The Best Times to Paint

by | Sep 20, 2007 | Blog | 3 comments

I get up at 4 am, get to my studio by 5 and begin to paint. Most of my friends think I am nuts getting up so early, so I usually don’t mention it anymore. Getting up early started as a necessary ritual. For over a decade I have had to pick up my son at school by 3 pm. He always needed me for something, and if not, there were errands, phone calls, etc. And so my studio time came to an abrupt end by mid afternoon. Now that he is 16, driving and fairly independent, I was shocked to suddenly realize I no longer need to get up at an insane hour to get in enough painting time. So lately, the last few weeks, I have been playing around varying the timing of my daily rituals. Habits are hard to break. I get up later, and feel unenergetic all day and out of whack. But today, as I was taking a walk around 7 am, enjoying the cool air and brilliant sunrise colors I came to realize that there is a benefit to working so early in the morning. Just like freshly baked bread tastes incredible the first hour out of the oven, and changes flavor as it cools, the early morning contains a freshly baked energy, appreciated only by us early morning risers. I have noticed that not only do I have different energies during the day, but the day itself carries its own variety of energy potential. We are all different individuals, but it is my theory that by paying attention to the 2 energies: that offered by the day, and that of our own mind/body mechanism, that we can maximize our productivity and general feelings of well being, by taking advantage of that energy awareness and scheduling ourselves appropriately. I know that I can think and paint most clearly before the sun, noise (and everyone else) wakes up. I do my best office work, phone calls, bills, general left brain stuff around lunch time. And get a good second wind of painting energy late afternoon/early evening. So now I will go back to getting up insanely early. Except now I know it’s not out of necessity but a personal wise choice.

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  1. jmorreau

    Nancy, you are right! There is definitely a creative energy that permeates the early AM and cannot be gotten anywhere else. I too got into the habit of getting up early because of the transportation needs of my children and now I continue to do it because I love it! Watching the sun come up over the ocean is a particular requirement for all my travels to coastal destinations.

  2. Deb Chaney

    Nancy! Hey, it’s Deb from SB
    Wow, this is great, I didn’t know you wrote a blog. Now I can get more of your insights…terrifice. And yes, I really do resonate with those energies – early morning and evening…those work for me also with painting. Hope to see you soon in SF. Much love Deb Chaney

  3. Hattigrace

    Hmmm, food for thought. I tend to burn the midnight oil bc I need a lot of time to recover from a day at the salon of non-stop conversation. But, you are so right. Mornings are very special. I think I will try your schedule!


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About Nancy

Nancy Reyner is a professional fine-art painter with over 30 years experience using a variety of mediums including oil, acrylic, watercolor and mixed media. She has appeared on television for HGTV’s “That’s Clever,” and authored several best-selling painting books with F&W Media. She currently lives in Santa Fe, NM. Read more.
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