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

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What I want when I’m 80 years old.

My Story.

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This is my favorite photo of me and the kids. My son, with his sweet little baby face and my daughter with her two bottom teeth.

I can remember that moment like it happened yesterday, and it was almost 4 years ago. We were in the guest room of our home having a pillow fight and making a “fort” under the down comforter. It was cold outside but we were cozy.

As a full time stay at home mommy artist, I have had many opportunities to play with my kids. Many moments of making a complete fool of myself on purpose just to make them laugh (everyone know that those are the best kinds of giggles to hear).

When I was younger, I never really gave much thought about what was important to me as a life mission. I did my best to be kind, successful and passionate, but I never asked myself the question, “where do I want to be when I’m 80?”

Now that I am in my late thirties, and away from the corporate world, the allure of money and things have started to die down and I am realizing now, more than ever, the importance of relationships. Every day I have the opportunity to love on my little family. Every day with my art, I have the opportunity to help other people love on theirs. That really is an honor.

I think that that realization is what has truly started to form my vision for my own personal and business goals over the last few years. Because, as we all know, not much matters more than the relationships we have and get to enjoy in our life, however long or short it may be.

When I am 80, I want to be known as a faithful loving wife and mom, a good friend, and someone full of forgiveness and grace. I want to exude joy, and help others to do the same. I want to give the people around me a reason to laugh and smile and love life.

In business, I want to do many of the same things. I want to help people to celebrate their relationships, and to give them a moment of joy every day by reminding them of the beautiful world around them- a way to remember where they were when their special memories happened.

It’s been a true joy, the last few years, to work on so many custom art projects that honor anniversaries, marriages, homes, friendships, moments of transition and growth… for that, I am abundantly thankful.

This is my big picture. What is yours?

Have a beautiful day,

Rachel

 

 

 

 

2018 – Year in Review

My Story.

Can you believe that 2018 is already over? I don’t know if it was the unseasonably warm winter weather or the influx of fall activities that made it seem to fly by faster than usual, but here we are at another beautiful year.

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Each year I try my best to take a look back at the projects, commissions and goals that were completed. It’s a fun way to start with a clean slate for the next year, see opportunities for growth and development and get my priorities for life and business in order.

I had 5 major goals in 2018:

  1. to learn to pump the brakes.
  2. to cultivate better friendships, especially with other artists.
  3. to grow the wholesale side of the business.
  4. to paint things that made me uncomfortable and forced me to flex my art muscles.
  5. to be better about book- keeping throughout the year.

All in all, I call 2018 a success according to those measures.

There was a marked difference in my stress levels this year. A conscious decision was made to be less of a “yes” person, and spend more time “in” the business and not “on” the business. So, I planned ahead more and used more automation tools to help with that.  I was also thankful to have more consistent childcare (21 hours per week) which helped life/work balance tremendously, and allowed me to truly enjoy both more than before.

Collaboration was a huge focus in 2018- from partnering with amazing guest bloggers, to working with photographers and wedding planners, it was so refreshing to cultivate new relationships with ultra-talented artists across many outlets. What an inspiration!

Wholesale became a huge focus. After applying and being accepted to wholesale outlets Indie Me, Stockabl and Faire, wholesale took over as the 2nd largest portion of my business, just after retail.

For commissions, I reached out of comfort zone on several occasions this year – moving away from solely painting landscapes and venturing more into portraiture. Digital illustrations became a new adventure as well- something I have wanted to try for quite a few years.

I’m still working on being better about monthly bookkeeping, LOL (!), but at least I am getting to my year in review in December instead of April… #progress?

 

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It’s interesting to me to compare year over and year and see where things have changed and where my energy and time can be best used going forward.

So, here is a side by side for 2017- 2018.

 

Here are a few of the highlights of 2018:

  1. first collaboration with the National Parks Service for Chaco Culture National Historical Park

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2. first digital t-shirt design

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3. first major art fair (National Folk Festival)

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4. The release of mini versions of the 50 state stickers & travel tracker map.

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In the coming year, I have quite a few big dreams and goals. Here are a few of them:

  • Automate more of what can be automated to protect family/friend time
  • Work on more personal projects
  • Develop new product lines
  • Continue to expand wholesale
  • Collaborate with influencers
  • Explore more logo/branding design

Thank you all so much for your constant encouragement and support.  I am forever grateful to have you here along with me in this journey.

Here’s to 2019- a new year for getting past fears, making and meeting goals and opportunities for growth. What are some of your goals & dreams?

Love and Light- Happy New Year!

-Rachel, TheNapTimeArtist