As artists, we often become frustrated with ourselves if we struggle with a painting or creative project.  When ‘artistic temperament’ kicks in, our friends and family look at us with worry and fear that we might be the next coming of Van Gogh!

The story of Van Gogh’s ear will most likely remain a mystery, but one theory states that he cut off his ear lobe after trying to drink a quart of turpentine in his studio.  Well, that proves it… he must have been having a bad painting day – haha!

Okay, all joking aside…I have days where I let my painting frustrations ruin a good and beautiful afternoon and I’m sure you have too.  In fact, just learning how to blog can really frustrate me and I can easily let myself have that old negative artistic temperament.  Notice the recurring word – let? Yes, we actually let or allow ourselves to get upset.  Now, that statement may have upset you – but, think about it.  We all have control over our thoughts.  It is simply the way we react to the current situation (i.e. bad painting day, etc.)  And I know ‘that’ is easier said than done!  And…I NEED TO PRACTICE WHAT I PREACH! So how does an artist guard against those feelings of irritability or discouragement?

Here are some easy anti-stress tips:

  • Take time to get some fresh air.  The sun and air do wonders for an artist who spends her/his time in a stuffy, fumy studio.
  • Meditate
  • Listen to calming music.
  • Take a coffee break (decaf if you are battling stress) A fifteen minute break can give you a fresh prospective.
  • Go to the gym.
  • Or…( and I like this one) go to your art supply store and treat yourself to some new brushes!  Happy brushes help to make happy painting time.
  • Check your work habits!
  • Catch up on the business side of your art.  Getting some of that out of the way always makes me feel better…clean your studio or catch up on laundry, dishes, paperwork.
  • Clean your studio…yes, here it is again.  A cluttered studio leads to a cluttered mind.
  • Take a day off!!!  Maybe you are working too hard.  It is ok to take a day for yourself.  Do something you enjoy.
  • Go to run some errands.
  • Call or visit with some fellow artists.  Misery loves company!
  • Put the trouble painting away for a few days.  Turn it to the wall and don’t look at it!
  • Watch an instructional video.
  • Look through inspiring art books of your favorite painters.
  • Browse the web.

I could keep going, but you get the general idea.  I like to exercise each day.  That way I can take my aggressions out in the gym.  I also listen to classical music and I generally have a small fountain flowing.  But, some days it is just better to know when to walk away!

Cheers- Lori

PS. Let’s meet on Facebook and Twitter! ~Lori

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