Overcoming Frustration in Painting… Sometimes It Can be Done.

Progress on Canyon painting, unfinished, KGT

Progress on Canyon painting, unfinished, KGT

The 30 Paintings in 30 Days challenge continues. I missed some days, as I knew would happen, because of my scheduled trip to Santa Fe. Trying to get back in the “painting groove” can be just short of brutal, to be honest. I actually got down on my knees and prayed for a new inspiration today, an idea that could make a beautiful painting. I was hurting for something to begin. My idea files were not speaking to me. Stone cold.

Well, my prayer was answered in the form of an image in my mind’s eye. Just enough to give me a start. So I started. More frustration followed, then I had to remind myself that this painting business is all about taking it a step at a time. And keeping the faith that the layers will build and then things will gel, the vision of a finished painting will develop. And it finally did, but not until four hours later.

Have a look at the first underpainting at the bottom of these photos and work your way up to see the progress. The top picture is a cropped version. I took these last couple of paintings at night in the studio. I believe I can get it to nearly finished tomorrow.

The painting challenge for me is to get me working full-bore this month. It would be nice to say I could finish a painting in one day, but that is not really how I work. But it is a valuable commitment to give it the effort and see what happens! Thank you to Leslie Saeta for organizing this challenge!

I guess my final thought is that we artists all experience times of great difficulties in the creative process. I don’t have a magic formula to overcome these trials. It does help to pull out your past image successes and favorite color palettes. It does help to look at favorite books and artists to spur your own desire to create something wonderful. My prayer today, Dear Lord, I want to paint a really beautiful painting. Please help me to do this.

I know now I can finish this one. I finally like it! That helps. There have been times I have had to scrap my project and move on, no question. There is a certain freedom in telling oneself it is time to move on. I have done that many times.

Do you have a comment? Frustration in creating art is pretty universal. Do you have a way to work through your own challenges? I would love to hear your idea.

thanks for reading,


Canyon-night-easel  canyon-progress-2Canyon-progress-1

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6 Responses to “Overcoming Frustration in Painting… Sometimes It Can be Done.”

  1. Nancy Says:

    So interesting to see the stages. It is beautiful! Sometimes when I don’t know what to do I just “play” and improvise. The challange for me is to take the time to do things right–when I am inspired I work too quickly and I am not always happy with the results.


    • karen Says:

      I know just what you mean, Nancy about taking time to do things right. There is something to be said for improvising and “play.” Good things can happen, but now and then we hit a dead end with that. Those pieces are prime candidates for setting aside and returning to see what went wrong. That is exactly what happened to me in my Summer Woods painting of Sept. 2, 2014. I dropped it for a month or so and came back to find a solution and fix. I hope you persevere in those moments!


  2. Kelly Springer Says:

    Beautiful! Both the message and painting. I finally put up some of my (tyro, because I am without formal training), if you like: ArtWanted.com/KellySpringer. On Sep 11, 2014 6:10 PM, “Hue Bliss: Color & Art notes by Karen Gillis


  3. Leslie Ann Clark Says:

    Wow! What a process! Its perfectly glowing!!! I love that about your work!!!!praying helped!!! Its just glorious!


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