Creativity in everyday life — Essentialism View #2

Go to the profile of Doris Charest
Essentialism for artists. A second look at what this book has to offer.

According to Greg McKeown, focussing on what is important and only what is important is part of being an Essentialist. As an artist, this is really important. We tend to work on multiple projects at the same time and are multitasking experts. This is wrong according to McKeown.

Focussing on only one task at a time is the best way to get things done. Sometimes that is not possible. We commit to more than one thing and then we need to follow through. There is a solution to this problem. You commit to each item one day a week.

This is a work week only. Weekends are for families. The five day week is the maximum you can work. So, if you work on your main project on Mondays, on Tuesdays you work on the group project with your friend, on Wednesdays you do your social media, on Thursdays you work on your committee meetings and Fridays you are dedicated to your new installation project.

So what happens to your marketing time, your time to fill out grant proposals, your time to meet with artist friends or your time to think about new projects or figuring out the problems from Monday’s day? You are overbooked. What do you eliminate? What do you do?

According to the Essentialist, you need to take out what is not essential to you. What helps you the least in your artistic path? Take it out now! A true essentialist needs to eliminate whatever is in its path.

First you need to decide what is important to you. Is it the project from Monday? The group project? What is really important. Inside your gut, you know what you really think as important. Follow your instinct. Can you eliminate the least important?

You may be able to do this instantly but you may also have to ease into the elimination. You tell the group that you will attend only three more meetings, then you will have to let it go. You will finish the project with the friend, then not take on any more projects so that you can spend double the time on YOUR project.

You still don’t have any time for marketing your project. That’s a problem. Why create and then not be able to find places to show your work? That is not right. What can you eliminate next so you can promote your project or at the very least finish it.

Remember: Focussing on only one task at a time is the best way to get things done. Work on your project first. Get it done. Market it. Show it in as many places as you can then move on to the next project.

Often artists love creating so much that they create non-stop and even forget the marketing part. One idea leads to another and we work on them so that we don’t forget them. That is best for artists- in our heads.

We need to treat our work with disrespect if we do not take the time to show it somewhere. If the work has enough value for you to spend the multiple hours on it for many weeks, why should it not be shown somewhere?

The Essentialist has a point. If we worked on less items, we could finish the work sooner and then market it properly. Like most artists, I like creating more than marketing. I leave marketing to the last minute.

If I took the time to do it well, I would be showing more places. I would be less stressed because I would not be doing things at the last minute. I am going to try to put this principle into practice in the new year. Why wait for the new year, do it now!

I hope this helps you .

Doris’ website:

I have creativity courses and art courses online at:

For more information on mixed media by Doris Charest:

All photography and artwork by Doris Charest

Thanks for reading, and please do recommend, like, share, comment, etc. Thanks.

Till next time …

Blogging blues – Blogging is hard but I have one idea -a school mural.

I have the blogging blues.  I am stuck!  Everywhere, absolutely everywhere I read, the literature says that I should blog regularly.  I am not a regular blogger simply because I have trouble finding topics to write about.  I would love suggestions if you read this. 

I went to a lecture/talk by Michelle Blanc who gave us some wonderful tips on social media updates that we should initiate.   Mainly, she emphasized finding your niche and writing about that.  I am not sure I have a niche.  I love mixed media and know a lot of information about this but is that my niche?  

She also said that we should talk about our environment; what we see or do.  My latest is finishing a mural with a friend of mine, Karen Blanchet,, at the Ecole Pere Lacombe School.  Thanks to Josee Lemire, the principal,  for the opportunity:  We loved working with the children and helping them paint the mural.  Putting it together was a challenge.  Each of the little squares were painted by the students then we had to put them all together.  The steps actually went like this:

Pre work: We meet with the Principal and discuss the theme and the location of the mural.  Several meetings later, we set a budget that goes in for approval.  Once approved, we decide dates that will work for the school and for us.  There will be a time to prep the mural, a time to work with the students and teachers and a time to put together the mural.

1.We get the two pieces of plywood and put them on a frame.

2. We add some mural fabric on top of the mural without adhering it.

3. We draw out the mural – the school logo in this case.

4. We paint an undercoat of colour for the mural.

5. We cut the mural into 5 x 5 inch squares. This was long because we had to label each square. 

6. The students paint the pieces based on a theme decided on by the school. This takes a week.

7. We put all the pieces back together again!  This was a very interesting puzzle.  There are always glitches.  Keep that in mind. 

8. We gel the pieces on then gel the surface several times.

9. We varnish the mural 3 x. 

10. We seal the edges with silicone. 

11. We call the school for pick-up.

12.  The school sets up the mural and we attend the opening. 

My biggest blog blues issue is that I am not sure what people want to know.  I know a lot of technical information related to art, but is that what people want to know?  Do you want to know about the ins and outs of being an artist or ??????

Here is a new work of mine.  This is what I like to talk the most about- the work. Is that enough?


Marketing SOS – Christmas giveaway and sale

The Shack 19 8 xx 10 in. sm IMG_2625 Marketing is a chore to most visual artists.  I have made a resolution to beat this problem.  My first step is writing this blog and committing to the project.

Here is a quote from someone good at marketing (M. Hernandez); The perfect marketer is someone that loves challenges, thrives in uncertainty, can think outside the box, likes to take risks (calculated ones), has boat loads of resilience, patience and energy.

The question is ‘Can I do it?’.  Yes, because I want to get my work known and I want to send my  painting babies to ‘nice homes’ so I can create more.  I love being in the studio and time away is painful.  Marketing is part of the away time.  All the advice says to make a plan.  Break it down into manageable sections and do it!  My plan includes two or three marketing/sales events a year, applying for at least three shows a year and promoting my website more.

Step 1.   My first marketing plan

Marketing strategies say that you need to give in order to receive.  Since it is the giving season, I will be giving away what? That is the question.  I have an idea!  The title will be:  The twelve days of Christmas giveaway.   Since it is near xmas, I am going to do a seasonal sale and giveaway.For twelve days, I will give away something that I have created. Twelve days equals 12 items.

 I do not want to spend a lot on shipping away free products.  I have several online classes, so that is inexpensive to give away.  What else?  Prints.  If the prints can be put in an envelope, that is reasonable.  Cards also.  I have a large supply.  Ideas, ideas…..please come to me………Anyone reading this column, please let me know your ideas.  I could use some help.