Let Things Slip a Little—Temporarily
Think about the way that the holidays upend your normal eating habits. It’s perfectly natural to be eating and drinking things that are not part of your usual diet, such as egg nog, cookies, and pie.
But these treats can be a fun break from your normal foods, and it’s ok to enjoy them as part of your seasonal festivities. Once the new year begins, you return to the foods that you regularly enjoy.
It’s the same with your art practice: You may feel some anxiety when you have been in the studio less than normal, but it helps to anticipate this and accept it.
Make a plan to get back into your studio in a way that excites you in the new year! I suggest creating a January art goal that you can look forward to throughout the holidays.
Perhaps you’ll do a 30-day challenge, or you’ll aim to create four paintings in January. Tell friends and family about your January art goal as you celebrate the holidays to further cement your resolve!
Create an Art Activity List
When my art time becomes extremely limited, I make a long list of activities related to my art practice that I can do in spite of my circumstances. For example, I may not be able to paint when I’m out of town visiting relatives, but I can bring a sketchbook and do a sketch a day over my morning coffee. It feels like a gift I’m giving myself, and it keeps me in a close relationship with my art.
What else could be on your list? You could create small collage studies to practice composition while sitting around visiting with relatives. You may know someone who’s an avid knitter who knits while visiting with others or watching TV—you can be like that with another activity. If you have children around you, this may present an opportunity to bond with them over art!
Other ideas for this list include doing blind contour sketches, taking photos that can lead to compositional studies, making a list of potential artwork titles, and more.
Escape for an Art Appointment
It’s typical for hosts to have to pop out for a quick appointment or to take care of a pressing work matter. You could do the same for your art! No need to overly explain or make excuses—simply say that you need to take care of a few things for an hour and then give yourself an hour in your studio. You’ll return to your guests refreshed and ready for more celebrating!
Remember that being a guest can be awkward and exhausting, so by withdrawing for an hour, you’re giving your guests space to take that walk, have that nap, or take care of email matters. It can be a win-win!
Use Travel to Fill Your Creative Well
Traveling for the holidays makes it even harder to fit art in. In addition to bringing a sketchbook, keep your eyes peeled for inspiration. It’s very stimulating to be in a new environment, and if you look with your artist eyes, you soon discover color palettes, textures, shapes, and compositions that can feed your future artwork. I take a million photos while traveling and I store them in an “inspiration” album on my smartphone. When I need a dose of inspiration, this album is brimming with it!
In this way, you’re contributing to your art practice in a powerful way, despite being far from your studio and supplies. It’s all part of the process!
Wishing You Cheery and Creative Holidays
I wish you a happy holiday season that feeds your soul as well as your art practice, and a year of artistic growth in 2023. Looking for some guidance with that? I’m happy to be your guide. Cheers!
Dan Hamilton’s Greenville, SC Holiday Bucket List
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