When Making Art Is A Struggle: Lessons Learned

Hello creative friends!  

I wanted to do a follow-up to my last post about the little painting study I recently did, “Never Give Up.”

First, I was drawn to this subject because of the interplay of light and dark in the cloud masses of this photo taken on a particularly stormy day this summer. I had skyscapes on my mind and was keen to build up my reference material for future paintings when I took this photo.

 I also had on my desk a new set of pastels I had purchased but had yet to try: Mount Vision’s Thunderstorm Grey set. So I decided to give this set a whirl!

Here are some progress shots:

Blocking in


All was going well, when…..CRASH!!!!!!!!!!

Over went my easel with my painting AND my set of Thunderstorm Greys….it had all crashed to the floor. 😦

Needless to say, this was quite upsetting and was the first time something like this had ever happened.
I spent the next half hour picking up and sorting broken shards of pastel off of the floor, vacuuming, and mopping up the mess.
The painting had a little damage, but nothing too bad.

More than anything, I was disheartened. 

Lesson #1:
Every month or so, check all the knobs on your easel to make sure they are hand tight—especially when the seasons change, as the changes in humidity levels can dramatically affect your easel’s stability!

After the “incident”, I returned to my little storm cloud painting, determined to complete it and get it off of my easel before another catastrophe.  But my paper (Uart Dark) was running out of tooth, so I decided to experiment with a new product: Blair Low Odor Fixative. Another artist I admire uses this fixative with great results, so I thought I would give it a go.

Fixative Fiasco?

As you can see from the picture above, it didn’t go so well…the blotchiness and spatters were NOT intended….

Lesson #2:
Don’t experiment on a painting you really like with something that might ruin your painting!


But I pressed on.

Indeed, I didn’t give up.  I figured, “Hey, what do I have to lose?”

Almost there….

Turns out, the blotchiness and spatters didn’t stop me from developing the painting further…whew!

Lesson #3: 
As I looked down at all the little pieces of broken pastels on my tray, I was reminded that

I really do believe that. So I gathered all the broken pieces together and reconstituted them into “new” pastels.

The Reconstituted Pastels: Their shape may not be pretty, but their colors still are!

“Never Give Up” 6×8 pastel on Uart


Lesson #4:
If I had given up after my easel crashed and broke my pastels, or after I “ruined” my painting with the fixative, I wouldn’t have gotten my end result.


Never Give Up. 

When every day can be a choice between hope and despair, never give up.

Never give up on life. Never give up your dreams. Never give up striving to be light and salt in a dark and troubled world. 

Never. Give. Up.

Blessings to you all this Christmas season.

Till next time,
Stay creative!





4 thoughts on “When Making Art Is A Struggle: Lessons Learned

  1. Oh my goodness, your finished result is BEAUTIFUL – in spite of, or perhaps because of the mishaps. I think this might be my favorite piece of yours so far!
    Merry Christmas to you too! 🙂


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