As the summer fades and the school year gets into swing, even those whose lives are not directly affected by the school calendar may well feel a sense of regret as the season changes and routine takes the place of occasional outings or holiday days. It’s very natural to feel that way, but at Agora Gallery, where we come into regular contact with many talented artists, we’ve noticed that artists often worry that the lower spirits that attend such a change might have a negative impact on their work.
In fact, it’s likely to be the opposite. Vacations are great for helping you to recharge your batteries, and are often a source of new inspiration and ideas, but they’re not so good at allowing you to actually get back down to work. Much as regular routine might seem less exciting, with no breaks in sight earlier than perhaps Thanksgiving or the winter vacation, it actually conceals its own, more quiet appeal, and artists should take care to enjoy this benefit to the full. Use these top tips to make the most of your time.
1) Studio time. Having a proper schedule means that you can set time aside that is devoted entirely to your work. Try to avoid all interruptions as much as possible; your studio time is important, and during the period you’ve allotted for it, it should be your main priority, within reason. This is not to say that you should be so inflexible as to ignore really urgent demands, but equally it’s crucial to take your art seriously; if you don’t, how can you expect anyone else to?
2) Plan ahead. It also means that you can make a plan for several months ahead, something that is valuable in using the time in the best way possible. The winter vacation is a time when many people are looking for gifts, and what better present for an art lover than a piece of original artwork? Work out what you want to do to encourage buyers during that season, and plan your work and marketing efforts accordingly, starting from now. It’s much more effective than waking up in November and wondering how to cram everything in then.
3) Innovation. If you’re worried about getting stuck in a rut as you get too used to the same routine, allow for that concern. When you’re planning the next few months, consider the projects you might like to attempt, aside from your regular work, to add some variety. Is there a medium you’ve been wanting to try for a while? Did you see a technique in a museum over the summer that you’d love to include in your work? Give yourself permission to branch out, as well as devoting time to your normal work.
4) Look at the long-term. Artists who only think in terms of the immediate future are often put off beginning major projects, because they can’t see how there could be time for them amongst all the other demands on their time. Alternatively, sometimes they dive into a big project, and then run out of time, materials or energy and have to stop half-way and put it off for another time – which may or may not come. Don’t fall into this trap; look at the long term and work out how much time you can devote to that big idea. It won’t be so intimidating if you sit down and work out its component parts and how you can accommodate them.
5) Think of it as an opportunity. Much depends on your perspective – if you allow yourself to be depressed by the thought of having the same pattern to your days, you’ll waste your time wishing for change and wondering why you’re getting so little work done. There’s no reason to be negative; routine can be a powerful force. Think of a little trickle of water which over time can wear away something as hard as rock – by working hard and making the most of your time, you too can have an impact on the world.
What do you love about routine? Let us know in the comments!