Paint Life: Instacart

The most valuable asset when making art is not your ideas, your brushes, your canvases, paper, or even your computer/cintiq/tablet.

When it comes to making art, the most precious asset to have is time.

Without time, you can't enact your ideas. You can't build talent without time. You can't paint on canvas, you can't draw on paper. You can't take a watercolor class or install your art show without time. 

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When I talk to other artists, time is often the main challenge when it comes to making good art. Time affects artists differently across personalities and mediums; some people need hours of quietude to gain creative strength - some can squeeze in drawing sessions between chores.

Yet, one thing is for certain: the faster you figure out how to manage your time, the more art you can make and the better it will be. 

One day I was working on a painting and I was totally out of time. The oil paint was in a mid-dry phase, where if I worked it any further, it would grow too firm and ugly to change. I would lose the painting if I didn't work on the painting constantly. 

While mired in daubs of, ugh, linseed oil and in desperate need of a shower, I realized I was also out of the makeup wipes that I always use to clean my brushes. Bad brushes full of gray muddy paint tend to just ruin my paintings, making all the colors dull. Worse, at a certain point, muddy paint looks unintentional, phony, and overall just bad. 

Stuck in this rush situation, I was thrilled when I found out I could just order brush-cleaning makeup wipes and other cleaning supplies via Instacart.  



The Uber of grocery stores, Instacart employs a fleet of personal shoppers who receive orders from customers via the Instacart app. Instacart's personal shoppers retrieve the orders from grocery stores and drive the orders to each customer's home. Usually, all of this gets done within 3 hours. You can even rush order if you want. 

After ordering on Instacart once, I am now a faithful addict. Instead of constantly changing out of my color-dappled painting clothes, leaving my studio, and braving, gulp, Houston traffic ...  I just strike up an order on Instacart. It's made my studio life much more efficient.

Ordering food and groceries on Instacart also allows you to spend more time in the studio overall. It's like ordering delivery on a late night where you are on a deadline, but ultimately much cheaper and more efficient. 

"Isn't there a huge markup?" people ask me about Instacart. "Wouldn't it be cheaper to just go yourself?"

The Instacart convenience markup is negligible when it comes to ordering food and supplies that cannot spoil. I find the largest markups apply to items like greens or salad, where the Instacart shopper must rush to get the item from the store to the customer. 

For example, our local Texas grocery, HEB, carries a low-cost brand of makeup wipe, which are usually $1.99 in stores if you're not using Instacart.

The same wipes are only $2.27 on Instacart, an upcharge of 28 cents. 

28 cents is acceptable, because ample and uninterrupted working time continues to be the most valuable thing an artist could ever have. 

Other art things you can order on Instacart to keep your paint life in order: 

1. Ziplock bags for storing unused paint

2. Aluminum foil for sealing paint tubes

3. Gloves for protecting your hands

4. Cleanup soap

5. Simple Erasers for drawings

6. Notepads

7. Pushpins for hanging your work

8. Masking tape

9. Tea/Coffee for a productive morning

10. Beer/Wine for a long day in the studio


Ordering these items on Instacart and all the food you can imagine will save tons of time - time that can be used for art.