How many times do we excuse our lack of creativity by using the phrase, I just don’t have the time”? I use the term “excuse” lightly as, in our busy lives, it is a very relevant reason for not drawing or painting.
Family, work, maintaining the home, managing the finances and social activities are just a few of the things that take up our valuable time. Especially since our lives have been so restricted with Covid, many of us have been more than ready to embrace a life a little more normal and requires leaving the house to pursue activities involving people. Catching up with our friends, enjoying meals out, cinema, even markets and craft events are back in the calendar and it feels good.
I am not a full-time artist, it is a hobby for me but, over the years, it has become an activity that is very important both from a creative aspect but also for my own mental health, a term we hear all too often now we seem to finally acknowledge its importance to our well-being. I am very lucky that I have a studio, an asset I worked hard for, but now it is also an office space for my day job.
I have been asked many times why I don’t go into art full time, the reasons for this are many but mainly because I love my day job too!
There are, of course, the benefits of a regular salary, sick pay and health insurance but I am a firm believer that you are a long time working so you need to enjoy it. However, I have given over a corner of my studio rather begrudgingly to my job thanks to Covid as it is after all, my happy place and therefore precious to me. Just as well as I can end up spending all day and then all evening in it. Even still, I like many others, do not paint or draw as much as I feel I should, even with my garden studio, and experience the associated guilt.
So why is this? I have everything I need, I don’t have to set up or take down my materials which I know can be a big deterrent, this was my creative scenario for many years so I know what a pain it can be.
But at the end of the day, do you know what? I’m plain tired, it’s as simple as that. So why do I feel so guilty?
I don’t have an answer for that question other than feeling guilty achieves nothing. I am in a lucky position with my students as they are certainly a driving force. I teach workshops once a month and these lovely people are keen to learn different mediums and subjects so this gives me direction and I learn new methods along the way. And sometimes I even end up creating a piece even I am delighted with, no small achievement as, let’s face it, we are our own worst critics.
Aside from that, what can you do to find the time to pursue your creative activities? Firstly, don’t pressure yourself which is something that every artist I have ever spoken to does. Art is meant to be enjoyable so why not just pick it up when the mood takes you.
Doodle when watching TV, join an art club, visit an exhibition, watch art programmes (there’s so many now!), be amongst other artists as they are a great source of inspiration. Sometimes all we need is a little nudge to allow ourselves the indulgence of some downtime, time just for us to create. It might only be an hour a week but, from this little acorn, who knows what will grow.