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Browse Creativity Coach Advice Articles

  • +20

    Should Creativity Be Exhausting?

    Should Creativity Be Exhausting?
    Hello, Dr. Maisel: There’s so much talk everywhere about burnout, chronic fatigue, and overwhelm that I wonder if we are all doing too much or maybe we are just getting used to complaining about how much we do! If you love what you do and want to do it a lot, is it really so bad to exhaust yourself? - Lisa ...
    Rated: +20
  • +9

    Why 'Maybe' Creates Unproductive Artists

    Why 'Maybe' Creates Unproductive Artists
    Dear Dr. Maisel: I spend a lot of my day thinking about painting rather than actually painting. Probably you have a lot of things to suggest but what would your number one tip be to help me get more painting done? - Frank W., Taos, New Mexico Thanks, Frank. My number one tip is: kill maybe. When I coach an artist ...
    Rated: +9
  • +6

    Skip the Drama, Meet Your Gallery Deadlines

    Skip the Drama, Meet Your Gallery Deadlines
    Dear Dr. Maisel: I have a deadline coming up where I’m supposed to deliver some paintings for a show and the deadline is making me really anxious! Any suggestions? - Harriet R., Spokane Thanks, Harriet! Let’s look at this issue closely because it’s very important. Imagine the following scenario. You are part of a group show at The Downtown Gallery. The ...
    Rated: +6
  • +6

    Finding Your Own Artistic Voice

    Finding Your Own Artistic Voice
    Dear Dr. Maisel: I’ve been painting for a long time but I have the feeling that I still haven’t found my own voice as an artist. Do you have any suggestions for how an artist can go about discovering what she really wants to say? Leslie T., Flagstaff Thank you, Leslie. Artists may work for a very long time, even a ...
    Rated: +6
  • +5

    How To Handle Creative Disasters

    How To Handle Creative Disasters
    Hello, Dr. Maisel: Last week I finished a painting and it was an unmitigated disaster. There was nothing about it I liked! Do you have any hints for dealing with situations like this where the thing you just finished is a complete wreck? -Raphael J., San Francisco Thanks, Raphael. [gate] [widget:inarticlebulleted_interview] If you had high hopes for your current painting and ...
    Rated: +5
  • +5

    10 Tips for Painting "En Plein Air?"

    10 Tips for Painting "En Plein Air?"
    Dear Dr. Maisel: I feel a strong desire to paint some cityscapes but I feel really blocked about going out and painting en plein air. Any thoughts about what might be holding me back? - Cynthia L., Chicago Thanks, Cynthia. What you’re experiencing isn’t so unusual. Here are 10 tips that may help! [gate] 1. You will have to do deal ...
    Rated: +5
  • +4

    Be Productive Even in Short Studio Sessions

    Be Productive Even in Short Studio Sessions
    Dear Dr. Maisel: Like any artist, I crave long periods of time in the studio. But in fact those long periods are awfully hard to come by and I know that I’m letting all those smaller bits of time that are available to me get away from me. Any thoughts on reclaiming those lost, fleeting minutes that fly by each day? ...
    Rated: +4
  • +4

    How to Tell a Gallery Owner You're Behind

    How to Tell a Gallery Owner You're Behind
    “Hello, Dr. Maisel, I’m a painter with a gallery show coming up in a few months. I have a meeting with the gallery owner next week and I really don’t want to tell him that I’m behind. Help! What should I do?”Frank, Brooklyn, New York. Thank you, Frank, for your question. Let’s start with a few things that you shouldn’t do: ...
    Rated: +4
  • +4

    How Proving the Exception Makes an Artist Successful

    How Proving the Exception Makes an Artist Successful
    Dear Dr. Maisel: I don’t see that many artists really making it. Is there something special I should be doing to help myself stand out from the pack? Martha R., Los Angeles Thanks, Martha. Tens of millions of people produce visual art of one sort or another. It is a straightforward matter of supply and demand that not all of these ...
    Rated: +4
  • +4

    "I'm Not Talented and I Don't Have a Chance!"

    "I'm Not Talented and I Don't Have a Chance!"
    Hi, Dr. Maisel: I find that my own thoughts—thoughts like “I’m not really that talented” and “I don’t stand a chance”—get in the way of my ability to create. I could use some help! - Marcia L., Seattle Sure thing, Marcia! [widget:inarticlebuttonquiz_successful_designer] There are many extremely useful tactics available from the cognitive-behavioral school of therapy that you can use to get ...
    Rated: +4
  • +4

    7 Methods for Choosing Better Subject Matter

    7 Methods for Choosing Better Subject Matter
    Dear Dr. Maisel, Once I start painting I know what I’m doing but I have the hardest time getting started. For instance I’ll set it up a still life and then I find myself asking, ‘Well, what do I want to do with this?’ It feels like I’m really very uncertain about my subject matter choices. Do you have any suggestions ...
    Rated: +4
  • +3

    Journal Your Way to Art World Success

    Journal Your Way to Art World Success
    Hello, Dr. Maisel: There are so many things I need to get done in order to have an art career—and I can’t keep my thoughts straight about any of it! How can I get my thoughts under better control? Leslie R., Orlando Thanks, Leslie! The trick is to identify a clear intention and then to get your thoughts aligned with that ...
    Rated: +3
  • +3

    Fight Anxiety in the Art Marketplace

    Fight Anxiety in the Art Marketplace
    Hello, Dr. Maisel. My artwork is piling up and I know I have to try to make some connections in the art marketplace. But I just feel petrified. Can you give me a few tips—anything!—that might help me jump in where I don’t want to go? -- Marcia T., Queens, New York Thanks, Marcia. Let’s consider the following six obstacles to ...
    Rated: +3
  • +3

    How to Approach the Canvas with Confidence

    How to Approach the Canvas with Confidence
    Hello, Dr. Maisel: There’s something missing from my life and my art-making that I just can’t identify. It has to do with the “bigness” that I would like to feel and the “smallness” that I actually feel. That’s probably too obscure to make much sense, but maybe you have some ideas about what I’m feeling? -Cynthia L, San Jose, California. Thank ...
    Rated: +3
  • +2

    How To Regain Your Confidence as an Artist

    How To Regain Your Confidence as an Artist
    Dear Dr. Maisel: I’m wondering how important confidence really is to an artist—and if it is really important, what can you do if you’ve lost some of it—or a lot of it! - Rachel L., Portland Thanks, Rachel. [widget:inarticlebulleted_artist_statement] Yes, creativity requires confidence—and life can rob you of confidence. A teacher can choose you as the person she wants to humiliate ...
    Rated: +2
  • +2

    How To Negotiate and Set Your Prices

    How To Negotiate and Set Your Prices
    Dear Dr. Maisel: I have a lot of trouble setting my prices but I have an even harder time when somebody wants to negotiate my price down. I have the same trouble when I’m trying to fix a price for a commission and the interaction becomes a negotiation. Do you have any tips around this? - Ron D., White Plains, NY ...
    Rated: +2
  • +2

    How Much Emotion Should Go Into Your Art?

    How Much Emotion Should Go Into Your Art?
    Dear Dr. Maisel: I’ve experienced a lot of pain in my life and I’m not sure if I should try to heal from all that pain or keep it alive and use it in my painting? What do you think? Marcia S., Savannah Hello, Marcia: Thank you for your question. The answer is: both. It goes pretty much without saying why ...
    Rated: +2
  • +2

    Are Creative People More Apt to be Addicts?

    Are Creative People More Apt to be Addicts?
    Hi, Dr. Maisel, I have the sense that as a creative person I’m at greater risk than the next person to fall prey to an addiction. Is there some truth to my worry? Ronald L., Ft. Worth Thanks, Ronald. Yes, you are absolutely right. The short story “The Bound Man,” by the German author Ilse Aichinger, is a beautiful piece in ...
    Rated: +2
  • +2

    Do You Think About Audience When Creating?

    Do You Think About Audience When Creating?
    Hi, Dr. Maisel: I wonder if it makes sense to create solely for myself or should I take my audience into account? I have the feeling that this is a really complicated question but I don’t know even how to begin thinking about it. Any thoughts? - Holly Y., Logan, Utah Tweet Let’s look at just one aspect of what you ...
    Rated: +2
  • +2

    Is Good Art About Hype or Talent?

    Is Good Art About Hype or Talent?
    Hello, Dr. Maisel, I wonder if it’s possible to make it on talent alone or is hyping your art three-quarters of the battle? You know which answer I hope to hear! But I fear that the real answer is, hyping your art is essential. Is it? Lydia L., New York City Thank you, Lydia: Let me give a slightly tongue-in-cheek answer ...
    Rated: +2

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