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Old 11-27-2017, 09:21 AM
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EllenRipley EllenRipley is offline
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can time spent painting be controlled?

Hi!
Now I've been trying to force myself painting by hours - at the beginning, last week, I could make 4 hours - I count time spent in front of the easel. Why do I do that? Desire for control? Or for self discipline? I've been diagnosed serious mental disease and I see my concentration level is not as high as in 2012 for example. So I reduced by 2 hours a day.And today I don't count at all. BUT I am anxious because I think I need self discipline...And I am afraid I won't finish the art by time (by the way no client forces me but I truly force myself)
My question is....can art be controlled? SHOULD it be controlled? I start thinking that it shouldn't
Any thoughts?
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Old 11-27-2017, 10:09 AM
budigart budigart is offline
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Re: can time spent painting be controlled?

Yes, I believe you can control your painting . . . how long you paint, and how much you accomplish in the time you allot for it. But, I also believe it takes time (learning) to accomplish this. After around 30 years of painting, I can now do in one or two hours what it used to take me one or two weeks to do.

It came together for me slowly, though. I remember watching a John Howard Sanden portrait video in which he mentioned that it always seemed to take him about three hours to lay out and block in a head study, and he wondered why, if he could do it in three hours, couldn't he do it in two. He set to work and managed to cut it down to two hours.

I don't think we need to force ourselves to do certain things in given amounts of time. On the other hand, I believe that we can get faster, especially if what we do is a repeated thing. Like Sanden, I spend 90+ per cent of my time in portraiture, and as the years have rolled by, I have been able to get more done in less time. I think a good deal of my "speed" can be accounted for by what sports-folk call "muscle memory." Well . . . maybe, maybe not. But I think that if we do the same thing long enough, we'll get both better and faster at it.
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Old 11-27-2017, 10:25 AM
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EllenRipley EllenRipley is offline
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Re: can time spent painting be controlled?

budigart, you are right, I am only at the beginning as a professional artist - it's my second week that I work for clients. It will take a while so I could control it
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Old 11-27-2017, 10:46 AM
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Re: can time spent painting be controlled?

I agree with budigart ^^ about "muscle memory" and also about learned routines. I paint very little but I sculpt, and when I first started to try to figure out the process (trade secret) It took me forever-- a week or more-- to build an armature, now it takes me a few days to make the armature, pose it, set it, and put the clay on it. It still takes a few weeks to do the detailing but if I went more "impressionistic" I could have it done in a day.

Each project is totally different and requires new "decoding" but when you learn to "decode" the process, the decoding becomes easier. I use the word decoding because that is one of the methods people use to learn to read. You know "If I see this thing, then the method I will use is X."

I think that as the artist becomes more confident art becomes like any other job. In the beginning, you need to ask, you have to refer to manuals, and you are slow. As you internalize the rules you become more automatic in your actions. That is similar to much else in anyone's knowledge base.

Not to compare or anything, I also have a debilitating mental disease. Some days I get so depressed I just cannot work. Something that seems to help is to have all of my various projects out and within reach. Working on 2 or more projects at a time at various stages gives me several options for "tasks" some easy and some time-consuming. Even something like cleaning brushes, sorting out your space, can help move your projects forward. Another thing that helps is to prepare what you will do the next day, finish the days work with an idea of what you will do tomorrow, and keep a checklist of where your project is at any time just like a production company might keep track of a movie.
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Old 11-27-2017, 01:37 PM
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EllenRipley EllenRipley is offline
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Re: can time spent painting be controlled?

Well I just saw my doctor and she told me not to count the hours of painting, just to do it for myself right now, for fun, I agree...in time I will become better
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Old 11-29-2017, 05:45 AM
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Re: can time spent painting be controlled?

Of course it can, it's a job like any other. And because having fixed moments where you work help your brains to focus, there's less of a risk of artist block.

I find it very relaxing having a specific part of my day reserved specifically for sculpting. Even though I don't do deadlines (due to my illness I can't handle any kind of pressure), the predictability is calming.

And you don't have to work hours on end. 60 minutes is okay to. Heck, I only work two hours. It's not to help you get new projects out faster, but to give your mind structure.
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Old 11-29-2017, 07:18 AM
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EllenRipley EllenRipley is offline
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Re: can time spent painting be controlled?

freakstyle, yes, I think I work an hour or so now, but I let myself just make a brush stroke and rest. Kind of annoying and challenging my patience, but my doctor recommended me to try and not control everything I do. Actually, when I made myself paint 4 hours a day my health went backwards. I have to wait to get better. For now, art is my healing
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Old 12-06-2017, 01:31 PM
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Keith Russell Keith Russell is offline
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Re: can time spent painting be controlled?

I've don't the "plan to spend x amount of time painting, at least x days per week", and I've done the "plan to spend x number of days working in the studio (without specifying the amount of time-per-session)", and I've don't the "add up the number of hours in the studio each month (without trying for a set number of sessions-per-week, or set hours-per-day)"...

...none of that "worked" for me.

What works for me is concentrating on working on specific pieces, until they are finished.

I don't limit how many pieces I work on at a time, nor do I limit how many new pieces I can start at a time. But, I need to keep going back to the pieces-in-progress, and focus on actually making progress on them--all--until they are finished.

That is what "works", best, for me...


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Old 12-07-2017, 12:56 AM
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Re: can time spent painting be controlled?

Just do it. But don't obsess over how long. You can always keep track via your own homemade time card/schedule. When you completed a session, just write it down in there to keep a record for your self.
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Old 12-07-2017, 09:40 AM
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Re: can time spent painting be controlled?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith Russell
I don't limit how many pieces I work on at a time, nor do I limit how many new pieces I can start at a time. But, I need to keep going back to the pieces-in-progress, and focus on actually making progress on them--all--until they are finished.

That is what "works", best, for me...


That is the way that I do it too. I am working on six pieces right now. I stopped working for a while due to an illness, but I got back as soon as walking was not as painful. In the meantime, I have come up with several techniques which speed up various aspects of the work, so I can concentrate more on others. Good trade.

And to Ellen, if she is still reading this: You need to get used to your working process, and then adapt, or not-adapt as you need. Of course, your recent situation will make a mark on what you can and cannot do, but nothing is impossible if you really want to do it.
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Old 12-07-2017, 09:49 PM
eddieurbano eddieurbano is offline
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Re: can time spent painting be controlled?

I seem to always be working on something, although I don't work with the same intensity every day. What I do know is that I loose track of time when I'm doing art.
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Old 12-08-2017, 09:31 PM
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Re: can time spent painting be controlled?

To me there's a range of how much art can be controlled - or art scheduling. What limits that for me is physical disabilities. If I'm too sick, it's not going to go well when I force it, though it's still good for practice. If it's internal structure that's needed, then go for it with the scheduling.

One thing that helps me a lot on that is to have some easy stuff that's art or art related to do when I don't feel up to doing serious art. This often motivates me to do something better and if not, it builds up to it by my getting ideas for more ambitious pieces and eventually doing them. Basic beginner exercises. Studies of very familiar subjects, like a sleeping cat for me. That added up to a number of good techniques for rendering anything and also it gave me a much better grasp of animal anatomy in general. Eventually horses, dogs, goats and sheep all made sense in relation to cat anatomy, because I started with drawing my sleeping cat hundreds of times.

I'd say when it's difficult, go for your Comfort Zone. Load your results for it coming out well by doing familiar subjects, things you love, in the medium that's easiest at the moment (may depend on circumstances.)

Setting aside blocks of time for art can help a lot of people. But even something like making color mixing charts counts. When you do that, the warm up activities work and eventually a good idea comes up because the process of handling materials and doing simple projects like mixing charts and value charts gives a better control of materials and their results. I thought past a certain point that mastery would reach a limit, but then every time I do this I wind up with even more nuanced skills when I get a good day.

Treat mental illness like any illness. If you have a day you can't do it, take that in stride and don't kick yourself for it. What works best to create and keep a habit is positive reinforcement, always reward myself at least verbally in journal when I succeed at a goal. Then set really dead easy goals so that I'm climbing from one success to another. It's like animal training. What it does is reach past all the complexity of sentience and create some confidence and emotional resilience in something unrelated to the other problems in life.

If I weren't physically disabled I'd still be a professional artist and probably make a lot more money than I did when I was. That's a depressing reality. But I still have the joy of doing it and shifting over to manageable journals and small pieces for doing daily art means I'm still honing my skills. When I have good days I can still do something cool. Because I have Social Security, I don't need to make a living now so that makes a big difference to stress.

I also have PTSD from various stressors in the earlier part of my life, so I have to deal with triggers, associations, emotional things that have no relation to the life I have now - which is generally happy and comfortable. When that comes up I treat that like the physical pain, it's there, it happens, it's an obstacle. I've come to understand it's not something I have to validate. I don't need to treat mental illness as something with deep meaning or importance, it's just an obstacle like my bad back or bad leg. It's what it is and it limits me as it does. No one's to blame when I can't do things - and especially not me.

Judge whether the habit of scheduling hours for art is good or not by how you feel about the results. But there's some suggestions for what to do during the time when it's going hard if you want to try to do it. How much time to spend on it is up to you. The more time you put in - at any of these things including preliminaries and exercises and sorting materials - the faster your skills improve.
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Old 12-10-2017, 01:04 PM
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Re: can time spent painting be controlled?

Of course art production can be scheduled and controlled. The question is whether you will do the scheduling and controlling or not. An art student has to show up for class, and paint when they're in that class. If they don't, they flunk the course. A graphic artist might have a job where they show up at an office, and do their work while they are at the office. If they don't, they get fired.

Deciding your productive output level for yourself, is similar to issues of self-employment. Or self-actualization. What do you want? What do you think is necessary to get it? What are you willing to do in that case? Is there a great risk of wasting a lot of your time? How do you mitigate that risk? At what point will you give up, or say "no, this is too much" ? Will you simplify your processes, your expectations? Will you cut down your ambitions, or revaluate them, or try to sidestep them?

Existentially, you choose. The choice is yours.

Some people are not happy with "working alone" and go to "co-work" facilities to solve that problem. They'll even pay money to do this. That's not me though. I did enjoy painting in a studio with other artists though, back in high school.
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