Very often an artist wants to continue in her current style, perhaps because it is still meaningful to her, perhaps because it sells, or both, while at the same longing to begin some new work and see where her creativity and her updated experiences might take her.

The obvious answer seems to be: why not do both? Why not paint for a portion of the day in your current style and a portion of the day in a new style? Or why not alternate days, doing your familiar work on Monday, risky new work on Tuesday, and so on? This seems logical and reasonable, so why not aim in this direction?

The reasons for not aiming in this direction are largely psychological and emotional. An artist may have many half-conscious feelings about her current work and many half-conscious feelings about prospective new work, including doubts about doing anything that might cause her to reduce her (probably already small) income, fears that new work might so interest her and excite her that she might abandon her money-making work, worries that the new work that she has been dreaming about for so long might disappoint her once she began it, and so on.

If you want to do both new work and your current work it will pay you to think through what psychological and emotional obstacles may be standing in the way. You may discover that there are no practical impediments to creating works of each sort and only some half-conscious anxieties, doubts, and fears that, if aired and made fully conscious, could be addressed rather quickly and simply. This is an example of useful self-coaching: you announce the problem, take a few deep breaths, and ask yourself, “What is really going on here?”

You probably have the answers. The trick is stopping to find them!


Visual artists are invited to Dr. Maisel’s Deep Writing workshop in Paris next June! For more information:



Share This