My Best Advice for Aspiring Artists

Lost in the Deadwood, watercolor by Angela Fehr $500.00
click here to see the entire 3 painting series "Secrets of the Muskeg"

People are often surprised that, despite having 3 children under school age, I continue to paint and market my art. I answer their queries about how I do it with some of the advice I give my watercolor students when I'm teaching a class.

  1. Make art accessible. You can lose a lot of time and motivation if you have to dig your art supplies out of storage and set it all up every time you want to create. Make space, even if it's just putting a box of painting materials beside your sofa and painting when you are watching TV - that's how I started. It is a lot easier if you have a dedicated studio space, but not essential. There are lots of organizational units that can keep your supplies at hand but out of sight when not in use.
  2. Lower your expectations. With three preschoolers, I'm interrupted frequently. So I tell myself, "Just fifteen minutes." I usually get a little more than that, so when I am interrupted, I can be satisfied with the time I have gotten, and it's really quite amazing how much painting you can do in fifteen minutes!
  3. Manage your time. Schedule art into your life the same way you would with exercise or mealtime. I make Tuesday afternoons my absolutely for sure paint now time. Ideally, I want to paint every day, but during a busy week I know that Tuesday afternoon is non-negotiable. I don't schedule anything else for that time, and I leave household chores undone during my Tuesday painting block. Once my kids stop taking naps, I will plan ahead a project that they can do during my studio time to reduce disruptions.
  4. Be thankful. There are still periods of time where I don't get painting done. How thankful I am that creativity is not limited to creating art, and that it has no expiry date. I will be an artist as long as I live, and when I am not able to paint, I can observe and enjoy the world around me, appreciate and study other artists, and live creatively with my family.