Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Do artist need good work habits?

"Snickers Bar", Oil on Panel, 6x6 inches
Jerry Lebo, 2007


"...I have seen artists do very well with nothing more than meticulously applied work habits." Cay Lang

"Snickers Bar" is the fourth in a series of six paintings I have been working on over the last few week related to the theme of junk food. If you want to see the others, check out my previous postings or under "Gallery of Paintings" on the upper right of my blog. If you want to buy one of these paintings, check out my ebay auctions through the link provided below on the lower right. Or just type "lebo" in the search function of Ebay.

Today I want to talk a bit about artist's work habits. I have been reading several books about artists and their work habits lately, as well as two books that provide advice on how to break into the art world. This probably seems self-serving, given my "sixty minute artist" moniker, but in both cases the theme of good work habits in the studio has featured strongly. In fact, Cay Lang, in her book "Taking the Leap: Building a Career as a Visual Artist", says that good work habits are the most important of the three characteristics an artist must have to succeed. The others being "curiosity" and "commitment". I highly recommend her book if you are interested in good advice on how to build your career--especially if you are just starting out.

The other book I was reading on the train to work this morning is, "Inside the Art World: Conversations with Barbaralee Diamonstein". You can buy this book cheap used at various on-line stores. It is not a great book overall, but it has interview with some interesting artist. The interview with Chuck Close is good. He talks a bit about his work habits and how important it is to treat your studio like an office--working there for a solid period of time. Like a writer who has a set number of hours to be at the keyboard--you need to make the space and time to paint. Chuck speaks about his work habits, which he says are important to his success.

My own experience bears this out. Since starting this blog, not only has my painting improved, but I feel more in touch with what I am trying to accomplish as an artist--and I have made a few decent paintings in the process. I have much more optimism about where my work is leading--and I am happier. Although, I have learned that you need to be flexible when you have a family--and other commitments. For example, I have had to start getting up earlier and going to the studio before leaving for work--today I did my sixty minutes for instance starting before 7:00am. The good news is that I was able to finish the "Snickers Bar" painting and get a good start on the "Oreos" that I will be working on for the next few days. Just to give you an idea, each of these small paintings is taking me between 3-5 hours of studio time to complete.

As for "Hostess Fruit Pie", I have decided not to do that one. I put the Fruit Pie up on the still-life stand and it looked so boring I could not bring myself to start a painting of it. So, I have taken the artistic liberty of introducing "Oreos" to the series as a substitute.

So there you go, good work habits (even sixty minutes a day) can lead somewhere. The key is to get started--and make whatever progress you can on a daily basis. There is a long weekend coming up, so I think there will be a bit more time in the studio coming up. I suspect that I will finish off the "junk food" series of painting. I am thinking of naming the series "Once Bitten", in honor of the series underlying premise--which I covered in a previous post (See "Naked Junk Food"). I will also be starting a new series of paintings in coming days--so check back to see my new work.

I will close with some advice. If you are an artist, go to your studio and do a minimum of sixty minutes of painting sometime today. If you are a collector--buy a painting from an artist for which you admire their work--for instance, make a commitment to buy one painting a month in the price range of $100-300. You will be helping an artist, as well as making yourself a decent collection. If you want a suggestion on an artist, send me a note--if you do not like my work, I can send you to other artist who are doing good work out there today who deserve your attention.

All the best, sixtyminuteartist.


17 comments:

Bill Sharp said...

I've been enjoying both your paintings and lighthearted engaging commentary for a few days now. Great work and good advice. I look forward to more.

sixtyminuteartist said...

Thanks Bill, I aim to be helpful to fellow artist and people who enjoy painting. Let me know if there is a topic you are interested in hear more about. Jerry

The Art Mentor said...

Great idea to combine your work online with your social commentary. Would you advise more artists to actively work on their blogging?

ArtMusesphere said...

Hi Jerry, this is a very interesting post. It is also worth noting that artists need to learn to identify and memorize work habits that work for them in order to be able to induce those creative states at will. Also it helps to know why one is feeling less inspired and unable to be creative when we are able to track back to any recent changes we may have undergone in order to revert back to the tried and tested work habits that work.

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