When is the best time to paint?

There is a false belief about artists that we have to wait for inspiration before we can start working. I’ve realized that most of the time it’s not because I’m not “inspired”, what blocks me is usually the fear of creating something that is so bad that I have to throw it away, or that people won’t like it etc. Fear is what really paralyzes me and makes me not “feel” inspired.

"... To create you have to take a leap of faith. Faith in yourself and in your abilities. You have to trust that the world will submit you to a fair trial. Yes, you will receive criticism. And yes, they will hurt. Sometimes a lot. You may even fall into a shower of humiliation.

But that rejection will not be worse than what many others have suffered. Consider it a rite of initiation. We all know the stories that the Beatles encountered closed doors in many places or all those publishers who rejected the novels of J.K. Rowling, did that rejection stop them? NO. Did it strengthen their determination? YES ..." "Think Like an Artist" by Will Gompertz

Even the great Michelangelo didn't think he could do the work he was commissioned: "the Sistine Chapel", was it because he didn't feel inspired? Or was it the fear of doing something that was not his specialty, because at the time he was better known as a sculptor than as a painter?
I believed in the myth of inspiration (which I associated inspiration with feeling like it) until I visited the studio of my uncle Fred in Villa de Leyva, Colombia. His work amazed me, but above all, I was so impressed by him as a painter. On one wall he had written a phrase: "One doesn't paint when one feels like it, but one who knows how to paint".

And that always stuck with me. Thinking about those words, the meaning I got from it was this: I don't think he means you are born knowing how to paint and that's why you paint, but it's about not waiting for you to feel like it, or have an feeling that leads you to pick up the brushes and suddenly you have a masterpiece.

Being a painter is a profession like being a plumber, an electrician or an architect. It is a journey and as you exercise this profession you learn and grow. I don't think a plumber would ever tell me: I only fix a faucet when I feel like it or a doctor operates on a patient when she is inspired. My uncle is amazing, he spends all day creating in his studio, whether he wants to or not.

So, what is the difference between painting as a profession or hobby?

Hobbies are done in our free time, to rest or disconnect. And it's wonderful if you see painting as a hobby for you! But there is also that other option of deciding to dedicate yourself to art as a profession, so we can not wait for those free times to appear. We have to be very emphatic with them.

Something that has helped us a lot between my husband and I (he is a musician), is a book that is titled "Manage Your Day-To-Day" by Jocelyn K. Glei.

We are both learning to create certain habits that are helping us a lot in answering the question: When is the best time to create?

So, when is the best time to paint?

We have discovered that dedicating the first hours of our work to the creative part of our business (he in his music and I in my watercolors) is much more productive, because our mind is awake, clear and more energetic. So those hours are key to creating new things.

For example, I usually devote myself to painting new designs, thinking about new products or preparing my next exhibition of paintings. I have realized that I am much more productive putting it first on my list of things to do.

And after those two or three creative hours (sometimes longer), I start answering emails, making packages of orders I had the previous day, administrative work, etc.

Before I did just the opposite, and do you know what happened to me?

Either I did not have the energy to paint, or I always had to put out so many fires in the administrative part that I ended up not painting because I did not have time for the creative side.

It is true that each person has their own ways and we do not all have to be the same. For example, for some artists their favorite time to create is at dawn. If you get me out of bed at 4 in the morning I would fall asleep on the canvas. So it is also important that we learn to know ourselves and realize what works best for us.

It is true that sometimes we don't have the privilege of dedicating ourselves only to our artistic profession and we have another additional job to make a living as our projects grow, but finding that creative routine is very important so you don't get discouraged.

On the other hand, if you love to paint and for you to grab the brushes is just a hobby, I encourage you to also make it a priority in your life. Just as we go to the gym and reserve a few hours a week to improve our health, why not do the same with painting? Painting helps both our mind and our emotions, to reduce stress and anxiety! (Which, by the way, soon I will talk about in my next blog post).

So don't be intimidated by the brushes or the muse of inspiration from which so many myths have been made up about. Sometimes things will come out that blow our minds and sometimes we will want to throw our paintings in the trash, but that is part of the creative and artistic journey ... Let nothing discourage you!

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