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Pastellus: Focus Part 1

Let’s face it, finding time to painting is hard. It doesn’t matter if you work full-time, part-time or not at all, have toddlers, teenagers or no kids. It’s difficult to make time to paint. To put in the amount of time it takes to actually become a better painter. No matter what the end goals might be, showing, selling or improving as an artist; none of us feel like we have enough time to paint. Therefore, the time we do get to spend painting shouldn’t be aimless. Time spent painting should be productive and most of all enjoyable. With a little focus - forethought and planning - we can make our time painting a positive experience. Here are a few ideas to help make your time at the easel easier and more productive. • Choose a subject and paint it for awhile, sky, trees, fruit, etc; this will save you time deciding what to paint. • Paint small, no larger than 9 x 12. Smaller paintings allow you to focus on painting not covering a large area. • Have several pieces of paper or board cut to size and ready for painting, you will be ready to paint quickly. • Have several reference photos ready to work with; when you have time to paint look over your reference images and pick one. • Take the time to do a few thumbnail sketches before you paint. Work out value and composition; this will save you time and frustration. • Choose one or two things to work on when you paint like soft edges or mark making; this focus will help you work on skills important to you. • Keep your studio and supplies organized. No one wants to have to clean or straighten before they get to paint. • Set realistic goals like painting 4 hours a week or 1 hour a day. Being realistic will help you get to the easel and feel better when you are there. • Don’t expect to finish a painting every time you paint; have fun and experiment • Most of all have fun and enjoy your time painting. We all know it is important to make time to create and to continue to improve our skills. With a little focus it is possible to make the time we do have to paint more productive and enjoyable. I would love to hear your ideas on staying focused to take full advantage of your time at the easel. Please email me at

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