Make Time

Here are some small changes I have made to increases my chances of being able hike and paint more often:

  1. Take my hiking boots with me. Sometimes I have an unscheduled half-hour when I am driving from one place to another. Often there is trailhead parking that is not too far out of my way.
  2. Set my alarm an hour earlier. Those days that I actually do get up and sketch or walk for an hour are the best days.
  3. Have my current painting project on an easy-to-move board. I usually work on a horizontal flat surface. I do not currently have a studio space and so my art must be put away when I am not working on it. Having everything I need on the board makes it easy to take out and put away, and it looks inviting sitting in the corner.
  4. Remove expectation of what my current project will become. I just enjoy letting it emerge. If it becomes another work to add to my gallery, that is wonderful. If not, that is ok. It was part of my process toward whatever comes next.
  5. Remove expectation that each painting or hiking session needs to be a certain length of time. This expectation often held me back in the past. “I only have an hour. I will just get into it and then have to stop.” Ridiculous. A half-hour of painting is better than no painting. A half-mile hike is better than no hike.

On Saturday this past week, I needed an oil change and I wanted to see my friend’s art show. I thought there would be plenty of time for a long hike in between the oil change and the art show, but of course the oil change took longer than expected. It gets dark outside at 5:00 this time of year which meant that I would not be able to walk outside after the art show. While I sat in the waiting room at the mechanic’s shop, I checked my mapping app for nearby trails. Yes, there was one right on the way. As I pulled into the parking lot the sun was just at the top edges of the trees. I walked away from the car for 10 minutes and then turned around and walked back. The air was crisp and fresh, and the white snow against the dark shadows and bark of the trees reminded me of my teacher’s words from this past summer about contrast and how it is so crucial to successful artwork. I do wish I could have spent more time at the art show, but I still think it was the right decision to take time for that walk.

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