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Not Painting (The Procrastinating Artist)

January 26, 2013

Not Painting (The Procrastinating Artist)

By Carolyn Henderson.

The Norwegian Artist and I have a friend who specializes in painting small pet animals…that is, when he paints. Most of the time, our friend is thinking about painting, or castigating himself for not painting enough, or remodeling the garage studio so that it’s easier for him to paint, or reading about painting, or attending art group meetings and talking with colleagues about how challenging it is to get in the mood to paint. He rarely paints.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s always a reason. Like many artists who are not yet, or maybe never want to be, making a full time living with their art, our friend is tired at the end of the work day, and by the time he sets up his work area so that he can continue where he left off three weeks ago, it’s time to put it all away again.

What to do? Do whatever you must to make painting as effortless as possible, because the more you do it, the easier it gets.

While to paint regularly, you don’t need a huge space, you’ll find yourself happiest with a designated one…

1) While it’s unrealistic to expect to paint every day, do shoot for more than twice a week.

2) Set aside a designated space that you don’t have to dismantle and re-build each time you work.

3) Schedule in the time – it doesn’t have to be a four-hour session, because that’s so daunting you’ll do anything to avoid even starting. One hour, focused, is better than four, puttering.

4) Allow yourself to make mistakes and experiment, freeing yourself from the obligation to produce a saleable work every time.

5) Recognize that you can’t do everything, and in order to make the time for painting, something else may have to go.

Habits can be bad things or good, but the reasons they become habits is because we do them so often, they become natural to us. Painting or not painting can become habit. It all depends on you…


Carolyn Henderson is the manager of Steve Henderson Fine Art. She is a weekly columnist for Fine Art News, a division of Canvoo, and writes a lifestyle column, Middle Aged Plague, that is published online and in print newspapers throughout the country.

Describing herself as “small, insignificant, and ordinary,” Carolyn writes for and about normal, everyday people, who are not small and insignificant at all.

Submitted by Janet S.


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