Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Importance of Good Habits

by
Armand Cabrera


"I never could have done what I have done without the habits of punctuality, order, and diligence, without the determination to concentrate myself on one subject at a time." ~Charles Dickens

Good habits are essential for good painting.
Good habits include organization, discipline and a strong work ethic. While it is possible to succeed without these attributes, having them makes the difficult task of painting easier.
I recommend cultivating good habits from the beginning by implementing a routine for getting paintings done.

I have already outlined some steps for working outdoors in my articles called traveling light. This article will focus on the studio.

The number one thing you need is uninterrupted time to focus on your work. Multitasking and successful painting don’t go together well, so turn off the computer and PDA’s, screen calls before picking up the phone and keep distractions out of your studio.

Make sure you have some space that is setup as a studio, someplace where things will stay as they are when you aren't working. Even if it is only a corner of a room, it is important to have a space that is dedicated to painting.


When I was starting out and in a small apartment I used my living room. I lived by myself and had no TV, so it was a great space for me. Then, when I was renting houses, I had a spare bedroom or a garage that worked. Now that I own my house, I use the basement as my studio when I am not painting outside. If you can afford it, a separate studio that is away from your house, even if it is on your property, is an even better solution.

My space is organized and things are neat and clean when I’m not working.
I have shelves for frames, panels and canvases and racks for wet paintings.

I have staging areas for framing and packaging work when I ship to galleries or shows.

My office is separate from my painting space.
I can view my studio easel from my desk while I work on business or use the computers for research and writing.


When you work, have a plan. If you don’t feel like tackling a painting from beginning to end, practice some aspect like drawing or color mixing or value control. Make good use of your time to maximize your effort. Focus on one thing at a time and always go into the process with idea you will do the best you can. Just going through the motions is a waste of time and you will not be able to improve your ability one bit. Focused effort, consistency and routine will go a long way towards a positive outcome for what ever you decide to accomplish.
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit." ~Aristotle