Dealing with Procrastination

Living with procrastination and any negative thoughts has become an art in itself, and is now just part of my creative painting practice.

We all have those days when we feel lethargic, listless and uninspired. Putting off doing something and making the excuse of finding a million of other things to do instead. A whole day can go by and you don’t feel that you have achieved anything!

I have found a way of circumnavigating these hurdles in my life as a painter, and here’s what I do.

I try to show up and paint in my lovely light home “studio” most days. I have two rules which help.

  • Tidy area of studio to be used next day after each session. Wash brushes. Clean palette. Clear table. Paints away etc.
  • Start new day by mixing paints (choose colours I love and fire me up – in generous quantities). Decide on series (at least 4) paintings to work on and make short notes of what I would like to achieve that session. Also lay out mark-making tools, blue paper towel, sandpaper etc. Make sure everything I need is to hand.

Walk away. Make coffee in favourite cup. Put on favourite painting apron.

That’s it! Once the apron is on , painting must begin, regardless! (No more social media, yapping puppy, boring chores, Amazon deliveries – unless new paint!). PAINTING begins.

Painting every day really does make you progress. I liken it to practising a musical instrument. I have learnt several exercises to warm up with, like doing scales and arpeggios.

On the days that I do not feel like working on a painting, I find something different to do. A favourite of mine is making collage papers using a gelli plate, which I later incorporate into a painting, or tear up and make small compositions in my sketchbooks. This is a great way to get further inspiration for new work.

So, in essence, the more you show up, and paint or create, the quicker the improvement to your work.. It doesn’t have to be for long. Short bursts of 20 minutes can be effective.

I have learnt to question my resistance to things and excuses that I make.

“Where there is a will – there is a way” springs to mind.

The negative thoughts in my mind will always be there, but the sheer joy of the act painting has quietened them and they have become insignificant, and I am doing my best to tap into the power of positive thinking. Procrastination is allowed, but has its place!

Find a ritual for yourself that is a trigger for the start of work, whatever it be. You might surprise yourself!

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14 thoughts on “Dealing with Procrastination

      1. Well done Tricia! Interesting and informative, nice layout with nice photos. I was just hitting a P spot myself (hence in FB mid morning!!) so now there’s no excuse and will be putting on my apron now! Thanks!

  1. Love finding you on Instagram! I appreciate your vulnerability and enjoy your posts. Your writing is wonderful and your Instagram paragraphs so quick to read and so much in them to take away!

    I have been a fine art photographer for 30 plus years but am so wild about painting now and took CVP 2020 only to be totally overwhelmed.

    I am still navigating and putting my apron on but some days I just hold the brush and close my eyes and imagine what could come out but when I open them I’m brought back to reality.

    It is hard but you are so right …..practice a daily ritual and maybe one day the call and response will happen!
    I’m hopeful 😂

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