I often hear people comment: "if only I had time to do art." The truth is we are all allotted the same number of hours per day. What we do with that time is an indication of what is important to us. We simply choose to do those things that we value the most. "Yes," you say, BUT you might argue that you have a job requiring 50 hours a week; you have your children's games or recitals to attend; you are involved in the school or community. The list could go on. You simply cannot find the time to paint right now. "Perhaps when I retire…" you say.
Remember this one important truth: we have only one life to live. What we choose to do, how we choose to live is completely up to us. We can lead a meaningful life full of purpose. Or we can choose to spend an entire lifetime busy with nothing of true importance. Life can be rich and rewarding or it can be shallow and disappointing. Do you want to live a life of "what if" or "if only"?
I am not arguing that work, family, school or community involvement is unrewarding or without meaningful - quite the contrary. I am only suggesting that you analyze what occupies your time and determine what is most meaningful to you. There are a multitude of tasks, and yes, some of the undesirable ones are necessary. But if art is truly a priority in your life; if it is a passion; if you wish you could spend more time painting…then do something about it.
For me, the choice was simple. There was no other choice. I had to do what it took to pursue a career in art. I sacrificed many other things (and continue to sacrifice other things). Nothing worthwhile in life comes without a price. Is the sacrifice too great for you, or is the sacrifice worth it?
Everyone's road is different. The sacrifices I was required to make will be different than yours. Below is a list of things just to get you thinking. These may or may not work for you. Some worked for me. Some are things that others have done.
- Quit your job (this is the most extreme – eventually I did this and have never regretted it).
- Cut back on your hours (work part time).
- Take a sabbatical to do art.
- If you cannot financially do one of these top 3, then put some money aside every month and save up for the time when you can (this is what my wife and I did). In the meantime, consider the following.
- Get up an hour earlier to do some art.
- Carry a sketch book with you everywhere you go.
- On your way to or from work or during your lunch break stop and do a quick plein air painting. (I know of an artist who left early for work and did a plein air painting every day. I believe he is now a full time artist. Those years of doing quick paintings every day proved crucial to his development as an artist).
- Sign up for a weekend or evening class. If you sign up and pay, it will be more likely that you will follow through.
- Cut back on TV or internet. Paint (or draw or sculpt) instead.
Be creative. There are many other things you could do. Find what works for you. The important thing is to come up with a plan. Discuss it and work out any concerns or conflicts with your family, friends, employer, or anyone else that may be affected. Then stick with it.
Remember, if it is truly important to you, it will be worth the sacrifice.