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How To Deal With Artist Stress


Art Tips | Artist Stress


Just imagine, you have three commissions to finish, two submissions due for exhibitions, a demo to prepare for the local art group, your studio is a mess, you have to carpool Little League today, your driver's license has expired and it's past time for the cat's shots.

 Everybody has to deal with stress at some level on a daily basis and most people can cope most of the time. Even good stress takes its toll: weddings, graduations, openings. When you recognize that stress is inevitable you can prepare yourself to deal with it more effectively, no matter what form it takes. Here are some ideas that might help:

Set realistic goals and priorities. What really has to be done first? You have to buy materials before you can start a painting….

Once you've set your goals and priorities, organize your time by cleaning your studio if you find yourself avoiding work on your projects because the studio is a disaster area.

Think of it as a business – it is – and set aside time each day. Are you a morning person or an evening person? When is the light the best for you to work? Understanding this will make it easier. Starting a painting on a white canvas is intimidating for most. Maybe start with a wash of color to get you loosened up. The bottom line … you need to START and the rest will fall in place. Stand before a mirror and practice saying, "No." You need to be really good at this. And what is more important, you don't owe anyone an explanation. A simple "no" will suffice. But it does take practice to do this with conviction.

When you're stressed over something you can't control, deal with it and get over it.

If you're stressed over something you CAN do something about, deal with it and get it over with. Ask for help. Don't be afraid to ask for suggestions, trade tasks, whatever it takes.


Learn to recognize stressful situations before they take their toll on you. Assign a stress level to a situation from one to five. The highest level fives need to be addressed assertively, broken down into doable tasks and overcome. You reduce stress by reducing the power of the situation to have a negative effect on you.


The greatest stress relief for an artist is to produce art… use that god given right brain and let go. Before long you will find comfort in that right-brained place and look forward to it each day.


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