How to stay motivated to paint when life is so busy.

My Story.

A couple of weeks ago, I asked my Instagram followers what they would like for me to write about in upcoming blog posts. I received many questions, and I will do my best to address them in the coming weeks. One question that came up really struck my interest:

“How do you stay motivated to create when life is so busy?”

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This question is something that I have had to personally answer many times. As a full time stay at home mom, and a full-time artist, I can easily fill in all of the little chunks of “free time” that I have with other tasks: house cleaning, business needs (like taxes and social media), grocery shopping, meal planning, and prep, etc. I’m just as busy as anyone else, so I can’t say that I have a magic answer to this, but I do have some personal insight that may be helpful.

Here are 4 things that have helped me to consistently produce art.

  • made a promise to myself and I kept it.
  • made a promise to my followers to keep “showing up”, and I did.
  • wrote it down in a schedule, and seriously limited my time.
  • pretended that I had a boss that would be checking my work each week.

When I first started painting again, four years ago, I made a promise to myself that I would pick up my paints every single day. Most days, that meant painting during my son’s nap times (he was 2 1/2) at the time. However, I do remember a few times when he wouldn’t nap and I had to sketch in a sketchbook while he played in our backyard.

I announced my decision to social media. At the time, I didn’t have many followers at all, but the people who were following me (mostly being family and friends back then), knew that I had spent YEARS day-dreaming about doing art while never actually doing it.  Promising myself to them gave me something extremely helpful in combating artist  “creative block” ….accountability.

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When I was a Starbucks manager, I remember thriving on the high-demand multi-tasking: the oven would be beeping because the cookies were done, the drink orders required many levels of preparation simultaneously, and the milk delivery would almost inevitably arrive when we were at the height of our rush hour. I found that with my art business I really enjoyed having many balls in the air at the same time, however, if I didn’t write down a tentative daily plan, I would waste time doing tasks that were not essential to moving the needle in my business (such as painting). Keeping a schedule has been really important- and I would suggest it, even if you are just trying to create a little more art for yourself every day. Oh! and don’t give yourself TOO much time. You will get overwhelmed and feel defeated- you don’t need any of those feelings doing something so fun. 🙂

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I pretended that I had a boss. This one may sound silly, but I really did help me to make a habit to paint every single day. (you can blame my “type A” perfectionist approach to life on this tip.) When I was working outside of the home, I thrived in the corporate environment because I really enjoyed the challenge of reaching the next level- whatever it was. Pretending that I had someone else critiquing my work at the end of the week was really crucial to my motivation, and many times it was my husband that heard what my goals, challenges, and successes were instead of a scary “real” boss. haha!

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So, there you have it friends- the four things that have helped me to make a habit of painting (or drawing or making something) every day. I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any tips you would like to share, or if you implement one of these tips and it’s helpful to you.

One thing is for sure, you won’t become an artist until you make art- so, get to making some! (and send me some photos when you’re done 😉 )

Happy painting!

xoxo,

Rachel

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photos by @mandaweaver

shop small Saturday

My Story.

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Shopping small is a way to support someone’s dream. I know this first hand! By supporting my art, you have allowed me the amazing blessing of staying at home with my two babies. That is what it’s done for me, but don’t just take my word for it.

Here is what some of my fellow artists, makers and dreamers said when I asked them
“why do you love running small business?”

* “It allows my schedule to be totally flexible to adjust to things that come up so I can be there for my family. (ex. field trips, helping out at school, sporting events, etc.) I get to set my schedule!!”
* “My boss is so kind, he feeds and buys me everything I want at the time.”
* “It allows me to stay at home with my 9m old daughter on weekends and pay bills, without the need for a second “full time” job.”
* “It helps me build self confidence and feel a sense of accomplishment.”
* “We can live in the country and I don’t have to go to work in an office.”
* “I have a son with autism, so I can be there for him.”
* “It’s providing a piece of my heart to others. I love hearing back from others of the joy it brings to them ❤️. ”

I am so incredibly thankful for your support of my art. To express it, I am giving all newsletter subscribers on my website a special coupon code to use this Saturday.

Want to receive one? Sign up HERE.

Thanks again for all of your words of encouragement, shares, likes and purchases.

Thank you so much for supporting my dream,

Rachel

www.rachelalvarezart.com

 

A (summer) day in the life of…

My Story.

During the summer, more than ever, our family gets in our minivan for last-minute impromptu road trips. It’s not unusual at all for us to get lost on back country roads and end up 2 states away without even planning on it– to be fair, two states isn’t all that far since we are on the eastern shore of Maryland and everything is within easy access. Still, it’s always fun to see what kind of new adventures we can get ourselves into.

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We’ve stumbled upon bald eagle nesting grounds. Collected antique pottery shards that have washed up onto beaches. Eaten ice cream on the bay at unknown hole-in-the-wall-perfection.

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I think one of my favorite things about living here is the fact that we can go in almost any direction and hit water. Something about the fact that all of it meets at some point, in a variety of ways, makes me smile. I may not know where I am going, but the water sure does. Water is a very common theme in my paintings- it’s particularly challenging to paint because of it’s ever-changing color and shape, and I love a good challenge.

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There are roads near our home that make you feel like you are literally about to drive off of the face of the planet. No other people- no other homes- no other cars: just the birds and the bugs. I love it.

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My good friend Tim once pointed out that the further you drive into the country, the less fingers a person uses to wave “hello”. I like those pointer-finger-only kinds of hellos. You know, the kind that only the locals give to each other.

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My camera is a close friend during those trips.

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I read a quote the other day that really hit me:

“The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.”   Dorthea Lange

When I was in college, I was initially a photography major. There were many times when I used my camera and a whole new world opened up to me. I noticed things in detail that I never would’ve even paid any attention to without that shutter click. Colors were more vibrant. Pattern more visible. Texture more tangible.

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My encouragement for you is to grab your camera. Don’t go somewhere to take pictures. Go somewhere to discover beauty. Enjoy the unexpected. Get lost, and in the process, find out a little bit more about yourself.

Want to see more of what inspires me as an artist? See more photos, read stories and see works in progress on my Instagram: www.instagram.com/rachelalvarezart . Tag me with YOUR new adventure. I’d love to hear about it!