I was young for a day last week. Not really but it felt that way one Thursday after I had finished making some drawings. It all has to do with the hours I keep and how much energy I have. I generally have a lot of energy for making art and getting things done by not the same amount I had in my younger days. Except on that Thursday.

As a freelancer sometimes I work at some place on site and sometimes I work in my home studio. This on site days have their own rhythm and hours. I’m writing about the days when I’m home and working on my own art. I’m consistent about working on my own stuff. Besides energy it takes developing good habits to get art done. So I’ve developed some over the decades.

I’m a morning person. That means I have the most energy and concentration in the morning. So I get up early. It’s gotten earlier and earlier over the years but it’s at 8:00 AM that I get started with my work day. I’m usually at the drawing board, computer, or easel by then.

Back when I was in my 20s my day would last longer than it does now. Most of the day was the same. I’d start working at 8 AM, take a bike ride break from 9AM- 10AM (five days a week), and then get back to work until 12 PM. That’s when I would have lunch. Usually until 12:30. After that I would work until 5 PM when I’d stop for dinner. I’d get started again around 6 PM and work a little more until around 8 PM or maybe 9 PM.

Back in my 20s (the early 1990s) we all still watched TV shows live. So I stopped at 8 PM on nights that there were shows to watch at that time. I probably only worked until 9 PM on nights when there were no shows to watch. On rare occasions I’d work until 10 PM but never much after that. Being a morning person I was no good at staying up late to get things done. I’ve never pulled all all-nighter in my life. It’s always better for me to get some sleep and finish things in the morning.

My work habits are still nearly the same except I don’t get as much work done after diner. I might get a few easy things done between 6-7 PM but it’s rare that I work until 8 or 9 PM. I don’t need to. In my 20s I had more of a sense of urgency. I wanted to learn things and master my craft. I’ve done that. I still like to learn new things but I already have many mediums that I can make art in when I want to. Color inks were the last thing I added to my menu of mediums. That was a couple of years ago and is a fairly obscure medium. I’ve also worked in all the obvious ones over the years. So now I take it easy at night.

I also used to push myself more time-wise. I would say to myself “Just one more hour and I can get this done.” It was worth the energy back then to push myself and get it done. Now it’s not. With less energy than in my youth I know that if I push myself now I might be extra tired tomorrow. Now it’s easier to just wait for tomorrow to put in that extra hour. My pace is different.

So how did I get to feeling younger for a day? Well. I got six drawings done in a day and it took me from 8 AM until about 8 PM. I was working on some pencil drawings for my “Dreams of Things” series that day. I picked six thumbnail drawings out of one of my Inkbooks, blew them up to 6×9 inches, and printed them out to be drawn.

I often set these blue line thumbnail up in groups. That way I can pick one up when the mood hits and draw one. Usually I’d be drawing a group of six of them over a week. But not that Thursday. That Thursday I started with one and then just kept going. I was on a roll.

Usually I’m a steady worker. I get stuff done whether I’m in the mood or not. It takes making things a habit to be able to make art even when your mood isn’t good. It pays off though because you’ll get more done and some of my best work was made when I wasn’t feeling it. Your chances of making good stuff go up when you make stuff as opposed to when you don’t.

But that Thursday I was on a roll. Everything was going smoothly and working out fine. I think I got four drawings done by dinnertime and then looked at the last two I had set up and asked myself if I wanted to work on them. Here is where I had the energy of my youth again as I didn’t even have to push myself to get them done. I put in another few hours and I had all six drawings done before 9 PM. I felt good the whole day and I felt good when I finished them. Energized even.

I wasn’t even tired as I finished. Often in the past if I pushed myself to finish something I’d be tired after finishing. That Thursday I wasn’t. Often after pushing myself to finish something I knew that I was going to be extra tired the next day but on this Thursday I knew that I’d be okay and the next day I was.

So for one day when it came to making art I was young again. I was in my 20s and getting stuff done all day long. I probably even got more stuff done than in my 20s because I can work more efficiently. Six drawings is a lot to get done in one day and I’m not sure I could have done that in my 20s. I might not have had the skill. But that Thursday I had the skill and energy. I enjoyed that day getting so much art done because they don’t come around that often. Hurrah.