excuses making artBeing an artist isn’t always easy. We often have to go through struggles, and sometimes wonder if its all worth it.  It’s not difficult to be discouraged, especially for emerging artists who aren’t selling as much as they would like to. I’m here to tell you that being an artist is well worth the struggle! Even if you have to give it up for awhile (ie help support a family), many artists find themselves drawn to returning to art later in life.



I have asked the question in our artist spotlight form, “Did you ever feel like giving up art?” About 90% of the artists who answered said they never felt that way. 10% considered giving up, but decided against it. These artists obviously look at art as an integral part of their lives.

We all have made excuses for not creating art at times. Here are some excuses and my personal rebuttals.

  1. I don’t have time to create.

    Touch People with your Art - Click Here!Some people have jobs unrelated to art, along with kids and a household to take care of. It’s true that there may not be much time, if any, to make art.

    But, realize that ideas for artworks can be thought of anytime. If you are an artist, you will make time, even if it is only an hour a day.
    I think about art wherever I go.  Even though I do not spend all my time in front of an easel, art is a big part of my life - and I always find time. 

  2. I can’t come up with ideas.

    lightbulb ideaMany artists experience creative block at some point, which is the inability to find inspiration. Realize this is normal, and won’t last long if you know how to cope.

    Please refer to our article on dealing with artists block here: How to Overcome Creative Block

  3. I make no money with my art.

    art moneyIf you make this excuse, it may be time to start thinking about why you create art. Are you just creating it to make money, or because it’s something you enjoy doing?

    True art is about what we are passionate about, and placing these ideas in front of others. Maybe the reason you have not sold any is because the right people have not seen it. We share lots of tips for promoting art here at Artpromotivate. Follow this advice and get your art seen, both online and offline.   


  4. I ran out of art materials.

    I know I get a little nervous when I’m close to running out of certain art supplies, such as oil paint. But, I always make sure I have some on hand. But, even if my paint did run out, and I couldn’t afford to buy any, there would still be plenty of ways I could express myself. Sketching in my sketchbook, photography, sculpture and writing are some of my other forms of expression.

  5. I have gotten negative feedback.

    negative feedbackNegative feedback can be a setback for artists, especially if it comes from someone who you think know a lot about art (ie art galleries). If you do not agree with destructive comments, don’t let it get you down. Always strive to be a better artist in spite of criticism.  

    Learning is a never ending process for artists. Always look at the larger picture, and understand that criticism comes with the territory.

  6. I cannot concentrate on creating.

    If you are in a bad mood, or you cannot concentrate, this may affect your ability to create. Take a step back and analyze the reasons for not being able to focus on creating. It may be that you need to get away from creating art for awhile. In the meantime, ponder on why you became an artist in the first place. When you are ready to get back to creating, your mood hopefully will be more centered toward your art than distractions.

  7. It’s a waste of time.

    wasting timeIt’s easy to think you are wasting your time sometimes, especially if you are not selling much art. Being an artist is a tougher job than most people realize. To be a successful artist, sometimes we have to be much more – a good talker, marketer, and a myriad of other associated skills.  

    But, for artists, creating art is worth the trouble and setbacks. We are expressing yourself, affecting people through our art, and making an impact in the lives of others. This is a main function of all the arts, whether it be music, dance, theatre, writing, or visual arts. Art is the thread that holds society together… 

    … and this is certainly not a waste of time!

I leave you with the encouraging words of Heidi Keyes from her artist spotlight feature.


We inspire hope, and create beauty, and show that there is light and also darkness and that both are acceptable . We are the outlaws of society. We give up conventiality for creativity and security for freedom. The world is full of all kinds of people, and all kinds are needed to make the world go 'round, but we are the ones who make even ordinary things almost too beautiful to bear, and expose them for what they really are.


I am very interested in hearing what you have to say about this topic.

Have you been discouraged from creating art in the past? How have you overcome your setback?

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  1. I can relate to all of the above, but I overcome them by:

    a)art is the only way I am able to make a living at the moment, so I have to give myself a good talking to and pull myself together else the bills don't get paid :)


    b) I find spending some time browsing at other artists, or looking to see what some of my favourite artists are doing usually brings me back into shape, as I start to feel that what they are doing is what I want to be doing! So I would definitely advise seeking inspiration from others in the art world can serve as a great pick-me-up.

  2. I make art because it's vital to me. I paint with joy and happiness. I have gone through hibernating periods where my focus had to be on earning a living, or raising a family. I found other outlets for my need to create, but didn't pursue painting for financial reasons.My life is my own now and after what I call a desert period where there was a lot of emotional upheaval in my life, I have finally decided to move full steam ahead and devote my time to painting and getting my artwork out there.
    As to being discouraged, yes, and surprisingly it came from close family members who think that art is playing, does not classify as work, and is not how I should earn a living.I've been told that if I want to make money I should copy decorator items that sell for a fortune, and make my prices cheaper, and people would buy the items. What these people do not understand is the creative mind. Copying is not creating. I may as well do paint by numbers. Creativity is deeper and fulfills a deep seated need to express one's feelings, or their view of their chosen subject.
    I cannot paint when I am upset or depressed. Painting is a joyous time for me and if I do not feel happy, then I don't have the strength or focus to paint. Some people feel it will lift their spirits to create. I find I am immobilized when upset. So I have tried to block negative feelings from my mind if i want to paint. I simply try to tuck away my problems to be revisited at a later time, and free my mind and heart so that I can paint freely. If I am mired down with problems, I just take a break from art until things smooth out. I actually had an 8 year period where I painted very little, unless it was just for myself. At my age now, I realize I can't afford any more long periods where I don't paint. Time's a wasting.

  3. Hey Anonymous, I can relate so much to all that you said. Everything.

  4. I have been away from the art world for twenty five years. Getting back to the art was difficult, I don't think there are many people who understand this. On top of it I became disabled at the age of thirty. My entire life has been a roller coaster of emotional ups and downs. The only thing that has kept me going is this little voice inside that tells me to be strong and move along. I am able to express true passion when I am angry, true sadness, true happiness and love through my emotions, the art has to come out notated what and is all that matters!

  5. @Anonymous

    People are always very critical of artist making money. They act like it's all playing around and shouldn't be considered a job, but there is always hard things that come with it and expenses. People don't realize how expensive it to fund their art. If I didn't sell, it would just be a very expensive hobby to me. I do it because I love it, and I want to make a living with it. People see this as a joke and don't take us seriously, and it's bullshit. I think it's only good make money doing what you want to do, and not because it's taking some high paying career. It may not be a high paying career like a lawyer, but it's probably way more enjoyable.

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  7. A good friend once told me why she had put creating art on the back burner. She said, "It has been my dream to work as a full time artist, but I am afraid if I fail then my dream will die." I replied, "You have already failed by not trying."

    I have a lot of artist friends that are 'coffee shop' dreamers- They spend most of their time talking about what they are going to do, never really doing anything.

    As the Nike slogan says - Just Do It.

  8. I finally discovered my well of inspiration and motivation. It is regularly scheduled times for coffee with other creatives. We talk (more like gush) about our projects and what we hope to accomplish. There is a casual sense of accountability because you know someone is going to ask for an update.

  9. I find very difficult to sit down and start, when I pass that , it's all cruise control.

  10. I fin it very hard to sit down and start. If passing that then it's just cruise control.


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