Working as an artistWhen I began oil painting, I already had many years of illustration and graphic design behind me. That experience was very helpful as I changed the focus of my work and began concentrating on painting in oils. For many fine artists, the challenges of self-employment and time management in particular can be a difficult adjustment.
My schedule is pretty much the same from day to day. The morning is for other endeavours, paperwork, email, marketing efforts. After lunch I am in the studio taking advantage of as many daylight hours as possible. Daylight is particularly valuable when I am painting skin tones. I break for dinner and then put in some more studio time, however this will almost always be work on a different canvas and a different genre. Sometimes I will simply be prepping canvases or working on a monochromatic oil sketch. The next day I may continue with the main painting or put it aside to dry. Typically I am working on a number of oil paintings concurrently.
Good lighting is important but as I gained experience I discovered that waiting for perfect lighting would drastically shorten the amount of time I spent at the easel! There is always a part of a painting that can be worked, no matter the conditions.
Years ago, I met an artist whose goal in life was to have 'time to think'. I know what she meant. Time to paint is important, but it's no less important to have the quiet and space to think deeply about what you are doing. Because of this I have sought to live in a manner where quiet and space are the norm, not the exception, often at the expense of comforts I used to take for granted. I have to say, it's well worth it!
Elizabeth R. Whelan