View Full Version : creative blocks: guilt

07-09-2000, 05:37 PM
I've been whining about this in the Chat for a month or so...maybe I should be here with this.....guilt. I love to do art. Too much, it seems. I really don't want to do anything else. Once I start, I can't stop. I don't eat, or sleep, or anything else, until I drop...and when I get up, I'm right back. Yet, I have a family, responsibilities. They are supportive...they want me to be happy, and respect my work...but they want me to fulfill their other, natural expectations. Like regular meals, clean laundry, comfortable home...And I feel better, liberated, when those things are in place. Yet I have such a hard time managing my time. I am where I am...if I think..ok, I clean today,...or ok, I'll work on the kitchen today, (we bought a ‘new', old house and I'm redecorating), or...ok, I'll work on the garden today....and there is always more to be done, and I can get way into whatever, but the art not being created is always there. If I'm doing other stuff, I feel guilty for not doing art, if I'm doing art, I feel guilty for not doing other stuff. Does anyone have an answer? Is there a balance? And if so, how can I get there? Linda

07-10-2000, 01:15 AM
Oh believe me when i tell you Linda, that you are not alone & a lot of us feel the exact same way at times! I could be perfectly happy to stay in my studio 24 hours a day! http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif i have a very comfy couch in there for sleep. LOL But yes, i do feel guilt at times because i find it very easy to ignor responsibilities. Since you have a family & they do have needs, i would suggest you sit down with a pencil & paper & write out your responsibilities. Start with the things that HAVE to be done, feeding the children, laundry etc. move on to the things that SHOULD be done, yard work, housecleaning etc. Then to the things that COULD be done,finishing that kitchen, cleaning that closet etc. You will probably find that there are a few things in there that you can cross off of the urgency list. You may be able to delegate some of the chores to others (within reason, of course) and take what you have left & schedule a time for them. Four hours laundry equals three hours for art. Time managment is the key. If you allow yourself a certain amount of time for art each day & then stop at the designated time & move on the the HAVE TOs, you'll feel less guilt. Once your have tos are dealt with you may be able to squeeze in a should do. Don't know if this will help you or not but it works for me. It has also worked for my husband who can really procrastinate. I hand him a list & he does what's on it & ends up having more spare time than he though he would. I wish you the best of luck & stop feeling guilty because it can really affect your product.. Cheryl

07-10-2000, 06:29 AM

I felt the same way! Finally, I just stopped feeling guilty. I realized that the guilt wasn't getting me to change my behavior (I HAVE to do the art) so it was only serving to make me miserable and grouchy.


07-10-2000, 10:32 AM
Cindy, if i recall, it wasn't to long ago that you were struggling with this issue. I'm so glad that you've been able to get to this place & your work certainly shows it! http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif Cheryl

07-10-2000, 11:06 AM
Hummmmm, sounds suspiciously like me.
I've got to get away from this computer and
go paint. Opps, can't do that until I clean
off a spot in the kitchen! (cleaning)

Phyllis Rennie
07-10-2000, 08:14 PM
Couple more ideas:

Plan the night before what you are going to do in the morning. Make a list & cross off things. Then, keep the list. That way you and everyone else can see that you accomplished stuff.

Double up jobs. For example, put a load of laundry in the machine before you start making dinner. Put the clothes in the dryer after you finish eating but before you start the kitchen cleanup. When the kitchen is cleaned, do a few more chores until the dryer buzzes. Put the clothes away and quit. Repeat everyday and you never have piles of laundry to do all at once.

Set the kitchen timer for forty-five minutes. Clean as fast and hard as possible until the buzzer goes off. Put the cleaning products away and go paint. Repeat daily and the cleaning gets done and rushing through it gives your body a good workout too.

07-11-2000, 01:37 AM
Thank you all for responding, all good ideas, but I think the 'support group' aspect of your encouraging words are as helpful, or more, than the ideas themselves. I do have 'The Artist's Way'....I think it's still packed from the move...maybe I should dig it out. But I really feel it helps to hear how others deal with this. I'd like to hear more about your stories of this issue. Linda

07-11-2000, 03:14 PM

I agree with Phyllis...I give myself two hours on Tuesdays and Fridays to clean...it does work. I can get the house cleaned. I have 3 kids - all under 9 yrs old - they are expected to keep their rooms tidy, p/u toys, put away their clothes, make their beds, set the dinner table, put their dirty dishes in sink, garbage in the can etc. If everyone in your household takes the time to do it right the first time your house will stay cleaner and neater. I also take breaks when the kids are busy playing to draw then at nite when they are asleep I can paint it. I do spend time with the hubby too, but I stay up later then he does.

Right now I have the 2 yr old on my lap and we're having oreo's. My daughter is building with lego's next to me and the oldest is watching his favorite pokemon cartoon. I get to play on my computer. Time management is the key...we all have guilt...we just have to tell it to Shut UP!

I hope u can overcome this...reading books on these subjects suggested above really do help
Maybe if u drew or painted the "guilt" u could throw it away and overcome it. This has helped me with some of my "problems".


Lynda Mortensen
07-13-2000, 01:02 PM
It's such a struggle isn't it? I have a set schedule for cleaning/laundry that takes about 1 1/2 hours per day - I try to be strict with myself and get it over and done with first thing, then I can paint relatively guilt-free until the panic over dinner starts - although my husband is very good at giving me lists of extra things to be done, telephone calls to make etc., before he goes off to work each day (Grrrr!), which tends to take further big chunks of time out of the day. My main problems are with my kids wanting to join in - I have a studio, but there is only space for me at my desk, so when my girls follow me in, they soon reduce the room to chaos, with stuff all over the floor behind me. Because of this I very rarely use it and tend to paint on the kitchen table, so that they can paint along with me and I can keep my eye on them. They also have little sketching kits of their own, so that we can all go out painting together (they are 4 and 10 years old). However, even when I have enough actual time, I often find that I am simply too stressed out to paint - if the kids have been arguing or playing up then I find I haven't the energy or inspiration needed to start with art. My family think that I am a rather eccentric when I say that I can't wait to be of 'retirement' age - but I'm sure other artists fully understand the appeal and freedom of having your children grown, little work to do and peaceful times to potter about and paint!

07-14-2000, 12:36 AM
ReNae..you are superwoman...I have a friend like you...can do everything, and still be 'relaxed and fresh at the end of the day'...Me? Never. By the way, I must have been having flashbacks, or premonitions...my youngest is 28, and long flown the nest, but she's returning for a month or so between lease being up and moving to Florida, at the same time her oldest sister will be home for her annual visit...with all that, I can still relate more to Lynda. I know in my heart that it's do-able, but working it out, staying focused, is really hard for some of us, without the support of fellow artists who're working toward the same goals. That's why this has already been so positive for me...even if your experiences aren't exactly the same, I believe we all struggle in some way.
By the way, does any of you do 'Simple Abundance'?

07-14-2000, 08:30 AM
Originally posted by paintfool:
Cindy, if i recall, it wasn't to long ago that you were struggling with this issue. I'm so glad that you've been able to get to this place & your work certainly shows it! http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif Cheryl

Thanks, Cheryl! I finally realized it was MY attitude and NOT my husband's that was messing me up. When I started respecting my artwork, he did also.


07-14-2000, 08:53 AM

Thanks for the compliment, but I must confess to not being "superwoman". I use to have those days of frazzleness! Sometimes I still do, but I try to be more of an administrator when I notice the frazzles coming on. I use to be an administrative/personal assistant and now have incorporated it into my personal life. Whereas before I would separate the two.

Yes, I did the "Simple Abundance", but honestly, found that it was taking up my time to keep the journal. I just try to remember quotes from the book.

I agree with the struggles issue, but you WILL get thru this!

Maybe, when your daughters come to visit it will be a breath of fresh air for you!


07-14-2000, 05:54 PM
Originally posted by Sandi:
Redefine the word "perfect" to fit your lifestyle, no-one elses.

I just took your advice and now... I'M PERFECT!

(Sorry... just couldn't resist...)

07-18-2000, 06:04 AM
Has anyone noticed that the responses here are overwhelmingly from women? I am not poking fun here, because I think it is a serious issue. I know, and have known, many women who do all sorts of things and struggle with the same issues.

Most of the men I know are content to let the pizza boxes and beer bottles pile up to the ceiling and go about their projects amidst utter chaos. Now, argueable-y a middle ground is prefferable, but do you see the difference? Call it a stereotype if you want, but that won't help you out ,now will it?

It seems to me, from having an outsider's vantage point, that women need to re-define just what the roles and duties of being a woman are and [/b]act[/b] on it. Must the house be spotless? Must dinner always be a homecooked meal? You are not your mother and you live in a different time. You do not HAVE to be a high-powered professional if you don't want to, plenty of other women will make sure that women hold positions of power in your stead.

Frankly, no matter what the songs say, you can not have it all! Priorities must placed, and sacrafices made. You must feel free to make these choices and allow yourself to be who you are and live your life according to
what you believe.

Let some dust settle, so long as it is not on your brushes.


07-18-2000, 09:06 AM

I think society as a whole has made some women feel inadequate if they don't do it all...wife, mother, career. TV and the media have given us images of women being successful professionals, mothers who can have a successful career while bringing up their children. The media however, forgets to mention that although there are women who do this, they also have dropped other priorities in life, ie..hiring someone to clean their house, nannies. I have met those here who have nannies, but don't even work!
But I wouldn't want someone else raising my kids.

So, it is a matter of sitting down with a piece of paper, making a list of what we want to do, then scratching off the least important, until we only have half the list left. When we feel we have accomplished these items with no distress, we can start slowly adding to our list again.

Well, I could keep going on this subject, but then I'll be posting like Larry hehe!


07-18-2000, 11:42 AM
Arc, you have to admit that child rearing & home keeping are still primarily done by the women in our society. There's probably a good reason for that. Men would screw it all up. KIDDING, calm down, i'm only kidding! But seriously, since this is the deal, i think that the list idea suggested by both myself and ReNae is a good one. I don't have children to care for & i still need my priority list. I hope you try this Linda because it really is an interesting way to not only lighten your load, but to discover just how crazy we make ourselves by trying to be the perfect woman. When we see that we are judging our self worth by how sparkling clean our kitchen floor is it becomes silly. I'm not commenting on your particular frame of mind, Linda, but people in general! Lighten up on yourselves ladies and gentlemen it's really ok if you let the little things slide for the sake of art. I don't go to bed at night with dreams of the organized closet, but rather with visions of crimson calizarin & thalo blue! speaking of rambling........ http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif Cheryl

07-18-2000, 01:06 PM
You probably want to just skip over this post. I’m only ranting.

I suppose it was inevitable that someone would eventually push this button... actually it’s been pushed a couple of times, but this time I’m not going to hit the override switch.

Has anyone noticed that the responses here are overwhelmingly from women?

Yes Arc, I have. ReNae mentioned that …society as a whole has made some women feel inadequate if they don’t do it all... While this may be quite true, it is also true that society allows - perhaps even encourages - women to talk openly about these issues. Men however are not afforded the same luxury. As a result, there seems to be an impression that women are the sole victims of this brave new world. Sorry, but that just isn’t the case.

Most of the men I know are content to let the pizza boxes and beer bottles pile up to the ceiling and go about their projects amidst utter chaos… Call it a stereotype if you want…

It’s a stereotype. I don’t know whom you’re hanging out with, but the picture you paint – ubiquitous I admit – is not universally accurate.

You can not have it all! Priorities must be placed, and sacrifices made.

True enough Arc... but what – and who - is to be sacrificed?

According to Cheryl, ...I do feel guilt at times because I find it very easy to ignore responsibilities.

I’m green with envy. I cannot ignore my responsibilities – nor can I ignore a mountain of tasks that as far as I can tell are not my responsibility.

Try this. After 40 hours in Corporate America - ok, I lied... try 50 hours – well deserved rest and relaxation? Not likely.

I come home to an immaculately clean house with dinner on the table? No. I can’t expect my wife to come home after a hard day at work and cook and clean for me. So we live in a filthy house? No... I tried that. In the first place – all stereotypes aside – I can’t stand it. In the second place it was made plain to me that the reason the house was dirty was because I’m lazy. Well, we can’t have that. So I clean the house.

Dinner? If I cook it myself.

Laundry? Yep... I do that too. Not hers… just mine. We discussed that already. I’m lazy.

Mow the lawn... patch and paint... fix the brakes... yep, yep, yep.

Then I get to go back into work for another 10 – 20 hours because routine maintenance has to be performed when no one is using the system – that’s Saturday and Sunday.

I also pay all the bills. I’m not the kind of insensitive cad that would send his wife out to work and take her money – what kind of a beast do you take me for?

I hand him a list & he does what’s on it & ends up having more spare time then he thought he would.

I’m happy for him. My list just gets longer and longer as I fall further and further behind. Probably related to that laziness thing.

...it’s really ok if you let the little things slide…

Tried that... lazy.

All of this punctuated by constant reminders that we live in a male dominated society.

However, even when I have enough actual time, I often find that I am simply too stressed out to paint...

I know that one too, Lynda.

Finally, I just stopped feeling guilty.

I’m about ready to try that myself.

End of insensitive male rant.

[This message has been edited by sgtaylor (edited July 18, 2000).]

07-18-2000, 01:11 PM

If you're not all too mad at me to talk... Is it just possible that we're all getting a raw deal?

Isn't there anyway out of this?

I've been considering joining a monastery, but that seems a little extreme...

07-18-2000, 03:00 PM
Is it just possible that we're all getting a raw deal?

I think it is possible YOU are getting an exceptionally raw deal. I don't know, but you have to measure these things for yourself and take appropriate action.

but what – and who - is to be sacrificed?

You have to decide that according to your own reality and needs. Trick is, once you have decided you have to ACT.

I don’t know whom you’re hanging out with, but the picture you paint – ubiquitous I admit – is not universally accurate.

Mostly fine artists, musicians, writers, computer wizards, scientists, and genius types. Personally, I am not really at home unless you have cables and wires strung all over the place.

While there are no unviersal truths when dealing with people as social beings, there are stereotypes and generalizations which are useful and applicable to fulfill certain problem solving needs. Type A and B personalities for example.

you have to admit that child rearing & home keeping are still primarily done by the women in our society.

True enough, but homekeeping does not have to mean "Better Homes and Gardens" or better living through Martha Stewart.

Children require both masculine and feminine role models to develope properly. Send them off with Dad, GrandPa, or some other dependable male role model on a regular basis -and when they are gone use that time to work, not for detailing the living room. A fistul of crayons and a nice white wall can amuse children for hours, leaving them happily engaged as you go about your work. You could even work on projects together, and encourage abstract thought developement and creativity .

TV and the media have given us images of women being successful professionals, mothers who can have a successful career while bringing up their children.

<FONT COLOR="Red">The television is a LIAR and a THIEF. Even now it is brainwashing you and your family, creating ill-informed, lowered-self-esteem, conspicuous consumers. Turn it off. </FONT c>

... society allows - perhaps even encourages - women to talk openly about these issues. Men however are not afforded the same luxury.

Have you ever noticed we men seem to congregate at the bar on weekends?

07-18-2000, 03:37 PM
Originally posted by arcitect:
<FONT COLOR="Red">The television is a LIAR and a THIEF. Even now it is brainwashing you and your family, creating ill-informed, lowered-self-esteem, conspicuous consumers. Turn it off. </FONT c>

I couldn't agree with you more.

Have you ever noticed we men seem to congregate at the bar on weekends?

Yes, but that is a private forum.

07-18-2000, 05:36 PM
Thanks for the laughs guys! Although the pressures and sometimes dissapointments of daily life and the struggle to be creative within that life are serious issues I am doing a little bit of chuckling reading these posts. It's really not a debate at all. It's very true that male and female persons trying to fit a passionate endeavor into an already hectic world have thier crosses to bear. I think on that we can all agree. There are no simple answers & different solutions for different people are obvious. But one thing is very evident to me. If you maintain your sense of humor you can at least muddle through it without wanting to join a monestary! http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/biggrin.gif: Sutherland, though if you do find a good monestary, you know the kind with laundry & room service & maybe a pool, can i come along for a bit? Cheryl

07-18-2000, 09:39 PM
Wow guys! Calm down!hehe

Arc - you should know I rarely watch the tv except when Martha Stewart is on! I am one person who does enjoy her show. We do like to watch the History & Discovery channels. No, I do not have the BH&G house..not yet..still fixing it up! There is nothing wrong with having a comfortable, clean home to live in.

Sg - I don't know what to tell you about stereotypes - I mow the lawn, I have moved the walls, patched them and now I am painting them, taking apart the old windows and stripping them, side by side with hubby. This Old House Team. I have fixed the tailpipe on my van - yeah hewoman! I don't really feel women are getting the raw deal here or anyone for that matter. You only get a raw deal if you allow it to be that way.

I did the corporate thing pregnant with two kids and traveled an hour each way to work...I was killing myself, baby was born ill and I had enough...I stay home - my priorities are different then most...we are not rich in the greenbacks, but we know our livelihood is more important to us...

YOU have to make the change...what is it YOU want? Make the list...throw the bottom half in the garbage...those are your priorities (not the one's in the garbage) even if it is the monastery. I do hear some can be quite nice. Don't let others tell you what you SHOULD do, that is for you to decide.

I guess I was rambling too SG! But seriously, I hope this will help you and not anger you.


07-19-2000, 12:13 AM
I am not in the least angered ReNae...and please don't take my previous posts too seriously... I'm just a cranky old guy having a bad day.

Cheryl... I'll let you know about that monastery... come by and visit anytime.

07-19-2000, 01:02 AM
ARC: >>Most of the men I know are content to let the pizza boxes and beer bottles pile up to the ceiling and go about their projects amidst utter chaos… Call it a stereotype if you want…>>>

SG: >>It’s a stereotype. I don’t know whom you’re hanging out with, but the picture you paint – ubiquitous I admit – is not universally accurate.<<

You boys been peeking in my windows again? <g>
Hey, it's a new sculpture! What'z it to ya??

07-19-2000, 07:34 AM
RaNea. i like the idea of tearing the list in half, but is it ok if we tear it oh.. maybe somewhere near one third of the way down? Sandi, just exactly what kind of sculpture do you have going on over there ay?D: Cheryl

07-19-2000, 02:16 PM
Julia Cameron suggests that when an artist finds their creative selves, others will be jealous, hurt, angry, afraid, in short, Toxic to/for us. The key, she says, is to recognize their fear and learn to disassociate ourselves from it. It is a genuine fear. Where there is fear, there is no creativity, and when others are not feeling creative, they become threatened by ours. Because they are not *growing* as artists, or as individuals actually, they feel a parting of the bonds that tie. They feel abandoned. They can become downright mean, like Sg points out. (been there myself! on both sides of the coin). It's a genuine concern. Those who aren't *for* us, are.. gosh it hurts to say this, but, are *against* us. Until they can search deep, and get to the truth of their fears, and accept them, they will remain toxic for us. (same thing for ourselves. We are our own worst enemies sometimes). ie.. Too busy for art... either self-inflicted or inflicted upon us by others demands. Sometimes by both. There comes a point, when one just has to say "the buck stops here. period." Once that is a realization in our own needs, attitudes, then others will adjust one way or the other. It's their decision to either help or to get out of the way!
Cheryl, you have some great insights on this, I hope you return to share with us.
I would, but I have a sculpture to finish, and it's not nice to type with my mouth full. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

07-19-2000, 04:09 PM
SG - Believe me I don't take offense to this..I just see you reaching out for answers. The only problem is, you have to answer for yourself. We can only help by letting you know that this is a struggle many others have gone through. Some of us may not have true, but some of us have. Like Sandi stated, forget those who are against you, you will never change their mind - even if they are family members. I myself had to forget family members for their put downs. I am now surrounded by what I like to call UPPIES. When you are down, they lift you up. Find people that support you. Surround yourself with them and start anew.

Cheryl - you have my permission to only throw away 1/3 of that list, but after four months go back to your list and see if you can throw away another third. O.K?


Lynda Mortensen
07-19-2000, 04:58 PM
Big problem with a monastery - don't you have to give up all your worldly goods? and wouldn't that include your expensive boxes of paints and brushes? - and even if you were allowed to keep what you had, where would you get the money for new supplies? lol!

Seriously though, I noticed something when we went back to England recently - every single one of my friends and relatives houses that we visited, except for one, were a complete mess! It made me think whether I'm too houseproud! I can't help it, being a typical virgoan I'm a perfectionist and I find it very stressful being in a cluttered, messy environment - I could feel myself tensing up just by being in some of my friends houses and couldn't wait to get back home. I can only find peace if I am surrounded by space and harmony! So no, living in a messy house isn't an option for me, but I do have the housework down to a fine art now, so I do the minimum of work for the maximum results (Oh, and by the way, I HATE Martha Stewart.....)

07-19-2000, 06:42 PM
Wouldn't it be just so "perfect" if we could, just for once, paint without guilt? Burn the toast without fear of failure? Tell them to wash their own dang clothes? Now, wouldn't that just be perfect?
I'm a Virgo, I like Martha Stewart, and I used to think being a Super Woman was "perfect". Come to find out, after reading Julia Cameron's AW book, it wasn't the "things" Super Woman did that seemed so perfect to me, but rather her "attitude" that seemed perfect. Ahh, the good life. Calm, serene, happy, giggly, loving, firm, assertive, fair, ...
BTW, I think Super Woman LOVES the smell of burnt toast, cuz she's pretty super. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

07-20-2000, 03:40 AM
Originally posted by Sandi:
...others will be jealous, hurt, angry, afraid, ... http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

Nah, some of us love you for it.


07-20-2000, 04:52 AM
To understand.....the week after we moved into this house, Ray's dad ‘s cancer came out of remission, he went into intensive treatment, and Ray's mom moved in with us for several weeks. After 6 mths of hospice, he died. Ray was devastated.

This stuff happens to everyone.

How do some just continue to paint?

07-20-2000, 06:58 AM
I have buried almost as many people as the undertaker, and all I can tell you is that they are dead and you are not.

Death is an unfortunate but inevitable consequence of life. All living organisms die.

It can be very hard to deal with, and there is NOTHING anyone can say to ease the pain. The pain is real, and it does not necessarily go away -ever. This is part of life, as unpleasent and devastating as it may be, it is part of the cycle.

You can paint that.

07-20-2000, 09:56 AM
I like Martha Stewart for her teaching abilities..I love some of the things she creates and ways of showing us how to do many good things. I do not want to be her per se, just like to implement some of her teachings.

linart - I too have lost young loved ones as well as old. You cannot change what has happened. But I don't think you should stop painting. It has changed you, paint the way you feel. One thing, don't forget the wonderful ways of the loved one you lost. We still celebrate my husband's younger brother by talking about him as if he were still in our lives and what he would have done. We know he is keeping an eye on us..he is our guardian angel.

Hugs for your loss.

07-20-2000, 11:45 AM
Sandi, I would never abandon you guys during a topic that touches all of us like this one does! http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif There have been many different paths to this conversation but they all say the same thing: "THINGS get in the way of my creativity". As Sandi and i have discovered through Julia Cameron, a lot of those things are actually a form of self sabotage. There are many reasons for this. Guilt is certainly a big one. In order to conquer the guilt you can regard your artisic side as the 'child within you'. Remember that children need nourishment, protection & an occasional BIG pat on the back. do this for your self & give yourself permission to be creative. You owe it to yourself, you owe it to you 'child within you'. Another of the issues addressed here is toxic people in your life and your poisoness playmates. These are the people in your life that will try do derail your creativity & the time that you spend on it. Most of them are not really aware of the fact that they're doing this. They all have thier own agenda. Most of which comes from the fact that your success will highlight thier failure. Many of them are blocked them selves.In some cases it can BE your own family, husband, children etc. A lot of the time thier agenda is nothing more than the fact that they are vieying for your attention. It is not entirley thier fault, for we have allowed ourselves to become thier energy for so long that the thought of 'cutting down' on the giving part of ourselves becomes not thinkable. To ourselves mostly. Only you can change that, for to leave it up to them would be futile. I'm not saying that you need to sever all ties with these people but you do have to make adjustments. In the case of friends sometimes placing a little distance between yourself & the poisoness person is enough. They will soon get the picture when you say "i will be painting from 1:00 until 5:00. please do not call". If not, you must decide which is more important to you. As far as husband and children are concerned i think that you can effectivly deal with them by letting them do more for themselves. It will only help them to grow as well. There are ways of doing this without comming across as saying " i don't care for you". Since you know your loved ones better than anyone only you can figure the best way to do this.I'm sorry to be so long winded but did want to touch briefly on losing loved ones. I lost my dad this year & it was a huge blow to all of us. I was lost & bewildered & wondered how anything, including painting would ever matter to me again. I was away from my easel for a couple of weeks & out of sheer desperation picked up a brush. I though if i ACTED normal maybe i would FEEL normal. Well, it worked. It was the first time in a long time that i felt at peace with myself & my God. I had forgotten the joy & pure exhilaration that i get when i create! In the comming weeks i found that the more i painted, the better i felt & the rest is history! http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif I still miss my dad but when i get too sad i head straight for my studio, laundry be damned, & get 'normal'. Rather than looking for all of the reasons why you cannot be creative, you need to focus on all of the resons why you should. The bottom line is this: If you want it you have to go get it! (talk about rambling! sorry...) Cheryl

07-20-2000, 01:14 PM
You never let me do what I want! I'm not a kid any more! You let John stay out after 10:00! You've got to let me have the car on Saturday... you've just got to!

I'm tired of my inner child, so I thought I'd get in touch with my inner teenager... http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

07-20-2000, 03:22 PM
Cheryl: "I still miss my dad but when i get too sad i head straight for my studio, laundry be damned, & get 'normal'. Rather than looking for all of the reasons why you cannot be creative, you need to focus on all of the resons why you should. The bottom line is this: If you want it you have to go get it!" >>

07-21-2000, 01:10 AM
The most destructive person in my life is my 'inner child', afraid of everything. But I want you all to know that since we started this, I've worked on setting some priorities and realistic goals. Progress is being made, but I've got a way to go. Ray is very supportive, although frequently confused by my rantings and frustration. He also does more than his share, and is very patient. Being able to discuss the frustrations, hearing how others have dealt with issues, makes a huge difference to me. Thanks to everyone.

07-23-2000, 01:27 PM
Thank you for sharing your life with us. I really feel for your you and your losses. I admire the way in which you've reached out, for not only do we get to know you better, but by opening your heart you've also helped others in their search as well. I hope you will come back, and share with us your progress to your dilema. Be it forward or backward or both. Being life, I'm sure it will be both, for that, it seems, is the way we learn. Just remember, we are here for you, always. In fact, we'll prolly keep on discussing tidbits as they are revealed to us, in hopes of better helping ourselves as well.

Lynda Mortensen
07-23-2000, 01:33 PM
There was a lovely retired gentleman called Geoff who was one of the foundation members of the art club I used to run back in England. Geoff was talented, kind, amusing, intelligent and always ready to help our more inexperienced members. We were great friends, despite the 50 year difference in our ages. Geoff was a haemophiliac who had contracted Hepatitis C from blood products - but you never heard him complain about this, it never seemed to get him down or get in the way of his painting. One day Geoff suffered a terrible haemorrhage and was admitted to hospital. Despite transfusions his condition deteriorated and he became depressed. All the members of the club visited him regularly, bringing him gifts of art materials and books - hoping to spark some enthusiasm for painting again (which he could do from his hospital bed). Sadly, Geoff died in hospital, a couple of months later. I was devastated - of all the people I had met, I had the most respect for Geoff. For a while I lost the enthusiasm for painting too, then his family donated all Geoff's collection of art magazines and video's to the club and we auctioned them off to club members in aid of a childrens charity. I bought two of Geoff's videos and sitting looking at them one day realised that Geoff would want me to use them - not just have them sitting on the shelf gathering dust. Since then I started painting again and often used to visit Geoff's grave and sit and sketch the view from the graveyard, occasionally 'asking' Geoff for a bit of help with a difficult sky or tree! I often think about him now I am in the US and like to think that he's up there, paintbrush in hand and happy as a skylark - he's probably giving the angels painting lessons, knowing him!

[This message has been edited by Lynda Coles (edited July 23, 2000).]

[This message has been edited by Lynda Coles (edited July 23, 2000).]

07-24-2000, 08:47 AM
((((linart)))) I am so happy for you! You are making an initiative to make yourself happier! Yahoo! (whistling loudly) It won't be overnight, but you will succeed because YOU want to. And please let us know how you are progressing!

((((Lynda)))) My heart goes out to you, your story is so touching. It is too bad we all couldn't have met such a wonderful person! But you just let us share a little bit of him! Thanks!


07-27-2000, 10:42 AM
Wow and whew!!!! You all make me feel so normal! Thanks. I was once caught-up in the "I have to be the perfect mom, wife, business woman" too. My art was the first to be sacraficed to make time to do chores, hang-out with hubby, help with homework, be chauffer, yadayadayada. I had to prove (to whom I don't know) that I could successfully climb the corporate ladder to the top, and I did. I was hired as a regional VP and put in charge of a floundering office with mega computer and personnel problems. I moved to CA and husband & daughter were to follow in 3 mos. Long story short, it was HELL. 16 hour days 6 and 7 day weeks. The office was slated to be shut-down and I had to lay-off 110 people and figure out how to keep business going until the doors closed. Afterwards, I was transfered to Arkansas and continued the insane pace. Then I was diagnosed with breast cancer. My husband vows it was a result of stress. I think it was a result of abandoning my passion for art. They say that diversity and pain makes us stronger. I believe it now. The cancer was the best thing that has ever happened to me. It brought me up short and made me weigh my life choices. I started painting again. We sold our beutiful home and moved back to CA to live in a tiny, expensive apt. to be near both our parents, daughter and 5 mo old granddaughter. Lifestyle has changed. Saturday is house cleaning. What ever gets done - that's it. If nothing gets done it waits until the next week. If I'm obsessing in my studio, the bed doesn't get made, the dishes sit, and we order out chinese. My husband makes enough to cover bills and little more. I'm not making anything - yet. I paint 8 - 10 hours a day. This is the most serene, peaceful, and fullfilled I think I have ever felt. Moral of the story - don't wait for tragedy to show you the way, because if it has to it will. Find your passion and feed it like it's your only child. Your family and life will be better for it.

07-28-2000, 12:05 AM
((((((PJ))))) a hug for your pain.

It is enlightening that you have found a better way to quench your thirsty soul. Your husband must really be a sweetheart to make the major changes with you. I bet you all feel better about life and how we need to slow down and enjoy each day as the last day.

Thank goodness all went well for you, we enjoy sharing in this wonderful group!



08-18-2000, 11:13 PM
This is an update...and a 'gratitude'. I am painting.... My two daughters are here, our roof is being re-done, I've unpacked and organized my studio, and am re-doing a bathroom, plus coping with various other stuff...and painting every day. And relaxing some, and reading some...
I can't begin to tell you all how much it has meant to me to be able to share...or 'vent', my frustrations, to hear your stories, to have your suggestions, your support and encouragement. Somehow it has made all the difference in the world to me. I think I have taken every bit of advice to heart, and used it. Thank you, thank you thank you.

08-22-2000, 05:20 PM
Lin, the Art Gods are smiling down on you! http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

08-23-2000, 04:02 PM



10-04-2000, 04:31 PM
Wow - what a discussion. Hi everyone. Glad to meet you. I've been all across "Wet Canvas" just listening, learning and getting to know you. I would stay silently in the background but this topic really pulls at my heart. I've shed a few tears here. My own work started in Jr.High. My teachers said I was born with a natural talent as previously I'd never had any art materials and my work was winning awards. After Jr.High I stopped painting due to divorced parents and assuming the role of housekeeper and parent to younger siblings. Then came working to support myself and college at night. Then the Navy and life in the barracks. Later full time college and part time work. Marriage, housework and being Mommy followed and, by the time the kids were in school, I was a super-woman, single mom to two boys. When they were 14&15 they went to live with their dad and I had the time I needed. I did oils, acrylics, pastels and water color. I worked every free minute for two years. It just poured out of me. I sold what I could stand to part with and gave others as gifts. When I met my husband and he saw my work, he saw dollar signs and, after we were married, allowed me to paint, guilt-free, for about 10 months. Then his daughter and her 3 kids moved in with us. To make a long story shorter that was 9 years ago and that was pretty much the end of my painting. She no longer lives with us but two of her children still do. They are now 11&13 and I'm still a full time step grandma/mom. I still have all my art stuff and have tried to paint 3 or 4 timmes in the last year. I've given up each time. It feels like its just gone. It used to flow from me as if someone was moving my hand after 30 minutes to an hour of working. Now I struggle for hours and nothing comes. Its just hard, hard work that leaves my shoulders burning. I know I've taken a long time getting here as you have reading, if you're still there, but I'm really pleading with you _not_ to give in to anyone or anything. Your gift is a precious one. If you feel driven as I have, it is not a selfish desire to be creative. It is a God-given gift not to be thrown away nor squandered. Don't personalize it so or it will produce guilt. See yourself as a conduit to bring forth what _needs_ to come forth. Seeing yourself as the tool rather than the creator will go far in getting rid of guilt. Of course for some it might hurt the ego to do that but I tend to think that strong an ego wouldn't have much problem with guilt anyway. I was recently trying to express my feelings about throwing away the gift I once had and the person I was talking with, in trying to make me feel better, said I had channeled my creative energy into raising and shaping the grandkids and that I had brought beauty to the world that way because beauty was always the main thrust of what I tried to express. I had to really listen when I heard myself say that may be true but nothing would ever take the place of my art work. I hope you won't let it get too late. I'm still trying but, so far it hasn't come back. God Bless.

10-06-2000, 06:37 PM
Pray, thank you for your post. I also feel frustrated because I have several designs in my head that I can't seem to get out on paper. Part of it is that I can't seem to even sit down and try--moods and other activities and circumstances rule. I also showed promise as a child, but through divorce and other circumstances, that promise was never nurtured, until now as an adult, I am doing the best I can to nurture the artist in me. I have been through many emotionally unsettling events, and was unfocused for a good part of my adult life. I often tell myself that God saved my artistic talent and interest for me until this present point in my life when things are more stable--otherwise, I suspect the talent would have been crushed and completely lost in the midst of all I was going through. I have it in my heart to create certain specific designs that I can see in my head, and I don't quite understand why I can't get them out on paper.

10-07-2000, 02:03 AM
Hi waterwings. Glad to meet you. Back when painting was easy for me, I would have visions in my "mind's" eye too. Some would come to my hand right away. Others took many, many unsuccessful attempts and some never came out as I "saw" them even when there was a "flow". Alot of times people liked what I did but it wasn't right for me because it wasn't my vision. Capturing a vision is alot harder than looking at a setting. I'm hoping reading all the boards I can and listening to artists will help me to get back where I was. I've never let go of thinking of myself as an "artist" (quotes intended). I decided long ago when my art work got shoved in the background that being an artist didn't have a great deal to do with what one did but had a very great deal to do with what one saw. Not just in the mind's eye but very literally. I haven't lost that at all. When I look at my black microwave, I don't see a black box. I see the view across the room reflected in its glass-like door,etc. AND I still have that weird, odd ball, quirkly, so I'm told, "Must be an artist" perspective on things. Oh,well. Maybe its just what they call a "block". I'm going to keep hitting the boards and learning.
God Bless waterwings.
Keep on keeping on. :-)

10-07-2000, 10:40 AM
Pray, Waterwings, don't give up! I haven't been here for awhile because I've been PAINTING. But, please, don't give up. Visit often here, and get into chat whenever you can. The support you will get is em-powering. I can't tell you how much the shared experiences and advice have turned my life around. What it comes down to seems to be that you make time for what is important to you...it's a matter of deciding that your art is that important to you. For me it was a matter of facing that who I am is an artist...that is what I do, and getting the courage to believe that, in order to paint everyday as though it is my 'job'. The hardest thing I've ever done was to accept that, and to do that. And I could not have done it without the people here, AND my being ready.

10-07-2000, 06:43 PM
Originally posted by Pray:
Wow - Your gift is a precious one.It is a God-given gift not to be thrown away nor squandered. Don't personalize it so or it will produce guilt. See yourself as a conduit to bring forth what _needs_ to come forth. Seeing yourself as the tool rather than the creator will go far in getting rid of guilt.
Hi Pray, yes you're so right about that! This was a topic of discussion at our 'The Artists Way' workshop here at WC this week. I believe this firmly & it has helped me a lot to know that i owe it to myself and the rest of the world to use my creativity in such a manner as my art. If you haven't read 'The Artists way' by Julia Cameron, i suggest you RUN to your nearest book store & pick up a copy! I think it may be very helpful to you. It adresses so many of the issues we've talked about here & really can help you to understand where your blocks come from, learn how to deal with them & get you 'back in the saddle'. We have a workshop here at WC sevaral times per week, using the 'The Artists Way' book for guidance. We even have a designated room in chat for it. Even if you do not chose to join us for the meetings, the book is great! We are rooting for you and Waterwings both http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif I would also like to suggest you get a nice sketch book & start to draw your ideas quickly, as they come to you. It could help you to become inspired. Please let us know of your progress!

10-08-2000, 03:20 PM
Thank you all for your supportive posts--I feel like I have come home! I am going to dust off my copy of The Artist's Way and read it again.
Pray--you said something that really hit home--"capturing a vision is a lot harder than looking at a setting". I have been taking watercolor classes for the past 10 months at a senior center--the only class I could locate in the very rural area where I live. I have been "looking at settings"--painting the set-ups the teacher provides. It has served to help me learn the necessary techniques, but now I am longing and craving to create some of my own original works. I probably, or rather, certainly, will find I am in need of learning still more techniques, but I want to take the step to try to create the designs I see in my head.
I suspect what I need is the support I can find in these forums! Thanks for being there, y'all!

10-09-2000, 12:29 AM
Pray, Waterwings. Your angst is so familiar to me, I understand it completely. You are speaking of the fear of discovering that you are unable to find satisfaction in the only area you ever really care to find satisfaction. But I am here to tell you, the only REAL dissatisfaction is when you are anguishing over your fears and NOT PAINTING. If you are painting, you will be putting your worries and anguish into working through your fears.
You will be analyzing your work, trying to discover what you do and don't like about it.
Pretty soon you will be, unconsciously even, learning how to improve your art... You will be GROWING, and little by little you will be putting your fears to rest... However, I am not writing this to just say, paint and all is well. I want to tell you some very concrete things that I have found to keep my spirits up, improve my artwork, and keep myself from becoming discouraged. First of all, The Artist's Way is great for the mind and soul, even if it doesn't improve your actual painting skills a bit. But The Artist's Way does emphasize writing a journal. My journal is analysis of my artwork; where I am, where I'd like to go, etc. It keeps me focused on the mechanics, subject matter and style of my artwork, and encourages my spirit. Also, for me, having a handful of really good, quality artbooks has been extremely helpful in improving my artwork. In other words, if you are stumped with your art, and don't know why, it could be that you are recognizing there are areas in which you just have not been taught how to put things down in an artistic way. This may be in regards to how to handle either the paint and your tools, or how to arrange your composition. Study! Get some new training! If you'd like book suggestions, I have 3 or 4 that have been worth their weight in gold in teaching me just very simply "how to paint". It is easy to be discouraged. But it is just as easy to get "emotionally repaired" by doing "one thing different". Think in baby steps, work in baby steps, and you may be surprised to find that every now and then your artwork actually progresses by leaps and bounds! If you have an inkling that you have some measure of God-given talent, and I think both of you do, have a talk with him about it because I KNOW... HE will not tell you differently! Maybe you just need to hear it from the source every now and then! And stay in touch with Wetcanvas! We care!!

10-09-2000, 01:02 AM
Jane you are so insightful! http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif There is no doubt that i will paint till i drop, but i find your words encouraging enough that i will take these thoughts to bed with me & dream of painting more! Thanks http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

10-10-2000, 05:08 PM
Thank you all so much for your kindness, support and info. I'm going to get the book and pulled out the tech notes I kept (color mixing, etc) and sketches from years ago. To make it short - I started a painting today. A teensy "flow" came after about 3 hours and my shoulders started burning once but soon stopped after I took a break. How do I like what I did? Ho hum. But all in all its been a good day. Thank you all so much. :-)God Bless.

10-10-2000, 06:21 PM
Pray, Congratulations. Keep painting...it gets better and better. I'm still astounded every day (even the 'bad ones'), at the new insights, and visible improvements.

11-05-2000, 07:32 PM
Jane, I want to thank you for your insightful and supportive post. I have set up a painting room in an empty upstairs bedroom (privacy!) and last week I dared to go ahead and begin to set down on paper one of the designs I have in my mind. I have been going incredibly slowly with it--but I sense that it okay--as long as I am making a start. I have been spending my energy while I am working on it in figuring out the "technical difficulties" involved in translating it from an image in my mind to an image on paper.
In your post, you mentioned some art books that have been helpful to you, and that you would post the titles if needed--I would like to know the names of those books.
Thanks again.

11-09-2000, 04:07 AM
WOW! How did I miss this one?

I, too, have had a terrible grief. My Father passed away Feb. 27, 1999, after two years of fighting cancer. Into the second year, my favorite Aunt was diagnosed with cancer. She was so progressed with the disease that she needed help and was set up with hospice. She moved in with me in Jan, 1999. I took care of her until she passed away March, 16, 1999. At the time I was also taking care of my Father-in-law who had heart surgery. And as hard as it is to believe, my Sister-in-law also died of cancer June 8, 1999. My Father-in-law passed away Christmas Eve 1999.

Needless to say I did not paint at all during that year. And I have been having a hard time with grief and losing my faith.

BUT I FOUND WETCANVAS! I thank ALL of you for the reason to go on. I am painting again!

11-09-2000, 09:24 AM

11-11-2000, 03:04 PM
Thank you Gisela, I am still struggling and need all the hugs I can get.

11-12-2000, 03:53 PM
Originally posted by Cherie:
Thank you Gisela, I am still struggling and need all the hugs I can get.
(((((((Cherie)))))))) here's one from me too!
I lost my Dad on January 4th of this year, unexpectedly. I used my art as a way to help me cope. I hope you find comfort here as well as with your art. I'm sorry for your losses & pray that the future shows you all of the joy that you deserve.

Mary Kay
11-12-2000, 04:13 PM

I too have been through what you have described, although with one person and not four, and it was very challenging. Perhaps this story will help you see the light at the end of the tunnel.

My father passed away in Sept of 1996, we had been through a summer of hospitals, personal care home, selling his home, nursing home, etc after 9 years of a lung tumor and developing altzheimers'. after things started to calm down, i started to think again about what direction I was going to take. I had taken a leave from my substitute teacher's job while all this was going on.

So one night just before i fell asleep, I said a little, short prayer..." So, whatd'ya want me to do? go back to sub? what? I'm kind of dense, so you'll have to be really obvious." this went on for 3 weeks.

Then one night just before falling asleep, this thought pops into my head, "You really are dense, aren't you? Look at the work you've had in three weeks. This is what I want you to do."

I was really awake then. In that 3 weeks, I had accepted 3 commission paintings, and had been approached to teach adult watercolor classes in 2 different towns, and had a few calls for private lessons. I never looked back, I just keep following paths that appear. I have been busy ever since. I received the Artists' Way for christmas that year, and it just helped me to see the paths even more clearly.

I never envisioned where i would be four years ago. Maybe we have to go through the grieving and heartache to appreciate where we are being taken.

My condolences to you and your family.

Mary Kay


[This message has been edited by Mary Kay (edited November 12, 2000).]

11-12-2000, 04:58 PM

Each day gets a little better. Painting again has helped tremendously.

11-12-2000, 07:08 PM
WOW! You guys are great! I'm new here myself and I've just been hanging around and not saying anything. But I just had to get in on this and say that "you all are so encouraging". I've been through cancer, and loss of job in the last year myself. I am so glad I found WC. I've been painting @ 2 yrs and can really use the encouragement ya'll offer.

Waterwings: What part of NC are you from? I'm in the "beautiful mountains".

11-13-2000, 01:44 PM
Welcome to WC Tahl! There are a lot of encouraging words to be found here. In a couple of weeks we are going to begin the "the Artists Way' work shop. If you are interested, it's a workshop based on Julia Camerons book "The Artists Way'. It's really hard to be uninspired once you've read this book. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

11-13-2000, 07:43 PM
Hi tahlequah--this is a great site, isn't it? I live in the northeastern part of the state--farm country.