Working hard, or hardly working?
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    Working hard, or hardly working?

    I try to spend time on my drawing and painting as much as I can, but sometimes I feel like I'm not consistant enough. As much as I am passionate about drawing and painting, I don't want to do it 24/7. I get bored with project quickly. I love to start on new ideas but have a hard time finishing them. I am not one of those artists that can paint for eight hours straight. I start having thoughts like, "if only I worked harder, or draw more hours, painted more, spent less time on my other activities, I would achieve everything I wanted." But no matter how much I work on it, I never feel like I do enough. I always feel like I could have done more. I feel like to be a true successful artist, I need to make art every chance I get. And I feel incredibly guilty and discouraged when I don't.

    Do others feel this way?

    Diana Levin Illustration
    A Whimsical Fantasy
    Portfolio: www.dianalevinart.com
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    I feel the same way. I spend pretty much all my time thinking about doing stuff and sitting down to do it but I only seem to actually get stuff done in short unpredictable bursts. I always end up feeling like I wasted lots of time. This happens pretty much every day.

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    Sorry to be harsh. But if you cant study and work hard in your own time because you loose interest, how do you ever plan to work in a studio where it is expected you work 8 hours a day, if not more. And you still need to work on your own studies in your free time, to keep up with the competition.

    If you have feelings that you should have worked harder, then what stopped you? Stop making excuses and only thinking about it, just do it. Its something you love to do, right?

    "Master storytellers never explain. They do the hard, painfully creative thing-- they dramatize"

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    I used to have the same problem when I was younger wickeddiana - sometimes it's a matter of finding your environment (at least for me it is), sometimes it is a matter of just not being really intested so much in "art" as in "ideas" (then you may want to try other ways of expressing your ideas - such as writing maybe) - both visual arts and literary arts take a lot of work though.

    As for me, I am passionate about making art - and when I have the time I can draw for hours on end (10 hours is about my limit without a break though right now...I feel I need to improve on that) - unfortunately I don't have the time in my life for these marathon stints at the moment (work - *sigh* - necessary evil). My method of working for long periods of time, is setting up my environment to work in, and thank goodness there's a variety of situations that work. Right situation for the right block:

    1) Grab a plate of 'snack food' (everything from black olives to bagel bites work) - set them at about arm's length and on my drawing arm side on a table (to reduce smudging/spills by hand - because I hold the drawing surface and such with my "off hand" - and as thus the drawing sits to my left, food on my right). Just have to be aware of locations to prevent spills. You'll find yourself snacking, but only occassionally and subconsciously, and as I get more into drawing, the slower I eat. This is when I'm feeling creative, but lack endurance.

    2) Public place with light 'chatter' and 'activity' noise (Libraries, Book Stores, etc.) - find a quiet corner or chair and sit and draw - the white noise serves as a muting force on distractions while drawing. This is for when I'm feeling stressed and can't seem to hit my marks.

    3) Turn music on in my room and do studies from photos/still life (similar for 'from life' - but wear headphones there so you don't pester the model or other artists in the room) - This is when I'm not feeling creative, but need to study.


    For some reason those work for me, to extend my drawing/painting/etc. endurance - but you'll likely need to do your own thing to hit different your different blocks.

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    wickeddiana, I have the same problem at times. As it is, schoolwork takes much of my attention and time, so I can't even go an hour with my art some days. Yesterday, however, I did it. I coloured something for 8 hours. Listening to music helped a great deal. Then again, I only needed to be creative with colour because I had the drawing.

    Anyway, I too think your environment can play a big role in your drive with finishing a piece. Your comfort level, too. If you ever feel restless in the place where you're doing your art, maybe find another place and just doodle. See if something comes from that, and don't worry yourself about making a full-fledged project yet.

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    I canít paint for a straight eight hours, either. Every person is different. Get to know what working method suits you. If you work best in, say, hour-long sprints interrupted with other pursuits, then figure out how to break up your work time so that you use that second activity a bit like kicking off the end of the pool when swimming laps.

    I think you are awesome, and I wish you the best in your endeavors, but I am tired of repeating myself, I am very busy with my new baby, and I am no longer a regular participant here, so please do not contact me to ask for advice on your career or education. All of the advice that I have to offer can already be found in the following links. Thank you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Seedling View Post
    I canít paint for a straight eight hours, either. Every person is different. Get to know what working method suits you. If you work best in, say, hour-long sprints interrupted with other pursuits, then figure out how to break up your work time so that you use that second activity a bit like kicking off the end of the pool when swimming laps.
    this is what i do myself. my mind seems to like to jump around alot on things i think about, so its very hard for me to concentrate. sometimes though i feel like i could go for hours. whatever you do dont force yourself to do it unless its for a client or something, because then youll feel negative about your art and youll start associating negativity with working on your art. ive been down that road and for me it was hard to correct. good luck though.

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    Don't be so hard on yourself. Sometimes the best work is done with minimal effort.

    "If one advances confidently in the direction of
    his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he
    has imagined, he will meet with a success
    unexpected in common hours."
    - H.D. Thoreau
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duq View Post
    Sorry to be harsh. But if you cant study and work hard in your own time because you loose interest, how do you ever plan to work in a studio where it is expected you work 8 hours a day, if not more. And you still need to work on your own studies in your free time, to keep up with the competition.

    If you have feelings that you should have worked harder, then what stopped you? Stop making excuses and only thinking about it, just do it. Its something you love to do, right?
    I have done the eight hour studio thing. Its different because I know its a job I'm getting paid for. It motivates me to just get the work done and over with as soon as possible.
    But when working on projects for myself, I tend to work slower and have a hard time finishing them--I end up forcing myself to finish but feel very unsatisfied at the end.

    What stops me? I have other priorities besides art. My work, boyfriend, family, reading, paying bills, working out, updating my website. And sometimes I need downtime. I can't help it.

    Diana Levin Illustration
    A Whimsical Fantasy
    Portfolio: www.dianalevinart.com
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    In have that problem too. Being able to paint eight hours a day on fourth year of architecture would be propably time management mastery. Either art distract me from doing architecture projects or architecture projects distract me from doing art. I don't know how to efficiently switch into different thinking modes during the day. Right now three hours is maximum for me. It's possible to find more time but there is also being tired, browsing this forum many small distractions. It's putting my will to test every day :/.

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