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Blog > Stop Artist Block: Make Painting Enjoyable
July 10, 2014 - by Ruth Collis
Stop Artist's Block: Make Painting Enjoyable
Part of being productive and not having artist blocks, is having an environment that's enjoyable to work in that supports the flow of your creativity. If you have to suffer, what are the chances you will continue on and not avoid painting time? How focused will you be? One way to ensure you love painting time is to control the elements so you can always paint no matter what the season. That can mean setting up a space that's warm in winter and cool in the summer .
For a thick painting artist, this most generally means you will be in the studio where all your tools are. But even then, that can often be not enough. What if it's just too freezing in the winter? Buying a few of these Soft Warm Microfiber Fuzzy Socks can be the warmest sock you might have ever tried, but may still not be enough on some of those cold nights. Those socks are warm but they aren't fitted to function well in wearing out of the house or with a shoe. They will slip down, but are perfect to wear around the house or in bed.
So if the socks aren't enough, this Foot Buddy Personal Foot Heater has solved the cold feet problem ever since, for me. It does get pretty warm, and it would be great if there were a few settings like low, medium, and high, but it just gets hot, really hot. I keep turning it on and off every now and then, or one can put a light blanket down and rest feet over that. It doesn't get hot enough to burn you, and
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it does take awhile to get too hot. You can easily take your foot and just press the big center button on or off and the big light shows when on. (It is on in the photo.) Also, what's pretty neat, is the fabric has velcro that holds it on and can easily be pulled off and washed easily. The velcro does make it stay there pretty good. It is the best foot warmer I ever got so far, and have had it since 2010. (Article updated April 24, 2016)
Or what if in the summer, you are just burning up in one room that's hotter than the rest of the house? I have a sun facing window and no matter how many shades I put up, or how many fans cool all my electronic equipment to run this art business, the heat in Southern California is just unbearable without an extra cooling unit. This portable A/C unit was a life saver:
I have a friend who is a refrigeration tech with A/C training, and he liked what I got so much, he went out and bought one too... the same one, and he already had central air. What he wanted was to cool just his room at night and save money on not having to cool the whole house. He bought it, then found some people were unhappy with it, after the purchase (and was a little upset at himself for not reading reviews first). But many people try to cool a larger space than this will handle. I have had mine since 2013 so far and have to have it. It cools about a 9x12 foot amount of space.
After the first year it wasn't cooling and I devised a huge aluminum tube to stick to the unit and vent directly on me, until my A/C friend actually got in my world and showed me how I can change the 4 filters to see how much better it would work. OMG, like new again. I feel like an idiot, but I don't know this stuff, so I will show you now: At the back of the unit, you just slide out the filter trays and clean off all the major dirt into the trash, then wash the rest of the residue off in the sink. Don't let the bulk of that dirt go down your drain to clog IT! Dry and just insert back in the A/C unit, and man, wonderful cool air again. If it doesn't feel like it's cooling enough, you can adjust the temperature to be in comfort. This is also one major thing that will help you sleep at night: getting your body temperature cool.
Having a waterbed also helps to get instantly cool, by turning the heater off for the summer. Installing solar
collectors of some sort will also help to save your electricity in the long run, when you just have to run the A/C to make life bearable if a fan won't cut it first. This unit will cool a small room. As my friend explained, all the things in your studio, like paint bottles (he picked one up to show me), every object carries heat, and it takes a little to cool all that down. It comes with an accordion tube that you vent out a nearby window and fits into a slender vertical vent with cushion tape and attachments that will fit most any window. Be patient putting the foam lining in the window area to seal off the outside air.
The unit having wheels really works to move around out of the way and keeps you sane in conditions where painting and your life still must go on. Don't ever turn an A/C unit sideways, like even when going to pick it up at the store in the box. The compressor has to stay upright, and also the vent area must not be covered. Like in my set up photo above, I have to keep that vented area away from my shelves next to the unit when it is turned on and running.
But these few things are what brings art inspiration that I don't think about because I'm just happy when doing my painting work regardless of season. There is no art block when taking care of the basics of weather.
Enjoying painting is part of being successful in setting up a space to be able to function happily in.
How do "you" make painting enjoyable to keep in the flow of creativity?
What other ways are there that keep you focused?
Answer in the comments below.
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