View Full Version : Why is painting frustrating?

03-25-2018, 04:47 PM
Do you ever start painting and then get frustrated when it isn't working (or when you're stuck in the "ugly" stage) and you feel like giving up? Sorry...really depressing question...but I've been feeling a little stuck this week. :(

03-25-2018, 05:00 PM
All sittings are not going to be productive my friend so just give yourself a break and remember it’s all about having fun and not taking it too seriously.

I felt like crap on Friday morning and was dragging in a funk big time; I broke my paint holder that holds 56 individual colors as it dove to the floor and every stroke I made just upset me. I painted for about an hour or so then I stepped away from the easel when upstairs and watch movies then rest of the day and went to bed at 7 pm.

I woke up at 2 am and heading down to the studio and I was on fire as I had 3 painting going at once and I could do no wrong. Some days are better than others, but it is the sum of all the days combined that truly make the difference.:thumbsup:

03-25-2018, 08:32 PM
Life is a journey, some scenery is just boring until you stop and appreciate it.
Frustration is your brain telling you to stop.
Unless you are being paid by the hour at some sweatshop in China, take a break.
Go mow the yard, clean the car, wash the windows, bake some muffins, or sleep.
Art should not be hard, if it is will show.

now go play.

03-26-2018, 01:52 AM
The only method I've found to get out of that situation, is to be in the studio every day, even just for a little while. When I can't seem to move forward on something, I move forward on something else, but at least I have some ponder time for the piece I am stuck on. Sooner or later I figure out what it needs or at least SOMETHING to do to get it unstuck.

I recently had a two month period where it seemed everything I did turned to muck. I could not seem to make a single good decision or think ahead enough to make a reasonable plan of action. There was a good deal of sealing and gessoing supports, varnishing works, photographing pieces, and administrative work. So at least I was in the studio, and my mind was quietly working out how to get unstalled.

Hope your frustration and stuckness clears quickly!

03-26-2018, 07:56 AM
way back when, i made a conscious decision to browse this site even if i wasn't able to stand up any period of time. artists study art, i told myself. therefore if i study art i'm already an artist, developing. i also firmly believe that your active daily existence should help your brain understand who it now belongs to :).
problems are a call to arms for your imagination, in any field of life.
inspiration is a big help. when creating, the sources for inspiration are more abundant than in any other field.

03-26-2018, 09:44 AM
Many times.I will just keep it away and start another one then rework on it after some days ,weeks or even months .Most of the time it will work.

03-26-2018, 11:16 AM
Welcome to WetCanvas, Kate, and that is a good question! I think, for me anyway, it is a fear of failing. But over time you learn to work with the flops and make them better into something else. It is called perseverance.

03-26-2018, 11:37 AM
I try to keep painting even during the non creative (difficult) periods. I paint a lot of stuff that gets painted over, but to keep at it is the only way I've been able to overcome the non productive time. I find that if I stop painting all together, my non productive period can go on indefinitely.

Hairy wolf
03-26-2018, 12:50 PM
There are numerous ways in which we express ourselves. Painting is one of them. The assumption that all of us visual artists share a common urge to express ourselves by means of “mark making” on a flat surface must be true.
That urge has its ups and downs in most of us. “Inspiration” is not always present. The absence of it is frustrating. Viewing other people’s works in real life or online usually helps to get “inspired” and to kick away frustration.

03-26-2018, 04:18 PM
Two words. White gesso.

Seriously, Kay was on point when she wrote about fear of failure. I've been absolutely appalled and disheartened when something I thought would be a fantastic idea looks horrible. Either regular paint or white gesso provides my do-over and do-over and do-over. More often than not, I get inspiration from every do-over. I develop more resilience and more skill with every do-over. Kay is right. Don't let fear stifle your imagination or cause hesitation. Very little is beyond redemption.
BTW, here is a good one to laugh about. Fourteen months (off & on) and literally 47 iterations. Initial idea was nonrepresentational message about struggles between police and black youth (title "Black&Blue). It came out on canvas as comic superhero, then as a cubist comic superhero, then as a robot, then as a nothing. One day I smushed red paint all over the canvas, got a new idea and there you go.

Katie Black
03-26-2018, 06:26 PM
"Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working" - Pablo Picasso.

I often think of this quote when I am struggling with something. Sometimes just going with the flow can give you that 'eureka moment'

03-26-2018, 07:33 PM
When I feel like my painting isn't going "right", I just paint it all black and make a nebula or planet painting out of it. Then I restart the failed painting all over again.

03-28-2018, 07:23 PM
My painting instructor strongly suggested we all read Art & Fear, and it was really good. It was written by two artists, David Bayles and Ted Orland, and it dealt with a lot of these issues (how to get started/going, fear of failure, etc.) in a good way. By that I mean it was not the kind of saccarine advice that makes you cringe, like too many other similar books tend toward.

You can pick up a copy for way less than five bucks on Amazon. Here's a link (https://www.amazon.com/Art-Fear-Observations-Rewards-Artmaking/dp/0961454733?SubscriptionId=AKIAILSHYYTFIVPWUY6Q&tag=duckduckgo-ffab-20&linkCode=xm2&camp=2025&creative=165953&creativeASIN=0961454733).

03-29-2018, 01:52 PM
Do you ever start painting and then get frustrated when it isn't working (or when you're stuck in the "ugly" stage) and you feel like giving up? Sorry...really depressing question...but I've been feeling a little stuck this week. :(

I warn my (oil) students that Every Single Painting has an ugly, in between stage that they'll have to bare with, accept, and work through. It's a necessary part of the process of finding the right home on the canvas for the work - a growing pain, a speed bump, a glitch in the matrix.
They get over it and at the same time, learn the power of patience and oils.