How To Make Sure Procrastination Doesn’t Keep You From Your Best Work

813131

Marisa D. Aceves. Object 180. digital photography.

For additional examples of my work, check out the my website at http://www.acevesart.com/

Deep down inside, we all know we have to “get to work” to make our creative business a reality.

While many of us could come up with a variety of well worn excuses for why we can’t or shouldn’t work, work is necessary in order to create a sellable product.

However, when we work feverishly without rest, we can over think a problem and inadvertently “destroy” what is beautiful about our art.

So how can we avoid this aggravating situation and still remain productive in our studio?

What is the difference between “stepping away” from our work and “procrastination”?

When we “step away” from our work, we are simply taking some much needed time to properly assess whether or not certain elements of our work are coming together to form a successful, complete piece.

We can ask ourselves questions like:

a) Does the work reflect what we initially set out to say?

b) What can we correct about the piece?

c) What part of our work needs to remain intact?

“Stepping Away” is definitely a time for both proper judgement and reflection. It is different than procrastination because it serves a purpose. It is a brief, meaningful rest before you return to work; it is a momentary vacation not an eternal vacation.

The evil twin sister of “stepping away” is procrastination.

Webster’s dictionary defines procrastination as “The act or habit of procrastinatingor putting off to a future timedelaydilatoriness.”  

 “Procrastination” convinces us that we need to take a longer break than we really need.

Pretty soon everything else we’d rather be doing instead immediately takes priority over the hard work we must do in order to accomplish our artistic goals.

So how do we stop “procrastination”?

Here are some tips for how to avoid procrastination while allowing yourself some “stepping away” time.

1. Admit that you have a problem with procrastination 

Admitting that you have a tendency to procrastinate is key to addressing how to stop this common “time-stealing” habit.

2. Deal with the reason/s why you procrastinate 

There are several reasons why people procrastinate.  Your reason/s for procrastinating may be different than you neighbors’, but the point is that you understand why you procrastinate so you can address these issues.

Here are some common reasons for procrastination:

a) Fear – Sometimes we fear rejection if we perceive that people won’t like our work. We may fear tasks that require technical expertise that we do not yet possess or understand so we put them off. If we never put our work on display so that the public can view it, no one know that our work exists. If we fear complicated technical tasks that we do not understand, it is better to ask for help in these areas so that we don’t miss out on the opportunity to expose our work to different audiences on different platforms.

b) Lack of Motivation or Inspiration – We may procrastinate believing that we need to ‘feel’ motivated or inspired to work on our art or creative business, but this simply is not the case. Avoidance tactics based on depression only leads to more depression because we have not made any attempts or taken any small steps to complete our goals. We are still in effect right where we started.

c) Low-Self Confidence – If we are not very confident in our abilities to perform a task or learn a new skill, we may consistently put important tasks off rather than face personal failure. Confidence is increased with familiarity. Once we become more familiar with a task, we become more confident in our abilities to complete that particular task.  When we continue to avoid the tasks we know we need to face, we never gain the skills that are necessary for success in whatever area we wish to pursue.

d)Perfectionism- We all would like to experience the joy of being considered an expert in something.  Many of us want to do the very best that we can. However when we set expectations that are too high for our skills at the time, we may find ourselves procrastinating because we believe that if we can’t do it like the experts, it’s just not worth doing.  This belief is both false and detrimental because you don’t become an expert without time and practice. We are all beginners at one point in our lives. There is no shame in admitting this.

3. Create a work schedule – Creating a work schedule helps you to organize the tasks ahead so that you do not become overwhelmed with what you have to do during the day, week, and month.  When you know what you are going to be doing at a certain time of the day, this lessens your anxiety and fear.

4. Divide large tasks into small actionable goals – Breaking large goals up into smaller goals helps you to both gain confidence and a sense of accomplishment.  As you begin to achieve each small task, you gain confidence and your depression about not getting things done begins to lift.

 5. Set up a specific time for each task – When you set a specific time for each task, you make yourself accountable for getting to work in that period of time. As you work, you will notice how you use your time, you can then address how you can improve time management issues.

While “procrastination” can seem like an insurmountable problem, with a positive attitude and a willingness to address the issue, you can overcome it.

 

Artist Sources: Procrastination Info 

1. Procrastination Help :: How to Stop Procrastinating

2. Procrastination Help Courses

3. Stop Procrastinating – The 21 Day Program to Break The Habit 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Fastest Way To Nowhere: Creating Without Intention

0510131924-00

Marisa D. Aceves. Satellite 3: Uncharted Landscape: Dune 1. Digital Photography. 2014

Check out the rest of the Satellite 3 Series at http://www.acevesart.com/

Let’s face it, when it comes to creating art, sometimes we encounter a serious mental or emotional block.

When we’re desperate for answers to our general lack of enthusiasm and productivity, we search the internet for websites, blogs, art magazines etc. that are willing to address this issue.

Eventually, we discover a general pattern in the advice that we receive from some of these sources.

This particular advice is as follows: “Always show up each day to work in your studio. Don’t be afraid to play with your materials to get over the fear of creating art.”

However helpful this advice may seem, it is only useful if you consider one very important point:

All the playing and experimenting in the world won’t help you unless you create with intention.

What is “creating with intention?”

When you create with intention, you create with a specific artistic goal in mind before you begin experimenting with your materials.

This particular goal will help you to define how and in what way you play and experiment with your materials.

For example, let’s say that you want to create a series of  urban landscape paintings, but you are unsure as to what colors that you want to use. You might play/experiment with color scheme in order to decide what type of mood that you wanted to convey with your work.  Executing small painting studies with several different variations of either warm or cool colors might help you to achieve this goal.  Painting studies might also be used to determine which composition you find most interesting or pleasing etc.

In these two examples, “playing/experimenting” would be considered effective in determining the final version of  your urban landscape paintings.

In the above example, I used painting, but this same concept could be applied to a variety of different mediums, sculpture, photography, drawing and digital art.

There are some people who say that it is “freeing and fun” to just paint or create without any worry or concern about the end result, but I disagree with them. Sooner or later, you will be driven to seek meaning and purpose in your work.

When you finally do decide to create work that you want to share with the world, you will find that you can’t do so without both an adequate understanding of the basic foundations of all successful art (line, form, shape, composition, etc.) and a specific goal in mind.

Creating without intention is to create without purpose.  While that may have it’s momentary joys, creating with intention, (though sometimes challenging) is far more rewarding.

If you have any questions about this post please let me know, I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

 

8 Steps To Increasing Productivity In Your Art Business

An abstract photo of designer soap 5

 

Many many weeks ago…

In the land of salsa and tumble weeds….

I felt I had made an artistic breakthrough.

I was going to combine both texture and glazing techniques to give my pure acrylic paintings a more mixed-media look and feel, but then something unexpected happened,…

It started to rain.

This of course slowed the drying time of the acrylic paint. Ever the optimist (yeh, right), I decided to be patient.

Surely, this little bought of wet weather would change the moment we all chose to blink as it always does in South Texas…but…nooooooooo…

It rained again and again.

At this stage, the paint remained tacky. It had an elmer’s glue consistency that when pressed slightly, released the wet paint from the bottom layers to the semi-dry surface.

Darn, I thought, this is going to take a week to dry….and it did.

Despite this annoying setback, I plodded on trying to make the best of the crazy weather conditions that were beyond my control. Still, I longed to finish the painting that I’d started and stepping aside to let the sucker dry was more than my limited patience could bear.

If you have ever found yourself in a similar situation and you are wondering what the heck you are going to do with all  that time on your hands that you would have spent painting, drawing, sculpting etc. then consider these helpful common sense suggestions:

1. Become A List Maker

Yes, I know… plopping down on your bottom and writing a list of all the things that you would like to accomplish with your career for the week is a boring and tedious exercise, but it also helps to relieve the anxiety you feel when you are just “floating” through the day with no structure or plans for getting things done. When you know were you are going, you can take the necessary small steps to accomplish larger goals by meeting smaller ones.

2. Organize Your Studio Space

While you are waiting for the paint to dry, the plate to be printed, materials to cure etc., try cleaning up areas in your studio that you will need to use to complete your latest body of work. Even though the thought of meeting hidden dust bunnies and mutant roaches that take up their home in that dark, damp, abandoned corner of your workspace is both scary and at the very least unappealing, the benefits of a clean, uncluttered working environment far outweigh the temporary inconvenience of a much needed “spring cleaning” session.

3. Make a Sketchbook/Artist Book For Each Series / Body of Work

Literally set aside a small economy sketchbook for each series of work that you want to produce. Be sure to sketch out all your ideas for individual paintings, sculpture, ceramics etc. that you want to include in that particular series. Add any comments or information about what inspired you to produce the work. If you are a photographer, you can create a photo journal to help you plan your next photo essay.

4. Research Materials and Content For Your Current Series / Body of Work

Sometimes, it helps to do research on certain topics that you want to discuss with your work. If you are a multimedia artist, and you plan on using materials that you might not ordinarily use that are connected to the subject matter of your series / body of work, you may also wish to do research on
how to properly use these materials. This practice will help you and others to better understand your artistic process. You may also want to add this information to your sketchbook/artist book to refer to at a later time.

5. Look for Galleries and Alternative Spaces to Show Your Completed Work

If have already figured out the style and subject matter of your work, you can begin actively searching for galleries and alternative spaces that are marketing artists creating similar work in the same genre. For example, if you are an artist that produces academic realist paintings of street scenes, you may want to research galleries that sell and promote academic realist paintings. The more specific you are in describing the type of work that you do in a gallery search, the easier it will be to target the gallery that is right for you and your work.

6. Market Your Completed Inventory

Make a list of all of the inventory that you have completed that you would consider selling or exhibiting. Clean and prepare the work for display. Make sure that you have good quality pictures for all of your work. Research juried shows, competitions and online exhibitions to gain exposure for you work.

7. Take Time to Visit Local Galleries and Museums

Apply for membership to your local museums. Make sure to subscribe to the mailing lists of both museums and galleries so that you can be notified of upcoming events that you can attend. This will help you to become a part of your local art community. Often we underestimate the need for contact with other artists and art business professionals.

8. Write an Artist Journal

Write an artist journal addressing the things that you believe are holding you back. As you mention each problem, try to acknowledge you feelings about that particular problem. Then, try to come up with possible solutions to that problem. If the problem is something that is beyond your control, maybe you can think of an alternative activity to pursue or a different way of viewing your situation.

Even though temporary setbacks annoy us because they keep us from working on a piece of art that we want to complete within a certain period of time, sometimes these setbacks force us to deal with other aspects of our career that need our attention. This is especially true if we have been taking the “path of least resistance” approach to our art, avoiding or ignoring these issues because we don’t believe we can be successful at marketing our own work. However, if we want to see progress, we must take risks.

*If you have any comments or questions about this article feel free to contact me, I’d love to hear from you.

 

 

 

3 Ways to Market Your Art Using Video

Marisa D. Aceves, Satellite 2: Valley 2, digital photography
Marisa D. Aceves, Satellite 2: Valley 2, digital photography 

Sharing your artwork with the world is not only an inherent need for most artists…

It is a marketing necessity.

When you film your art, you are providing art collectors, fans, and students with a window into your studio experience.  The internet provides a variety of social platforms that can help you increase your visibility and customer base.

Do you know how to use them both safely and effectively?

Here are some simple suggestions for how you can market your work using video without subjecting yourself to theft and copyright infringement:

1. Mastering Medium Specific DIY Demonstrations – Instead of taping your artistic process from start to finish, consider creating demonstrations on how to master basic skills and techniques that relate to the medium that you are most familiar with.  For instance, if you are a painter, you may want to video tape a demonstration on how to mix oil paints or how to apply glazing methods.  The beauty of video demonstrations is that they don’t have to be long detailed productions. Make sure to provide a link to your main website.  If other artists find your demonstrations useful, they just may decide to visit your website on a regular basis. This could help increase traffic to your website and therefore increase your visibility on the web.

2. Tapping Into The Hidden Potential of The Artist Webinar – If you have ever dreamed of teaching a room full of eager, bright, wide-eyed students, then artist webinars are for you. You don’t have to send an application for employment to your local university, the internet is your university and your the professor.  All  you need is a camera and an eagerness to share your knowledge with others. While most workshops are held at specific physical locations, webinars (a live workshop, seminar and presentation rolled up into one) can be made available to whomever signs up for enrollment. 

3. Sharing Your Unique Artistic Experience Through Video blogging – Video blogging offers your audience the experience of a “sit-down conversation” with you that regular blogging does not.  You can share your inspiration for a painting, sculpture, photography series etc.  This particular style of blogging is especially appealing to people who feel uncomfortable with writing about their business, but love to tell stories or chat with people. Your customers, students, and admirers get a chance to see the face behind the work.  This helps them to relate to you on a completely different level and can increase interest in you and the type of work that you produce.

While doing something a little different, can be scary at times, the risk is worth it as long as you look before you leap.  With all of these video suggestions, it is helpful if you put yourself on a schedule and come up with a sound marketing strategy before you attempt to promote your work in this manner.

Note:   A “fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants” approach is never a good idea. It is important that you are organized and are aware of the information that you want to share with your audience.  If you fail to present the information in a clear, concise manner, people may become confused about what you are trying to say and leave your site.

*If you have any comments or questions regarding this article, feel free to contact me!  I’d love to hear from you!

 

  

Now What? : 5 Tips For Dealing With Anxiety In The Fine Arts

Now What? : 5 Tips For Dealing With Anxiety In The Fine Arts

Do you have the urge to create, but you don’t know were to begin?
Are nagging fears and insecurities holding you back from creating your best work?

Many artists at some point in their lives experience what is commonly referred to as performance anxiety. This is a period when our negative thoughts and feelings try to engage us in a long drawn out battle for supremacy. If we let them win, they deprive us of a satisfying career and a lifetime of creative discovery. Sometimes we do not always know the specific reasons why we avoid approaching certain subjects or mediums, but what is at the core of all artistic performance anxiety is fear. We fear failure. We fear not meeting our own expectations. We fear how others may view our work. This generally results in avoidance tactics, procrastination, and unfinished work.

Whether you’re an enthusiastic beginner or a seasoned professional, these tips will help you to overcome your fear of creativity:

1. Read Magazines That Specifically Target Your Chosen Medium: Perhaps by studying the work of other artists, you can eventually find alternative solutions to the problems that frustrate you and keep you from finishing your work.

2. Create Additional Work in A Medium That Is Familiar: For example, if you are struggling with expressing yourself in sculpture, but you are great in photography, then produce a photo essay. The temporary move to working in a medium in which you are proficient will help to offset the anxiety you feel about the medium you are learning to work with.

3. Perform Another Task Unrelated To Art: When you feel like pulling your hair out over some compositional problem, try performing another task you have on your to-do list. Take out the garbage, wash clothes, garden, etc. This helps to give you a sense of accomplishment and temporarily takes you away from work problems that are stealing your peace.

4. Ask A Friend,Colleague, or Mentor For Help: If you have a good friend or know a colleague or mentor that has a lot of knowledge about the medium that is adding to you anxiety, maybe they can offer helpful advice and suggestions.

5. Spend Time With Family: Time away from the source of frustration can help you to approach the subject from a fresh perspective while allowing you to calm down and problem-solve.

It’s important that you enjoy creating art; a decent plan for working through your anxiety will help you to increase your motivation and productivity.

If know of any other tips that have helped you overcome anxiety, please share. I’d love to hear from you!