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Procrastination - There’s a joke in there, somewhere

by Doug Hoppes on 12/14/2013 9:39:06 AM

This post is by guest author, Doug Hoppes.  This article has been edited and published with the author's permission. You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here. We've promoted this post to feature status because it provides great value to the FineArtViews community.  If you want your blog posts listed in the FineArtViews newsletter with the possibility of being republished to our 25,000+ subscribers, consider blogging with FASO Artist Websites.  This author's views are entirely his own and may not always reflect the views of BoldBrush, Inc.



Well, I could start off this posting by saying that I was going to write a post about procrastination… but, never got around to it.  It’s an old one, but I like old corny jokes (especially really bad puns).  However, this is about my art work and things that I have to work through.

Now, having a day job and lots of family obligations really gets me tired, by the end of the day.  I get home, play with the doggers, cook dinner, etc. - by 6:30, I’m beat (especially if it was a long day at work).  Nothing like sitting down in front of the TV (I do like TV… especially cartoons or a good chick flick) or flipping open my iPad to read Facebook or an actual book.  I could do that… or I could paint… or I could draw.  There’s just something comforting about lying there and doing nothing.  Some nights, I do just that.


However, there are several tricks that I do to convince me that I have to paint (even though I love to paint and draw, the couch-monster is a powerful beast!).


1) In my studio (which is my living room), I already have everything set up for my next painting or my current painting.  In the cabinet, is a bin that has my paints.  So, for me to start painting, it’s a matter of walking to the easel, putting some paint on my palette and I’m ready to work.


2) I always have a painting-in-progress of an empty canvas sitting on the easel.  There’s nothing like guilt to get you started.  When I’m waffling between painting or just laying there (There’s some days that I’m just too tired to paint), I notice the painting and that gives me enough energy to go to the easel and get to work.  Especially, if I’ve gotten past the ugly phase of a painting and it’s starting to look pretty good.


3) I put myself in situations where I HAVE to paint.  Since this is not my primary career, I have the luxury of not depending on my sales for rent.  However, I usually set up a number of shows or art fairs where I have to have paintings to show/sell.  In addition, I need to supply my galleries with new work.  When a painting takes about 2 – 5 days to paint and a month to dry (bare minimum) and you only have 3 hours or so a night, then it’s amazing how motivated you become to meet your deadlines.


4) When painting outside, I have my backpack and gear all set to go.  if the mood strikes me and I’ve got the time, it’s a matter of just grabbing the packs and going.  No gathering of materials or loading the car.  Simple and easy.  This is especially true if I don’t have a ton of time, I’ll just grab the pack and go to my front yard to paint.


As mentioned earlier, I don’t have to paint and my income is not dependent on it.  However, if I want to get better, I have to put in the brush time.  The easier that I can put in that time, the better, over time, I will get.




Editor's Note:  You can view Doug's original post here.



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Trisha Adams
Your studio is in your living room! You've certainly made a commitment to art. :^)

Cathy de Lorimier
Ha ha Doug! Funny that this is your topic today. I'm about to go paint right now but thought I should check my inbox first. I've already walked the dog (and myself) and cleaned up the kitchen. No more excuses...I've got to get to the easel now. But I like to get a few things done beforehand because I know once I'm there painting I won't want to stop. I'm off to enjoy the rest of my Saturday!

Marian Fortunati
You know sometimes you'll find that just laying there is also painting. (In the absence of TV and computers.) Your mind is working out the issues you have with the painting the whole time you are "procrastinating".. At least that's what I've found.
Keep up the good work... Miles and miles and miles... it never ends... (at least I hope so.)

David Randall
My, "day job" is owner/operator of a custom frame shop. I got into the framing business some 45+ years ago when in art school. I own my job.

When the economy took its horrid turn the framing industry and I felt it early on. The industry has been suffering since nationally. It's a luxury for most unless your an artist and even then many opt for the Gallery wrap to avoid the cost of frames. It's sad. Prints of any kind used to be part of any frame shop inventory. That has tanked and it's wasted floor space now. Everyone is buying from or the like. I decided to stop what I had been doing for many years, selling other artists work and to focus on selling my own. I'm purging all my inventory of prints, many others are doing the same I offer my own reproductions and display myself not others as I have for four decades and I'm selling more of myself, "shamelessly" and with less effort than selling others work because clients love talking to the artist, me.
When I'm not framing in the shop, my easel is set up with the current project right in the front window of my shop. Folks like to watch and see works in progress and I get more done than trying to paint after an 8 hour day.

Doug Hoppes
@Trisha: Well, the easel in the living room was the only way that it was going to work. My family always comes first. Last thing that I wanted to do, when I come home from work, is to say "Hi" and then head up into my upstairs studio and not seem them until they go to bed.

This way, I get to talk to them and paint at the same time. Take breaks and pet the dogs. So, I still get interaction time with them.

Doug Hoppes
Cathy, I do the same thing. I can't concentrate until I get the chores done. A lot of time, on the weekends, I have my schedule laid out for plein-air work (say Saturday morning). I'll let my wife know what's going on and head out early in the morning and then come home to do the chores (they are scheduled so that I can make time to do them when I get back).

Or, since we do cleaning every other Sunday morning, I'll let my wife know that I need to go out afterwards!

Yeah, having a schedule soooo helps me get stuff done.

Doug Hoppes
Thanks Marian.... I sometimes do lie there and think about art. For me, it's mainly me just laying there and trying to assuage the guilt. However, after a couple of minutes doing that, I realize that I'm just lying to myself and I get up and work.

However, some nights, I do read art books (my wife says that I really need to read something other than art books all of the time. :-)) or work on some drawings on the couch (maybe sketch my dog) or work on some plan on where I'm going to check out some galleries, etc.

Doug Hoppes
David, that's a great idea about working on the painting during the day at the frame shop. During the warmer times in Vermont, I spend a lot of time outdoor painting. I used to paint in remote areas by myself, but nowadays, 90 percent of the paintings are done in tourist areas.

You're right that customers want to connect with the artist. I find that I'm the best seller of my work and I sell a number of paintings off of the easel when I'm outside. They come by and I tell them about what I'm working on, why I'm painting the scene. Then, when they get home, they have a story about it (I have a number of blog posts about marketing myself when I'm plein-air painting).

But, yeah, I find that I'm selling more of myself, also, than the painting. That's what the customer's want and, if they are willing to give me money for that, good for them!

Donald Fox
That old saying, "Where there's a will there's a way" has been around for so long for a reason. The creative urge is powerful and will find a way to express itself.

Doug Hoppes
Donald, I totally agree with you! I found that, if you really want to be an artist, you have to work at it. Most of the artists that I know are professionals and their livelihood depend on it. There's no "I think maybe I'll do a painting this weekend"... unless something better comes up.

Since I want to be the best artist that I'm capable of being, that means that I have to work at it and ignore that couch-monster.

Brian Sherwin
I often rant about the time people -- in general -- waste. Some of it applies here. There are so many distractions today... 200+ TV channels (or whatever the number is now. Ha), shows that are easily addictive, websites that condition us to spend hours clicking away. Sometimes you just have to toss all that aside in order to really live. Creating art regularly is good living in my book. :)

I took a great step at the age of 18... I tossed my TV out. I have a TV now -- but I don't have cable. It has been said that the average adult spends 4 hours each day watching TV... not this one. I broke that attention drain chain, if you will, long ago. Ha.

Think of some of the things you spend a lot of time doing. How important is it to do those things compared to using that time in your studio? Answering that question can be a good step toward having a more solid life as an artist. If you spend an hour total each day texting... cutback on texting. Condition yourself to use time more wisely. After all, we only have so much time... life is short.

Just throwing that idea 'out there'.


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