Go Make Art

Your art career takes off in the studio. Without the hard work you do there, you are not an artist.

Are you devoting enough time to the studio?

Painting by Mira M. White.
Mira M. White, Who Wears the Hat? Mixed media on museum board. Used with permission.

Sure, I wrote a whole book about getting your art out of the studio, but that’s my job.

With everything I write or teach, I’m trying to help you garner attention for your art.
But nothing I say will be useful unless you put artmaking first.

Without your art, you have nothing to promote. You have nothing to take out of the studio and share with the world.

Your art is your voice. It’s how you communicate with the world and find your place. It’s your raison d’être.

Don’t lose sight of that.
When you find yourself checking email too often or socializing just a tad too much online, remember why you do what you do.

Say to yourself: “I’m an artist. I make art.” Then go do it!

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48 thoughts on “Go Make Art”

  1. I’m lucky that I have so much illustration work to do that I can hardly leave the studio. 🙂 It’s a luxury to go to a cafe for coffee or take an ‘artist’s date’.
    Love your blog and all the advice.

  2. So very true. I’ve recently had to re-balance my ‘creation v’s promotion’. Too much time spent online when I could be in the studio. The internet can be very distracting, so I am now limiting the time I spend online – and making sure I do use the time I spend online wisely. 🙂

    1. I’ve had the same problem. It’s easy to get sucked into a 2-3 hours session blogging, twitter, etc. That’s why I lock myself into the studio with no laptop near me!

  3. Sometimes it seems very difficult to get the balance right and not be obsessively in (or out) of the workshop. I find there are big swings of endeavour and then ‘recovery’, and progressing in a steady, sensible, metred way is an aim rather than reality.

  4. When the fear and indecision kick in, I tend to head on-line. What a great reminder for me! Thank you for including this pivotal piece in the marketing equation.

  5. Yolanda Garfield

    This past December I started a new on line presence after taking Alyson’s Blast Off course. My website was terrible and things didn’t work out, so I had to go back and start a new website with FASO which is almost up now. I also got myself a new Facebook Fan page, which is growing. I have always marketed on line but have a LOT to learn about on-line marketing. The Blast-Off course was very helpful to get me thinking and wheels moving. But this blog is RIGHT ON. At some point, once I had the wheels moving, I had to step back and get into the studio. I am very happy to report that the balance of art and marketing is indeed a process that I’m involved in, and that I know that making art is creating my product, without which, there’s little point in being on line unless I want to be technologically social. Thanks again, Alyson!

  6. I’m LUCKY in that even while being Online + kinda wasting Time on FacePOOP + Twitter I’m always Creating Art! Oh that remindz me now I gotta go SELL some!! 😉

  7. For the past year, I have been in a critique group (and an effective one at that). Just 5 of us. We meet once a month. I find that being in a group like this make me more conscientious about getting work done. Plus, it helped me to resolve my UFOs (unfinished objects).

  8. Eventually it comes down to this, you either make art or you don’t. Typing isn’t painting. Excuses don’t matter. I’m a painter, I paint.

  9. I’m a charter member of over-workers anonymous. Finding a good point to stop is hard for me. So, I’m learning that emails, phones calls and space between painting is helpful.

  10. alyson, i am taking your advice seriously. i just signed up for your “blast-off” course. very excited. but also (scared in a good way) because…what if you actually give me what i want? what if you set me on the path to being the artist of my dreams?
    in other words, what if you liberate me from excuses and procrastinations? can i really handle that?

    1. Get ready, Betty, Alyson will blast you off so far your feet will never touch the ground again 😉 I can testify!

  11. This has been too true of me this past 2 weeks.
    Time to redress the balance I think!
    BTW Loving the blog and the book! Hence the need to redress the balance!

  12. Thank you for this post…I was getting lost with my new website and blog and trying to learn new tricks to market myself through the new website…
    But none of this makes me half as happy as I am while making art…

  13. A fellow artist and myself have recently opened a gallery where we promote local artists along with our own work. It is a creative process in itself which is fun, challenging…and time consuming! I’ve really been missing the medative quality of studio time. Thanks for the reminder Alyson!

  14. I have set a series of alarms on my iphone for making art time, marketing time, walking the dog time, etc… I found that a loud and anoying alarm helps my mind stop doing whatever it’s doing at that moment an start doing what i am supposed to do at that time.
    It helps me go through the day and get stuff done 🙂

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  16. I have days when the art/other stuff is very unbalanced, like today, but others when my art is all I do.
    Just to make sure the balance is art biased I have written ““I’m an artist. I make art.”” and stuck it on the wall behind the computer.

  17. This definitely can become a dilemma. Whenever I get into the problem-solving mode in dealing with the technology, especially when it’s something new, the time seems to fly by…it always take longer than anticipated. Finding that balance I hope will come with experience…joni

  18. This post came at the perfect time. I recently launched a new website, and have spent the last month promoting it. I purchased I’d Rather Be in the Studio, which is a fabulous book, and have been putting some of the ideas into practice. I’ve started a blog, worked on my Facebook Fan page and have been doing everything but making art!
    Time to get back to the studio! It’s almost like I needed permission to take the time out from marketing to get back to basics. Thanks for the reminder.

  19. My studio time is based 100% on my income needs. I have set a specific value per hour (gross profit value based on wholesale pricing) on each piece that I create. Knowing what my limitations are time-wise (too many hours and I suffer aches and pains) I have set a very high hourly value. Noting makes it into my line if it doesn’t hit the number.
    I know I will spend time doing business related activities that take me away from my studio so I realistically (almost 19 years at this) cannot spend more than 24 hours a week in actual creation. Most weeks I average 20 hours. Since my entire livelihood depends on those 20 hours, I can’t afford to scrimp on that studio time. I have orders to fill! I also have an IRA to feed, and a household to help support, so I can’t fool around. (Well… I can take time to read all of Alyson’s emails, but I don’t consider this fooling around! 😉 lol)
    I think is it much harder for those just starting, or those who do their art form as a hobby. It takes discipline to grow into a full-time endeavor, but even if it is part-time today, there is no time like now to set some “rules” in place to make sure you get into your work space on a regular schedule. It will help with the transition to full-time.
    Thanks for your endless encouragement, Alyson!

  20. Hi Alyson,
    Great idea this painting. I spend about 8-10 hrs per day in paint and get ready to paint next panting, my challenge is marketing, only minimal time to blog, so I list on ebay and let the eaby art lover do what they do best and that is buy art. Fini. Thanks for your positive encouragement and discipline…the key.
    Jim Springett-wildlife artist

  21. Jennie Rosenbaum

    This was absolutely my number one resolution for this year! So far it is going beautifully, I spend as much time as I physically can in the studio, painting. The difficult time is when i’m working in my virtual studio planning pieces on my computer, then the temptation is there to ramble off. I try to at least ramble off in a marketing direction… It helps when you have a presence established, then you just work to maintain it in-between. Even on a very busy day you can send a quick photo from your studio to Facebook or twitter.

  22. Great post Alyson Stanfield!
    I have scheduled times to work on my art, and when I show up I show up; I come to work, to do the work.
    This is an ideal I often fall short of, just because life and the temptations of sloth often get in the way of artistic creation.
    Still, I do produce enough to produce a mountain of garbage and a few good pieces; it helps I don’t have much of a social life. 🙂
    As for marketing, I’m not very good at that, so it doesn’t really take up that much of my time.
    Aaron Fung

  23. Erika Kohr Island

    There are times when it seems that everything in my life is conspiring to keep me from working on my art…my job is to protect that time like it was my child! Taking the computer out of the studio was a very important change!

  24. About six months ago I started practicing going into the studio first thing in the morning rather than getting on the computer, and this has made a tremendous difference in my mood and productivity. Starting with the computer inevitably slides into time-sucking wandering, guilt, anxiety and then it’s lunchtime. I also am practicing setting the timer for 15 minutes when I do get on the computer, and having actual tasks to get done in that time(imperfectly, so that I actually do get something done).

  25. I’m still working on the balance between my sculpting and painting which mixes with my computer time doing research and writing. YIKES !

  26. Because I enjoy writing, and have an arts based blog, this is something I find really difficult. Plus at the moment because I don’t have facilities for printmaking in my own studio it is doubly hard. When I get my new press later in the year, I intend to do as Margaret suggests above and START the day in the studio, not at the PC.

  27. I’m doing a project right now and I am painting 11 new paintings each month and posting them. I’ve told everyone what I’m doing, so I’ve got to do it. I’ve already seen improvement in my painting. Painting is a skill and the more you do it, the better you get. You start seeing the elements of art, planning your compositions, working on colors–your painting technique–everything improves the more you paint. But you also have to realize that some paintings are not working–so you wipe out or you trash it and start over. But–studio time does pay off–no matter how much time you spend marketing–it’s all about the art.

  28. Yolanda Garfield

    Actually, I’m surprised w. that last comment. There is no ‘difficulty’ making art. The creative process is like the birth process. It is what it is. Selling it is a whole other thing.

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  31. It’s too eays to spend time on the computer, so I have to be very disciplined about promotion time and recognise when i have wandered off task and am just surfing.
    i try to divide up my week and days, so there is enough time for creating.

  32. I´m a frustrated artist who has dedicated her time to being an elementary teacher. However, my true calling is there…nagging me persistently. Therefore, I´ve decided to include in my agenda a time for arts: painting-projects, seeing other artists work, and reading about art. I find Allyson, to be truly inspiring and with down to earth advises.
    Thank you Allyson!

    1. Katia, I used to teach in the public schools and I got a lot of painting done due to one habit. I left school each day and went directly to Starbucks. I painted (watercolor and watercolor crayons) for 1.5 to 2 hours every day at the same table surrounded by the same regular customers. That’s 7.5 to 10 hours each week during my chilling out from work time. Make it a habit and you will see your work progress. Now I paint full time, but I try to get my palette wet during my first cup of coffee each morning. When I paint first, the day never seems to go wrong. Habits rule our lives, choose good ones.

    2. Alyson Stanfield

      Excellent advice, Don. Thank you for sharing your experience with Katia.

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  34. I guess I have a dilemma!
    My studio is the computer!
    I do Photographic Digital Collages. My finish pieces are digital Files. I do not print them because the work is large and I need to use a large printer and pay a lot for it.
    So unless it goes to a show it stays as a digital file and I am on the computer fighting to get off the net to do some work.

  35. I do I do!
    I just finished a 63″x48″ piece for the Holocaust Survivors of Nevada but printed only a 12.5″x18.5″ sample. Of course the piece can be projected with power point presentation, but if they want it, they will have to pay for the printing.
    Working in the electronic age can be complicated but easy on the storage problem!

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  38. I admit to being a full blown internet junky. I live in the country like suburbs close to Atlanta, so the computer is my connection to people. My desk is located just a few feet from my easle. I spend my time painting, then wheeling back and fo rth to the computer here and there to keep myself sane since I’m a bit isolated.
    I do however have a written list of paintings to create, scheduled times when to
    create them, as well as the same for when to blog, tweet, and update online. I have found that using the schedule feature for my blog, Facebook, and Twitter helps me get my message out there and forget it till later that evening so that I can get back to my artwork without having to worry about when to be online to pair and instead getting sucked in to the online world when doing so.

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      Allison: It sounds like you have it all figured out and that your system works for you – that you aren’t ignoring your art.

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