Why We Need a Daily Art Practice
As I have mentioned in previous posts, great art is not gifted by the fates via raw talent but is the product of persistence on the part of the artist. Like many things our art skills only improve as we practice them. I really believe that anyone can develop their drawing, painting, and sculpting skills if they exercise those skills. If I did not believe in the power of practice, I would not bother creating art, and I certainly would not be blogging about it. Your favorite artist the person whose work you most admire was not born with art talent they developed art skill over years of training.
I don’t practice under the belief that I can be Michelangelo. Only Michelangelo can be Michelangelo. But, I do work under the assumption that I have plenty of room for improvement. I believe that I and anyone else who wants it can create lovely art and improve with persistent practice. But, we can only grow if we practice. To practice, we must make time and space for it.
You may be thinking ‘Who has time to paint every day? Certainly, not me!’ Look I get it, life is busy. I have a job, a family, etc. I have days where I consider myself lucky to make it through the work day and get myself and my kids home in one piece. But, I do make time for my art practice, and my goal is a daily practice. Note, the use of the word “goal.” A goal is not something you have already but something we strive to have. I do have days where I fall sort of my goal, and that is okay.
Tips for Maintaining a Daily Art Practice
Tip #1: Accept that what you have to offer today is enough.
We don’t have to embark on a major art project every single day. Only have 5 minutes to do a little sketching? That is awesome! Just do it. Don’t get hung up on completing an epic social media share-worthy piece every day. Just doing a little doodle is practice and will help you improve.
Tip #2: Get a little sketchbook.
I have a few small sketchbooks I carry around with me. I have an itty bitty one for my purse. I have a bag packed with a few art supplies I can grab on my way out the door to take the kids to the playground. It contains a small travel watercolor pallet, a water brush, and a small watercolor paper notebook. I even have a small book and pen stash in my work bag. If I get the chance to do a little sketching on my coffee break or waiting at the doctor’s office I will take advantage of it. It is great to have some simple art tools on hand where ever you are.
Tip #3 Don’t have time to create a full piece? Practice the fundamentals.
We need to spend time on brush, pen, and pencil strokes if we want to get really good at them. We may not have time to create a full painting but time spent practicing brush strokes is well worthwhile. Here is a great tip I learned in Ana Victoria Calderón’s SkillShare Premium watercolor classes. Improve brush precision by painting small rectangles or interlocking shapes as close as you can get them without touching. You can spend as little or as much time on it as you like.
Tip #4 Have a family? Do art with them.
In my family, we have instituted a “Screen-Free Sunday” policy. One day without screens a week. Very often we spend time together on crafts. Right now favorite activities include creating pixel characters with Fusebeads and Poly-clay Mario power-ups. Sometimes I just draw simple images with a Sharpie for my youngest to color in.
Tip #5 Find your time sinks replace them with art.
For me, this was commenting on political articles on Facebook. I would do this to unwind at night, which is really counterproductive in today’s political climate. When I actually started to pay attention to the amount of time I spent on this I realized it was closer to an hour than fifteen minutes that I thought it was. I try to limit my social media time to friendly Facebook banter and Deviant Art which is a great place to network with other artists and see their work. I will admit I have little time for TV and video games because I would rather paint.
Happy Art Journey,