How painting changed your life style ?

edited June 15 in General Discussion
Having an intense and demanding job does not leave much time to paint, or any other artistic production. How do you manage to cope with the workload to get free time to paint, and did you consider changing lifestyle or job to free up time in the day, and space in your head.

I am myself a teacher at the university, and a researcher. This is so demanding that I find difficult to produce on one side without neglecting the oher, and compromise have to be made. I am curious to see how you handle these questions in your life, and if paint has ever made you take important decisions on changing your lifestyle.



  • edited June 15
    I work in overseas aid with lots of travel - lots of short 1-2 week trips but up to 50% of my year. I've completed maybe 8 original paintings across more than two decades (along with copies or 2-3 short painting courses). So there's my answer right there. Ok, I have other interests as well such as writing or woodwork or music. Covid for two years has given me more weekends and allowed me to tackle some really detailed larger works and so painting has come to the fore.
    But now travel is starting up again. Manila in a couple of weeks. India maybe next month and a holiday to Norfolk Island with my wife. Amazon in Peru in August... When I'm working on a painting and travel I take photos of my painting and stare at them on the plane or in spare moments stuck somewhere - trying to see those next things I need to fix when I get back. It's like a longing, an escape into beauty, the act of creation, a place that I personally have complete control over to express something. I feel like it matters, but I don't know why or who for. 
  • @Abstraction wow, you seem to be a lot on the road. "I feel like it matters, but I don't know why or who for." Yes it's true, it's somehow a bit mysterious to find out what it matters for. I have similar feelings.

  • edited June 16
    Yes,  @Abstraction and @adidri. I feel the same way. Making art seems to matter, but why and for whom it matters, is not so clear.

    It's good that both of you have pursued non arts careers but have managed to keep art alive in your life. 

    I'm not so good at juggling competing interests so art had to wait until I retired.  :)
  • @Abstraction

    I really enjoy reading your comments and thoughts.  So often they express EXACTLY what I have myself been unable to put into words.  From here, what @adridri quoted.
  • edited June 16
    I work in mental health with children and adolescents which naturally has its stresses, and more so post pandemic. I tend to paint at the weekends or when I have time off work.

    My daughter is all grown up, there is just me and my cat Louie at home so I dont have many distractions. I am also not much of a socialiser outside of work and enjoy solitude. All ideal for painting.

    I get so much enjoyment from creating. Have been going through a bit of a quiet patch but thats ok as I work on other creative things besides.

    I have a 5 day intensive realist portraiture painting workshop in Bruges at start of July to look forward to.

    I will be retired from my job in just under 5 years, so will have much more time to paint then.
  • Oh wow! Would love to join you in Bruges - place I've always wanted to go and what an evocative setting to learn realist portraiture painting. But alas, I have work. My work is also focused on vulnerable children and adolescents - but not as directly as your work and therefore I don't face what you face on a daily basis. Currently exploring with a psychology intern how to strengthen the role of significant non-parental adults in the lives of vulnerable children (and how to pass that on within communities). The research seems to show that this kind of often-quite-powerful influence on a child's life is ridiculously accessible to give - it's not complicated - but so often completely absent from so many children's lives. I am also within 5 years of retirement.
    What are your other creative interests?
    @allforChrist one of mine is writing, searching for words to express what's inside me, so glad to hear some of it resonates with you. It originally grew from trying to express my own spiritual searchings and then communicating to people - and something about speaking gives you immediate feedback, so it's a very direct teacher. I think that public speaking, touching something deep within people, beyond painting, beyond anything is my most meaningful expression, where I most feel everything start to lift above the runway. To some extent I still have that opportunity within training of the large NGO I work in. But that act of needing to touch very deep things flows across all I do, even my work. If my work doesn't touch something beautiful and meaningful I lose interest.
  • It's amazing to see how many people share this dilemma of trying to find "a time to paint."  I keep thinking along the same lines that I will have much more time to paint when I retire.  My situation says otherwise with a disabled spouse with a progressive neuromuscular disorder to contend with. 

    I work from home and am actually looking at possibly retiring early, as the company I work for is losing accounts, so my production has declined, which is a godsend right now with all the extra care my spouse needs. 

    I decided NOT to wait until I retire to paint.  It is that creative side in all of us that we are born with that has to be filled, be it writing, painting, sculpting, making music, or whatever else that creative side pulls us to do.  If that creative side is not fed properly, for me anyway, I become despondent, negative, irritable, and just downright not myself.  Constant interruptions whether I am working my job or trying to paint is something that I have had to learn to deal with rather than let myself sink into the attitude of "why bother, what does it matter anyway?"  

    It can become a vicious cycle for me of not painting at all for weeks, and then scurrying around painting a little every day and especially on weekends, then back to not painting for weeks again.  I try and paint a little bit every day, even if it's for half an hour, twenty minutes, just some time.

    I read a book called The War of Art by Steven Pressfield and it really opened my eyes.  Also, Daily Painting by Carol Marine was a great read.  

    Don't wait to create because we are not promised tomorrow.  I don't know why it's so important to me other than my own emotional and mental health wellbeing.  That's enough for me to heed the call vigorously.
  • @abstraction Your work sounds very interesting and so helpful, particularly for troubled youngsters to have a stable guiding adult in their lives when all at home may be constant chaos.

    My works less intense than it was a few years back when I worked in a young persons inpatient unit. IM now in a Neurodevelopmental team and we essentially assess for ADHD and ASD so we gather a lot of info to bring to a formulation to make a decision.

    Yes I think its high time I make an attemot at portraiture seeing as I have mostly done still life so far. So im going to enjoy ambling about Bruges and feeding my soul in the painting workshop.

    The other creative thing I have been doing is not too dissimilar to a felt, wool bunny I posted on here a few months back that I made for my daughter.

    I am now doing a model of my cats head and using fur I have brushed off him for the outer layer. I have even painted the glass eyes to match his colour. Though you can buy ready made ones, I want to get it looking like him.

    I find there are some parallels with painting when I am doing this, such as problem solving, realism and being absorbed in that zen like zone that feels like you have stepped out of the everyday world.

  • Can't wait to see your cat's head. And what emerges from Bruges. I'm sure you'll have a few cityscape scenes in your pix after visiting also.
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