Monday, February 1, 2016

Non-Negotiable Studio Time

Work in Process, Purple Abstract Painting
36 x 48 x 1.5 inches, copyright Mary Gravelle

Non-negotiable Studio Time

I've heard it many times, read about it in art business success books, "you must have non-negotiable studio time."

"Never neglect the studio. Always return to your art. The disciplined practice of making art is mandatory. Everything else is optional."
Alyson Stanfield, Artist Coach and Author of I'd Rather Be in the Studio

It seems obvious that without studio time there are no paintings, there is no art. But, until this year, I have been floating along without heeding this most important rule for the artist: non-negotiable painting time. It seemed so frivolous, so... not important.

"Dedicate time daily to your art. Maybe your schedule will only allow for two hours daily, but you will produce more by working for those two hours every day than you will by waiting for big blocks of time. Treat your studio time as sacred. Train your family and friends to respect that time. You don’t interrupt them when they are at work; ask them the same courtesy when you are in the studio." – J. Jason Horejs, Gallery Owner and Author of "Starving" to Successful
Then, during the Sedona Paint Out in October, I encountered a plein air painter painting at the art center in the parking lot. I tried to chat with her. She said simply, "painting is my job." I tried to learn more about what she meant by that, such as, "is that how you make a living, by painting?", I asked. I inquired that perhaps she was a writer who painted and then wrote about her experiences. She traveled with a travel trailer, traveling to new destinations to paint. I didn't get any more than that from her. I left. But, the conversation and her words left an indelible impression upon me.

Work in process, Yellow Abstract,
36 x 48 x 1.5 inches, copyright 2016 Mary Gravelle.
There are many more things that have happened over the course of the past few months that have brought me to this time of actualizing non-negotiable studio time. I won't bore you with the details.

It's My Job to Paint

My soul seems to be on fire to paint right now. There is an urgency, an almost screaming at me from within, "paint, get to your painting", that I can no longer ignore. The light in my studio turns gorgeous at about Noon. That's when the inner call begins. Usually, about 1:30 pm, I give in. It's as if I have to. I repeat what the woman said, "It's my job to paint."

And how exciting it has been since the first of the year. I've completed two large-ish abstract paintings and I'm working on the third. It feels great!

Completed painting: Waters of Birth
Acrylic on Canvas, 36 x 48 x 1.5 inches
Copyright 2016 Mary Gravelle.

If you are an artist, do you have non-negotiable studio time? When, how long, how does it feel? Please share. What is your greatest challenge in setting that boundary for you and your art?

Until Next Week

• Create art
• Appreciate art
• Buy art

Mary Gravelle (Mary Rae Rush)

Sir Kitty

About the author: Mary Rae Rush (Mary Gravelle) is an artist and writer who resides in Sedona, Arizona with her beloved assistant, Sir Kitty. Her art can be seen on her website.

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