When You Don't Feel Like Painting

Dear Artist Friends...

One of the questions I get fairly often is what do I do when I don’t feel like painting. The short answer is that I do it anyway.

The long answer is that before I committed to making a living from my art, I only painted when I felt like it. And sometimes that meant I went months in between painting sessions. And the longer I spent out of the studio, the harder it was to get back in.

 But that isn’t an option any more. A few years ago I realized that often what was keeping me from making progress on a painting was the fear of messing it up. And I figured out that I needed to adjust my process so that it was much less precious and actually encouraged the idea of “mistakes”. Now that I’ve done that it is much easier emotionally to keep working on a painting.

 In addition to that I’m committed to showing up in the studio for a certain number of hours every week. I may not start working directly on the paintings I need to finish, but I’m there making paper or prepping canvases or tidying up. Just by being there I’m increasing my chances of getting paint on the canvas.

 And my secret trick for getting moving on a painting when I’m just not feelin' it is to put on my big headphones and play the music (these days I rotate The National, Hamilton Leithauser, and Andrew Bird) really loud.

 Without fail that single act turns off my thinking brain and shows me a way forward.

1 comment

  • Pippin schupbach

    Great sound track to keep you motivated in the studio. Thanks for sharing the tip!

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