Commitment: a new perspective

2-day pose of Brian showing Commitment to Color by Julie Dyer Holmes Commitment may not seem to be a word associated with oil painting or artists or even art school. In fact, these days there are many other words associated with artists which I will not repeat here. Instead, I will write about some of the commitments people are making to attend this school.

I suspect there are other blog posts that will follow this one, too. Like what? Well, consider the words self-discipline, goal-setting, prioritizing, and other words which I hear at school everyday. These words will be the subject of future blog posts. But for now, dear reader, let’s just focus on commitment.


The first definition from Google’s online dictionary is “the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc.” The second definition according to the mighty Google is: “an engagement or obligation that restricts freedom of action.”

I think the second definition is interesting because wouldn’t any engagement or obligation restrict freedom of action? Seems that I can only focus on one obligation at a time. You? Ah well, I think I digress. How about if I share some thoughts on commitment as I see it here at Studio Incamminati.

Commitment examples

There’s a student in my class who lives 6,992 miles away from her spouse to attend school. Every student I know at this place draws, paints and studies hours and hours beyond the 6-hours / day we spend at the easel. There are teachers at this school who teach a full day of classes and then paint a painting from life for three hours at night. There are students at this school who arrange for after school painting and drawing sessions after school every week.

Why do I share these examples of commitment? Because I think this offers a sneak peak of the time, persistence and endurance that are minimum requirements for this place. And, as I have met artists of various levels of proficiency and accomplishment, I have heard them speak of their own commitment to practice, for years and years.

There’s no doubt that talent is a factor in any craft. But what seems to transcend time and even talent is a person’s willingness to practice their craft on a regular basis. Here’s to all you hardworking, committed artists and craftspeople out there! Share how you practice commitment, if you’d like. I would love to hear from you!


The painting in this post is of a fantastic looking model named Brian. He sat for my Monday portrait class for the last two weeks and, yes, he was wearing purply-pink glasses, a blue-ish bandana and had amazing gold and deep brown dreadlocks. I think I had more fun painting this portrait than any other portrait so far. Who says commitment can’t be fun, now and then, right?


  1. Beth Clary
    October 24, 2017

    What a totally cool-looking man! I bet he was fun to paint.

    You write the truth. A good reminder about just putting the time in. In a recent interview in Poets and Writers with Salman Rushdie about his habits he said, “I’ve always had this view that you wake up every day with a little nugget of creative juice {does juice come in nuggets, Salman? can’t resist inserting this} for the day and you can either use it or you waste it. My view is, therefore, you write first. Get up, get out of bed, get to your desk, and work.”

    This is slightly off “commitment” but maybe it’s the showing up at the easel/desk/wheel/whatever and making that the every day part of one’s life that matters most?

  2. Julie Holmes
    October 24, 2017

    Hi Beth,

    Thanks for checking out this post and the painting!

    I don’t think your observations are off topic at all. In fact, I think showing up and working on the problems and creative issues of a painting or drawing on a daily basis are super important; the key (or maybe the nugget?

    Silly Salman thinking juice has nuggets.

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