These days I’m a stay-at-home dad, tending to the many needs of a delightful, precocious and energetic little boy of five months. Finding time to paint can be challenging. I’ve found that the most productive time I have to work at my easel is about an hour after I wake up. At 5:30 in the morning I get up, pour myself a cup of coffee, turn on my easel lighting and get to work, picking up where I left off the day before. By 6:30 or so, my son is awake and my day becomes an array of chaotic moments rather than large blocks of time when I can concentrate. It’s a good lesson in patience for me and it’s given me much to think about my creative process and how I use my time.
I’m recognizing that I necessarily approach painting differently now. I tend to keep a painting open longer. That is, I try not to develop detailed areas early on, moving from one passage to the next, more or less completing them as I go. Instead, I bounce around more, trying to advance the entire image at the same time, adding and refining details with successive passes. This approach keeps me feeling more flexible to make broad changes much further into the process.
And now, I need to make some time to go change a diaper and warm up a bottle!