Top 10 “Hell Is….” List For Artists

Hieronymus Bosch - Detail from "Hell"

Detail from "Hell" - Hieronymus Bosch circa 1500. Oil on Panel.


Hell is…

1) Watching paint dry & not having room in your studio to start another idea.

2) An audit.

3) Your darling wide-eyed child tugging at your shirt and saying, “I love you.”… JUST when you get into the zone.

4) Anyone who looks at your work and then says they can’t draw a straight line. (yeah…me either. I use a ruler.)

5) Not enough time alone.

6) Too much time alone.

7) Waiting for gallery payments to arrive.

8) Deciding whether to feed your family or buy a tube of cadmium red paint.

9) After buying the cadmium red paint, whether you should feed it to your family.

10) Finding out that Steven Harper is actually your REAL father.

Bonus HELL: WordPress autonomously inserting that little smiley face in item #8 above.

Yeah, that’s how we burn, baby, burnnnn……

What are your hell moments as an artist? Share here….or risk the burn.

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Rich Artist….Poor Artist – Which One Are You?

  • Sitting here waiting for my embroidery floss to dry so I can cross stitch. Then…just as it is almost ready, realizing that I did not antique the fabric, so I will have to wait hours more before I can FINALLY start on my project! AAAACCCKKKK!!! 🙂

    I am greatly amused by the Bonus HELL. Such is life in the world of technology.

    • Argghhhhhhhhhhhh…….kind of like Lucy pulling the football out from Charlie Brown, yet again, huh? How about a blow dryer, or will that just shrink it?

  • Aleficart

    Hell:
    Friday afternoon… you clean up your studio, wipe tour palette clean, recycle the turpentine, leave everything ready for Monday… Then Monday morning you realize you forgot to clean your new brushes! (now rock hard) 🙁

  • Russ Potak

    Hell for me as an artist has nothing to do with the art, or the making of it. I make do, with whatever. Artists do what they they have to. For me, its the scraping along, inch by inch, one hand over the next against all odds, just to survive and pay another damn bill, so I can do it all over again. And, might I add, never knowing if this will be my last victory in paying another bill. Like winning the battle but losing the war kind of thing. Its the constant worry of paddling upstream against the current, with a waterfall up ahead. All I can say is, .. Hell, .. can go to Hell!

    • Gosh, I’d say that is some excellent perseverance, Russ. It’s tough, that’s for sure. The only thing I can say is to keep going, but stop and take enough time to see if there’s a way to work smarter instead of harder. It’s one of the things that I’m constantly questioning myself with. Can I do something differently? Save some time? Save some $? Thanks for contributing!

      • Russ Potak

        Not really sure what you mean, but thanks. Save time? Save $? Work smarter? I’m lost here. Sounds good though. Four years of art school, payed back a student loan, I eat, I sleep, I market my stuff. I do shows, I bought girl scout cookies. What can I say?

      • Russ Potak

        Not really sure what you mean, but thanks. Save time? Save $? Work smarter? I’m lost here. Sounds good though. Four years of art school, payed back a student loan, I eat, I sleep, I market my stuff. I do shows, I bought girl scout cookies. What can I say? .. and my muffler just fell off the car, and the dump sticker went up $100..
        but I thank you for this venue. Its something that gets to the core of a lot of artists.

      • Rpotak

        Not really sure what you mean, but thanks. Save time? Save $? Work smarter? I’m lost here. Sounds good though. Four years of art school, payed back a student loan, I eat, I sleep, I market my stuff. I do shows, I bought girl scout cookies. What can I say? .. and my muffler just fell off the car, and the dump sticker went up $100..
        but I thank you for this venue. Its something that gets to the core of a lot of artists.

      • Rpotak

        Not really sure what you mean, but thanks. Save time? Save $? Work smarter? I’m lost here. Sounds good though. Four years of art school, payed back a student loan, I eat, I sleep, I market my stuff. I do shows, I bought girl scout cookies. What can I say? .. and my muffler just fell off the car, and the dump sticker went up $100..
        but I thank you for this venue. Its something that gets to the core of a lot of artists.

        • Crappity crap crap crap, Russ! I feel for you and I get it. I know some of what I’m going to say will sound like Little Mary Sunshine or Pollyanna, but I think it’s very important to celebrate the successes. The pits of despair are always there but I find some comfort in reflecting on what I’m grateful for, and I’m getting a LOT better at celebrating when things go right. I also find that talking about it with other artists is helpful.

          KUDOS to you for paying back that student loan. I know 50 year olds who are still working on it.

          I think I’ll share some of the things I do to get out of the burning pit of hell by writing a post on this. Stay tuned!

          • Rpotak

            Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about. I’m grateful that I’ve learned an alternative means to using expensive art paints, and that I’ve acquired skills like learning 101 ways to serve rice a roni. .. and okay, that I know how to make coffee without a Mr. coffee coffeemaker. (And on an art note: I paint, despite the pitfalls ) .. and Jan, I’ll stay posted. I loved your column here.
            Good work.

  • Russ Potak

    Hell for me as an artist has nothing to do with the art, or the making of it. I make do, with whatever. Artists do what they have to I guess. For me, its the scraping along, inch by inch, one hand over the next against all odds, just to survive and pay another damn bill, so I can do it all over again. And, might I add, never knowing if this will be my last victory in paying another bill. Like winning the battle but losing the war kind of thing. Its the constant worry of paddling upstream against the current, with a waterfall up ahead. Despite those odds, I paint, and keep painting. Its what I do. All I can say is, .. Hell, .. can go to Hell where it belongs.

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  • Bob Rowell

    Still laughing at WordPress’ perversion. For me: inability to get my stuff in front of the right people. “Helpful” friends saying I must do ‘popular’ stuff to have more than a ‘hobby’. Weighing cost of gas & time to get to studio vs. creative opportunity. Jesus’ analogy regarding ‘talents’ which I interpret in relation to my gifts.

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  • Okay, mine is… wanting desperately to be in the zone…but getting chronic neck cramps that prevent me from painting, as I’ve spent too much painting the week before. That and sciatica from bending over onto canvas’ ’cause I just couldn’t let them go.

    • Ouch…that’s really tough. I get that. I have some nerve damage in my shoulder and arm, and constantly work with a physiotherapist and RMT to repair and for pain relief. I’ve had to adjust how much I get to paint in any given day. Yes…that’s a hell!

  • Cheryl O

    #8 and #9 made me laugh – thanks for the interesting thoughts, Janice.

  • annton beate schmidt

    this made me laugh so hard. true, true, true. my favourite gotta be people telling me, that they did paint as a child too. or, if they could have this painting, but maybe in green…

    • 🙂 I’m glad it brought a smile to your face, Annton.