No Time To Paint? Top Tips For Time-Strapped Artists

diane hill in artist studio with chinoiserie butterfly paintings and botanical wall art prints


Tips to work smarter, not harder

If you're anything like me, I'm guessing that one of your biggest creative limitations is TIME. 

In this blog I share my top tips for overcoming time constraints, and how to paint more efficiently. Read on to discover how I work smarter, not harder!
But before we get stuck in, make sure you sign up to receive more free artist resources just like this!


Diane Hill in her art studio with chinoiserie and botanical wall art prints

In my artist studio, sitting down to paint


Making It Work

Nine years ago I’d just had my second baby, and decided to build my art business at the same time. With a family, a breastfeeding baby and sleepless nights, time was not on my side.  

But I made it work, in those small sacred nap times, I worked diligently. I was actually more productive with LESS time. Sounds crazy but in some cases the less time you have, the more easily you can access your ultimate brain power. 

You work SMART.

 Chinoiserie artist Diane Hill and her child in colourful nursery with Chinese wallpaper inspired hand-painted Chinoiserie wall muralMe and my second baby, Bonnie, in her chinoiserie nursery


Here are my best (tried and tested!) tips for time strapped artists: 


No.1 Perfectionism is your biggest time killer

I know it's easier said than done, but my biggest painting advice is not to get caught up on perfectionism, this literally eats away at your precious hours. Relax, have fun and experiment, it will all feel so much better! Allow yourself to make mistakes, and learn from them, it took me years, but my best and most efficient painting projects were the result of positive action and letting go of perfection. You can worry about perfecting your painting skills when time allows.


Shift your focus from the end result to the joy of creating. Enjoy the journey of exploring new ideas, painting techniques, and concepts without fixating on perfection. It will all come naturally, don’t stress.


Side note - you'll often find that your hours spent perfecting an art piece from X to Y would go completely unnoticed by your potential buyer!


painting a gold chinoiserie flower with Chinese natural hair paintbrushes

Painting a chinoiserie style flower at my dining table 


No.2 Family dependants? Ask for help.

If you are time strapped because you have a family to care for, explore the possibility of a small amount of childcare. This could be in the form of hiring or asking for help from loved ones. 


This was the single most powerful thing that helped me grow as an artist! It was a slow process starting with just 4 hours of childcare per week, building up slowly as I made a return on my investment.


I really do sympathise....!


Diane Hill with kidsMe and my two daughters


No.3 Finding hours outside of work commitments

You may have a full time job that leaves you drained by the end of the day. Carving out longer time blocks at the weekend could be hugely beneficial, you may need to ask for help if you have family commitments, but finding even a few hours in your week to paint will be so worth it when you start to see those results! Be strict with your time blocks, plan in advance and use your calendar app to help you create your schedule.


Although my full time job was very creative, I often utilised evenings and weekends to practise new painting skills that really lit me up. Alongside my day job I set up a small business hand painting cushions, it kept my creative spark alight and was an integral step in my journey as an artist. 


Related blog post - My Chinoiserie journey: How I built a 6 figure art business


Remember, if this is your greatest passion, you deserve to thrive in it. 


Diane Hill's art studio containing painting easel, Chinese paintings, chinoiserie wall art prints, and artist painting materials

My creative space; my attic turned home art-studio 


No. 4 Give Your Creativity A Home

If you can, keep your paper, paintbrushes and paints out on display in a safe spot, this will help you dip in and out. If you’re unable to, then keep them within easy access so you’re ready to go.


If you’re working at your dining table and need to clear away after each painting session, think about keeping your art materials in a kitchen drawer or cupboard. You don’t need much to create Chinoiserie art! (My materials list can be found within my e-book). 


Chinese paintbrushes in a rollable chinoiserie paintbrush holderMy chinoiserie paintbrushes in their rollable paintbrush holder

 chinoiserie artist using chinese paintbrush to paint chinoiserie style bird on silk paper with text overlay 'Discover the e-book shop now'


No.5 Set The Scene

Your creative time could be an ideal way to unwind. What makes you feel relaxed? Music, candles, crystals? Get them going! Create an atmosphere that's inviting to paint in. Surround your space with plants or flowers, display your painting materials in a way that inspires you and keep your reference books close by.


If you have a studio space, pin up your artwork and references all around you as it will help to spark new ideas. I have a magnetic strip attached to my wall, I use strong magnets to hold up my paintings so that I feel engrossed in creativity. 


If you’re working with small time blocks, put your phone in another room while you work to keep you from getting distracted.


My relaxing, plant-filled painting space 


Embrace Each Opportunity

If you have a busy schedule, carry a sketchbook or digital drawing pad with you on the go. Sketch new compositions while on your lunch break or waiting for appointments. 


Embrace the concept of ‘micro-creativity’, dip in and out of painting, even 15 minutes a day is enough to progress and helps to create a consistent painting practice.


Diane Hill painting a flower in a sketch padPainting in my sketchpad in between commitments  


I hope you found my art tips useful and inspiring. Time is your most valuable asset and I'd love to see you create the perfect foundation to start a consistent and steady art practice! Please share your own helpful painting tips below in the comments so we can all thrive together!


chinoiserie art painting bundle with Chinese paintbrushes, silk paper, Diane Hill's new e-book 'How To Paint Chinoiserie Art' with text overlay 'Shop All Art Materials Shop Now!'


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