration.
    Luckily my husband is a also a curmudgeon and understands the work I must do. I am now resenting the time spent writing this comment…time to pick up the brush and get to work!

    1. Funny how friends view our artist’s commitments, Catherine Jeffrey. If I decline a social event saying ‘I have to work in my retail job’ I get understanding and commiseration. BUT if I say ‘Sorry that’s a work day in the studio’ I get irritated looks and comments about how I can do that ‘anytime’.

      1. I totally agree Anita! Studio work isn’t taken seriously. I’ve gotten over expecting family and friends to understand, and realize I must do what I need to do and not look for affirmation from anyone else. (Although I still feel guilty from time to time…)

    2. Funny in an odd way…Anita’s comment can be so true, purely from lack of understanding. I actually say, I am working; or I am going to work, regarding studio time. People who know I am an artist understand, and it helps educate people to the reality of being a “working artist.” Also, and this is not meant harshly, but truly, those who dismiss or disrespect my career are not really people I need in my life. Of course, blood family is something you have to negotiate, but friends need to be supportive and uplifting, and usually have their own business or passion that we can share about when we do have time together.

  15. I never wait on inspiration. Rather, I entertain my interest.
    If a scene or a subject holds my interest I see a painting in it. If it pleases me or if I find interest in its shapes or light … surely it will appeal to a buyer. Not everything of course, but more often than not.
    I’ve had to take off six plus weeks for a broken wrist, and trust me, I’m not my usual congenial self. I feel out of sorts when I’m not painting. I’ve used the time in study and organization but it isn’t the same as being actively creating.
    Production is arbitrary depending on your personal goals, the gallery’s volume, and the income desires of both. I’ve stated before I have no interest in painting souvenirs. I also remind students art is not a timed event. Some mediums take longer than others; some styles demand more time. Painters completing 80 works a year is feasible for an abstract or impressionist artist on smaller canvases. A realist artist painting on larger canvases simply isn’t going to do that. One must establish reasonable goals or you’re setting yourself up for discontent as an artist. Outside pressure isn’t going to improve your art.
    Neither can we lump all artists into one category. Robert Bateman is lucky to do one or two large paintings a year (forget he earns upwards of $150-250,000 for one). Slacker! 🙂
    It doesn’t enhance an artist’s work to blindly go into the studio and start slapping paint on canvas in an irrational urge to DO something. Art takes thought. It take time to develop composition and theme. Distraction is a terrible deterrent to creativity. Put the cell phone down and turn off the TV and deliberately let your mind wander around your art. A quiet walk to engage yourself in the natural world will help you focus.
    It also is important to define what you consider “successful,” whether it be art supported income, recognition, a lifestyle … or simply that you want to create. My goal is relevance; sometimes it rewards better than others but it definitely satisfies.

    1. Jackie, you have provided good sound advise in contrast to the article . I ask after reading is art what is painted or how much a person paints . As individuals seek what you heart or inner voice directs and not on the world’s system procedure . I think if making money is what art is about then art has become something other than what is should be .

  16. We Artists have to be disciplined, inspiration does come out of nowhere but I agree, we cannot wait for it. My inspiration also comes when I am working. I am becoming very successful & that success has come from extreme hard work, inspiration, devotion to my craft, discipline & following my massive dream! I can’t think of any of the past great Artists that relied on inspiration coming to them, can you?

  17. I completely agree with the comment that Jackie Knott stated in that 80 paintings a year which works out to on average 6 to 7 per month, is a lot when you are looking at creating large highly detailed pieces. I know that for myself I try to average 4 pieces a month for my more detailed pieces; but realistically it is around 3 pieces a month. With that being said, I place a completion date that I need to attain for all my work. I find that this will motivate me to finish a piece and then move on the the next. If I was to just push out more pieces of artwork to attain a quota, I believe I would be doing myself an injustice. I feel that I would focus on the number of pieces being created versus focusing on the creative process itself. It is the pieces that I get lost in while I am creating that I have the most pride in; not the ones I finished the fastest.

  18. While I agree with Chuck Close about inspiration. I would also point out that there is no way he is putting out anything like 80 pieces a year when most everything he paints is very labor intensive and quite large.

  19. Thanks Jason,
    This blog is really helpful. Making a production goal creates the energy to achieve it.
    Regular rhythmic painting times is really important to keeping in the creative flow.
    I too agree with Chuck!
    Santana

  20. Many years ago at the beginning my art career, I decided to block out studio time like a job. If you take a job, you agree to be at work at a certain time every day, and you schedule every thing else around that commitment. Already dressed in painting clothes, at 10:00 each morning I dropped everything and went to my studio, regardless of whether dishes were done or beds made. If you don’t have a painting inspiration, turn on some great music (without words) and start doing anything, but do not leave until your appointed time. Clean your palette, prepare boards, plan framing, look at other artist’s work, study your own work for improvements … anything art related. Very soon your mind will get used to this commitment, and you will be surprised at how painting ideas start to flow … so many you can’t paint them all.

  21. Hello All,

    In the 4th or 5th grade we were told to write an essay; the subject was up to us, wide open. WHAT?! No guidelines?! No directions?! No inspiration?! I was stuck. I was blank. I was dead between the ears.

    But then Ms. What’s-Her-Name said, “Just start writing. Write ‘Once upon a time I saw a… or went to a… or found a…’ or whatever you want. But simply put your pencil to the paper and start making letters. Your story will come out.”

    Ok, that wasn’t a precise quote of her, but the message and her guidance given is exact. And it’s true; it works. So dump a lump of clay on your wheel. Splatter some paint on a canvas. Or just start shooting everything [with your camera] and soon your inspiration will strike. :->

    –Chris Fedderson

  22. I’m fortunate to have a great studio and I spend at least four mornings from 9:30 to 1:30 in it. Sometimes more. I’m a very prolific painter, but I also paint a lot of bad paintings which I then scrape down and attack again. I always have two larger pieces on my easels and 3 small pieces on my table. But I paint. I average usually 4 or 5 paintings a month of various sizes. When not in my studio, I’m reading what other artists do or I talk to other artists or go to art exhibitions. I often dream a painting and hopefully remember it when I awake.

  23. Hi Jason, for sculptors, 55 pieces a year. If you have rubber molds of your pieces, 55 pieces a year is not a problem. Pour wax in the mold, clean it up and send it to the foundry. My works in bronze are one of a kind. Make the drawing. Lay out the molds for sheets of flat wax. Pour wax in the molds. Time consuming. Clean up the wax pieces. Wax them together. Cut stones for the piece. Make a shipping container, lots of foam rubber. Wax is delicate and does not tolerate rough handling in shipping. Three pieces a month is more realistic. That figures out to be about 36 pieces a year. For bronze artists that produce their work in editions, call the foundry, they will make it happen. You don’t have to touch it.

  24. Though I’m a nature photographer, I can nevertheless appreciate the thoughts in this blog and all the resulting comments — though perhaps from a slightly different perspective. By definition, my “studio” is outdoors in nature where I most love to be. I keep reminder notes of objects or locations I intend to shoot when the time is right — a work list, if you will. All too often, months or even years will pass before I actually follow up on those ideas. I’ve noticed, however, that the vast majority of my best images are moments I’ve merely happened upon after just getting out with the camera without any particular destination or subject in mind. The totally spontaneous inspiration for those photos has a purity that is untainted by any mental premeditation — and it shows in the final product. Perhaps there’s a parallel between this and the artist who simply goes to the studio and starts to paint or sculpt without any thought about what the final piece will be.

  25. Thanks for the thoughtful article, Jason. This quote has been a favorite of mine for a long time, partly because it supports my personal work ethic. For me, the inspiration comes from actually working with the materials, which requires me to be in the studio. Eighty works a year would be a stretch for me. Last year I produced 36, and my goal for this year is 40. After reading this, I’m thinking about upping that to 50!

  26. Totally agree, I make it routine and work at it like normal working hours (give or take). I sketch ideas in my sketchbook, so when I am uninspired I can get working on previous ideas I had. I keep tons of inspirational books and cut outs in folders to help as well. I have at least 7 works, some in different mediums, going at one time so when I don’t want to work on one I can do another.

  27. When I first started as an artist, I worked at home and it was so hard to get anything done. It wasn’t just the distractions, which were many; it was the temptation to put off working until later when I would (theoretically) feel more inspired. When I finally moved out into a co-op studio, there were still distractions (from other artists in the co-op) but keeping to a regular work schedule really increased my productivity. The more regularly I went to work, the more regularly inspiration came along as well, and the more I produced the better my art became.

  28. I’ve long followed Henry Matisse’s advise. “Don’t wait for inspiration. It comes while one is working” . I thoroughly believe inspiration is something that comes not like lightning, but with sweat and hard work. I agree with others comments who treat their studio time like a job. Just as if you want to be successful at a job show up on time , ready to work and stay at it for your allotted time. Treat your art the same and you will surprise yourself with what you can accomplish. To get the most of your time in the studio, learn to work more efficiently. Keep your studio clean, organized and efficient. The less time you spend hunting for items, clearing things out of the way running to the store for unplanned needs, the more time you have for painting. I taught myself to paint faster by setting a timer for 60 minutes then start a new 5×7 painting. When the alarm went off the painting was finished. In the beginning most were scrapers but with time these have improved. This exercise taught me to paint faster and has helped me to increase the number of paintings I’m able to complete each year. A bonus has been this has helped to make my style looser and fresher, improving my work.

  29. Such inspirational information! My work ethic lately is horrible. My current production is totally off. My studio is in my home; a converted bedroom. I also have a borrowed shop around the corner, across the parking lot. It’s a very hard way to work. My supply area is in yet another space, all due to our “condo” living arrangements ( I’ve had to work in trash rooms in some places!); it’s a constant cycle of moving from one to the other in order to put together a sculpture! It’s all 8 can do at this point.
    I have had to tell my husband and friends that the “Do not disturb” door knob hanger is REAL. But, I’m having a concentration problem, this a production nightmare. I’ve self diagnosed myself having ADD. I have great “moments” and a couple of hours of wonderfully productive inspiration and positive work. However, now I’m making a new commitment to myself to do more each day, postponing or canceling things (like too much time wasted on “get together” lunches) and trips to Walmart for groceries, getting the oil changed in my car, and interruptions of all kinds….my fault! Now the time has come!
    I must invest in myself and get back to those days when I put my efforts into my production and not into keeping my house clean or non-art issues. I’m always
    Inspired and will commit to completing more each month…This is my J.O. B.
    I’ve begun 3 new sculptures already, despite the interferences and the old guilt of needing to be Wonder Woman for all people!

  30. Since deciding to start my new career as an artist this past summer, I have been in my studio almost every single day. While I am not a morning person, I work afternoon and nights including weekends – because I want to and am impassioned by what I am making. I don’t feel or see this as work, I just feel happy to have the freedom to explore, learn, and make. I remember in college, I was chastised for not generating enough ideas for a project. I tended to wait for “inspiration” to hit and then be fixated by it, leading me to not explore other possible ideas. Since then, I have learned to keep making, even anything, to keep the mind and hands moving. They are both muscles and if they are kept moving, then it gets easier and faster with practice. Another thing I’ve learned is to not give up abruptly on something because you don’t like how it looks at that moment. I typically hit that road block 30% – 50% into a piece and wonder what I am doing? This is around the time when self-doubt and the inner voice starts to get louder. But I push through and am determined to see each piece get to a finished point, even if I don’t like it. I think it’s important to see things through because many times, the end result is something I didn’t expect to see or could have ever planned. I might still not like it in the end but I know it is an art piece uniquely from me and I didn’t give up.

  31. When I enter my studio each day, I receive inspiration. I once had
    a teacher who said too us…an artist never runs out of things to paint! Just to walk in nature and too see all that is around us, I think, will I live long enough too paint all this. No, I don’t have to wait for inspiration, it’s there with me.

  32. Work joyfully and peacefully, knowing that right thoughts and right efforts inevitably bring about right results. (James Allen)

    Should I create my work in response to “outside stressors” (meeting gallery quotas, filling an arbitrary number for a series, hitting a certain pre-planned number of paintings per month, etc.), or should I paint from the heart, producing what is nearest and dearest to my own passion as an artist?
    I have found that my best work is produced without regard for the clock or the “end-game,” but from my desire to produce the most meaningful and highest quality that I believe I am capable of producing. Of course, I need to work regularly and efficiently in order to do that, that the work may reflect an energy and effortlessness that moves viewers to consider that what they are seeing in my paintings is the truth.
    For that reason, I have found that I am creating over 120 paintings per year to be able to realize those 50-80 pieces that I consider to be among my best work in my lifetime repertoire.
    I must be at peace first, then work effectively afterward, in a focused manner, to achieve the highest standard.
    In beginning any work, or in finishing the best work, the battle is for the mind.

  33. Jason, I completely agree with Chuck Close. Work begats work and inspiration. If you are not busy your brain will not play off of itself to create new ideas/inspiration. The reason is, the brain likes variety with what we call work. We need to discipline ourselves to corral our thoughts to complete new works with our new found ideas/inspiration.

    Then repeat. It is in the continuous repeat and time that build success.

  34. I too agree with Chuck Close. You just have to show up on a regular basis and keep working whatever the weather, your mood or your social distractions. What really gets me is the comment “It must be so relaxing being an artist”. I’ve given up saying “not particularly, I like my work, but it is work and I have to do it a lot.”

  35. Being a great artist is an understanding the evolution of his/her works acquires over the course if a lifetime….he ebb and flow of life lived

  36. I belong to an online pastel group, How To Pastel, originated by Gail Sibley. In October we have a 31-in-31 challenge and we who are participating put up a new picture every day. This practice proves Chuck Close’s point–we all agree that we make the most progress when we’re painting every day. Also, a nod to the fact that we frequently have to work past the ugly point to get the picture where it needs to go! Several folks mentioned that it was hard to start and I can certainly agree to that…but once there is a picture in progress on my easel I can hardly keep my hands off it.

  37. Years ago when I picked up my art again I had a counselor friend ask….What is your most productive time of day? Morningbit is!!!! So every morning 2 hrs. When I was still working, 2 became 3….the rest is history.;Jump in at your most productive time and get going, the rest comes when you work. And try to stop at a high point or a good place, because then, YOU can’t wait for the next day!

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