A Day in the Life of an Equestrian Oil Painter – December Edition

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So I thought it might be interesting to know what happens in the day of a life of an equestrian artist like myself.  I will do this a few times throughout the year so you can get a glimpse into how my world changes with the seasons…

 

 

Currently it is two days before Christmas. We have just had the winter solstice. Here in the U.K its just getting light at 8:00AM and its getting dark around 3:30pm.

How a typical December day looks for me:

 

7:00 Alarm goes off

 

7:15 Actually get out of bed, dressed within 5 minutes

 

7:20 Breakfast with lovely fiancé Kez (usually tell him off for something, discuss what we are both doing that day, and what we will have for tea)

 

7:30 Kez leaves for work. I brush teeth, wash my face, do something to hair.. try to battle sitting on my phone at the breakfast table

 

7:50 Leave house with dog to visit “the yard” (farm where I keep my horse, Molly.)

 

8:00 – 8:45 Turn out horse, muck out and hay nets.

 

8:55 – 9:00 Wash dog, make a cup of tea to take up to the studio for 9:00.

 

9:00 – 12:00 Artwork

Now. I say ‘Artwork’… so far, this is more like my ideal working day. Im sure a lot of you appreciate that each day is a minefield of distractions. e-mails, messages, phone calls, postmen, delivery drivers, people ‘just calling round for a cup of tea’, banking, galleries, framers.. and thats without social media and a dirty house luring you into their grasp! But on a good day I would be doing artwork at this time.

 

12:00 – 12:30 Lunch – As I am on a pre-Christmas diet, 1 piece of toast and another cup of tea.

 

12:30 – 3:00 Artwork

 

3:00 – 4:00 Back out into the elements, up ‘the yard’ to get the horse in. Walk the dog.

 

4:00 – 4:05 Wash the dog, make another cup of tea

 

4:00 – 6:00 Admin

I used to try and force myself back into the studio, however generally I lose momentum when the sun goes down (which it is at this time of year). So lately I have been doing my admin at this time. If it is cold I light the fire in our lovely cozy lounge, get on the sofa and curl up with my laptop, responding to e-mails, creating social media content, editing photos, updating my website, the list goes on… zzzz

In my perfect world I would love this time to be spent either reading one of my unread art books or drawing in a sketch book.. with a large gin and tonic. I should make schedule that in and make it happen at least once a week. Maybe my new years resolution?

 

If I’m honest I do really struggle time of year, all of my passions require daylight hours.  Many of my hobbies are completely culled from my life (paddle boarding, running, cycling, gardening) and ones I try to maintain (horse riding and dog walking), I feel guilty doing as they take up daylight hours.. when I should be painting…

 

 

 

All is not lost! Every year I like to try and make some kind of positive change to make my winters better. 

A few changes I have made in the last few years:
    • I no longer partake in the Christmas rush. I.e. trying to get a large volume of commissioned pieces completed for Christmas. I did this for a number of years and it really took a toll on my mental health. One of the many joys of switching to oil painting  is that, due to oil paint’s slow drying time, paintings have to be planned months in advance (you wouldn’t be able to wrap up a wet oil painting!). Clients need to get in touch with me in September by the latest if they want something for Christmas, and thats if i’m not already booked up. So without really realising, switching to oil painting as my primary medium made my Decembers a lot brighter.
    • Leaving my admin till the end of the day. My daylight hours are precious. If I open my e-mails in the morning who knows how much time I will lose
    • Turning my phone to ‘Do not disturb mode’ between 9:00am and 5:00pm. I still get phone calls and texts, but no WhatsApps or any other notifications. This is wonderfully freeing, I highly recommend doing this to everyone!

 

Future Changes to be made:
    • Really warm studio with log burner.
    • Groom who will get my horse (horses by this point!) in for me in the afternoon. This would enable me to ride and dog walking in the mornings, guilt free! then work straight through in the afternoon.
    • Indoor arena so exercising my horse (horses) is possible in the evenings.

 

Horse riding in the forest of dean

So thats exciting! It looks like my future self absolutely has it sussed!! I can’t wait!

 

If you’re outdoorsy like me, i’m sure you can relate to the stresses of December life. Would love to hear your thoughts and tips in the comments below. How do you cope? I’d love to know.

 

 


 

What do you think..?