When life gets in the way...

 Today is not a painting tip, but I think it is important for me to share this with you. In the perfect world, soon after my kids going to school, I will make myself a cup of coffee, play some of my favorite music and set up to paint without distraction. And after my kids go to bed right when they need to, I will take a hot shower, change to something comfortable and paint again. Sounds awfully nice, but that's not the world I live in.

 I am writing this blog post right now listening to two of my kids coughing on their bed due to the flu. The baby doesn't want to submit to his comfortable bed without putting up a fight for another 30 minutes in mom or dad's arm. Dirty dishes in the sink, trash are piled up waiting for me to send them to the dumpster. All of these while that white piece of Saunders Waterford paper on my easel is waiting for me to turn it into a painting.

 Yes, life gets in the way. We may have a seemly perfect plan for our days to do the thing we love, but there are always things in life that hinder us from getting to the things we love. People often ask me how do I have time to paint while working on a full time job and raising three kids. I usually answer their question with another question:

How do you not have time for something you love?

 Don't get me wrong, I struggle with time just like anyone else. My wife and I often tease each other how much more we could've done without the kids. But I can not throw this at them. To juggle with all these and manage time for painting is my responsibility. It may be true that my day job and my family took a big chunk of my time away. However, if I'm being honest with myself, I know I still have plenty of time to do the things that's important to me. So often I'll choose to paint instead of being a couch potato (I do not have cable at home). I write my blog and work on my YouTube video instead of surfing on the web. I sometime even have to say NO to friends' hang out and party. Here are a few things that might be able to help you:

  1. Set a time to paint weekly - Here's the fact, if something is important enough for you, you WILL mange the time to do it. And the only way to get good at something is to do it consistently, not once in a while. Set a time to paint weekly, NOT when you feel like it and NOT "when you have time". Set that time apart, if something is conflicted with your schedule to paint, reschedule that thing, not your painting time. Unless it's something you absolutely have to attend, you should always respect your own painting time.
  2. Break it into different sessions - I often do a under drawing before I go to bed. I then wake up early to start painting. Sometime I do the drawing and first wash the night before, and I finish it the next day since I need to wait for the wash to dry anyways. The point is, you don't have to pressure yourself to finish a painting in one go. If your time is tight, you can be a bit more flexible on this. Plus when you take a little time to do a drawing first, it will motivate you to finish it whenever you look at it!
  3. Accountability partner - My friend Jennifer often paint with her friends in a group. I love the idea to have a painting group, where you meet up with your fellow artist and paint together. I personally am not able to do that every week. But my website and internet present is acting as my accountability partner. If I slack off I will have nothing to show, so in other words - You are my accountability partner!

 Every master painter has countless paintings in their lifetime. It's the mileage that makes them who they are. Nobody with an excuse saying "I don't have time" becomes a master. Yes, life does gets in the way, but it won't stop you from keep painting unless you let it.


New YouTube video!

Here's this month's YouTube painting video! Hope you enjoy it.