Back to the Drawing Board

Yes, I’m back to my art studies now, and it’s almost like beginning again. After nearly three months away from my easels and sketch pads, returning now is definitely an adventure.

I’ve been doing a bit of sketching, but mostly I was anxious to get back to my oil painting, and I use that word — anxious — in its fullest sense. I was looking forward to standing at my easel with brush in hand, yet I was also nervous about the prospect of doing so.

Would I still remember anything about colors and brush strokes? Could I actually put paint on the canvas in a way that might resemble something? I had my doubts.

But at least I did have a little inspiration. We’ve had some stormy days here, and one day last week the skies were absolutely awesome! I took a lot of pictures and told my husband, “I want to paint these cloudy skies.” So with my first painting attempt, that’s what I focused on. Even though I could envision a complete landscape with trees and even a few buildings, I didn’t worry about those elements. I simply wanted to refresh my painting mind on how to create skies and clouds.

I was right to be anxious.


Spring Clouds
Spring Clouds

Please don’t look at anything other than the sky. Even the sky isn’t quite what I wanted to create, but it’s a starting point for me.

Oh, the troubles I had!

  • I discovered that many of my tubes of paint had dried up.
  • My brushes were in a disastrous state.
  • I didn’t have a clue what I was doing.

I recently moved my painting easel. It’s still stuck in the dining room, but it’s in a different location, and trying to regroup and get all my painting supplies conveniently situated was another challenge. I felt awkward and very unsure of myself.

My paints need a good re-organization. I’d wanted to include a bit of Paine’s Gray in the sky, but trying to find it…well, I gave up. Next time, I’ll get my paints out before I pick up my brush. As I said, I was anxious and eager, and patience has never been one of my virtues.

As for the horrible Sap Green, it wasn’t at all what I wanted, but I chose not to think too much about anything other than the clouds I wanted to paint. Being nervous about doing the painting, I sure didn’t need to pressure myself, so I just had fun dabbing in some sort of trees and painting broad strokes of grass. It was good to have a brush in my hand again, and very good to get back to my easel.

The first step is always the hardest. I’ve gotten past it now, and hopefully a bit of my “painting anxiety” will go away now. Next time, I’ll plan and prepare a bit more, and hopefully I’ll soon have a few paintings I’m proud to show to the world.



Have you ever suffered from “art anxiety”?

How did you deal with it?


  1. Glad to hear you are back at it, Judith! Nice clouds! Yes, I hear you about ‘art anxiety’, I get it all the time! all it takes is a switch in media after a while away from it, or a special project for someone……or, plein aire in a place where other people are likely to look over my shoulder……Best to do what you are doing and mess about and do what you fancy and are inspired by ~ Well done, you took your first steps and that’s the hard part – soon you’ll be settled in to your new painting set up, with a few new tubes of paint and it will all fall back into place!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I hope that how it goes, and I appreciate the encouraging words. I feel so disorganized right now, so it’s difficult to relax and enjoy the flow of painting. Hopefully in a few days I’ll feel more at home in my new set-up, and yes, new paints might do wonders! I think it’s time for a trip to the art supply store. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Being in that vulnerable, often anxious place is always a territory for growth, at least that is how I look at it anymore. I deal with art anxiety often in its different forms. I get anxious about how my art appear to others, if I am improving, why do I do art in the first place……on and on. How I deal with it is often taking a break, praying about it, looking at the masters and how they deal with it, watching videos about the art process and life. Keep on with it Judith, it is often a rocky road, part of the artist life, it just gets easier and not so sticky later on. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for the encouragement and advice, Margaret. You’re right…it is a very vulnerable place to be. I’m looking at my art space now and figuring out ways to make it more “comfortable” for me. I think that will help alleviate a bit of the anxiety I feel when I approach my easel. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Welcome back ! I have suffered art anxiety ! It usually happens when other life demands required most of my creative energy and I had to take a long break ( I’m in one of those phases now, actually ) . I guess I deal with it by making plans to take a class or embark on a structured project once the other demand lets up. In this case , I’ve got a tentative plan to take a painting class next spring . ..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just trying to find my way around my brushes, paints, and art supplies seems intimidating right now. I guess the best approach for me is to just jump in with both feet and not worry about where I’m splashing water — figuratively speaking. In other words, I just need to “DO IT” and have fun.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for the encouragement. I see so many beautiful scenes, and I think “I could paint that…” and then I think again, and all the doubts come in again. Mostly I’m going to be painting some skies this week, I think. I can always enjoy that. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. My most recent attempt was a colossal mess-up. You can see it on Monday. I’m challenging myself to take the ruined canvas and make something out of it. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. You’ve broken the ice. The hardest thing. My experience is, the next painting will be worse. Then…things get on track. So paint #2 and on to #3 and #4 and…! Seriously, Glad to see you back in action, I am so happy for you!

    Liked by 1 person

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