Detail from “Chrysalis”  - Watercolor by Kate Aubrey

Last Friday, while a friend and I were trying to find some time in our busy schedules to get together and talk art, we commiserated about how hard it is to pull painting time away from family and friends and responsibilities. Is there anyone out there who can’t relate to that?

It doesn’t matter whether you snatch an hour to paint on Saturdays or create art to make your living, there is never enough time. If the laundry doesn’t need doing, a grandchild is graduating out-of-state (airport, here you come). If the website doesn’t need to be updated, a class description with supply list needs to be composed, and the taxes need to be done. And then there is the husband/wife/sweetheart who expects (and rightfully so) at least part of your weekend time.

That isn’t ever going to change, nor do I want it to. Life would be darned hard without the people we love, and we will need to eat and sleep and clean up after ourselves as long as we live. How do we cope with that?

Years ago, my sister told me the secret: she said that the things that get in the way of creating art are the very things that enrich it. Oh yeah, right, you say?

Consider:  When I spend all my time with artists and doing art -- which I was lucky enough to do for a couple of years in my unmarried thirties -- my work is good, but after a while it becomes predictable. I move forward in my development, but only in certain ways. When I have to squeeze art in sideways for a husband and a day job and non-art volunteer obligations, my development still continues in a fuller, rounder way.

Yes, you read that right. At first glance, it doesn’t seem possible, but I’ve come up with a theory. Art is very right-brain. Your left and your right brains are equally important, though. If they weren’t, one half would be smaller than the other. That’s how nature works.

On top of that, they are meant to work together; neither one is ever turned off. In order to learn and grow and just get around in the world, they constantly talk back and forth to each other, each one contributing what is needed for rich, full, human thought and development. And that means better art. Richer art. More “A-hahs!”

So don’t long for the time when you can do nothing but art every day. Find a balance. Make one.  Take classes. Carve out one sacred hour each week to let your mind drift and two more hours to create. You need both types of art time.

Carve out more if you can. Squeezing it in sideways is too tight. Take classes or a workshop. Paint plein aire with friends or alone. Form a painting group. Hey, form a critique group, too. Mix and match until it works for you.

And always remember: both sides of the brain work better when they both have to work. Everything you do helps your art.

Hugs and happy painting,
K

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