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  • Katherine Bryant

Five Tips for Getting Out of Your Painting Slump

I have been feeling very unmotivated to paint these days. I know I have a lot going on at home and work, but even with the free time I do have, I find myself doing mundane tasks like cleaning the refrigerator. No thanks! I have been looking around online to see how other artists overcome a slump, and I decided to post the suggestions that were most helpful to me.


1. Change your subject, media, or style. I think this tip is along the lines of “variety is the spice of life”. When you create the same type of work over and over, you can lose the zest and excitement of starting a new piece. So change it up, and see what unfolds!

2. Participate in daily, weekly, or monthly painting challenges. The frequency depends on your schedule. With my work schedule, I will only be able to commit to a monthly challenge but still having an “art assignment” gives me enough structure to complete the work and allows me to attempt a piece that I normally would not have chosen. This exercise is a structured way to get out of your comfort zone. You can find painting challenges online. While you can start a monthly painting challenge with a group of friends, I also found one online with a Google search:

“Monthly Painters Challenge” on Facebook is a group that privately posts the challenge on the first of the month, and then everyone who is part of the group reveals their work on the last day of the month. Each person then “Likes” their favorite post, and the winner with the most “Likes” will pick the following month’s topic.

3. Leave it unfinished. If you are unhappy with the way your piece is going, stop. Try another project, and come back to it a couple of weeks later. You may have a fresh perspective on what to the piece needs, or you feel more accepting of your work the way it is.

4. Take a field trip! Look for fresh ideas in places where you do not go often. While museums are great for getting inspired by other artists, try places and events that are not related to art: the zoo, aquarium, local farmers’ market, city park, fast food restaurant, or public transportation. You never know who or what you may see along the way that inspires you to create art.

5. Alter your environment at your home and/or studio. While you can easily "de-clutter" and reorganize your space to clear your mind, remember to account for all senses. If you usually listen to Country music while painting, then try Classical or Folk music. If you do not usually have a scented candle burning, then try to paint with a scented candle burning in the background. If you usually have a scented candle, then change up the aroma. You can also try painting outside if you usually paint inside and vice versa.

I hope these tips can help energize your creative mind and create magic on the canvas!

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