Every day when I enter my studio, I ask the question, where do I begin? It’s not that I haven’t already thought about it, made some plans or created a to-do list. I open the door and see all the things going on in the studio and I freeze, momentarily. It’s like the first stages of moving into a new place. All the boxes and accumulated odds and ends that come with the years of living are in a jumble, or so it seems. And I ask myself, “Where to begin?”

The Problem

In my case, I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I have so many options. If you are an artist who wants to get your work out there, more than likely, you have several projects going on at the same time — for a good reason. You have hit a block with one, are experimenting with another, and noodling on the next. There are usually a few that are in various stages of completion and a couple waiting to be wired, framed, etc. There is always something to do.

The Process

Like many other artists, I have a ritual of sorts that helps me focus and begin my day. I enter my studio with a plan to do three things: I sit down with my day planner (and my iced coffee) and make notes on the work I did the previous day; I make a to-do list for this day; then, I look over the works in progress, generally ignore them, and start with a warm-up piece. Once I’ve done that, I have a pretty good idea of where to begin. It’s been mulling around in my head all this time so that, when I make that choice, the energy has been nurtured and is now focused — I’m ready to go.

The Limitations

Setting a timer is also helpful. It is so easy for me to dawdle over something or get caught up in a work that it prevents me from taking a break (space is good) and stops everything else from moving forward. Limiting a project to 45 minutes to 1½ hours, depending upon what is needed, works well for me. If I’m in the flow, I give myself permission to reset the timer one time for that particular piece. After that, I move on.

The Result

You may think, “Wow, she’s really disciplined.” I like to think that, too. I’m intuitive by nature, so it’s not unheard of for me to preempt my work with good intentions. Having a plan is good. It’s a place to start — giving me focus and moving me forward.

Where do you begin? Share your process below.


Lynn Foskett Pierson, PCF Artist in Residence.
Lynn Foskett Pierson

Lynn Foskett was born in South Florida in 1949. She grew up and attended schools all over the U.S. and abroad. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting from Northern Illinois University. Since moving back to Florida, Pierson has been active in the Tampa Bay arts community. She currently serves as the Artist in Residence for Pinellas Community Foundation.