Emotional Processes of Art

As a practicing student artist, I find my self going through a range of emotions as I paint.

(I’m not saying this is how everyone paints, I am just saying this is the process I find myself going through when I paint)

I have been thinking about this a lot recently. I thought I would share what it would be like if someone sat next to me while I paint, because it is a very strange process.

They would start of next to me seeing me very chatty, and neutral towards my painting. I like to listen to the radio, podcasts, and a lot of talking, I like to be around people at this beginning stage. This is generally the stage when I am putting basic guidelines onto my canvas, and don’t usually have much in the way of colour on my canvas.

Then they would see me move onto putting down the basic shapes in colour, and I am still chatty to the people that I have around me, but I am also getting excited about my work. I am spending time to look at it as a whole and step back. I am working on all of it (this will be important later), and I am using a lot of references to make sure it looks great.

This goes on until I have most of the basics down, and then it starts to go downhill.

I will now start to focus on specific areas, working on details and not looking at my work as a whole piece. I start to get really critical of myself, and tend to keep to myself, only talking to people if I need something, or they need something for me. I become less neutral towards my art, and start to feel very small amounts of negativity towards my work.

Now I really start focusing in on the fine details, and get very frustrated with myself about small things. I will not look at my canvas as a whole entity and will see it as multiple items, some being better than others. I will want to stop or give up, and procrastinate a lot, not showing much care to my work, but also caring a lot at the same time.

This is when I become an emotional wreck. I will start just completely blanking anyone around me, and really just completely focusing on my work. I will then take breaks where I will just stare at my work and really criticise it. I will often contemplate scrapping it all and starting again, and if I am really feeling hate towards it and myself I will sit and cry.

That is the lowest point they will see me through, because then generally my teacher or a friend intervenes, and talks me through my work, and makes me look at it as a whole image again. And generally after this I will start to like it again. They will see me work from place to place on my canvas, and not just working in one area. I will take more time to step back and look, and not focus in on specific areas. I talk more to the people around me, and by this point, I am almost done.

Art for me is an emotional roller coaster that usually ends up making me hate myself for a couple days, but I think this whole process is a representation of my mental state too, as this can’t be a good cycle. Unless this is normal and other artists just generally don’t talk about this too much. Anyway, I guess I just needed to get this off my chest, hope you at least found this interesting!

See ya next time,



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