Carving Out Time for Art

Today I’m taking over the Carve Out Time for Art Instagram account. I’m so honored to have been asked to share my day with that creative community. Carve Out Time for Art was created by Marissa Huber and Heather Kirtland and this is what they have to say about it:

“Our mission is to empower people to stop dreaming and start doing, especially when it comes to carving out time for art.

We are passionate about building community, encouraging others (especially women), and connecting people.

We want to cultivate a positive and nurturing community for creatives who want to find time to satisfy this part of their identity. We do this by fostering conversations, connecting creatives with resources, and showing people they are not alone.”

So good, don’t you think? (If you’re on Instagram and you’re not following them, go do it now!).

I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to carve out time for art.

It is HARD to move from dreaming to doing. It took me years of dreaming about making before I ever picked up a paintbrush.

One of the things that helped me overcome the inertia (and the fear) is that I saw other women making art and sharing their art on their blogs. The creative community I found online was so inspiring and encouraging.

It’s one of the reasons that I love to teach (and to share my own words of encouragement in this space).

Carving out time to make art isn’t easy, either. I have dedicated time just about every day solely for the purpose of making art, but sitting down and doing it can still be hard. I have emails to answer. A website to maintain. I have to photograph and scan new work. Prepare submissions. Write blog posts. Wrap up and send out orders. Plan new classes. Film and edit online classes… the list goes on and on.

Some days I spend far too much time sitting in the chair at my computer

And then there are the days I’m not in the mood to make art.

We all have our own sets of challenges (I’m so grateful for mine — they mean I’m doing meaningful work that I love). We all have many ways to spend our time. I have a another part-time job. We have families. Pets. Hobbies. (Once spring is here for real, I’ll have my garden pulling on my attention, too).


There’s no secret answer to how to carve out time for art. No tool or art supply to buy to make things easier. You simply (or not so simply) have to show up. Consistently. Make it a habit. Even on days when you’re not feeling entirely in the mood.

“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” —Pablo Picasso

Write it on your schedule if that helps. Challenge yourself with something like the 100 Day Project or 30 Paintings in 30 Days, or make up your own. Sketch while watching TV. Wake up earlier. Stay up later. Live with a less than clean house (making art is a good excuse not to clean!).

In addition to the time you need for making art, is the mental space you need to make art. Putting aside fear. Releasing yourself from judgement. This might be the hardest part.

Having a nurturing, supportive creative community can help with that.

When I first started painting with watercolor, I was not very good at it. I could have easily quit. But I was stubborn. And so I painted. And painted. And painted. I painted through heartache. I painted through joy. I painted and my dreams clarified and focused. It was not easy. The road was not straight, even though it led me from there to here.

I’ll stop rambling now (after all, there’s art to be made — this painting needs me to finish it today).

An in-process watercolor painting of an orchid in a clay pot by Anne Butera

I’ll leave you with this wish. Is there something you’ve been dreaming of doing? Doesn’t matter what it is. If you’re dreaming of it, I wish for you to stop dreaming and start DOING. Today. After all, today is all we have.