Art Tip #6 - Make the Best of What You Have

Sometimes I buy into this shameful little lie that if I have more "stuff", I will be a happier artist.

One of 2 things then happens:  I either ache with envy for the things I don't have, or I buy *way* more junk than I need.

It happens occasionally when I am looking over beautiful blogs and see artists in their beautiful studios.  I think to myself, "I must not be an artist, because I'm working from my lap."

It happens when I wander into art stores without a shopping list.  My eyes light up, and I wind up buying things on a whim.   After the thrill of opening new supplies is gone, I shove the stuff I don't need into storage containers... and then I feel like a hoarder for having so much clutter.

That kind of thought process takes the wind out of my sails.   Not the way to go!

So whenever I fall into "poor-me" thinking, I try to remember one of my favorite cheesy little phrases:

(I first heard it here.  :)  I've said it before that my husband teases me for my chick music.)

Here are a few pointers to go along with that.  I try to use them whenever I feel down-in-the-dumps:
  • Make the best of what you have.   If I feel like I don't have enough stuff, I take inventory of what I do have.  I literally take out a pad and pencil, go through my supplies, and write a list of what I have "in stock."  It might be nerdy, but it helps me realize that I have more than enough to make things work.
  • Challenge yourself to use supplies in a new way... or tap into old supplies that you haven't used in a while.  I have tubes of acrylic paint that don't use very much.  I like to pull out a small canvas every now and then and play around in the thick paint.  Wakes up my braincells.  
  • Make a wishlist. has a Wish List section, where you can browse supplies on their site and then save items to your account - without buying them.  (Sometimes I'll visit my wish list a month later and remark, "What the heck was I thinking?  Why would I want that?")
  • Make a budget.  This is one that has helped me tremendously. is a great place to start tracking your expenses and income.  You can put aside a set amount each month for fun stuff.  If I run out of my "fun money" for the month, I know to not step foot near an art store.  
  • Consistency over novelty.  Remember that the most valuable resource anyone has is TIME.  What you do with it is most important. 

Do you ever buy stuff you don't need? 
What's in your inventory?  :)