Completing projects is a problem for lots of artists. To learn lots of techniques for completing your art, take a look at my most recent book The Coach’s Guide to Completing Creative Work. It’s filled with tips and strategies that will help!

In a recent post, I invited artists to share their thoughts on what stops them from completing their creative work. Here are responses from three artists.


Either one of two things: The first is the “tangled web” problem–Either it’s not going right, but I can’t figure out what to do to make it right, or I have competing ideas on where I should go next with it, so I sleep on it, and sleep, and sleep. Right now, I’ve got several panels of pour paintings that aren’t quite nice enough to be artworks of themselves, but would make great backgrounds for something else. (The problem, of course, being that, as pour paintings, I have to be sure of what I’m painting over them, because with my luck, the area I don’t like will be the one that dries too quickly for me to wipe off.) The other is the “shiny object syndrome.” I don’t often have this problem with a single painting, but I’ve had the idea to start series several times, only to get distracted one or two weeks into it by another idea.


I do not paint my landscapes from a picture or a actual place. I start from the horizon and work forward to the foreground. So, about half way through the painting I go through this phase where I hang it on the wall and I when I do walk through the room, I glance at it and see hopefully what it needs. This love-hate relationship can go on for weeks. Then I will eventually just start painting on it again, maybe fixing or adding something, then I’ll see what it needs. Then the hard part is to know when to stop. I will return time and time again, doing this add and sometimes subtract. I have even thrown away over-painted paintings before (less nowadays) but now I know that when I am putting things into the painting that no one would notice, I stop. Then it’s done and now so much of me is in the painting, it’s hard to give it up.


Day by day, family life and house dynamics for a woman artist like myself (with organization issues) can slow down or simply stop completely my creative art work processes, because I get lost as to what to do! I need mental and physical space (and time) to create and I don’t like interruptions or distractions that get in the way. Sometimes I even avoid starting an art work because hurts to stop when I am in the middle of something that I need to put my heart, spirit and total focus on. Sometimes I feel like running away! Anxiety about real problems (professional, financial, health) also can paralyze my creative processes; overthinking my art (plans on my mind with no execution) slows me down; exhaustion or tiredness can be in the way too. I am conscious that I need more self-discipline to persist, to adapt to life circumstances, and to prioritize my art instead of house chores, for instance.


If you’d like to share your thoughts on the subject of completing difficulties, please do! You can comment here or send me your thoughts to


Share This