Forcing Yourself Not To Overthink It


Sometimes, artists can be their own worst enemies. I had a professor who used to say, “all painters need someone with a 2 by 4 standing behind them to let them know when they’re finished”. One way to avoid over-thinking and over-working a painting is to set a finite time limit. Be tough and give yourself a tighter deadline than you would normally be comfortable with. Say your goal is to finish a 16″ x 20″ abstract. Some might normally take 2-3 days or a week to complete this. Try forcing yourself to finish it in a day – say, 4 to 6 hours. When time’s up, you’re done. This forces you to work outside your comfort zone, which means you may be more open to innovation and new creative ideas that may come to you spur-of-the-moment. You may discover “happy accidents” that you just might decide to keep – or develop. This is a fairly small investment that can yield – with a few growing pains – unexpectedly great results.