Saturday, March 24, 2012

How Not to Paint

Where did the week go? I am very tired, so know that I was very busy yet I certainly didn't get a lot of painting done.

I started a painting of crocuses a few days ago. I chose hot-pressed paper, although I usually use cold-pressed to paint on and either it didn't agree with me or I didn't agree with it. I seemed to be fighting with it. Finally I walked away from my work in progress in frustration. I often feel frustrated while I am in the middle of a painting. Every painting contains myriad up and down moments as the paint, water, paper and I conspire to create an image. I'm used to that, but it's very rare for me to give up on a painting.

Because my week contained more non-painting moments than painting ones, I thought it would be useful (maybe you're too driven? too prolific?) to put together this list.

Kathleen's Handy Tips:  How Not To Paint

  • Take the dog for a walk. 
  • Make beautiful colour swatches of all of the paints in your paint box.
  • Spend days on the Handprint site (an amazing resource!) and stay so long that you become artistically paralysed. 
  • Revise your palette based on all of the information that you learned during your days spent on the Handprint site. 
  • Revise it again. 
  • Make new colour swatches based on your new palette. 
  • Start a blog. 
  • Reorganize your watercolour paper in your studio. 
  • Garden.
  • Open an Etsy shop
  • Have another cup of coffee or maybe a cup of tea. 
  • Decide that your many years of painting experience are not enough and reread all of your art instruction books, watch how-to paint videos on YouTube and visit other artists’ websites. 
  • Create a Facebook page
  • Take photos of potential painting subjects. 
  • Take some more. 
  • Go to the art supply store to find inspiration in new art materials. 
  • Decide that you should devote your energy and time to the art of housework. 
  • Open a Twitter account
  • Redecorate a room, refinish a piece of furniture or build something. 
  • Check your email, blog, Etsy shop, Facebook page and Twitter feed. 
  • Take the dog for another walk. 
  • Write a blog post about not painting.

I will confess to being diverted by all of the above activities at various times in the past couple of years. Well, except for one. You can try and figure it out. :)


  1. what a busy week for you.

    at work, my constant obstacles are books and blogs.

    but going through your list for the second time, it's more of "how to paint but not really paint".

    perhaps it's a week of recharging and catching up on the other side of the circle for you.

    and thanks for all the links :)

    1. I didn't do everything on my list during the past week but I was inspired by it. It includes avoidance techniques from the past too. I like your revised title 'how to paint but not really paint'. :)

  2. Hello, I bumped into your blog from Pinterest (another account you need to start). Someone had pinned your beautiful paint box which linked here.

    My medium is primarily art quilts and your list is like a magnifying glass on my days :) Like the previous commentor I tell myself, "I'm recharging".

    1. Thanks for telling me that my photo was pinned. I am on Pinterest but don't spend a lot of time there. Yes, I thought too that 'recharging' is a kind way to look at the other side of the creative process--those days when you are not doing what you 'should' be. Glad you found my blog.

  3. Some days it comes so easy, then you know it's right. Some days it's like pulling teeth aaaagggghhhhh. Take a step back, it will come again for sure! What is it??? Don't know it eludes me, but it's good when you've got it!
    I love that colour swatch idea though, hmmmn, may need to do that? I've got scraps of w'col paper with swatches on, and no names of the colours?? I hope you've had a good weekend, we've had a lovely sunny one, I managed to escape for the afternoon yesterday, it was brilliant!

    1. I think you're right, Julie, about the 'it' coming and going, whatever 'it' is. :) I actually went back to work on the crocus painting today and it may not be a write-off after all. We had lovely sun during the week, but this weekend was cold and today especially was gloomy. It was a perfect day to paint indoors.

  4. the one that i wouldn't really be doing is devoting my time to the art of housework.
    and well kitties don't need to be walked:)

    1. I should have offered a prize because you would have won it! I said there was one thing on my list that wasn't really true and you guessed it. :)

  5. We both need to see a rainbow it seems ;)


Thanks so much for taking the time to visit my blog and to leave me a comment. I love reading them. -- Kathleen

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