Give Yourself Deadlines
I had a graphic design business for 20 years, so I’m accustomed to working with deadlines. That experience really helps me if I don’t feel the motivation to paint. So you might make a calendar and impose artificial deadlines if you don’t work toward actual due dates.
Start With the Mechanics
I don’t have any rituals really. If I’m not in the mood, I go into the studio anyway and usually I start to work on mechanics—concentrating on the structure, the drawing—the fundamental aspects that don’t have as great an impact on the final look of the painting but which are essential at the start. I begin working on the mechanics and gradually I get into the painting—and once that happens, everything takes care of itself.
See "Music of Light" by Deborah Secor in the October 2007 issue of The Artist’s Magazine to learn how pastelist and oil painter Paul Murray interweaves measures of darkness with measures of light on highly textured surfaces.
Paul Murray worked for years as a graphic designer and then took the risk and started painting full time. He lives in Santa Fe, where he often paints on location with a group of artists.