Are you looking for that 4 hour chunk in your week where everything quiets so you can sit down and create a masterpiece?
Are you looking for that “aha” moment when suddenly, like a rushing waterfall, art knowledge and skill just pours through you and out the end of your brush into a masterpiece?
What We Dream
As humans I think we dream of these days and moments. We want space to do what we want and we don’t do anything until we get it. As well, I think we dream of waking up one day as Michelangelo, Monet, or Sargent. We want skill and talent to just descend upon us, wave on wave.
Why Those Dreams are Lies
The trouble is most of us don’t live lives where we can just create great chunks of time in our week. We also don’t have minds that can absorb great chunks of complicated, intricate knowledge.
Why Reality Isn't So Bad
To return to the water metaphor, we actually learn in “drops”. We learn one drop at a time. What we forget is that if we learn that first drop and then the second drop, we don’t just have 2 drops of water beneath. Each subsequent piece of artwork we do has both those drops of learning consistently running through it.
With each drop (or skill) you learn, you add to your supply. At some point, you suddenly hear the sound of rushing water, but it isn’t a sudden gush, it is a drop by drop process that results in masterpieces.
Stop Dreaming and Start Doing
So what does all this mean? It means stop looking for huge chunks of time to do your art. Stop waiting until you know “more” to pick up a brush.
Give yourself 15 minutes a day, every day, regardless of how you feel. Rain, shine, happy, sad, tired, or full of energy – just get your 15 minutes in.
Evidence That It Works
I recently gave this advice to a pianist friend of mine who has struggled to play since her twins were born. She called the other day and told me in an excited voice that she had memorized half of a major piece – all because she gave herself 15 minutes a day.
This patient, “bit by bit” learning is recommended all over in classic drawing and painting textbooks. It’s evidenced in the daily painting phenomenon – those artists get better really fast. And I have seen it personally in my own artistic journey.
I think an old adage in gardening applies here: When is the best time to plant a tree? Twenty years ago. When is the second best time? Today.