View Full Version : Trapped by my TV!

Ronald Tagg
11-05-2003, 11:32 AM
I need some ideas from you who have this same problem.
Lately, all I have been doing after work is parking myself in front of the TV and I cannot get motivated to paint. I have lots of ideas bubbling up in my brain but as I look over to my easel I just think, "Oh, maybe tomorrow I will start."

I hate this inertia but can't seem to get out of it.

What do you do when things like this happen to you?


11-05-2003, 01:09 PM
Well, my old therapist would say to change something in your routine before you even get close to parking yourself infront of the TV. Take a new route home from work, step outside the back door and look at the sky, something like that.....and tell yourself that even if it's only for ten minutes, you're going to do some art.....

:) mindy

11-05-2003, 03:39 PM
that sounds like pretty good advice. I have the same problem Ronald. I have a 10-7 job at work creating graphics and then come home and find myself wanting to relax a bit and then all of a sudden Im relaxing till 10:30 at night and then bam, its morning..

I reall hate. I sometimes rearrange my studio, buy books on art, get magazine subscribitions of art related material. That has help alot. Everymonth I get a little bit of creative juice in the mailbox...

11-05-2003, 04:49 PM
i used to paint on my kitchen
table. i used to put off painting
sometimes because i knew once i got
going i'd be up late and would have
to clean up the area before bed.

i have since set up shop in the garage.
if i don't feel like cleaning up my "studio"
after working i simply don't. it has been
liberating. i feel like painting after work
every night. now i feel a bit sleep
deprived, though:D

anyway, not sure if this of any help,
but it got me working more!

11-05-2003, 11:32 PM
I've never had a TV but sometimes I watch television in somebody else's house. For the first twenty minutes I can see that it is insulting my intelligence, then I start to lose that sense.

The TV induces a light trance and one of the effects is the feeling you can't or don't want to move. It's a bit like those dreams where you are being chased but can't seem to get away.

The way to end a particular trance is to introduce a small, extraneous element.


11-06-2003, 06:10 PM
Turn on the radio or stereo instead. Unplug the TV...make it less available. Relax outside with a cold drink or hot drink! That tends to clear my head better than sitting indoors. Take an art magazine out with you and browse thru an article.

Setting perimeters for your time may sound restrictive at first, but I've found that my house stays picked up and clean if I commit only 15 minutes a day to doing it! Make a commitment to paint for 15 minutes...then stretch it out to an hour. After a while you'll wander why anyone would want to watch TV!


Ron van den Boogaard
11-07-2003, 09:53 AM
I put the tv next to my easel, so i can listen to it and glance to it once every so often.

11-07-2003, 09:55 AM
I understand this type of inertia very well, especially since I have a small apartment and parking myself anywhere is practically parking myself in front of the TV. For me, it's difficult to go cold turkey (I think I get addicted to the noise) but I do find that if I try to do something creative while I watch television, most of the time that other thing will eventually absorb more of my attention. It doesn't have to be any great masterwork; when you get a few minutes, put a sketchbook on the couch. The next day, open to a blank sheet of paper and put a pencil in your hand at the same time you turn on the TV. Don't make any rules for yourself, if you sit there for an hour with paper and pencil and don't make a mark, it's okay. I'm betting eventually you'll start drawing. Or try some projects that are unusual for you. I found learning to knit works especially well.

Anyway, that's what I do.

Keith Russell
11-10-2003, 10:34 AM
I had a television in my studio for three years (that ended about four years ago) and I loved it. (I haven't watched broadcast TV in decades, but I love to watch movies--VHS, now DVD.)

We only have one TV at the moment, and its not in the studio. I have a small stereo in the studio, and listen to music while I paint, but I find that music isn't nearly distracting enough for painting.

We're going to purhcase a bigger TV this week, and I'll get to have the smaller TV in the studio. (I'll have to pick up another DVD player soon!)

I'm really looking forward to this, I expect to be motivated to paint more often (and for longer sessions) than I have been lately...


11-12-2003, 12:53 PM
OOOO - this dilemma sounds familiar. With me, it is the TV and the computer.

What helps? Occassionally I call a "No TV or Computer Day"... and WOW! What a difference! I actually get all kinds of creative, artistic things done! That is often enough to motivate me to leave the TV off for a few days!

But, here I am.... on the computer again... HAHAHA.


11-12-2003, 05:01 PM
I had my TV shut off before the war back in March because I couldn't bare to continue watching the media continue to slobber over it and talk about it as if a sporting event likethe superbowl. It was one of the best things that I have ever done in my life...I spent alot more time listening to the radio, creating and just being quite. I don't read as much as I hoped I would though.

I do rent a lot of movies, but I control when I watch them and then they are done...I don't loose the rest of the night...It seems as if I have simplified my life and now have time for the things that I think are important.

If Thoreau were a modern guy, he would not have gone to Walden...he would have simply had the cable removed from his home.

11-14-2003, 07:36 PM
My husband and I had this problem... me the computer, him the TV..

We fixed this by having sketch contests after dinner, while our stomachs settled!!!

It worked great.

11-21-2003, 08:59 PM
Join the 21 day challenge, found in another thread.. It will help motivate!!

11-23-2003, 05:20 AM
I used to be like that and did nothing. So, I made a decision and put music on when i came in not the tv. It's still sound stimulus but, less 'distracting' than the tv i feel.

I would watch maybe one programme per week... that's all, one big favourite.

I find now that the tv is more of an irritation than anything else. I get far too riled if the tv is on to do anything, so turn it off.

11-23-2003, 08:29 PM
I admire Ron's sang froid in watching TV while he paints. But we can expect nothing less from the Dutch.

Instead of watching TV, I dance for 5 minutes then lie down for five minutes. I do this five times. It takes about an hour.

It leaves me energised and relaxed.


11-28-2003, 09:00 AM
I had the same problem. Sat in front of the TV for endless hours. Watching nothing in perticuler just zoned out by the box.
We moved from the city to the country and can get only one channel and its very blurry. It has been great ! I think allot more and get outside and do allot more. I find I am living life instead of living in the TV. I also am able to paint, schetch, and be more creative daily. We had thought of putting up a antana but heck I don't really want to go back to being a zombie looking at a box...:)

11-28-2003, 05:53 PM
Dear Lee,

I think it is wonderful you are no longer a zombie in front of the box.

And being alive in that mythical country, Texas, allows your imagination to take flight.

You can imagine yourself to be anything.


11-29-2003, 02:20 PM
I used to have the same problem when I was writing. My solution was to rip off the plug. That way watching TV involved a screwdriver and about 5 minutes.

11-29-2003, 02:26 PM
hehehehe yeah that makes you think twice Hes . I have that one channel and it is so blurry that it is more like a radio.:)

12-01-2003, 04:48 PM
Go cold turkey...I did. It's been awesome! Even the noise of a TV bothers me now. Luckily, my boyfriend and his family all hate the TV too.

I come home from work, exercise for about an hour, then paint. Exercise is my work destressor. Even if I get 3 hours of painting in before bed I accomplish so much more than when the TV was a part of my life. It's an addiction for many people...if it is for you, get rid of it. Most people have better things to do than watch what some network executive proclaims is entertaining.


12-01-2003, 11:41 PM
I can remember in the '60s that the greatest precipitating factor for admission to the Mad House was smashing the television screen which was, and is, the Public Face of Society.

The Chinese, we are told, will go to any lengths to preserve their Face.

But today we are all Chinese; and we will go to any lengths to preserve the Face of Society in our lounge rooms.

We all know it is rude to slap someone in the face, so no matter what the price, whether addiction or obesity, do not smash the TV, or I will tell your mother.

Trust me,

Postscript: the most valuable commodity in the world is attention and your TV will do anything to get your attention.

12-10-2003, 06:13 AM
Turn it off!! Its the only way. The other thing would be to set yourself a schedule to paint. I paint from 8.30pm onwards. No excuses. When 8.30 comes, I'm there.. even if I think I don't feel like it, by the time I start I realise I did want to do this and enjoy it. Time is precious, don't waste it!! I bet you can't even remember half the shows you watched last week....

12-10-2003, 10:17 AM
*imho, it seems to me that turning the tv on or off or the radio on or off isn't really the core issue....
the issue is about turning ON the art process.

*don't be too rough on yourself though... i complete a lot of wonderful projects in my head too.

the hardest part of anything for me is "starting"...... moving from a concept to the first step.....
just try to take that first small step...... get off the couch....
then figure out your own system that works for you.

and i'm not one for a bunch of rules!!!..... if i make a "rule" for myself i can practically guarantee the radical in me will break it... so, be flexible. I do not believe that the creative clock switches on at a given time.

You are the captain of your ship... when you set sail and how you do it is totally up to you. If you never leave port....well....?

Also, it's ok to rest and zone out too..... but if you do.....
don't let that "little negative committee" that jabbers away in our heads give you a guilt complex when you DON'T feel like working.

So, maybe try turning off the "committee" instead of the TV, lol! Really start to listen to your inner voice. What is it saying? If it's negative, turn that off first... *they say our subconscious takes at face value what our conscious is saying... reword the message.

**finally, as a news nut with a keen interest in what is going on in the political world.... i find i am able to do both..... i keep an eye on the crooks and color a canvas at the same time.

hope this helps.

12-10-2003, 10:21 AM
Ask yourself what you want to accomplish with your life. Is watching a lot of t.v. one of your goals?

I am not against t.v. I watch the news in the morning with my coffee, I watch the Eagles, some of the Flyers, old movies and other stuff when I'm tired and it's time for bed. And if I'm sick.

But I've been there, trapping myself watching Seinfeld reruns over and over that I already know the script word for word, it seems. Just turn it off. You'll be so much happier!

12-13-2003, 07:42 PM
I found myself with the same problem 3 years ago. So I went to the extreme and sold my TV. For the next almost 3 years I was in bliss. I actually had to think of things to fill my time at first but quickly that became less of a problem and my art soared. But as of 5 months ago I moved in with a couple of friends of mine...you guessed it...back to the couch potato in front of the TV, watching things that really didn't interest me or that I even liked. I keep telling my roommate as I watch TV with him, that he's an evil, evil man...lol.

My joining WC has had a lot to do with my trying to change this. I come home, check the forums for anything interesting, then using what insperation I can find from WC I go to work. Of course I've only been a member for a week so as yet to see if this is going to last...hopes are high.

good luck,

Laura Brito
12-16-2003, 01:06 PM
Get rid of it.

That is really the most liberating thing there is to do. I hate TVs, my husband parks himself in front of the thing and doesn't do anything else. It is a drain on life period. I think they are evil.

Of course, it can be really hard to do. It is like a crutch.


12-17-2003, 09:50 AM
Now this makes me feel so guilty. And it should.

Yesterday I spent some time online researching an interesting article I wrote, one I had hoped to get published. That safly tucked away (it took about an hour, maybe 2) along with all my email, and the couple of games I play I settled down to watch a little TV.

You know what was on? Crap! Complete and utter garbage was on TV, but I just would't let go, I wanted the noise and I wanted to watch some, so I sat with my eyes glued to the garbage... Heaven knows why.

I should have poped in a movie, or started drawing something... finished one of the thousands of half finished projects I have, anything other then watch that garbage.

Well, reading this thread did do one thing... I turned off the TV this morning.

12-18-2003, 04:10 AM
One thing that you can do is to organize. When you sit down to watch something, take a legal pad with you. Sit quietly and write down all of those wonderful artistic creations that you think about while watching TV. Jot the list of projects down, then arrange them in some type of priority. Next remove all TV watching chairs from your studio. Get the supplies you need, set a blank canvas on the easel and attack the first project you have listed. Turn off the tv and start to create. Tell yourself that you will only spend 5 minutes at the easel then you can quit. I think that you will get interested in what you are creating that you spend more and more time painting sculpting or whatever.

12-19-2003, 03:42 PM
If your tv has a vcr attached go ahead and stay there, but keep your sketch book with you. Ahead of time make a VCR of anything: A movie, Sports, CNN or other news like the Daily Show :) Then when you are watching tv, don't watch public tv :confused: Because there are no commercials.

Go ahead and watch your show. (On my plan you can even eat chips and drink beer while watching tv.) Now when you are watching your program and they cut to a commercial, which is usually a bit less than 5 min. long these days. Turn on the VCR and put it on "Still" as soon as something half-way interesting shows up. You should do this quickly. Then take out your sketch book and sketch like mad until the vcr kicks out of "still" mode. Most vcr's will kick out at about 5 minutes.

This will return you to your show, but you will only miss a minute or so. Repeat every commercial.

Step 2 will be to take those sketches into your studio and use them as reference materials for further artwork.


02-25-2004, 05:55 PM
I used to have the exact same problem - I would turn on the TV when I got home from work, and it stayed on until I went to bed at night.

Fate intervened when I moved to a new apartment about 2 years ago, and couldn't afford to get cable hooked up. Network reception was terrible despite my best attempts to tune the rabbit ears, so I was forced to quit TV cold turkey. I still feel the occasional pang, but all the GOOD shows come out on DVD, anyway! (Just finished watching the 2nd season of Futurama, woo!)

I always used to loathe those snotty people who used to tell me to kill my television and start living my life. Unfortunately, now I can only say... kill your television and start living your life! Trust me, you will be AMAZED at the improvement to your creativity and work output.

02-25-2004, 07:45 PM
Try a sledgehammer. The sound of the shattering screen is liberating.

02-25-2004, 10:49 PM
I know folks who just highlight a couple shows in their weekly television guide and they only watch those--! now that seems logical to me--! I just watch a couple of regular programs---my downfall really is the internet...and the computer can be just as bad as a "distraction"---lately I have been making myself do creative things every day. it's no "chore" once you get started. :)

Epic Dewfall
02-25-2004, 11:56 PM
Rarely turn your tv's sound on. That way you can hear yourself think. And watch 2 tv's for better inspiration.


Eugene Veszely
02-26-2004, 09:56 AM
I know folks who just highlight a couple shows in their weekly television guide and they only watch those--! now that seems logical to me--! I just watch a couple of regular programs---my downfall really is the internet...and the computer can be just as bad as a "distraction"---lately I have been making myself do creative things every day. it's no "chore" once you get started. :)

I have got into the habit of highlighting what I want to watch...that way I dont waste time looking for things :)....and I limit my net time too ;)

02-26-2004, 03:40 PM
I'm having the same problem, sort of. See, I work days & get home around 5:30 pm and my husband works 3rds get home around 7:30 am, then attends class until about 2 pm, then he sleeps until about 7:30. I can't paint unless I have music on. I can't turn the radio on in my studio because it's right next to our bedroom, if I turn it on he can't sleep. I suppose I could paint in the kitchen but the lights not very good, not as great as in my studio. And I can't find my portable cd player otherwise it would not be a problem. And right now I can't afford anything that's not in my budget.

03-07-2004, 09:44 AM
I'm glad that I stumbled across this thread. This is one of my biggest problems and I've got it all neatly justified. I work all day in construction, stumble home tired and in need of a break before heading to the drawing table. So there I am 2-3 hours later, either asleep or waiting for the next episode of American Chopper on Discovery. After all, I've got to get rest before I head off to create or see the newest episode of creativity at work on Discovery or TLC, don't I? And there may be some legitmacy in that line of reasoning. I watch "Modern Masters" and "Exteme Homes" on HGTV. The people that they showcase are highly creative and inspiring and that latter word is important to the creative process. Throwing my TV out, turning cable off, cutting the cord, all of those take me away from an introduction to some new ways of doing and seeing things. I like to do stuff from nature, but when I can't get close to nature, Discovery and Animal Planet give me a view that I won't see otherwise. Maybe the TV isn't bad, it's how and when we use it. I won't throw mine out, but maybe I'll learn some judicious habits and use the schedule to find when worthwhile stuff is on.

03-07-2004, 02:47 PM
I have a love hate relationship with my television. I love it and then at times I love to hate it. I don't have cable, which is a blessing for me because I KNOW I would sit and rot infront of the thing.

So....here's been my solution. I have lived with out one and it has been a liberating experience. But, I have one, what do I do with the thing? There is only one show I am "addicted" so I sit and watch it. Otherwise I work with it on or I tape the shows I want and leave it off and then watch the taped programs all at once. You cut out the commercials this way.

Television.......can you imagine a world without one? There used to be.

03-07-2004, 02:59 PM
I have set my studio up so that the TV is behind me. I turn it on when I begin to paint and then get so engrossed in my painting that I forget to listen to the TV. I guess that I turn it on because I like noise in the studio. Art is sometimes a lonely occupation and I like the sound voices. I do play music at times but for some reason, the TV is my choice.

Cathy Morgan
03-07-2004, 11:06 PM
[QUOTE=MsLilypond] I can't paint unless I have music on. QUOTE]

I bet you can!

Eugene Veszely
03-08-2004, 08:08 AM
I cant paint with music on...cant concentrate :)

Keith Russell
03-09-2004, 10:29 PM
Television.......can you imagine a world without one? There used to be.

Yes, and people used to go to the symphony, and to the theatre, far more often.

And, Chamber musicians would perform in your living room...and you could have poets over for dinner...


Eugene Veszely
03-10-2004, 10:48 AM
They sound like good times :)

03-17-2004, 10:00 AM
Here is an interesting challenge to you who are reading this who think "I don't watch that much tv/internet" Try logging the ACTUAL time you spend for 4 days then add it up.

I did this and was stunned to realize that when I thought I wads online for just a minute or two it was really 20 minutes and tv was on- watched or not almost all evening.

I wonder how much art I could accomplish if the cable was shut off- cable modem AND cable tv.

I am now moving my studio into it's own area and will be able to keep my work at hand, ready to go. No tv in there :) and no computer either.

03-31-2004, 09:46 PM
It is so easy to get sucked into the tv watching blach hole. I hate the tv, but I'm the only one in this house who feels that way. Just shut the stupid thing off, in fact don't even turn it on in the first place. There are a thousand things that are more interesting to do. When you get busy doing other things (ie painting), you don't miss it. We all get so much more accomplished when we have tv free evening.
Good Luck

03-31-2004, 09:54 PM
Yes, and people used to go to the symphony, and to the theatre, far more often.

And, Chamber musicians would perform in your living room...and you could have poets over for dinner...


wow, now that sounds inspirational Keith!

Yes for me it's the computer, the TV has never held any interest. I really must heed some of the advice here, and set some time limits. Val

04-01-2004, 02:23 AM
A Four-Pair in Hand.

With a small axe
I smashed in the front of my TV.
Actually, I smashed the screen.

I was free, completely free.

And with superb confidence, I bought eight television sets.
I piled them one on top of the other in two stacks of four.

I knew I could beat one poem with another poem
So I thought I could beat one TV with another TV,
In fact, why not eight.

I turned them on
In complete control.
At first without sound
And I was just blown away by the pictures.

I could see the whole world in front of me.
I despised all of you who only watch one TV at a time.
You are complete suckers
While I am in command of eight.

I have attached two reins to each set
And I sit in my lounge with a four-pair in hand.

And we gallop right out the door.


04-07-2004, 11:21 AM
The two biggest things that helped me were signing up for projects here and joining a session of "The Artist's Way". That way I was committed to other people to do something :p .

I have to say that I worked as a graphic designer and web designer for years, and for some reason I REALLY didn't feel like creating on my free time at all. Now when someone approaches me with a web project I cringe and say I don't do that anymore.