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Don't make art - make a practice instead

Updated: Dec 13, 2022

Every weekday at 6am, I get up and paint for an hour and a half. In these morning sessions, my goal is not to make "art" - my goal is simply to paint. This means it doesn't matter if I don't feel inspired. It doesn't matter if I don't have the perfect idea. Inspired or not, I get up and paint.


Why am I so devoted to this daily routine? Because although I can't control when inspiration hits, I can control my actions. I can commit to picking up my brushes and putting paint to canvas day after day.


Waiting for inspiration to come is dangerous. It takes away our power. It makes it so that our happiness and our artistic expression depend on something out of our control. We don't know how to manufacture inspiration, and waiting for its arrival denies us of the small opportunities we have to create and experience flow each day.


When we focus on the practice itself, we remove pressure from our work. We become free to experiment and take risks, to see how the work plays out without the weight of expectation. And in that way, we become more open to receiving inspiration.


By showing up to the easel each day, regardless of our mood or energy, we ensure that inspiration will find us working. We practice through the creative dry spells so that when the ideas do arrive, we have the skills needed to bring them to life.


This is the commitment that I make for my creativity: I promise to show up each day and let inspiration handle the rest. Sometimes the painting is beautiful, sometimes it's not, but I don't judge myself based on the outcome. Instead, I take pride in showing up and doing my part. And I know that if I keep up my practice, eventually inspiration will come, and together we can make something beautiful.



Oil painting of a car in front of a house in San Francisco on a sunny day
"Around the Block," 8in x 10in oil on panel

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1 Comment


Guest
Dec 06, 2022

Do you preplan the night before what you will paint in the morning….say, set up a still before going to bed ?

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Post: Blog2_Post

"Golden Hills in Summer", 48in x 72in oil on canvas (2024)

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