A Look Inside My Brain

On the most basic level I like painting and I think I’m pretty good at it. On a more complicated level, the idea of working on a painting or answering messages makes me want to crawl into a hole. Even as I’m writing this post, I started it in a Google doc instead of directly into a website post because updating my website is just another thing that makes me anxious.

Let me explain. A lot of people won’t get it. I hope some people will.

I have hangups with making art. A lot of them. When I analyze them I feel like a spoiled brat because so many artists crave and need the amount of work I have sitting in front of me. My list of commissions is over 200 long and it has been sitting like that for years now. The more I think about it the more anxious and overwhelmed I feel. How did I get here? How do I move forward?

Doing the work and acknowledging the people is the only way to stop feeling this way, but it’s scary to me so I avoid all of it. Finishing a painting means I have to start another one and why bother because I will never get them all done. Posting my work on social media means I will get more messages about more paintings and I don’t know what to say to those people.

Mardi Paws 4

I try to motivate myself by reminding myself:

People are waiting. Stop disappointing them.

The animals I’m painting are amazing and beautiful and they deserve to be honored in a painting.

Just do a little painting each day. No pressure. It’s not that hard.

Have an hour or two of office hours at the same time every week.

Only watch TV while I’m painting and not at other times.

We could use the money. There are always vet bills, CrossFit competitions, a car to pay off…

I’m a talented artist and I should use my gifts.


But the thoughts that win are:

Avoid it. Maybe people will just forget.

People don’t get me. I can’t explain myself to them so I will just not try.

Don’t post your work. Then you will just have more messages/people to avoid.

What if I start this painting and it’s no good?

This painting should only take 8 hours to do, but I took 6 months. What a loser.

My studio is going to be too hot so I should just wait until tomorrow.

There’s laundry/food/dishes/dogs to take care of.

I am not a good businessperson and I have no idea what I’m doing.




I don’t know why I’m such a mess when it comes to painting. Somehow I have found a way to be a tortured artist while also having a great demand for my work, all of the tools I need, and time in my day to paint. I feel like I have dug a hole that I can’t get out of so I just don’t even try. It’s a perfectionist mentality I guess.

If you have been where I am and found a way to crawl your way out of it, please tell me what worked for you.

If you have been on my waiting list for a while and you just can’t wait anymore, I get it. I’m sorry. Please let me know.

If you are judging me hard right now I don’t want to hear about it. I have plenty to worry about already.

I want to find a way to do more work and I hope I do, but until then I guess I will just keep doing two paintings a year and finish in about 100 years.

Finally getting this off my chest feels like I accomplished something. Oh wait, but I could have used that time to paint… Here we go again. More thoughts.

IMG_20171217_142346 (1)


One thought on “A Look Inside My Brain

  1. First of all, I love your art! You are amazing!
    Unfortunately, I have no clue about digging your way out of the hole.
    I have the perfectionist mentality, too, but it applies to my writing. I’m also an introvert in an extrovert’s job (teaching), and my day’s “performance” usually zaps my energy and creativity. When I read a book, I frequently think I could do better. But I don’t write. I doubt myself. I would love to write something people will love, quote, and remember, but I don’t.
    Can you cancel the orders to take some of the pressure away, or are you obligated to complete them? Can you just paint what you love and post it for sale when you’re ready? It has to be tough to feel the inspiration you need for painting. Maybe you’re taking the joy out of your art by being overwhelmed.
    Be kind to yourself.

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