How to Keep Motivated When You Can’t Paint

Okay, frustration is setting in. It’s been a week and a half since having to move into a hotel (for details refer back to my blog “Gone with the Wind”). Finding a way to paint has been nearly impossible. I had hoped to be halfway through a painting by now. I was going to blog each step of the way with photos, but progress has been halted.

The problem is these crutches keep me from carrying my paints to the lobby. I can’t paint in the hotel room, because my husband works nights and sleeps days. I have to keep the room dark all day. At night the lighting is so bad, I don’t dare mix colors. So I’m stuck.  Today, I stood in the bathroom (better lighting) to fix the background of the painting I had just started when everything hit the fan. It was scraped up in the storm, but the canvas survived. I guess you can call that a start. But, standing on a broken foot in the bathroom to paint, is not the most ideal situation. It’s not something I can do for very long.

So basically, I’m not painting. Circumstances may be different, but I’m sure you’ve all gone through times when you couldn’t paint, too. What I’ve discovered is the longer I stay away from the brushes the harder it is to get back to them. But if I can do something art related each day that I can’t paint, it will be easier to pick up the brush when I can. Here is a list of my go to’s for motivation:

1. Study a painting pattern, taking notes on new information and what could be other options to the same pattern.

2. Reading art blogs by fellow bloggers. I also subscribe to a number of artists newsletters. When I’m in the midst of a painting I rarely have time to read them, but I save them all for times like this when I can’t get to my brushes.

3. Collect reference material. If you can’t paint because you’re out and about, make good use of your camera or smart phone.

4. Go through photos. If you are stuck at home or in a hotel room like me, take the time to go through the photos you’ve already taken. Make files of possible contenders  for future paintings.

5. Play in Photoshop. Make composite photos, choosing elements from several photos to create a new design.

6. Visit museums and galleries online. Choose one particular artist or style of painting and research it.

7. Jot down any ideas, reflections or dreams that might lend themselves well to future projects . Some artists keep a journal handy at all times for this whether they are painting or not.

8. Wet a paintbrush in water and practice brushstrokes. I haven’t done stroke work in years, but now would be a great time to brush up that skill.

Okay, I’m feeling less frustrated now. I guess I have lots to do tomorrow to keep me busy. I hope some you might find my list helpful too. If you have anything to add to the list please comment.


6 thoughts on “How to Keep Motivated When You Can’t Paint

  1. Vera Campbell

    With my husbands illness and all I have going on with him it’s been so long since I’ve painted . I’m going to try some of your ideas ! Maybe I can get stRted when things slow down a bit . Thank you for your blog even in your time of shall I say being uprooted ! You can still help others ! Thank you !!


    1. Lynnette Post author

      I hope your husband’s health improves and you can get back to painting. I think my list will help you get back on that road. Let me know if you find it helps.


  2. clarajteixeira

    With my three toddlers/preschoolers I have large spaces of time where I can’t pull out my paints. I have fallen in love with journaling and sketching for those dry spells. If I keep a sketchbook with me at all times and make a point to do quick sketches whenever the inspiration strikes it really seems to help! Blogging is awesome. I love reading your posts! I hope you heal quickly.


  3. Joyce Powers

    Hi Lynnette – I have been away from home visiting family, painted one day with sister’s class doing a project totally out of my comfort zone. Was a great experience for so many reasons! But I’m back home in this “new” life of mine learning to do all the spring chores and making new decisions is all tiring. But have saved your blogs until I could sit down and enjoy.
    Glad you blogged on this subject – we all have life changes that get in our way of painting and you have reminded us with so many great ideas. Made me realize I’m still doing ok taking pictures and dreaming of what I want to do.
    Besides everything else, I believe you are blessed to be OK!! Although what you went through has got to be more traumatic than I can imagine.
    Thank you for sharing all these wonderful blogs. Continue to think positive and get well.
    Big hugs, Joyce



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