“The easiest thing in the world to do is not do!” (Variation of William Goldman quote)

It really doesn’t matter how much one loves to do something – you still must have the discipline and the motivation to do actually do it.

Art is a lot like running. I love to run. I also love to sketch paint and draw. Sometimes however, it is hard to find the inspiration to make art, just as it is sometimes difficult to lace up those shoes and get out the door. It is a lot easier to role over and go back to sleep.

There are a couple tricks that I have found that work.

If you want to get in the habit of going for a run, gear up. Put on your running shoes, running pants, jacket and hat. Even if you don’t feel like running, gear up anyway. You will instantly feel totally inspired to get out there for that run. Here in Ottawa we have had several weeks of minus 20 to minus 30 degree Celsius weather with wind-chills down to minus 35-38C – not exactly inspiring weather for running. It is amazing how even in this crazy weather, when you gear up, the cold becomes a non-issue. It just takes that first action, to put on your shoes.

Art is much the same. Somedays are way harder than others to start painting. After a demanding day at work, the couch is awfully inviting. So to battle the temptation of doing nothing, I use the same trick as with running. I gear up. I carry a sketch book with me always. It is nothing special – just a small 3 1/2″x5″ pocket sized moleskin sketchbook, and a few pencils or a fountain pen, and maybe a small watercolour kit. If it is pocket sized, it is easy to carry. Anything larger won’t see the light of day from my knapsack. Having my sketchbook on my person inspires me to simply look at my environment and sketch. It has to be easy and very convenient for those times when I see something I want to record. So if you want to do more art, don’t burden yourself with setting up large canvases and thinking too hard. That is like saying I am going to run a marathon tonight. Keep it simple. Sketch every day, and just like running that marathon, the daily habit will give you the discipline and motivation to tackle that big canvas.

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