Monday, November 9

When's the Best Time for Artists to Create? When Are Artists Most Productive?

Today’s Image
Passage of Time
Courtesy of Microsoft

I find Mondays to be the best day of the week for me to “do art.” By that, I don’t necessarily mean that the artwork or painting I do on Mondays is better or more beautiful (in my humble opinion), it’s just that I, for whatever reason, feel more motivation on Mondays. Is that weird?

Some artists will say, “Ugh, I hate Mondays.” Why is that? I think, for one, it’s the natural rhythm of artists in a world where (mostly) Saturday and Sunday are considered the week-end, and Monday signals a feeling of impending… something. Like responsibility, I suppose. Artists are not necessarily known for their conventional work habits (or being responsible for that matter).

Artists’ work habits are, I’m sure, as varied as the human populace itself. I’m talking about purely creative artwork here, not the commercial kind where you are paid to be somewhere to “art” or even art that pays you a commission. That kind of art is a job, and that’s not what I’m talking about.

Let’s face it, art is not a 9:00-to-5:00 job, although I’m sure there are artists who clock themselves in and out at regular hours on a daily basis. Who are those people?

Some artists have settled into a routine, if you want to call it that, of working more or less around the same time on most days. I have noticed I tend to work less on the weekends unless I’m really feeling the need to finish something at a particular time, which isn’t the usual case for me (thank goodness).

I used to say it was because the daylight in my studio was only good for so many hours of the day, and even that changes with the seasons. That is partly true, but I think it’s also because of a lifetime of having your life shaped by the clock and real-world responsibilities. Oh, those.

Many artists are less conventional, or is that more unconventional? For any number of reasons, and I won’t even speculate as to what those may be, they work whenever they darn well feel like it and if they darn well feel like it. Ah, the artist’s life. I say if your juices are flowing mostly between the hours of midnight and 4:00 a.m., then go for it.

Are you a hit-and-miss or a dab here and a dab there artist? I mean, can you only concentrate for relatively short periods of time before you lose interest or those juices I just mentioned stop flowing? There’s nothing wrong with that method, of course, especially if you like the result, but you may want to have your attention-deficit-disorder--ADD--level checked.

Or you may be the kind of artist for whom there are not enough hours in the day in which you can spend creating art. I know an artist who rises mid-morning and begins to paint. He paints the rest of the morning and takes a lunch break. He paints all afternoon until he takes a dinner break in the very early evening. He then relaxes for a few hours, but goes back to his studio around 9:00 p.m. and paints until 1:00 a.m. That’s a lot of painting.

I, myself, am good to go for a couple of hours at a time. I can really get into whatever I’m doing—sketching, mixing colors, painting away, whatever—for about two hours. Then, I need a break. I need to step away and focus my eyes and my mind on something else for a few minutes. After that I can go for a couple of more hours. But that’s about it for me. Call me lazy, but please, not to my face!

When is your best time to “art.” Today's Image is an icon for the passage of time--no pressure in that.


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