No One Told Picasso He Had to Work on a Schedule

In our creative endeavors, it’s hard to believe that we absolutely need a schedule or some sort of system to do our best work. After all, Pablo Picasso got to work on his own schedule and he did just fine.

The Myth of the Freewheeling Artist

Okay, so Picasso didn’t really sit on Paris river banks, drinking wine, while he waited for inspiration to strike. It’s estimated that he created approximately 50,000 works over the course of his life, ranging from painting to sculpture to tapestry. He lived to the ripe old age of 92, but even in that number of years, his output breaks down to a creative work and a half every day from the day he was born to the day he died. When you get realistic about when he started drawing and realize that he had to take a vacation sometime, his output becomes even more phenomenal.

And while no one set Picasso a schedule as he got older and famous, Picasso’s father was also a painter and a professor of art. He certainly set his young son a schedule, even renting him a small room near their home to work in at the age of 13. Picasso got a good grounding of self-discipline when it came to his art from his youngest years.

Picasso was dedicated to his work even as he grew older: he certainly had earned enough money from his work to afford a lifestyle that didn’t require him to work (or, more importantly, sell his paintings). But he reportedly would spend hours working every day, often working late into the night.

Picasso As a Role Model

Picasso may not be the best role model when it comes to the way he lead his life, but his work ethic is admirable: if you want to be productive and creative at the same time, you have to work at it. You have to push and grow. Most days, you don’t have to create just one work — you have to come up with sketches and ideas worth pursuing and still actually finish some of your works.

It’s not a simple task to set yourself and a traditional schedule may not work for you. Picasso had the self-discipline to get to work regularly, but for some of us, a little more structure is necessary. It’s a personal question — creativity works differently in different minds.

Image by Flickr user M31


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