10/13/15

UPDATE: 12 Ways to Motivate an Artist

We all need a little push now and then so I put together this list of tips that have helped me stay motivated and perhaps they can help someone else too…




1. Show Up: This is the single most effective thing you can do to improve your productivity in the studio. Get in there. Even if you are just making phone calls, sorting out your brushes or organizing your supplies. Simply spending time in your studio will get you into the habit of creating. Daily time spent in your studio will improve your productivity.

2. Set Goals: Set goals for yourself and break them down into smaller categories: Long Range, Short Term and Immediate. Example: I am going to paint 5 pieces this month, 2 paintings this week and prep 1 panel this afternoon.


3. Dress the Part: Put on your favorite work clothes for motivation. I have a great pair of funky old shoes (see photo) a beautiful scarf and a paint-encrusted smock that make me feel super creative the moment I slip them on. Discover your power outfit and wear it when you need some extra motivation.


These are my favorite shoes to work in.

4. Connect with Community: Join an online forum and leave comments. Create or join a local chapter for artists in your area and meet once a month to discuss your progress and share resources. Start a blog and invite people to share their comments. Connecting with others will keep you going.

5. Make Yourself Accountable: Tell someone what you are working towards and share your progress with them. Enlist their help to keep you on track. Knowing that someone is waiting to see your results can help maintain your momentum.


6. Lower Your Expectations: Not everything you create will be a masterpiece so allow yourself some time to make the experimental work and rough pieces that will inform your next masterpiece.

7. Open Your Studio: Invite a guest or the whole neighborhood to visit your studio. This will help you to get things organized and asses the amount of work you have ready to display.






8. Apply for Calls: Nothing like a deadline to get you motivated so apply for juried shows and art opportunities and create new work to submit. Even if you don’t get accepted the exercise of assessing your work is invaluable. Here are a few links to organizations that post National Calls For Art and other art opportunities: Art Deadline.com Washington State Arts Commission and National Calls For Entry

9. Take a Class: Sign up for a creative class or workshop. I prefer workshops because they tend to be condensed and intense. This will help you plug into your arts community and connect with like minded folks. It’s easy to comeback to your studio and continue working if you are already in the zone and dressed for the occasion. Arrange to meet with other students after the class.

10. Host an Art Exchange: Throw an art exchange party – Invite guests to bring a small piece of original art in a plain brown wrapper to swap with other guests. When you know your work will be judged by your peers it can motivate you to up your game.


Plain paper wrapping helps hide the identity of each artist.


11. Trade Critiques: Swap critiques with another artist. Share your work and use the feedback you receive to propel your work forward. Make changes and submit the new work for additional feedback – The exchange of ideas will help you stay focused and energized.

12. Give Yourself Permission: This is the most important tip of all...Don’t let other work or a looming deadline trap you into paralysis. The dishes, the laundry and the shopping can wait. Schedule time to be in the studio and give yourself permission to be there.


A few inspiring reads:

Artist to Artist: Inspiration and Advice from Artists Past & Present

An Illustrated Life: Drawing Inspiration from the Private Sketchbooks of Artists, Illustrators and Designers




To learn more about Alicia Tormey visit aliciatormey.com and Alicia Tormey on Facebook

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If you have other tips for getting motivated please feel free to share them here. I will post some tips on finding inspiration in the coming weeks. Cheers!

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