How I use creative process to keep the paint flowing

What stops you from painting (could be mixing colors, knowing what supplies to buy, making time, fear of failure, or anything else)? 
I just finished this horse, last night. For me, it's always the uncertainty that slows things down. Like when I feel like I want to paint something (such as a horse), I can get stuck in my own head for days or years thinking about what it should look like.
Join the Art Elation Artists facebook group to participate in the May 2021 free painting challenge where you can learn to paint this horse, "Heartland!" New challenges every month!
The first time I paint something, there's no way to know if it will look right until I actually lay the paint down. It's always the first draft of a painting that gets me nervous. Once I learn from that first draft, it's usually smoother sailing.
By the way, this horse was my first draft... and the first horse I have drawn or painted since the 7th grade. Getting it to where I liked it took a little time, but I think it turned out nicely, and I find the hours when I paint very relaxing, so for me, taking a leap of faith to try and paint a horse was worth it.

But I also use tricks to take off the pressure.

For example, I always start with a collection of photos of the thing I want to paint. This horse painting, "Heartland," was inspired by an actual horse, Lead Stallion "Chayton," photographed in Northern Nevada by Richie Asencio. If you love wild horses, I highly encourage you to join his fb group, Richie Asencio Wild in Nevada.
So I have ZERO ability to draw or paint something without a reference. In fact, if painting required *not* looking at a reference, I could only make stick figures. And those wouldn't even be that good. LOL. Here's the photo and painting side by side. You might notice that I changed the horse's position a little. Its body is on the right now, rather than the left. I looked through other horses to figure out how this would differ (like I mentioned, I always need a reference). Changing the horse's stance allowed its position to look more comfortable in the painting. Without the body, it would just have been a painting of a horse's head poking in one side. Not a very good use of the space. In the painting, hold your hand over the horse's body to see what I'm describing for yourself.

Another thing I do to keep myself from getting stuck is to only paint 8x8 inch paper boards for any first try on a painting. The horse is only 8x8. I think about every first painting more like it's a sketch. First of all, it's WAY easier to fill an 8x8 inch square than it is to fill something larger. I'm convinced that the reason painting parties paintings often look flat and uninteresting is because people are trying to fill a fairly large canvas in only 2 or 3 hours. But also, keeping it small means that it's no big loss if I don't like it. I could use an 8x8 canvas, but it kills me to throw canvases out. If I just use a board, my practice is always guilt free. I can paint over it or toss out the board and start again after doing a little more research.

When I get an 8x8 inch draft that I like, I might plug it into an app like ArtRooms to see how it would look larger on a wall. If I like it, I know I can paint it larger.
THANKFULLY, over the years I've developed a creative process (that I can teach) to get over the things that hold me back. I've learned to trust in my process, and even though I'm always still surprised when something comes out well, I know that each attempt brings me closer to feeling fully empowered in my craft!
Art Elations is a membership where I can share my process with others, so that everyone can feel empowered to create their own unique and beautiful paintings. To prove my process works and collect testimonials, I need help from people who love art... the amateurs and enthusiasts... who want to practice painting for self expression, personal well-being, and empowerment. Our focus will always be on process, rather than results, to build confidence and have fun.
Join the Art Elation Artists facebook group to participate in the May 2021 free painting challenge where you can learn to paint this horse, "Heartland!" New challenges every month!
I'm just getting started with Art Elations, so for the time being, any training I offer is totally free. And for the record, the Art Elation Artists fb group will always be free, and I will always try to offer value here, even after the membership opens.
See more of the paintings I've done, and read about my vision at

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