Professional Practice

How to Balance Your Commitments With Your Creative Needs

Lori Richmond's artwork

Do you ever feel as if the days just fly by? Our time is not always our own as we have responsibilities to our families, students, and friends. Finding the perfect balance in life is hard because there’s simply not enough time in a day! Time is one of the most significant factors art teachers stop making art, but creating can fuel us.

So how can we make time? To answer this question, we’re going to hear from author and illustrator, Lori Richmond. She has a great solution to balancing work, family, and creating!

Meet Lori Richmond

Lori RichmondLori Richmond is a children’s book author-illustrator based in Brooklyn, NY. Before creating picture books, Lori worked in the corporate world on a variety of creative endeavors and was no stranger to programs like Good Morning America or the Today Show. But, even though she was fulfilling her dreams creating and illustrating books, something was missing. She was seeking to explore her creativity in other ways. This is when her View From My Run Series was born.

About the View From My Run Series

As art teachers, we often create art daily. However, this creation is not usually the work that feeds our souls. It’s typically examples of techniques and processes to aid our students in learning. Yes, we’re physically making things, but this type of making can feel tedious and cumbersome. Similarly, Lori describes creating picture books, in the same way, sharing “It is a very intense, months-to-years long process.” After working on three books in one year, she knew she needed a side project to use a different part of her brain.

Lori Richmond's artwork

The creative process for Lori includes running. As a marathon runner going on frequent long runs, this time gives Lori a way to decompress and problem solve her artmaking challenges. Here is how Lori describes the inception of her series, “While on a training run last March, I was stopped in my tracks on the Manhattan Bridge by a brilliant sunset hugging the downtown city skyline. With the intention of painting this scene just for fun, I quickly pulled out my phone, snapped a photo, and continued my run. Moments later, I glanced down at my watch to check my pace, and an idea occurred to me; If I paint the sunset, it will just be a sunset. But if I paint the sunset in the same amount of time it takes me to complete this run, the two become connected. That sunset was the first in the series. I posted to my Instagram @loririchmonddraws and started the hashtag #viewfrommyrun.

The Importance of Moving at Your Own Pace

Running and art have several commonalities. “One of my favorites is the idea of staying within yourself,” Richmond says. “As artists, we all suffer from imposter syndrome and self-doubt. I don’t know why that is, but I have never met an artist who doesn’t! But you have to focus on your own work and not be distracted by what everyone else is doing.”

Lori Richmond's artwork

In a world of social media and Instagram, this can be hard. The comparison game is real, and it’s easy to lose sight of what truly is important. Richmond advises us to, “Remember that you’re on your journey, not someone else’s. This is just like being in a road race — there are other people running all around you, and you’re all moving toward a goal. People will pass you, and you will pass others. You have to go at your own pace, just like in your art career.”

Taking Time to Notice the Little Things

One of the most powerful characteristics of Lori’s #viewfrommyrun series is the importance it stresses observing the little things. She realizes how society is spread thin with responsibilities and overscheduling, yet, “We’re tethered to tiny glowing screens, email inboxes, ‘like’ buttons, and notifications. And because of that, we’re missing so much of the real world around us.”

Lori Richmond's artwork

How often do you go through a day not taking notice of the small things? Are you truly taking in and observing your life? Lori uses running as a sensory experience; it is her time to observe the world, no matter how small an experience. What gives you your sensory experience? What causes you to stop and notice the world around you taking in the sights, smells, and sounds?

Participate in the View From My Day Challenge

Artmaking can be a process that helps us slow down and observe the world around us. During the month of January, we challenge you to participate in the View From My Day Challenge for art teachers. See below for details!

view from my day challenge

  • Choose
    Choose an “Activity of the Day.” It might be your commute, a run, or a trip to the store.
  • Observe
    Pay attention to something that interests you during your activity. Try to find the extraordinary in the ordinary.
  • Create
    Create something based on your observations. Make sure to spend the same amount of time creating that you spent on your activity.
  • Share
    Post your artwork on social media with the #viewfrommyday hashtag.
    Tag both @loririchmonddraws and @theartofed to share your amazing work!

It’s important to remember to take time for yourself to create. As the new year rolls around, we hope you’ll join us in making the time to slow down and take in the everyday moments. You might even consider challenging your students to do the same!

Or, consider making your own art while creating invaluable resources for your classroom! It’s exactly what students in our Studio courses do. Explore all of our offerings right here.

What fuels your creative process?

When do you find yourself observing and taking in the little things?

Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.


Abby Schukei

Abby Schukei, a middle school art educator and AOEU’s Social Media Manager, is a former AOEU Writer. She focuses on creating meaningful experiences for her students through technology integration, innovation, and creativity.

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