Written by: Sandra Hutton

In order to set yourself up for making art immersion a lifestyle, I would like you to consider three things: your mindset, your workspace, and your time. You know YOU the best. Think about how you like to work. Are you a tidy artist, or one who is comfortable embracing varying degrees of messiness?  Do you require absolute order before you proceed, or can you begin to create and be comfortable when things are not exactly perfect? I think that it is always important to look for sources of inspiration–one of my current favourites is the magazine, In Her Studio. However, please take note that it is not essential to have a Pinterest worthy studio space before embarking on a creative pursuit. The prolific Irish artist, Francis Bacon (1909-1992) worked within a chaotic workspace. Take a quick peek here:

Francis Bacon’s Preserved Art Studio. Credit here »

After his death it was acquired and opened to the public. The space reveals a glimpse into his artistic process. He was an artist who was quite comfortable working in a space that, for many would be chaotic. However, some mindsets do not require order to engage in the creative process. Think about how you work best. Are you a minimalist, or are you stimulated by an environment that appears to have an excess of materials and things?

Determining your mindset will help you to best determine your workspace. And, keep in mind, nothing has to be decided all at once. Many artists are able to establish a creative zone in their home that is not necessarily a room. It could be a closet, part of a room, a garage, a shed, or even a table that can be used, and then reused for other purposes. And many people recognize that establishing a creative space to work is a process in itself.  For some, the set -up of the studio can become a work of art. And for some, the desire to have an ideal workspace, can delay creativity because you want to have it “just right” before you begin.

I would suggest that, just like creating art in which the beginning starts with a single line or mark on a page, the art immersive experience involves just picking a spot to create at the outset and going for it! The development of a studio space can come later, and often emerges as creative goals and interests become clearer. The vision for a creative space will emerge as your artistic vision develops and evolves. I am in the process of this right now and, rather than rushing to the store to find the perfect furniture and decor for my workspace, I am trying to engage in a more thoughtful approach. You don’t have to create this space in a day, so just calm down. Keep calm and make art!

The most critical piece of advice I can offer with regards to establishing an art immersive lifestyle is to make time for art every day. Make it a part of your daily practice. You will hear me focusing on this mantra time and time again but it really is true. I would recommend using a weekly calendar to determine how you can make this a part of your daily practice. If you are intimidated by starting a big project, don’t do it. Start small. Take time for daily observation and sketching. Choose one subject or project to focus on and go from there. And please do not forget that photography is one of the greatest art forms for daily practice. Since most of us have access to a camera on our phones, go for a walk and take a close look around. Find compositions in nature. Nature is the best artist, after all. These daily art breaks will allow you to reset and recharge and you will find yourself taking note of the beauty in ordinary moments.

This is a practice that people can adopt as individuals but also as couples or families. I would recommend using a calendar to plan and record your daily art practice. By tracking your immersive art practice, you are being intentional with your time. And remember, that by planning your time, I do not necessarily mean that all art practice must be predetermined. Set aside the time, and if you have a plan, go for it–prepare your materials and all systems are a-go! However, remember that art immersion can also mean setting aside time for art play and experimentation. Not all art creation has to lead to a masterpiece or a finished product. Art journaling or maintaining a sketchbook could also be a component of your immersive plan. By creating a plan for using your time, you are establishing art practice as part of your daily habit and ensuring that it becomes a valued part of your life.

Although I have focused on time management as a strategy for incorporating art into your life, I also want you to also remember that spontaneity also contributes to art creation. When the creative spirit moves you to create, run with it! Perhaps you find yourself with extra time, or you are becoming so immersed in art, that your desire to increase your output is enhanced. Creative synergy is a mysterious flow of energy and, when it shows itself, immerse yourself in those moments with intensity.