Studio practice

Last time we “talked” I mentioned that I would be taking some time off, as BSP was having surgery (at the beginning of September) and I would be involved in after care and nursing at home.  The surgery went off without a hitch, but the recovery has been up and down. BSP is still not where the usual “post-recovery” patient would be, but has recently turned a corner and is on the way to fighting form.

So, on Saturday, I enrolled in a watercolour workshop.

It took me awhile to get my head in the game, and for a long time after the initial spiel from the instructor, I just sat and stared at my substrates and my paints. I could feel the other participants glances, although the instructor left me alone – and even when I finally picked up my brushes, my first piece was just an exercise in using up the leftover paint that was on my palette from a long ago project. (By the way, I LOVED the way that one turned out, and I’ll show it to you soon.)

Even before I got going though, it felt really great to just be with artists, participate in the chatter and laughter, and think about nothing but art for 6 hours.

It got me thinking about my studio practice though.

I need to spend a certain amount of time to “just play” in order to develop my art, explore and experiment.

I need to spend a lot of time working on commissions, and art for sale. Of course, all of my work is for sale, but I used to make work because I wanted to make it, and if it sold – great. Nowadays, I don’t necessarily think about an intended market when I’m working, but I try to work to sizes (and therefore, prices) that will be attractive to new collectors or new-to-me collectors.

And I also need to spend time there doing assorted “business stuff” (mostly marketing related).  I have sadly neglected this area for several months now, and it’s time to get back on track!

As I work full-time in a day job, this amounts to 3-4 hours per evening during the week, and 20 – 35 hours on the weekend. Ideally, I’d like to spend around 40 hours a week in the studio. Usually, though, it ends up being more like 25-30, because I’m “tired” or because of other  commitments to/with BSP.

Lately, of course, I have spent zero time in the studio, and instead have been doing some hand-work on various projects, picked for portability and/or size, but have spent zero time working on art in the studio.

Consequently, I am VERY, EXTREMELY behind on all of my commission and projects, and as a result of that building pressure, and loss of focus, I felt a bit lost and in need of a boost to my mojo.

So the class I took on Saturday was not only productive (I have the beginnings of five pieces – two of which have potential to be quite good); but it served as a much needed “restart” button. 

I think you can expect to hear from me more frequently once more, and I am looking forward to sharing what I am working on with you.

But tell me please, what is YOUR studio practice? Do you have one? Is it 'set in stone" or more flexible? Do you think it's important to have one? Or do you just wing it when inspiration hits?

Kit Lang


  1. Hi Kit,
    It's good to know BSP is on the mend. :-) And good to know you are getting your artistic 'mojo' back. I find mine often fades -- and sometimes disappears! -- after I've finished a major project (like the MCOTW piece or Mark on the Body). I think that happens to many -- if not most -- of us! I find that when this happens I turn to simple projects following OPI (Other People's Instructions), whether that be some form of stitch or dabbling with paints. As for regular practice, my day job is twice a week, but on the second day, I also have an evening commitment, so no time there. After the commute I tend to 'veg' or go to bed early. I try to work 6-8 hours per day at least 4 days a week, but this includes 'getting the word out' via social media, or doing mail-outs (for Mark on the Body) and SAQA Co-Rep stuff too. And I try to make time mainly on weekends (Sunday afternoons especially) to work on personal stitching (gifts). ...So I guess it's a pretty mixed bag. When I am on a deadline though (like I was to get MOB ready to hang, or when I need to produce minis for Xmas or the Art Show/Sale in the spring), I set everything else aside till that's done.

  2. I just wing it when inspiration hits. But I really do art because I want to. No commissions, etc. I would like to be more regular, but haven't figured out how to change a lifetime of "Art comes after the work is done." I'm working on it, though.

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  4. Hello Kit - glad BSP is on the mend. But goodness you've hit the nail on the head there. How to find time for art when you do a day job.