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Save yourself (from artistic frustration)!

Image: line study of Diego, graphite on paper, Kelly Foss

What do you want? What do you want? What do you want? … What do you want?!  -Noah, The Notebook (Nicolas Sparks Movie)

Time is short, especially when you’ve hired a model, so you want to make the most of your time. But while drawing or painting there’s a frustration that can build from things not turning out right, or fast enough. Have you had that feeling? Frustration blocks creativity, and stalls your progress. I get frustrated when the drawing on my paper isn’t living up to the vision in my head. I learned this unbelievably simple trick a while back to alleviate this waste of time; when I arrive at my easel I ask myself “What do you want?”. And “perfection” is not an allowed answer. I encourage you to try this! Set a realistic goal, something simple and singular that you know you can achieve in the time you have.

If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail! -Benjamin Franklin

Studies show that we raise our stress levels and reduce our productivity by as much as 40% when we multitask! Do you have only an hour for art? Set a goal of focusing solely on light & shadow, or diagonal lines; something simple. These “boundaries” will help you not feel overwhelmed. Have a month for a project? Set 4 goals, and then work on 1 each week. Don’t like structure, or feel like you need a break? Set your goal as: Just have fun!

People with goals succeed because they know where they’re going. – Earl Nightingale

Same as how frustration can block creativity, expectations met can inspire you to new heights! Whether you have 30 minutes or a year to work on your art, it’s not about avoiding challenge but about setting yourself up for success.
Do you have an aim in mind when you work on a project? Is it always the same objective? Please share in the comments below.


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  1. Advice both insightful and easily actionable! Love the Ben Franklin quote.


  2. When I draw I aim to have fun while to bring my best out on the paper =)


  3. I want my Art to be a reflection of all the glorious beauty around us. I want the viewer to pause and think about that simple beauty that was likely seen but unseen in a busy world.


  4. So good! I often set too many unattainable goals and loose the fun of the process. This leaves me frustrated and usually resulting in an unfinished product. “Have fun.” I want to be able to enjoy the process to! Thank you for the advice!