In the Art Room

“I don’t have time to make art.”


Okay, let’s back up for a minute. Last November I made some confessions, one of which was, “I haven’t made art for myself since college.” Then I went on to whine and complain about how I don’t have any time and blah, blah, blah, wah, wah, wah. I received some support, but one individual’s comment really struck me:

NO excuses!!! You have to make time to make art, or you’re no longer an artist. I have been teaching elementary art for 24 years and I have always made art!…

After reading that, I was all, “F* you, Bob. You don’t know me. Who are you to say that to me?” Slow down. Without going into the debate of whether or not art teachers need to be artists, let’s focus on the other part of his comment, the time part. Here I am thinking, “I don’t have time for art anymore,” but the reality is, I do. I just need to change my idea of what art is (and dear god, please don’t anyone try to define what art is or what real art, or good art is to me in the comments. I heard enough of that elitist nonsense in grad school).

The thing is, I’ve always thought of art as something grand and meaningful. Something you would be proud to display on your wall, or a relative’s wall, or even, a stranger’s wall. This idea of art, most assuredly an idea implanted during my college days, has held me back. I don’t have time to paint a large scale oil painting, or the supplies for real printmaking (think metal plates and acid baths), or the space to set up my wheel and kiln, therefore, I do not have time to make art. I am no longer an artist.

Like many of us, creativity has always been a necessary outlet in my life. If I’m not able to create, in some manner or another, then I tend to lose my shit. True story. Creating centers me, calms me, and balances me. Creating is my therapy, as it is for many of us. Lately, I’ve been feeling frustrated because I “just don’t have the time to create.” My anxiety increases, my stress levels skyrocket, and my emotions bounce all over the place. It’s not pretty. Then, somewhere (I wish I could remember where), I stumbled upon a book, Art Before Breakfast: A Zillion Ways to Be Creative No Matter How Busy You Are by Danny Gregory. I literally received it yesterday (although it feels like I ordered it months ago). Not 15 pages into it, I had an epiphany. You see, I have had time for art. I have been creating art. It’s just, I haven’t been creating “Art,” with a capital ‘A’. In his book, or more specifically, on pages 14-15, Danny G. examines the idea of Art vs. art. In short, “Art” is for the pretentious, and “art” is the stuff we should be doing everyday, the doodles, the sketches, the cartoons.

Long story short (“Too late!”*), Danny G. presents a challenge to commit to doing something creative every day, for 30 days. It can be something as simple as drawing your breakfast. Well, Danny G., challenge accepted.

So here’s the deal. I’m on instagram now. You can find me by clicking on that little icon under my profile picture at the top of this page, or just follow this link: athglitter. I’m going to be posting pictures of my 30 day challenge, and if you want to join me, please do. Make sure you tag me in your post, @athglitter, and include the hashtags #artbeforebreakfast and #athglitter. Let’s encourage each other to  create!

Are you in?

* I’m a HUGE Clue fan. I’ve seen it a gazillion times. Well, at least half a gazillion, and it’s probably the only movie that I actually know any quotes from. That and maybe Spaceballs (“They’ve gone plaid!”). Anyway, if you know the movie, you get this reference. If you don’t, then go watch it, and then you’ll get it.


9 thoughts on ““I don’t have time to make art.”

  1. Allison says:

    THANK YOU for posting this! I am in exactly the same place you are, making excuses about not making art since college and then feeling shitty for not making ART! Recently I participated in a fundraiser where designers had to create Disney/Pixar. themed characters/costumes out of bubble wrap to be worn at a runway style fashion show! We picked Monsters Inc.! While I didn’t think it was ART when I signed up, I soon realized how much it really WAS art! The time, the effort, and most importantly that amazing high you get after creating something you are proud of!!!! Now, to take on that challenge with you and continue to keep this rolling!!!


  2. Christina says:

    “I prefer Kipling myself. “The female of the species is more deadly than the male.” Do you like Kipling, Miss Scarlet?”
    “Sure, I’ll eat anything.”

    I cannot begin to express to you how much I LOVE, and how many times I have seen, Clue. I now love you even more, athg.
    Well played.


  3. When I read your title….I immediately thought of Danny. I’ve been following him since 2005 and took some of his “sketchbook skool” courses. It’s great. He’s great and there’s a whole community of supporters. Enjoy!!


  4. Amyh says:

    Totally get it !!! While my three children were little ones I struggled with the same idea…lack of art . I guess I just never thought painting a room up cycling furniture after a good dumpster dive or making curtains would be art … But I guess to me it comes down to creativity ! If you re imagined or created it … It counts! now that my children are older at the end of the school year I take the first two weeks to do nothing but make my own art . My kiddos know it my time to rejuvenate the well of creativity and spark my own juices . If I don’t do it right away it always seems like the summer slips away and my time spent on the never ending to do list …. Thanks for you insight I so very appreciate it !


  5. Thank you! Again, your writings always address issues I deal with too – I finally set up a studio in our extra bedroom but hadn’t plunged back in yet – soooo much easier to work up art examples for my students than to push myself in my own artwork. I had purchased Carla Sonheim’s “Drawing Lab” book for when I taught high schoolers a few years back and decided I could use it as a jumping off spot too. Love your “Clue” quote also… my adult sons keep asking why I keep that DVD since movies are all about streaming now – haha. Thanks again for your inspiration – I sat down and actually drew for 30 minutes tonight!


  6. I love this idea! I was struggling to make art for myself (you know — art that isn’t for a display or example!) I am just becoming consistent with it now that I am in grad school and being assigned to create artwork for one of my courses. It is very challenging to find the time but ultimately very fulfilling! As art teachers we have to find ways to maintain the balance between “educator” and “artist” so that we are bringing the best of both worlds to our students. I can’t wait to see what you create!


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