This piece is a quick skill-building sketch. Yes, in oil paint!


Being a perfectionist type, I could keep working on a piece for ages and ages, so it’s become very important to give myself a strict time limit for each project. Otherwise nothing would ever get finished! 


This is easier said than done of course, but there’s also a sense of real freedom in putting down the paintbrush when the time is up and declare it “done”. 


I can then look back at the piece and my process to evaluate what worked. And what didn’t work. Hopefully the next time I pick up a paintbrush these learnings are top of mind and put to good use!


Imposing a time limit also forces me to work with greater focus and speed. By challenging myself to see how far I can get in each piece given the same amount of time, all my training must come into play. 


Perhaps it’s like hitting a PR in sports: with each game and even in each practice session, an athlete is always looking to improve their Personal Record. How many points can they score within a set time on the game clock? 


Art is obviously a little more subjective, but the same principle applies: where’s my game at today, in this time period – what are my stats? How is my performance today? Looking back over time, I can see growth and development for sure!


Plus, to be honest, so many ideas come to me – even as I’m working on a piece – that by choosing to be finished with this one I am open to creating the next one, and the next one and the next one… 


…speaking of which, it’s about time to get back at it!


Does your process – whether it’s art-making or anything else – involve keeping yourself to a set time or do you work best without it? Either way, share your thoughts in a comment below!