7 Favorite Ways to Enjoy Painting More

tints and shades of red-violet

tints and shades of red-violet

I know painting is not an “easy” activity. Some of our friends picture us cheerfully painting away in our attic studios, oblivious to the cares of the world. But in reality, painting can be challenging! Even frustrating.

Here are some ideas to help painters find joy in their efforts.

  1. Get a good set up for work. Whether you paint on the kitchen table, in a corner of your room, or in a studio, it does help to get your area tidy in the beginning. Subconsciously, I do better if there is order and a little clean-up at the start. It sets a positive note.
  2. Noise Levels. Construction going on outside your window? That happened to me recently, and it can be really distracting. I got some earphones and played music to cancel out the racket. Now I realize that playing music is a must-have, even without serious noises around me.
  3. Company. Everyone has different tolerance levels, but if we can find a way to work in a quiet area without people interruptions, things seem to flow better. It’s hard when you live with people, kids, even pets. Hopefully your people will understand that you need some space and peace while you are working. Negotiating and giving them their space or attention in return is always good.
  4. Time of session. Is it worth it to you if you only have 15 minutes for art in one day? 30 minutes? 2 hours? It depends, but I need more time if I am just starting a painting than if I am already in progress. Still, I can mix my colors in one session (save from drying out with plastic wrap, etc.) and come back later and perhaps begin laying out the drawing or start painting on the canvas in a new session. This does take planning, and “life happens.” Don’t give up completely! If I know I have only an hour to paint, I plan my steps and hope the next day I will have longer! It’s good to be adaptable, and if you only have 15 minutes for some drawing, you will be keeping the creative juices flowing!
  5. Good materials and brushes. There is nothing more aggravating that trying to paint with a bad brush, or discovering you hate the watercolor paper you chose to work with, 30 minutes into your work. Be kind to yourself and spring for the best brushes you can afford. Brushes don’t have to cost you half your dinner-night-out money. Some of the synthetic brushes with a nice spring to them have become less expensive. Take good care to clean them. Working late into the night sometimes sabotages my poor brushes if I forget to clean them!
  6. Break time. Do you sit when you paint? I am not great about getting up to stretch when I am sitting and working. They say to stand every 30 minutes. I have a timer, if I would only use it! If you stand when you work, don’t forget to have a seat now and then. We need to step back anyway and see the work from farther away. Fresh air helps. Eating lunch or dinner really helps! Once in a while we can’t help but paint a marathon session, but doing it every day will probably take its toll. Mental breaks are SO necessary, don’t you think?
  7. Inspiration for the day. This can be as simple as creating your color mixes before you begin painting (highly recommend that!) or perusing your favorite art books. If we feast our eyes on luscious color or masterful paintings, we can be primed for plunging into our own painting work.

To be honest, I wish I did all of these things more consistently. But at least I have shared them with you, and feel a little peaceful about that! Do you have some tips to share with me?

thanks for reading,



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6 Responses to “7 Favorite Ways to Enjoy Painting More”

  1. Leslie Ann Clark Says:

    This is really good!!! and so true! I think I better stand up now!


  2. Melanie McNeil Says:

    Good list for any creative person. Yes, 15 minutes is worth using, even if it is to make decisions for the next longer session. I think noise-level is very personal. I used to listen to music while quilting but now rarely do. In fact, I can’t even listen in the car anymore.


    • Karen Says:

      I agree Melanie, about the noise level, music and what comes into our auditory senses. Completely personal to each of us, and possibly changes for an individual over the years as well. I enjoy books on CD if my creative task is not requiring right-brain sorts of decisions. We all have ways to “tune out” distractions when needed, but some are hard to ignore. And yes, sometimes our 15 minutes of creative time can be a good step. Once we get to using that precious 15 minutes here and there, we place a value on it, and find ways to grab another time or two in our day to keep that creative work going. Just my thoughts… Thanks for your reply!


  3. Alistair McDonald Says:

    Hi Karen, great list, no5 was me yesterday, visit to artshop on list today!
    I always have music on, quietly – I read somewhere that the tempo of Baroque music is equal to the wave lengths of the brain in creative mode – 13 beats per something compared to 17 for rock music I recall. I find reggae has the same rhythm for me. Of course, mixing it up is needed too (187 Beatles tracks on a precious day off yesterday). Its a good life!


    • Karen Says:

      Good tip on Baroque music, Alistair. I change up my types of music all the time, and will look for some new Baroque on YouTube today, see how I feel! I like salsa and Latin too. Bossa Nova beat does it for me! Have fun at the art shop!


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