16″ x 20 ” unfinished

I’m stuck. I can’t finish a painting.

I don’t know what is causing my block. I have the time, I have the resources. I’ve spent hours upon hours painting into the wee hours of the morning, which is usually my creative peak time. None of my current paintings feel complete.

It’s been a solid year that I have painted daily and usually finish at least 5-6 paintings per week, I am grateful for that, until now, it’s been easy to do. But now, I have 6 paintings that I have been working on for weeks and they are all missing something.

I know I’m not the first person to experience a creative block. Do you have any tips or advice for me? How do you deal with artistic stagnation?



  1. You probably need to put those paintings aside, and work on something else like marketing or ideas for other paintings. Then at some point in the future, pull out one of the paintings and see if the finale comes to you. I do that with photos, and with music a lot. I started reworking a piece of music that a recorded almost a year ago, but I didn’t really like how the song came out. Now I’m reworking some of the lyrics and rewriting the music. Sometimes you just need to walk away from blocks and stagnation and let your creative energy recharge.

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  2. Ahhhaha, the infamous whatever-block, well traversed, littered with manuscripts, canvases, a drum set or two, and a 1/2 pair of dancing shoes ๐Ÿ‘ž ๐Ÿ‘  Oh, wait, thatโ€™s my block, lol!

    Well, speaking only for myself, if it was my image, Iโ€™d make this a smiling hippo face ๐Ÿ˜Š Iโ€™d add a twinkle to the round left eye, and a sharper sparkle to the square right eye (no idea why), and draw a bright cheery line along the bottom of the two thick two-pronged black brush marks near the bottom (to suggest a smile).

    Listen, if I had to guess, Tiffany, Iโ€™d say your recent spat (six?) of unfinished work might be an opp to do something similar in terms of finish effects for all six and see if you can unify them into a small series. And if not that, then just play with them til they become Goodwill donations (seriously) – and youโ€™ll be amazed how many folks will turn out to really like them then ๐Ÿ˜Š Let us know what happens!

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    1. Thanks, Adan! Ha, yes, I have already donated a few canvases to charity, I hope someone turned them into something! And funny you mentioned a drum set or two, I just borrowed my friends cajon for a while, so much fun to bang on a drum! I’ve been trying some new things to redirect my energy, including image transfers on wood, it’s been fun, but I still want to PAINT!!

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  3. I agree, put them face against the wall and get on with your life.It seems you’re putting yourself under too much pressure. In a month or two when you have time on your hands have a calm look look, maybe one at a time and see if something occurs. If there’s nothing, turn it again and check out another one.

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  4. Get away from the studio to reconnect with nature. Feel the earth under your feet and get some fresh air. Since you have a strong connection to music, you might want to immerse yourself in some of your favorite tunes. I hope this helps. I’m sure your muse will return in no time. Good luck!

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  5. Cool painting, Tiffany! I’d recommend a hike – beach, mountains, around town – and, spend some time on other areas. Maybe fine-tuning an online gallery, etc.. Blocks come and go, and, after a break, you can take a fresh look at your paintings ๐Ÿ™‚ Good luck!

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    1. Thanks, David! While I can’t afford to get out of town right now, I do live in one of the best cities for vacations, so I will pretend I am a tourist and explore San Diego with an observant frame of mind, it might help!

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  6. Just wanted to make my comment before I read any of them, so if it’s a repeat or something…sorry! When I hit the wall so to speak, I walk away from all of it to clear my mind. It may take a day or a week, but the dam usually breaks during prayerful meditation. I do that every morning with my coffee for about an hour. Or…the big “or”….the dam breaks while I’m clearing my head with a glass of wine at the end of a day!! I guess the key is clearing your head, but dang the wine is a great way to do it!!

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  7. Thanks for this Kirt! Yes, I usually walk away for a while, change up mediums, try something new, and yes, wine always seems to open my mind and relaxes me! I like the idea of meditation, but I need to practice it more, it’s hard for me to turn off my mind! I recently finished 3 new paintings, so I hope my block is over!!


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