In our ‘always on’ culture, the ability to switch off and engage in an activity that truly re-charges our batteries is increasingly rare.

For those drawn to it, painting or other creative hobbies can be just that kind of activity. As Winston Churchill wrote:

Painting is complete distraction. I know of nothing which, without exhausting the body, more entirely absorbs the mind. Whatever the worries of the hour or the threats of the future, once the painting has begun to flow along, there is no room for them in the mental screen. They pass out into shadow and darkness. All one’s mental life, such as it is, becomes concentrated on the task.

I’m fascinated by why so many of us have every intention of making time to do this sort of activity, but then don’t do it. We know it would be really good for us and yet we CANNOT make it happen over the long term. But we’re capable people, able to stick to commitments like working, or to family and friends. So what’s going on?

It’s because it requires making a commitment to ourselves and prioritising that. And so many of us (especially women) have been conditioned to feel, deep down, that that’s not OK.

Whilst I’ve made painting my ‘job’ and therefore (as it’s ‘work’) do it really regularly, I struggle with other self-care activities like exercising.

In an effort to fix this, when I was on holiday in Ibiza last September, I read the inspiring book ‘No Sweat’ by behavioural scientist Michelle Segar PH.D. It’s focus is on how people who don’t already exercise regularly can learn to do so, over their whole lives, by focusing on the positive feelings and energy they get from whatever form of exercise they DO enjoy (enjoyment is key) and then giving themselves permission to prioritise getting those feelings.

So, if like Winston Churchill (and me!) painting gives you replenishing feelings and increased energy – both mental and physical (or you think it might), just HOW do you prioritise doing it when there always seems something more important to do?

1. Recognise that your mindset has been in control

Segar writes:

The first step is to get inside your mindset and [bring to the] surface the beliefs and attitudes that are preventing yourself from prioritising your daily energy level and your sense of well-being…

It’s easy to mistake our mindset’s choices for our choices. That’s because our mindset is powerful.It determines how we perceive everything, guiding our behaviour and creating our priorities for how we spend our time. Because we live inside it, it’s hard even to see. The thing to remember is this: Your mind set is your socialisation but it is not necessarily you. And it does not always have your best interests at heart.

We can be sure it’s our mindsets at work when we find ourselves doing the long list of things we feel we ‘should’ do before the self care activity that would actually relax and energise us. As clinical psychologist Rachel Andrew says:

People say they are so busy doing the ‘shoulds’, – whether that is working, caring for family or being a part of demanding friendships – that by the time an evening or weekend comes around when they might do what they want, there is no energy or motivation left for anything but “flopping out…That’s a difficulty – because how is life enjoyable or satisfying in the long term if you’re only doing what you should do the whole time?

And the long term result of this lack of self-care is that is we get overwhelmed and exhausted and regularly doing the self care activity begins to feel like a dream we don’t seem to have the control to achieve.  This is the norm for most of us. It’s what Segar calls ‘Caretakeritis’:

When we do not prioritise our own self care because we’re busy serving others, our energy is not replenished. Instead we’re exhausted, and our ability to be there for anyone or anything else is compromised.

We end up so tired we feel the only way to switch off is to zone out in front of the TV (often while also flicking through our phones), which usually does little to restore us.

So how do we change this mindset?

2. See your creative hobby as part of your ESSENTIAL FUEL

Segar suggests you focus on how your painting session (or whatever self care activity you’re thinking of) makes you feel.  For this to be a self-care activity, the answer should be ‘relaxed’ and probably also somewhat  ‘energised’ or ‘replenished’.

Note to those still learning: It’s important to remember that if you’re still in the early stage of learning (which actually is likely only be as little as 20 hours) there can be an element of being out of your comfort zone or even frustration with your results at play too – it doesn’t mean it can’t become really enjoyable for you, but scheduling those 20 hours and sticking to them to see how your feelings change as you improve is really important!

So if painting is restorative for you, keep in mind that the more energy you give to taking care of yourself the more energy you then have to give to and fuel what matters the most to you. Come to see the activity as your ‘essential fuel’, something that is absolutely vital to sustaining you to be your best self, not some self indulgent, nice to have, gift to yourself.

This mental shift requires practice, as it runs counter to how most of us have always seen things.

3. If you struggle with it, try Segar’s thought experiment:

Imagine that you have a new mindset that is directing you to make feeling better in your daily life and self-care a top priority. Consider one or two small things that you could give yourself permission to do in your day that would re-charge your battery and bring positive feelings:

  1. What activities would you spend time doing?
  2. When you imagine yourself doing these activities, what do you notice or feel about yourself?

I’d love to read your answers in the comments below!

As for me and exercise, well the day after I finished the book, I found out I was pregnant again and within a week I was taken over by ‘morning’ sickness again followed by low iron and since then a stroll with the buggy and the dog is all I’ve managed!  But I’ve been managing to prioritise an afternoon snooze on the sofa time so for me there’s still been some self-care progress!

Does this ring true for you? Do you think you can shift your mindset to prioritise painting (or any self care)? Have you already managed it? Do share your story in the comments below – I love to read them!

  1. Louise 4 years ago

    I have to prioritize self-care because my job is all about caring for others. But I don’t think of it in terms of what I get out of it. I think of it in terms of being able to give more. If I don’t take care of myself, I am more likely to be grumpy or careless. What I can give suffers. That said, painting rarely gets done because it takes so long – between setting up, planning, executing, cleaning up, etc. My self-care looks more like your short nap or 5 minutes outside or singing in the shower. I look forward to a time when I can spend half a day painting! In the meantime, I enjoy dreaming about it in company with your blog.

    • Liz 4 years ago

      When my kids were little, it seemed that painting or anything craftsy had to have a semi-private space of its own, where the projects were kept simple, nothing needed to be put away, and where it was out of reach of little ones–or where the kids could do something alongside me. I do simple pencil or ink drawings when I cannot paint–very satisfying. I leave knowing what the next step will be and think about what is next until the next visit.

  2. Mary Ruthenburg 4 years ago

    This so true. When I paint or sketch or garden my mind is in a different world. As said, I am relaxed and energized. I am retired and so could have more free time. But with my husband home and being 75, in the old view of a wife, it is like having children home to be taken care of. He really is a dear and doesn’t require that, but MY mindset does. It is really hard to turn that off. Sketching for me has allowed me to get back in the paint groove. It doesn’t take so long, less or almost no set up and joy of a finish. At the moment I have a painting in mind, but am still working up to getting supplies out and the longer time set aside to get to it. Thanks for this reminder. It is true for exercise too. Thank goodness we have dogs that encourage exercise.
    Anna, have a happy, not so stressful pregnancy. Thanks for your wonderful classes that really saved me a year or so ago when I found you online. I will be thinking of you and your family. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

    • Anne-Marie Nishi 4 years ago

      I am in a similar situation, although my husband has been in ill-health. I find it hard to isolate myself and “tune out”. But, I’ve signed up for painting classes for the next few months and that will enable me to discipline myself. I do feel I will have more to give if I do this for myself.

      • Terese Decker 4 years ago

        Recently, I’ve had to let go of my painting to care for my dear husband. While he was still healthy, I attended classes to keep me motivated and help me zone out from thinking of inevitability of my husband death. Today, I read another inspiration that like yours Anna, gave me some direction. It reads “Everyone says that time heals, but I found out it is what you do with your time that heals your heart.” This is what painting does, it creates new life in me. Congratulations on the new life that is being created in you too Anna!

        • Author
          Anna Mason 4 years ago

          What a lovely quote, thanks for sharing that Terese.

        • Lyn 4 years ago

          Terese, I am sorry you are going through having to think about your husband’s death. What a wonderful quote to help us all. It is so true! May you find time for renewal, even if it is only short spurts of time and be lifted up during this difficult period.

  3. Karen 4 years ago

    Not sure I agree with all the assumptions. I am retired with time and permission but still don’t paint. I find myself tidying cupboards or some such trivia to avoid it. Even entering competitions with deadlines to force the issue doesn’t work. Really weird.

    • Author
      Anna Mason 4 years ago

      Hmmm Karen, it could be ‘resistance’ you’re experiencing- check out this post.

      • Carla simons 4 years ago

        Thank you!! Yes, “resistance” is much more relevant to me than a matter of setting priorities. I make excuse after excuse, promise that when I have a long weekend, I’ll paint. I hada LONG vacation over holidays with ample time to paint. Didn’t lift a brush till the last two days and those were minimal sittings. In part, I feel a bit overwhelmed; so many things I want to try, afraid I’ll blow them, but mostly not knowing which to do first. I walk into my “creative room”, stare at my desk and computer monitor and paints and think “but, now what?”…. so I turn round and go waste time with a mindless, addictive game on my iPad. I’ll check out the book you recommended (more time to deflect from painting, lol!)

        • Andrea 4 years ago

          That’s exactly me too! I’ve resolved to start tomorrow though with at the least a 10 minute sketch.

          • Serafina 4 years ago

            Same Here.. retired and can’t seem to garner time during the day to get to my painting.. yet when I lay down at night I realize that’s all I really wanted to do. So,
            WHY didn’t I? I haven’t found the answer but I have been listing all the things I fill my days with (and they are short here up near the Canadian border in winter!)
            Surprisingly… I spend a lot of time just playing on the computer looking up books for my kindle, writing emails, ordering household things online (I live in remote area) and
            on and on… plus meals and dishes and laundry and … OMG! I’m single! I should have oodles of time.
            What I learned: I just have a procrastination problem with my art – lack of confidence that I can get out of my current slump and do something to meet my own expectations, not to mention anyone else’s! Just knowing this makes me a bit angry at myself, and I hope that I can get myself motivated knowing that I am sabotaging my own wonderful art life I have dreamed of! Time to LIGHT THE FIRE! Anna’s articles have inspired me – thank you, Anna and everyone else!

          • Julie Bird 4 years ago

            I know it’s difficult. It seems that your afraid of messing up. I m like this sometimes. So I change my mind set to “ I’m just going to experiment/play with * and see what happens.” So it doesn’t matter if I mess up. I’m am more relaxed and enjoy it more.

      • InkWitchArts 4 years ago

        Can it also be maybe a symptom of depression? I was suffering from severe depression for years and couldn’t do anything at all. Loss of interest, or just doing something else literally but the things I wanted, deep within. What you call ”resistance” sounds to me it can maybe also be linked to such health issues. I mean, in the most extreme cases. I think it’s a good thing to watch on that ”resistance”. It’s like a negative energy of some sort and it can really destroy your creativity/passions.

        • Author
          Anna Mason 4 years ago

          Yes you could be right about that- it’s like a negative energy for sure.

      • Karen 4 years ago

        Oh spot on Anna, thanks for that. I will get his book and see how to “Go Pro”

    • Sophia Moore 4 years ago

      Me too Karen

  4. Brian Murray 4 years ago

    I suppose my reason/excuse for not setting time aside for painting regularly is down to the fact I feel there are more important jobs to do first. With not having a painting area where I can leave my work out also means getting my stuff out is a chore & a drain on my enthusiasm. I love painting & when I do it regularly I churn out lots of different themes. I’ll just have to try & strike a balance & not feel guilty about the jobs I feel are more important than my painting.

    • Author
      Anna Mason 4 years ago

      Good idea Brian and see if you can find a painting ‘nook’ where you feel it’s ok to leave out your paints- if using watercolour they shouldn’t take up too much room. It makes a big difference not to have that little hurdle to overcome when you want to have a session.

  5. Michelle lee 4 years ago

    I work FT as a nurse and I just finished an evening certificate art program but I still have to do my final paintings to graduate. My well is empty when I get home and getting to the gym or picking up a paintbrush is like adding another few hours of work to my day! I say I will get to it, I say “Today is the day I get started”… but once I am at home, I just dont do it. In being a nurse there is an element of physical, mental and emotional exhaustion and I returned to art to help myself rebalance but without the structure of classes and assignments, i procrastinate. The hard part is that when i give an excuse that I am too tired, it really is true! In the meantime, I keep lurking blogs and watching various online classes.

    • Author
      Anna Mason 4 years ago

      Well I think doing that certificate program on top of a demanding FT job is a lot to take on. It’s like for me right now being pregnant and having a 15 month old- there’s only so much energy we have! That said if painting does energise you, try to fit it in on your days off when you’re not so tired.

  6. Kris Hoffer 4 years ago

    I find a small step in the right directio.n, amd the support of a friemd with the same goal is helpful. For exercise, a gym buddy who I can message and say lets go… for painting, doing the doodlewash monthly challenge of a sketch a day & following the simple prompts.

  7. Coby 4 years ago

    I’m retired and want to supplement my retirement, and help my husband pay bills by doing what I love, painting. I find myself feeling like I need to make sure everything is perfect before I start on a painting. The kitchen needs cleaning, the dog needs a bath, my studio needs decluttering, lunch, then dinner needs fixing. Then all I want to do is veg in front of the TV or read. I find that a week later I still haven’t started on painting. I have so many ideas I want to paint but why do I distract myself? Fear of failure?

    • Author
      Anna Mason 4 years ago

      Possibly fear of failure, though it could be this issue i’ve been talking about here- not feeling able to prioritise yourself. Try the mindset shift about that.

    • Eric Bubb 4 years ago

      I am the same. As Anna Mason states for me it its the fear of failing.

      • Cheryl Van Ryn 4 years ago

        I have found that not taking ownership of what I am painting helps with failure. If I start off and decide if this doesn;t look great I am going to toss it in the bin helps me to enjoy my time painting and because I am no longer thinking of failing or its too difficult and I decide yes its going in the bin from the outset and I will try another one and be even better at it because I learnt from my mistakes on the first one.

  8. Johane 4 years ago

    Some things that have helped me shift my mindset:
    • “You can’t pour from an empty cup.”
    • Instead of saying “I don’t have time.” I say “This is not a priority to me.” Ouch! Why am I not a priority to myself?!
    • When I commit to doing something with a friend, I don’t bail…so I ask myself, “Why is it ok to bail on myself?”
    All of these have helped me choose to make time for self-care

    • Author
      Anna Mason 4 years ago

      Love that phrasing around not a priority- really makes our decisions clear doesn’t it! Thanks for sharing Johane!

  9. Heidi 4 years ago

    I work parttime, four days a week, in a financial enviroment. Next to that I’m on three design teams, working for creative supply companies. That is pretty busy and all my own choice! But I also really really really wanted to learn watercolour painting in your style Anna. It takes me, as a beginner, about three and half days to finish an intermediate project in your school, that it takes so long is a bit of a struggle for me. Setting up supplies doesn’t take long fortunately. What I found really helped to keep going is the moment I finish one project I select the next one and print thetemplate you provide. When I have some spare time left somewhere I do the tracing part. Then there are no more excuses to get started on the painting itself. It just bugs me that more often then not the video’s in the school don’t run smoothly (keeps loading and loading, two sentences, then again loading, loading, loading ….) don’t know yet if it’s my side or your side that is causing the problems. I try to work around tem though! Thanks for your awesome lessons!

    • Author
      Anna Mason 4 years ago

      Oh I think the video issue is likely due to your internet connection or browser set up Heidi- check out the Help Centre for ways to resolve it. So pleased you’re enjoying the classes anyway, and am very impressed with your time management/ ability to prioritise. A lady who gets things done I think!

      • Heidi 4 years ago

        Thanks so much Anna, I will check out the Help Centre!

  10. Aprille Janes 4 years ago

    I inadvertently stumbled over this of “essential fuel” in November. I didn’t have the words for it but it felt like a switch was thrown and suddenly my painting time became a priority. Before that it was always about supporting clients and others (I’m a coach so it comes with the territory.)
    What used to be a struggle now flows seamlessly into my day. Mindset was everything in this.
    Fantastic post. Am sharing it with my creative community.
    All the best in 2019!

  11. 花园小影 4 years ago

    When I was drawing, my bad mood disappeared. I don’t see painting as something we should do because it’s good for us. This may give me the feeling that “it’s a task,” which in turn may become a burden. In order to draw more conveniently, I will prepare a small book or some small watercolor CARDS at hand. When I have free time, it only takes me a few minutes to draw a small line drawing. A small box of solid watercolors and fountain pens is also handy if I want to color. My mobile phone also stores a lot of pictures of plants, some are taken in the botanical garden or in the flower bed, some are downloaded , which will also facilitate my painting practice. These are my experiences, and thank you for your sharing. Happy New Year!

  12. Jean 4 years ago

    What a wonderful, timely article. I’m retired and teach beginner classes at our Az winter home. I’ve noticed people don’t paint unless they are in a class despite their best intentions. Your article really helped me understand that. I got into watercolor because I had a family and a demanding left brain job. When I painted I would get into the “zone” and be in a relaxed bubble. Students mention having the same feeling. You are such an incredible artist and gifted teacher. Congratulations on your pregnancy. What a wonderful time

    • Author
      Anna Mason 4 years ago

      Aw thanks for your kind comment Jean, I appreciate it

  13. Shelley Reynolds 4 years ago

    Thank you for this blog. I have kept painting on a back burner for the last few months. My daughter was married on 28 December. I made her a bouquet with homemade satin flowers, so she could keep it. It was enjoyable and rewarding. I can’t say why. Perhaps it helps me feel capable in other areas. Kind of like solving problems does. I have a Painting in mind, and when I get to painting I feel in control of what I would like to have accomplished. Many things come up that require attention on the front burner. Sometimes it’s health especially when it comes to exercise, other times finances when I want to use a certain “Arches Hot Press” but I can’t afford it yet. I try to do with the materials I have and when I paint it does uplift my mind to the creation God has shown and directs me to more hope to seeing the rest of His creation one day. It is a pleasure and a cheerer along the way. Thanks again. ShelleyR

  14. Marti 4 years ago

    15 minutes a day! I am caregiver to my 93 year old mother and a brother with early alzheimers. Although I don’t live with them I am there daily. Between that and a husband and grandchildren it seems I am always on the run.
    At a recent art workshop, the instructor told me, “Even 5 minutes a day will help keep you in the mode if you do it EVERY day.” For my New YEARS resolution I upped that time to 15 minutes and actually bought a small timer that I set and turn on when I sit down. This way when I am telling myself I do not have time to draw or paint I can counter with “You DO have 15 minutes.” I do leave my paints out so that I don’t have to use time setting up. I mark off the days I do paint on a calendar, I set up a penalty for not doing the work…..$10.00 a day in a jar. Then, when I have worked 30 days in a row, I get to use the money for something to help my art…. a new book….a subscription to an art magazine. My sister has joined me in this quest (She is a musician and song writer who also struggles to find time). We text each day to say “DONE” when we have finished our 15 minutes. We are hoping this will keep us accountable. Have not missed a single day this year….he he.
    I also keep several art books on the coffee table in front of the television so when my husband is watching SHARK TANK I can browse the beautiful art and get inspired.

    • Author
      Anna Mason 4 years ago

      Such a great strategy! Thanks for sharing.

    • Karen Mc Collum 4 years ago

      Great idea! Anything we repeat enough becomes a habit

    • Tracey 3 years ago

      Love this idea!

  15. Shirley Porter 4 years ago

    I am a complementary health professional who was very nearly, scarily at complete burnout 3 years ago. I had always wanted to paint and so began looking at tutorials online. I began with Anna’s site and several other successful artists sites, they were what made me realise that if I was not going to burn out totally, I needed this creative outlet. I did manage to make lots of time initially, and I mean LOTS…….in the evenings and weekends, it was a life saver! everything was going very well but then my progress stalled as I found it harder to stay motivated, Anna’s video about over coming artistic block helped. I have come to realise that making time to paint is vital to my own mental health well being. It is hard to make time when everything in your programming is to look after every one else first…….but I have learned the value of prioritising my needs creatively. What I need to do to stay motivated with my art, helps me to stay fresh and motivated for my work as an acupuncturist.

  16. Barbara gershberg 4 years ago

    I am retired and have time to do anything I wish, except for a few commitments. Your words about using the TV instead rings true. I cannot blame anything else for my procrastination is fear of failure since I seem to be going backwards instead of forward in painting progress!
    Barb G

    • Author
      Anna Mason 4 years ago

      Oh sorry you feel that way Barbara, do check out my post on ‘resistance’:

    • Dianne Reaville 3 years ago

      Hi Barbara, I can identify with “fear of failure” and I felt that way for the longest time. Then gradually, I came to the realization that I need to “fail or paint as a beginner” before I could paint like an experienced painter. Logical, right? We all have a beginning and we need to kindly allow ourselves time and space to “play” with our paints. And, I started with very small projects like greeting cards for friends and family. And when they did not turn out well, I put them out of sight and tried again. I hope you are allowing yourself to make mistakes. That’s the way children learn and we need to allow the child in us to play and enjoy colors, shapes, etc. and to express our feelings with paint. We can be our own art therapist and once we’re less fearful, we will enjoy the whole exciting process. That’s been my experience. And with Anna’s directions, we can learn specific techniques that will produce specific results and experience the successes we’re after.

  17. Michelle Stephens 4 years ago

    Hi Anna, I’ m in the beginner stage for watercolor, so your 20 hour comment is appreciated. My approach recently to making this shift is to do one thing that really makes my day beautiful. I keep mentally putting all my activities into categories of “it adds beauty” or ” it’s necessary ” striving to tip the scales toward more beauty. I work plus care for an elderly parent, so I appreciate the beauty you’ve added to my life. It’s inspiring me to find joy in art again.

  18. Michelle 4 years ago

    Hi Anna, I’ m in the beginner stage for watercolor, so your 20 hour comment is appreciated. My approach recently to making this shift is to do one thing that really makes my day beautiful. I keep mentally putting all my activities into categories of “it adds beauty” or ” it’s necessary ” striving to tip the scales toward more beauty. I work plus care for an elderly parent, so I appreciate the beauty you’ve added to my life. It’s inspiring me to find joy in art again.

  19. Jan Flook 4 years ago

    I’ve read some really philosophical answers here, and some touching personal stories, but essentially my own feelings are……run, swim, dance, sing……make love…….then I’ll know I’ve made it !

  20. Jan Flook 4 years ago

    ……………..then I can paint !

  21. Alice 4 years ago

    I also am retired, and what keeps me from my easel is fear, plain and simple. Fear of failure. I have had plenty of successes in my life and career, yet fear of failure still can paralyze me at age 66.

    • Jenny 4 years ago

      Yep, me too. Even though I went to art college in the late 1960s.

      Ended up in a very different career as a university lecturer (computing).

      Am retired now and returned to art, but I often freeze.

      Sometimes it feels like a chore. For many years I have designed our own Christmas cards and had them printed up. 2018 the printers I use had a big discount, for a short while. Had to work very quickly. Made me feel quite ill.

    • Nikki Gardner 4 years ago

      Me too…fear of failing is my obstacle. I know I want to be better than I am so don’t practice. Like a vicious circle ! I don’t understand it because with everything else I have really tried in I have been reasonably successful just painting causes me fear ?

    • Jill 4 years ago

      What a great idea . Every little bit counts . I think I will give your 15 minutes a day a try. Thank you.

    • Jill 4 years ago

      I had the same trouble, never felt that I could make a “real” painting so I wouldn’t try. After having foot surgery I wasn’t allowed to weight bear for 8 weeks…..lots of sitting. I started painting sketches in a small sketch book everyday. I loved it & before I knew it I was painting & enjoying myself so much. Using a sketch book got me started. Perhaps it will be a help to you..

    • Heidi 4 years ago

      I totally know how you feel, before I get to start a painting I feel this barrier inside me, and when I can’t finish a painting in a certain amount of time and I have to leave the painting and then start on it again, the barrier is back again. I think it has to with being scared that I can’t do this (before starting) and that I will ruin it when I paint any further then where I’m at that moment (when there are a couple of days in between painting sessions). I still try to talk myself into picking up the brush, to get in out of my head for the least but now, after doing a couple of paintings, I know I can do this, maybe it’s not perfect, but I can only learn by doing it!

  22. Bonne Holbrook 4 years ago

    Thank you for your timely words. I made the decision right before the holidays to get back to watercolor painting after a long, long break. I bought your second book, because I want to focus on flowers. So, in preparation, I have created a watercolor space where I’ve set up my paper, brushes and paints etc. So, I’m ready to start this coming week! I’m very excited and looking forward to getting reaquainted with my tools!
    Congratulations on your new baby and wishing you a wonderful new year.

    • Author
      Anna Mason 4 years ago

      Having that space will make a big difference- wishing you all the best with your painting Bonne!

  23. joan tidwell 4 years ago

    when i did the exercise i physically felt my shoulders go down and relax thanks

  24. Janetlynn 4 years ago

    I am retired but still working- teaching at a Jr. High school 2-3 days a week and pointed pen one night a week . I spend lots of time preparing for my classes. My husband is 72 and I spend the evening with him…. he works hard on his philosophy of yoga class he will be teaching so in the evening he watches dvds. After he goes to bed, I have time to write letters and paint. I am either doing one of your tutorials or painting on envelopes-I am a Big fan of mail art. But, I want to prioritize exercise… still working on that.

  25. Helen 4 years ago

    Excuses…I have none! You could say I’m retired (not able to work), so why am I not painting? I have a wonderful husband who supports me & spoils me, my own room & all the equipment required. Too much inspiration? Maybe. I loved being at your school Anna & following “method” was good for me but… Doing my own thing I find really hard.
    I said no excuses but there is one big one, we’ve been doing our bungalow up ready to move into now for 10 months & with running our present home too, it leaves little time for pleasure. Painting is constantly on my mind & I itch to start again, this is my ‘new year’ wish!
    A very Happy New Year to you all.

  26. Анна 4 years ago

    Рисовать я хочу всегда, но надо отвлекаться для работы, домашних дел и много другого. Поэтому чаще я не начинаю рисовать, если знаю, что времени мало. А после перерыва трудно начать снова. Поэтому я двигаюсь очень медленно.

  27. Lili 4 years ago

    Very interesting subject and I’m glad to see a few here who have the same problem. I have no excuse, I’m retired, I have a wonderful well-equipped room and I can’t wait to start again.
    I feel really excited at the idea to start painting again, but when… when… when…
    Unfortunately I paused for a long time because I’ve been too busy the last two years as we moved closer to our sons and their families to see our grand-children grow… but I find always an excuse, laundry, cleaning the house etc that keep me away from my room, that I call ‘my atelier’… but I want to start again. The suggestion of painting, drawing each day… sometimes (only) even think over a subject, develope the idea, sketching and starting the artwork the next day sounds good to me. It’ll bring back the joy and excitement to go on and probably to sit more than half an hour.
    Thank you Anny for this great website and videos that are an invitation to finally start painting again

  28. Susan Rocchi 4 years ago

    Last night I wanted to get statrted on my painting journey, I’m still waiting for most of my paints to arrive f4om the U.K. but I have Anna’s brushes, so I set everything up I. The living room in front of my big tv so I could watch her instructions and have the reference photo up on the iPad. Once everything was ready I took Lucy my dog for her walk so that she’s leave me alone to paint. Got back and was ready to start and lol the website was having some maintenance done! It wasn’t meant to be. I’ll get that pesky pear down on paper before nightfall. I’ e Watched the video right through and just love the way you o teach. I’m not sure about the brushes but I’ll give them a go (I bought to sets). If they don’t suit me, I have 3 beautiful sable pointed rounds from Rosemary & Co. Bring on 2019! Happy New Year from down under.

  29. Denise Pepe 4 years ago

    Good news! A new baby is arriving!
    About time….as a medical doctor still in plenty ativity… it’s very hard to find a fixed hour to paint!
    I do my best !
    1: I keep a table always with watercolor stuffs easy to just start painting
    2: I keep a local clean to sit and meditate
    3: I try to make exercises to promote cardiovascular conditioning
    4: Every dinner cooking I try to do with pleasure

  30. Janice 4 years ago

    I have time to paint. My problem is FEAR……that I’m not going to be able to paint perfectly. I want to be able to paint like a professional, and I struggle as a beginner. I have all the supplies I need to do the classes, the time and the space to paint and leave things set up. Some days I paint all day. I feel like I’m not improving as fast as I should. The Bible says we are not to give in to fear…..

  31. Jean Curbishley 4 years ago

    Hi Anna,l see you have lots of posts re this subject.This should tell us something. I love painting,and once in the zone,really chill out,it’s getting down to it that’s the problem.l resolve to alter this and love myself enough to put me first for a change,instead of last.Thanks for the kick up the backside.Conggrats on the pregnancy I hope everything goes well for you.

  32. Suzanne Cox 4 years ago

    I am looking forward to bringing painting back into my life and I love how you consider it a part of self care. I think sometimes when we think of such things as a hobby it means it is something we do in our spare time and spare time is not something I feel I have. As you so beautiful share, Winston Churchill offers us a purpose to painting that is beyond creating something nice to hang on a wall or become famous for doing. Painting offers us an opportunity to surrender the mind and deepen in our connection to what we are painting and with watercolour well I just love the movement that takes me away from trying to control as there has to be an allowing as part of the process. In my previous period where I painted regularly with watercolour I learnt to let go being a perfectionist and began to enjoy the lovely surprise in what transpired once the paint and paper had dried. It was like reconnecting back to the joy and playfulness of a child not looking for a particular outcome or picture of how life should be, just simply enjoying the connection in that moment and then moving on. So yes, lovely to connect to what you are offering here as a reminder to me Anna and that is giving myself space in the day to make painting a ritual, a ceremony and something very sacred and special that I have always loved to do and to remember there is less pressure when I have no planned outcome, simply the joy in connection of being with me and the object I am painting.

  33. Suzanne Cox 4 years ago

    P.S And just a little tip with exercise Anna, make it about connection, connection to you and your body. I used to be a gym junkie but nowadays my exercise is simply a regular daily walk with the aim of being with me and wherever I am walking … I take lots of photos of flowers hence the inspiration to come back to painting flowers in particular. Allow yourself about 30 minutes to walk and simply start with focusing on feeling your feet . Let me know how you go

    • Author
      Anna Mason 4 years ago

      This was exactly the message of the No Sweat book Suzanne and I plan to do just this. Might get put on hold when my new baby arrives May but i’m convinced it’s the long term solution.

  34. Emma Marcellin 4 years ago

    This blog post couldn’t come at a better time. Prior to reading it I set myself a goal of painting 3 small paintings and 1 regular size painting per month for the year 2019. Like many others I work full time in health care but working longer shifts gives me more days off in two weeks.

    It’s so true Art is relaxing. I call it my therapy. I forget everything that’s stressful when I pick up the brush. So in August 2018 we set up a studio in the house where I could paint without having to set up every time. I am really enjoying it. If I get up like I was going to work for 630 am and I am not tired I walk in there even for an hour or two.
    I really hope I keep it up. Afterall it’s makes me feel happy. Now if I could only pull out the excersise mat and do a small work out I would take care of the physical aspect of my life. Only time will tell.

  35. Faizah 4 years ago

    Happy New Year Anna, thank you for your teaching and encouragement. God blessed you.. I love painting, it gives me peace and smile in my heart .with me painting at home give the positive energy to my children who also like to sketch and paint.Actually I love painting since young. Now at this age of 50’s and a single mum, I have my me time to do what I want to do which is painting,peace and energising..Take care Anna

  36. Lavinia 4 years ago

    I have some medical problems that require daily routines to manage them so I can stay as healthy as possible for as long as possible. They require a lot of time and are important not to skip. This makes it difficult to realistically have the kind of time I would like for painting. So that I wouldn’t feel badly about that, I decided that anything related to painting would count as painting time so I watch painting videos while I’m exercising, I watch an online painting course while I’m doing lung clearance, or I read a few pages from a painting book when I’m having a meal. In addition, I focus on small intervals of time with actual painting and feel like I’ve been given a bonus when a small interval turns into a long interval. This mindset keeps me feeling positive about painting and wanting more. Sometimes I get so excited about working on a painting that I have a hard time sleeping. So, while I don’t get the kind of time I would like to paint, I try to get it where and when I can and let myself be happy about it. Usually, when I’m avoiding painting when I very well can do it, it’s because I’m having trouble figuring out how I am going to accomplish the painting. That’s when I try to catch myself thinking this way. Then I lower my expectations and tell myself I just need to have a better plan of attack. It always goes better when I have a plan. It also helps to remind myself that every painting doesn’t have to be my masterpiece. It also helps to think about painting goals and write them down. I have a dry erase board in my painting area where I list my painting projects in the order that I would like to accomplish them and I check them off as they get completed. This makes me feel accomplished and motivated.

    • Author
      Anna Mason 4 years ago

      Sounds like your mindset is sorted! Well done.

  37. Patricia Watson Atkins 4 years ago

    I believe that everything in life happens at the perfect time needed to forfill a purpose . that has been ordained for each person. When I was at your stage of life with babies & home duties piling up I was not prepared to do do anything else to enrich my life or so I believed . It took 80 years of struggle & hard won learning experience to get me through to be ready for this new step up to where I am now & to enable me to have the good life I can enjoy free of many cares that were my lot in the past
    . I really now am so gratefull that I discovered the joys of painting almost by accident when my friend started me off by presenting me with painting material & said “Give it a try you can do it”
    Now all has fallen in to a good place for me & I am so happy to have time & space to please my self & enjoy my life style .
    I started off by painting my animals & found I have a talent for catching the expressions & looks of each of the subjects bringing pleasure to the owners of many beloved pets in the village I live in as well as myself .
    I now am paintig all subjects in acrylics oils & have spent the last 5 years struggling with watercolour. However it has been a joy to find Anna & to get into a new way to test myself with instructions. This experience has made me aware that I do not cope well with following instructions but I am determined & will get there
    Thank you for all the blogs to study They are an inspiring

  38. Colleen Vancil 4 years ago

    Each week I set up “meetings” with myself in my calendar to paint. In order for any meeting to be successful the person leading it must be prepared…..needed supplies, an agenda, time set aside, etc. Since I am the only one attending I set the agenda. As I would do with any meeting I lead, I set up the supplies up so everything is at the ready for meeting to commence. As I work on various projects, I keep in mind something I have been told all the way along in watercolors, “it’s only a piece of paper”. That helps me abandon my need for perfection and enjoy the painting process.
    Here’s to putting miles on your brush!

  39. Lynette 4 years ago

    I had taken a year off to learn a new craft. Pottery. Wow.. the clay drew me in and I simply wanted to do more and more clay work! It is really fun and I made many things and learnt new things about pottery and sculpting too!. But there is a persistent yearning to take up my paints… yet I could not clear my table nor my time to paint again. I reflected and learnt a few things about myself. during this time. That as my painting got better, it began to “not good enough”. My shying away from it was because I was not contented with my standards. I want more of myself. And since I can’t .. I diverted to doing something else! Well. I have now made a mental decision that I WILL go back to painting This year I will reclaim my painting time (from pottery) and pottery will have to find a new time slot. That is how I intend to go back to my first love.
    Thanks for giving me the space to put my thoughts and intentions out here.

  40. Elise 4 years ago

    Three months ago I discovered the secret to getting some me-time / time to do something creative that I love. Get up at 5am.
    Get up two hours earlier than you need to in the morning and spend it doing something you love. Painting, designing, exercising whatever it is that brings you joy. (Thanks Anna, you inspired me to do this).
    Four months ago I would never have dreamed I would get up at 5am. Getting up at 7am was a struggle but having disciplined myself to get out of bed as soon as the alarm sounds (even if half asleep), after a good coffee (and maybe a jog on the spot if Im really sleepy) the benefits of having that time to myself to design and create; far out-ways the sacrifice of getting up earlier. Plus going to bed earlier the night before instead of watching tv because I’m too exhausted to do anything else, also gives the energy needed to get up that bit earlier.
    It so gratifying. You’ll start the day off doing something you love before responsibilities kick-in (unless your responsibilities are four and two like mine and decide to get up early too sometimes‍♀️) and you’ll be happy going about your day knowing that you’ve had that time to yourself, instead of feeling frustrated that you’ll ‘get to it later’ when you’re too tired. Anyway thats my recommendation.

    • Author
      Anna Mason 4 years ago

      Love that you’re doing this and it’s working for you. Currently my 15 month old is waking at 5.15 so this will be an option for me in the future!

  41. Ruth Flecknell 4 years ago

    I am lucky as I have a desk in our home office where I paint. So the laptop which used to dominate is now off to one side whilst my painting stuff occupies the central area. I am semi retired but help run our business. I drift into the office most afternoons for an hour or two which, if I am painting can turn into longer as it is absorbing. When I took up painting in August, a friend asked me how I found the time. I have a busy life with five grandsons nearby, a business to run, an allotment, and friends to see. My answer to her surprised me as well as her. I think I might have been a bit vehement I replied that at 64 I needed to spend more time on my own psyche. I have spend my life teaching, being a mum, being a wife and daughter, being a granny and all along I have been someone who loves being creative. Now I am giving myself permission to be self indulgent.
    The funny thing is, I am now better at all those other things I do because my creativity is being fulfilled.

  42. Sally 4 years ago

    I think of painting and smile; but I also think that I should ‘tidy’ the area where i hope to paint – or and I must do the filing so there is nothing that I think ‘whoops’ should have done that first. Secondly I’ve also got ‘blank page syndrome’. Im sure it is familiar to a great number of people, where you look at a sheet of white paper – you can see the image that you want on that sheet and then as soon as you start it is as if is is ruined! I am going to trying very hard to try to control these things as it makes my husband smile when I have picked up my pencils, and I like that.
    Sally x

  43. Louise Couper 4 years ago

    Enthused by this discussion, I’m taking time off from my main focus of writing (love painting when I need to rest my word side or ‘work’ something out) to respond. I’ve been in that place where I’m ‘too busy’ with ‘very important things that need to be done’. My solution was to have my own space, with computer and paint things waiting – much as you suggested Anna. Every morning – well, most mornings – I turn up. This is the single most important thing, even if you do nothing. Keep turning up. In my own case, I sit at computer, knowing I’ve to take up where I left off yesterday. I spend a little time getting settled but not hooked. Psychologically, what’s happening is I’m letting the left side of my brain drift off and encouraging the right (creative) side to open up. This happens gradually and naturally – effortless effort. I then open my current file and if I’m editing a novel, I check what the professional editor suggested and resolve this. Or, if I’m writing something new, I carry on where I left off. Same with painting. I may doodle with pencil or paints or just sit there and wait. Every, single day. I want no regrets when I’m lying there, dying thinking ‘I should have made more time’.

    • Author
      Anna Mason 4 years ago

      Great comment Louise- so important to think through how you will feel at ‘the end’and make sure you won’t be feeling regrets- so many people don’t seem to do that. And good for you for showing up daily.

  44. Linda Stephan 4 years ago

    Like many here, I am semi-retired and only started painting about 10,years ago. When I am “in the zone”of painting, I absolutely love it. I recently downsized and now my “studio” in a bedroom is also piled with unpacked boxes, art materials, with a tiny space hollowed out in the center for my painting table. I don’t know if t is the clutter in the room, which I also use as my office, or just what. Although I long to paint, until I can get some of that clutter cleared away, I don’t enjoy being in that room. Any thoughts from anyone?

    Anna, I love your e-mail tips and hearing about your life. All the best!


    • Author
      Anna Mason 4 years ago

      Thanks Linda! Clutter is a creativity killer. And some rooms just don’t seem to have the right energy. But try de-cluttering first and see if that helps.

  45. Carissima 4 years ago

    My home is surrounded by a hugh garden. I spent most of my time in there, digging, cutting, planting, smelling and taking pictures of all those wonderful flowers, hedges apple-trees etc. Some photographes inspire me to paint and whenever a motive hit my brain, I hurry up to my room and start painting. This happens very often and without fear and light brush strokes I paint. Sometimes I`m really satisfied with the result, sometimes not. But never the less it gives me such agood feeling and I feel the re-charging of my battery. It is simply wonderful joining your classes, Anna, thank you so much.
    I will be thinking of you and your little family with all my heart.
    Happy New Year and all best wishes.

  46. Velocitigirl 4 years ago

    In the evening when the TV’s calling my name, I grab my Ipad and watch one of Anna’s video’s. Then before I know it I have a test sheet out and I’m playing with the colour mixes to get a feel for what Anna’s shooting for. I’ll do this at my coffee table, There’s no need for a lot of set up. That’s normaly as far as I get in the evening, but the next morning I know where I’m going. I’ll start with the test sheet again to get warmed up, make sure the colours are watery enough, and to get rid of the start up fears. Then I’ll follow along with the video from the night before.. The revise side of those paintings that don’t quite make the cut are excellent test sheet.

  47. Reds Stiles 4 years ago

    I started painting with watercolors to see if I was able to. My mother and sisters wrevery artistic and I got none of those genes. It is a struggle for my to try to create when I know I’m not very good. So I feel defeated. But I keep trying and enjoy painting when I do it . I avoid it though because of failing to do a wonderful job. Plus I don’t want to mess up my nice supplies. So I’m trying to allow myself to make the learning mistakes. Didn’t realize putting paint to paper would be so difficult and scary.

  48. Peggy 4 years ago

    Hi Anna et al, great blog on a common problem. I feel like my whole life was devoted to my family and my employers, with no time or energy left for me. And I spent my whole life convinced that I had absolutely no artistic talent. Now that I’m retired and finalized a painful divorce last year, I’m having to figure out who I am now and how I want to spend the last phase of my life. My sister encouraged me to try watercolor, and now I know that artistic skills can be learned. I agree that having a dedicated organized space to paint helps eliminate the prep and cleanup chore. Also, I would encourage folks to check out Angela Fehr’s YouTube videos and her blogs on painting fearlessly. Eliminate the pressure on yourself to “succeed “ as a painter and just spend the time enjoying the process. I like to set the mood while I paint by turning on “Zen Bells” on YouTube, a 9-hr loop, or classical music, or whatever will help you get in the zen where the sounds just help my brain relax and focus on the painting. I like the idea of painting each day, but I don’t want to feel guilty if I don’t. Also, I find that I need to complete a painting in 1 sitting, or I lose interest and move on to a different subject. So for me there seems to be a fine line between painting with enough detail to satisfy me vs limiting the complexity of the subject to something that’s doable in the time that I have. It’s a process of self-discovery as much as it is learning the needed skills and theory and of accepting who I can and cannot be at this stage of my life. Painting has also opened my eyes to really see and appreciate all the wonderful colors in the sky, woods, birds, water, etc, that I used to just lump into thinking, ie, the sky is just “blue”. Now I look at the sky and see gradations of cerulean blue, ultramarine, and so many other gorgeous colors. So when I’m outside I’m constantly taking pictures of subjects I want to try to paint. The possibilities for the blank page seem endless.

  49. gail pearlstein 4 years ago

    What a wonderful resource! It was a great article, and I also went back to look at your blog on resistance and the resources you provide. I’m a newbie on this botanical art journey, having started drawing classes last year and now progressing to painting, in class, and online with you, Anna. I just retired, and have set up my studio. But I do suffer from the same syndromes of both mindset, and negativity. I was a nurse , and I am a wife and mother and very used to putting myself and my needs and desires last. I didn’t realize so many people dealt with these same issues!. Kudos to you Anna for providing us with wonderful resources, not only on how to paint, but for acknowledging the mental work in this as well! Best of luck with the pregnancy!

    • Author
      Anna Mason 4 years ago

      Thanks Gail and I hope you enjoy learning to paint and feel motivated to get those paints out!

  50. judith bareham 4 years ago

    As an Enneagram 1 I find it tough to start a painting lest it not be perfect – in my world. I tend to stick to small cards and smaller projects but this year I want to investigate bigger offerings. But I too will do any productive task before sitting down…….it’s still a luxury in my mind to paint of all things!
    I am the same way in my work as a voice artist – I will do anything but go into my booth and practice and yet I love my work.
    There is definite link for tangible outcome from what I do, so if I don’t feel I will be productive in my art, I won’t attempt it. Crazy huh?

  51. Deb 4 years ago

    Hi Anna! Love your talent!! Thank you for sharing – and this topic is very interesting! I have gone through so many stages that have been mentioned… clutter/de-clutter, kids/no kids, pretty set up/not wanting to touch them! Health issues/healthcare for others. I’ve painted having bits of time, now waking up earlier as Jay Shetty, a Monk suggested! Now, I have a ‘new issue’… when I DO paint and feel great, I don’t want to stop! I don’t want to be disappointed starting to only have to stop!
    So… now I don’t even start!
    Seems impossible to have overcome so much to find another way to be stymied I guess! I Scratch my head! I’ll even clean cause it’s way easier to stop!

    Congratulations to you on your second pregnancy… Happy New Year!

  52. I am always grateful for your posts, they are enlightening and stimulate my thinking. I thought I would share with you what changed my schedule and allowing a painting to become an absolute promise to you, Anna, and to myself at least one hour each day. I was reading about your classes and noticed you said not to sign up if I couldn’t commit to one hour a day. That was pretty “cheeky”, I thought, but I couldn’t forget it. I operated a children’s home and was on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I was having some physical issues that put me in a wheelchair and I certainly wasn’t feeling like I was carrying my share of the load for the children, my sweetheart, and my non-profit. I couldn’t imagine how painting an hour a day would be possible, but I asked my husband to locate my paints, I bought your brushes, and made a painting area on my computer table and added a rolling cart of drawers for supplies. I signed up for your class and committed to one hour a day. Whenever I had a break, I reached for my brush and painted. That was some years ago and today, I paint professionally. Your training and encouragement changed my way of “seeing” my subject, taught me new skills, increased my income which helped raise the children entrusted to us. After 27 years of raising children in my home, we have retired. Your gifts, Anna, changed many things for my family and changed what I thought was a luxury (painting) into joy and my daily portion. Thank you.

  53. Victoria Eugenia 4 years ago

    Hi Ane,
    I don’t have any problem sitting at my desk to paint. I am very organized of my time and painting is one of my priorities. I have been only for a few months working with you and I have acomplished a lot. My goal for this year is to start doing my own photos using your thecnique.
    I will get the book anyway. I am sure I will get more motivation that i already have. This method is a challenge for me and I am learning a lot. I want to be good even if I takes time.

    Have a fantastic weekend,

  54. Dana Fraley 4 years ago

    Dear Anna’
    I love your class and have painted some of the pictures. I am going to paint the hummingbird which is the one I have always wanted to do. I work full time and teach watercolor painting one night a week each semester at my community college. I find I don’t take the time to paint for me. I am really going to try to set aside time for painting this year. Maybe your book would help me get started also. Sometimes I can’t get on the computer. I just got a new computer so that should help. Any ideas that you have will be helpful.

  55. Gloria King 4 years ago

    Thank you for this post Anna, and it has been interesting to read the comments. I love water colour painting but found myself doing less and less of it over time to the point where I no longer do it. But I’m OK with that at this point in my life. I was getting overwhelmed by colour and blank paper, my own perfectionism and refusal to prioritise time to paint – for all the reasons mentioned. Two things have changed for me. Firstly I took up yoga and, as well as attending a weekly class, I have finally given myself 20 minutes to do some stretching every morning – I get up at 5.30 to do this (most days) and if I don’t do it my back really suffers, so it is essential! Just me and my yoga mat – it makes me feel good. The second thing was that I found Zentangle while browsing on Pinterest. It is structured patterning and is really quick and easy to do. That said, I still procrastinate about doing it, but when I do I am completely absorbed and switch off from everthing – it is yoga for the mind. I love that in Zentangle there are no mistakes, which helps me to let go of my perfectionism. Zentangle is done on small pieces of paper using a black pen and a pencil for shading – no need to be overwhelmed by colour and no need for lots of space and equipment. It is very easy to spend just 15 minutes doing some drawing and you end up with a satisfying piece of art! I am now starting to introduce colour to my work. I know I will go back to painting one day, I always do, but for now Zentangle has helped me to get my creative juices going again! My aim for this year is to do it every day for 15 minutes, so far so good! Good luck with the pregnancy Anna!

  56. Rachel 4 years ago

    Painting just helped me through what I hoped would be. Lovely holiday. I was 50 on new years eve in Rome. It was lovely until my partner became ill and we had to stay in the apertment for the last three days. My sketching set were vital in occupying me and giving a positive focus. Im grappling with carrying on with the gym..which i dont enjoy or taking something new. Now Im home I keep telling myself painting helps me be calmer..which will help others. I hope all goes well Anna. Happy new year all..and more of what you love

  57. Peonie 4 years ago

    Procrastination is also my problem – I always seem to get busy with all sorts of things, even though in my minds eye I have planned to paint. However, there are some strategies that often (but not always) work for me:
    1. If I can leave my paints, brushes and paper out on a table ready to paint at any moment, this avoids the procrastination due to setting up and putting away. (although the cat sitting on my paper can be disruptive.)
    2. I find that if I have a person in mind for whom I want to do a painting, this is a great motivation – eg a birthday gift or Christmas present coming up. even just a birthday card. Hopefully in the future this will include up-coming exhibitions that I would like to enter.
    3. I spend time looking at lots of images and identify the ones I would like to paint and setting them up on my tablet to make sure that when lightning strikes, I have the image ready.
    4. Likewise, I have more than one tracing ready on watercolour paper ready to paint. I have given up on trying to complete one painting before starting another, although I only have a couple or so on the go at any one time.
    5. I am often awake for a couple of hours during the night, so if my paints are set up somewhere, I can just go and paint instead of spending my time scrolling on my phone to see who else is awake and wants to chat!
    As I say, they don’t always work, but preparation is the key. I do need to commit to at least an hour a day – no excuses now that the festive season is over and all our visitors have left!

  58. Michael Parry 4 years ago

    WOW ! Anna. Time does go by so quickly. 15 month and now another creation of God comes your way.
    I tried to read most or part of each comment given by those who care and follow you to realize that your paintings are just part of the great work you produce. You have stimulated the thinking of many. I can relate to many of the comments given previously.
    I am retired – have time – always wanted to get back into painting – Had fun and painted well more than 50 years ago, but now I look for distractions to take up my time.
    Those previous comments emphasize that I have a FEAR of not producing the work that I produced 50 years ago, so I just don’t paint.
    Anna, thank you for this opportunity to share, and I want to thank all of those of you who did comment. Your words help others.
    Now, I just need to “Get off of my bottom and Paint, paint, and paint some more”. Thanks 🙂

  59. Janine 4 years ago

    This article is just what I needed to read and has been a game changer for me. I have for the past 5 days since reading this post made it a priority to paint, and I plan to keep the momentum going. Thank you so much for sharing, Anna.

  60. Elizabeth Brandon 4 years ago

    When I am tired and stressed, I decide to explore watercolor, rather than paint a painting which takes concentration. I allow watercolor to run down the page, I study my paints, I study mixing color, I play. Those all help me be more competent when I am rested and ready to paint. By the way, I easily spend ten to twenty hours a week painting plus have two part time jobs. I love Anna Mason’s work. I highly recommend signing up for her art school.

  61. When I finished the last painting I did, I was so proud of myself that I had let my house get so messed up, and still I painted! For years, I wanted to paint or draw or do something artistic, but my brain told me I couldn’t until everything else was done. There was never time for me to do it. Signing up for these classes sort of forced me to paint – to get my money’s worth I told myself, to really take advantage of the six months of classes I signed up for! That at least took me through the 20 hours that you say is needed to get good at it. Then after that it was not such a challenge, but more like finding things to paint that I really wanted to paint. I still have a few tutorials I want to finish before my 6 months are up, but now I am pretty hooked on this community too . . . so I may just keep on going! Love having other artists to bounce ideas off of and get advice when I get stuck, not to mention all the encouragement that comes with sharing my paintings. My advice to others here struggling with “just doing it”, is having a dedicated space with all you supplies at your finger tips is very helpful!

  62. Jo Ann Frommer Rom 4 years ago

    Hi Anna,
    I try to spend everyday doing my art or planning for my next project. I have so enjoyed your classes and I could not be more happy. I am retired, but my hubby still works, so I have time in my life to pursue my painting.

    I sell my works at a local gallery here in Tucson, and so enjoy it when one of my pieces sells and finds a new home.

    the Best Jo

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