Hurdling Painter’s Block: Take the Bull by the Horns


Okay, this isn’t a bull, but the title still fits this post. After doing a lot of paintings under pressure lately for a gallery showing, displaying works at a fair and getting out in public to plein air paint, I squeezed out every last ounce of creativity. Also, in that setting, there was a voice in my mind “What would people buy?” that became a part of my purpose to paint. After the gallery showing fell through along with a couple commissions, I looked at a ton of paintings now collecting dust in the house and asked, “Why am I doing this?”. That single question haunted me to the point it was painful to pick up a brush and stare at a canvas. I was dry.

So, I “took the bull by the horns” and set out to reaffirm a reason to paint:

1. Selling Art:At a minimum, art needs to support itself. I looked up ways to sell online so these painting will eventually find a home. Lori McNee is a great blogger to Google for advice with this.

2. Asking Mentors Questions: Russell Cushman has helped a lot with some reality of what to expect with dealing with clients, both the good and bad. Thanks Russell!

3. Get Inspired: I have about ten websites of favorite artists bookmarked and 25+ blogs I subscribe to with the Feedly app of pro artists. It’s a true inspiration download.

4. Reference Photos: Over the past few years, I tucked away photos from everything I thought I’d like to paint. There’s always that forgotten photo lurking waiting for the right moment to be painted.

5. A Painting Community: I have made artist friends on Facebook and through the WordPress community. Also, Richard Robinson’s painting community site TheCompleteArtist, has been a go-to site for years. We track each others progress, encourage each other and give polite critiques.

… But in the end, one thing brought me back to the canvas. My Mom mentioned that her friend “really loves what you’ve been sharing in your blog and follows it!”. That was it. I can’t paint alone. I need to know there are others who value what I have to say. That one simple affirmation reminded me of the first painting I did in 2009 with Walmart paints and acrylic paper. I simply wanted to paint because I wanted to share some memories of outdoor adventures and the amazing animals I’ve seen along the way. No money involved, no pressure, just a simple freedom to express something I love.

So this is a HUGE thanks to you who encourage and find value in what I’ve shared. I can’t do this without you!

About this Painting: This is a longhorn from my uncles ranch. I found a photo reference from a couple years ago and figured it’d be a perfect time to paint it. I’m here near the ranch to celebrate Thanksgiving with my uncle and other family who encourage me. I spend time out at the ranch to help with fun ranch projects, but its more than that. Its a time to be with him and enjoy random conversations, figure out how to conquer the next project together and know that these are memories I’ll enjoy for the rest of my life. So, it’s not just a painting of a longhorn, but all the enjoyment I’ve had with my uncle at the ranch along with it. That joy is the most valuable part of the painting and absolutely worth sharing!!


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