Monday, April 7, 2014


In his book, The Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell examined the lives of people that achieved high levels of success - people like Bill Gates and groups like the Beatles. It is a fascinating read, and put forth the theory that in order to become successful at what you were born to do, you need to put in about 10,000 hours doing that activity. So, whatever you want to be successful at, you will need to actually practice your craft, and build your skill through actually DOING many hours of your chosen work. 

Now, that may be a bit daunting or even discouraging for many, but the truth is, you can accumulate hours by putting together smaller bits of time. One naked truth about creativity that I give to friends and students alike is use even small amounts of time for creating.

As an artist there are many ways to do this. Here are just a few:

  • have your materials all set and ready to go on your table so that you can spend 15-20 minutes working on a piece at any time
  • clean up and reset your materials so they are ready to go the next time you have a few minutes to spare for your art
  • think of the investment of time in your chosen work NOT as discipline, but rather as devotion to your art
  • work on small pieces, or a small area of a larger piece, so that you can see progress over the small bits of time you are able to devote to your art
  • take a small sketch book and pencil/eraser with you everywhere you go; USE THEM!
  • cut a full sheet of watercolor paper into smaller pieces and use with a small "in the field" set of watercolors to do studies when you are away from your workspace

These are just a few suggestions, but the naked truth about creativity is that you need to put in the time actually being creative to achieve the results you see in your mind, and the level of success you desire. So choose to spend those few minutes every day being creative. Just go and do it! Today. :-)

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