All posts tagged motivation

One of the great things about NOVA is it gathers so many great hobbyists and teachers in one place. NOVA always brings in someone new every year (often from over seas), and I’ve enjoyed learning something different from each instructor.

When you’re in these classes, you pick up on more than just the technique or concept the class is about.  You also get insight into the general philosophy or attitude the teacher takes towards their work. 

Sometimes, that’s the more important take away than the painting technique the class was about.

Most teachers will tell you they’re in it for the fun, but a lot will also say that when it’s a job it’s tough work and really takes a certain kind of person to do it.

The thread that really stood out for me is the happiness part of that.

One of Roman’s sayings is “Paint Happy” – his philosophy is that painting should be for you, as the painter. The act of painting should be enjoyable, and if it isn’t – you’re doing something wrong. He often signs his art prints with the slogan.

Sam and Alfonso both echoed similar things.  Watching Sam paint was a masterclass in throwing caution to the wind and just painting for fun.  He didn’t have much of a plan going in, but he took cues from the room, how he was feeling and just improvised.  Alfonso took Roman’s concept a touch further and spoke about how different painting styles are fun for different people – it’s a personal, tailored experience, so paint however makes you happiest.  Experiment often.

I don’t think my current method of painting is one that makes me happy;  I know my painting isn’t yielding the happiness it could.

The good news is: I’ve come to terms with why this is the case and I have been brainstorming some strategies to rectify it.

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I realize I’ve been pretty lax lately.  The Ht-T has been the only post for the past few weeks, but that’s all going to change, very soon.  With this post, not only do I hope to get you motivated, but after a decent break from working on models, I’m hoping to motivate myself as well.

One of the biggest hurdles people face as they work on their models is staying motivated.  All too often I hear excuses like “I just have so much, I don’t know where to start,” or “I’m just a slow painter,” or even worse, “I’m no good, so why even try?”

Conquering the Mountain of Pewter

Having a huge collection of models is the bane of faction-aholics everywhere.  I’m one of them – I have enough models to run 35pt lists with almost every faction.  While that’s impressive, nearly none of it is painted.  That, good sir/madam, is the problem.

All too often, I see painting tables that look like this:

144artist's Painting Table

This is way too cluttered.  It’s no wonder folks with desks like this have issues trying to get stuff done.  Sure, you may know where everything is, but the amount of stuff looming – trying to get its turn for your attention – is just daunting.  You’ll get pulled between projects, and you’ll always get distracted by the newest bit of shiny.

The solution is a simple one:  Clear off your desk.

I let my desk get messy when assembling models, since I usually do that in batches.  I’ll assemble an entire army before putting all my assembly tools away and getting out paints.  When I’m painting, however, everything but what I’m painting and a reference model are put away.  Out of sight, out of mind is a cliché for a reason.  It works.  Try it and see.  (Plus, your significant other will love the fact that you’ve cleaned up!)

Finding Time to Paint

It doesn’t matter how quickly you paint, it still takes time.  Between friends, family, other hobbies and work, and sleep, it can be difficult to find time to paint models. How do you combat this?

  • Every Bit Counts – Every time you walk by your table, paint for a few minutes.  Just try to get 10 minutes in every night.  Over time, you’ll have quite a bit done!
  • Make Time –  Schuedule some time on a specific night or nights for your modeling.  Fit it into your schedule, and let the people that would be vying for your time know you have some personal time scheduled.
  • Double Up – Work painting into some other chore.  What do you do while you’re doing laundry?  Homework?  Watch TV?  It can’t be something terribly important, since you’re getting interrupted every 30 minutes or so, right?  So paint during that downtime!  If you have an existing distraction, trade off with painting every so often.  30 minutes of homework, 30 minutes of painting.

Practice Makes Perfect

It's not a blog post without a LOLcat

Thinking you aren’t good at painting is fine.  Everyone’s a critic.  Letting that defeat you is an entirely different ball game.

Not painting is the best way to not get better at painting.  Sure, your stuff may look horrible now, but it’s worse not being painted at all, and the only way to get better is to keep trying.

Get Feedback.  No one likes hearing about what was done wrong on a model, or why someone thinks it isn’t fantastic.  Despite that, understanding why something didn’t work and learning some methods to do it better is how you learn, expand your knowledge base and grow as a painter.

Stick with it.