Frustrated? Isolate Your Problem

One of my old paintings, Broken Heart. Oil And Spray Enamel on Canvas.

If you rewind the clock twenty years or so, back before I had kids and got into marketing…

I was a fairly successful artist.

I was selling commissioned paintings before I even graduated with my BFA, and by the time I was 25 I had solo shows in Hollywood and a bunch of other places.

Then, life got in the way 🙂

Shifted towards the internet and then into marketing, we had kids, and never much looked back.

I don’t have any regrets, but I have taken the occasional swing at getting back into it, going through spurts and knocking out a handful of paintings every couple years or so.

But it’s been awhile.

Three years or more. I haven’t really painted since we moved into the new house.

I’ve taken stabs at it, buying canvases and different supplies and setting up shop on random weekends…

But I haven’t produced anything I liked, and it’s been FRUSTRATING.

So I had the intention to paint last weekend, and I didn’t…

I had the intention to paint this weekend and didn’t…

And so this morning I sat down and really thought about WHY I’m resisting painting, and why when I DO paint, I’m not creating anything I like.

And I realized its because painting isn’t FUN right now.

Current Studio

Current Studio. Not conducive to producing work like the painting above.

It’s WORK.

We don’t have a dedicated studio, and we’re renting… So every time I want to paint, I have to drag everything out into the front yard…

Canvases, my easel, crates of spray paint, brushes…

And then stand or stoop there in the blazing sun, painting.

When I can’t take it anymore, I drag everything back in the garage.

It sucks. And so I dread it. When I do make the effort, I rush through it… And so of course I’m not creating anything I like.

It seems so simple, but it’s a powerful lesson:

Instead of just being frustrated and doing things that you don’t feel like doing, sit and isolate and examine the problem.

Isolate your problem, and look for a solution.

Once I did that, I realized I need to hang the brushes up again for now, until I can find a dedicated space where I can comfortably do my thing, without rushing.

I’ve already started looking.

And I feel a lot less frustrated, even though I’m still working to bring some of these visions to life.