Antrese Wood

243 – Why artists struggle to create (and what to do about it)

Artists sometimes sabotage creativity without even realizing it. We wonder why we struggle to create yet we stack the cards against ourselves. But what if there is a better way to inspire your creativity than being so hard on yourself? What if you can create from a place of authentic joy and release the drama? That's what we explore in this episode of the Savvy Painter podcast!

What We Create Starts As An Idea In Our Mind.

The paintings we produce are a result of all the thoughts swirling through our heads. These hidden thoughts directly reflect back to us when we look at our canvases. As artists, how we see the world and our thoughts about it are different than most other people. The subjects we decide to capture and how we want to portray them on the canvas all start with one of our initial thoughts. 

How Do Artists See The World Differently?

As artists, we tend to see the world a teeny bit different than anyone else. What’s really cool is that we get to share that knowledge with not only our fellow artists, friends, and family but the whole wide world too! Something as simple as a toilet - yes, a toilet! - can be the subject of a beautiful painting. Curiosity is the starting point for translating the beauty you see in your subject and translating that onto your canvas. In this episode, I share my story of creating a painting of the Los Angeles River - a subject many think is ugly, yet I had SO much fun painting!

There is a better way to inspire creativity!

Some of the best paintings in the world were not necessarily inspired by something beautiful  - they were inspired by a thought about the subject. Remember the assignments you dreaded in school because the subject did not interest you whatsoever? I don’t believe artists can create a successful painting if they create dread around the subject they are painting. The best paintings come through on the canvas because the artist had a positive thought about the subject they were painting and could not possibly paint it fast enough!

What we get on the canvas is a direct result of what’s happening in our heads.

Our thoughts directly affect how we render our subject. If the reason we paint is because we feel obligated instead of curious or excited, we will not be creating our best work. If you know you truly want to enter your studio and get painting but feel unmotivated, think of all the things you love about your subject or the act of painting. Maybe you love the way the light shines through your windows in the late afternoon, how the ripples in the water reflect the sky or how your house plants bring life to a room in your home. Choose the thoughts that serve you, the thoughts that get you excited about your work, the ones that help you to create - not the ones that shut you down.

Outline of this episode

  • [0:21] How creativity starts with an idea in our mind.

  • [1:42] My story of painting the Los Angeles River.

  • [7:18] How artists see things differently.

  • [11:00] The power of thinking positively. 

  • [15:58] How to paint efficiently.

  • [19:08] Evaluating thought patterns surrounding your studio practice. 

  • [20:40] Closing thoughts 

Want to take these ideas even further?

Join us in Growth Studio.

Listener Shout outs!

“Paint and listen! Antrese is a master interviewer. The Savvy Painter podcast has educated and encouraged me to press on in painting. A must listen for artists.” - Keep Liberty - Apple iTunes


“As an artist with a full-time office job, the Savvy Painter podcast keeps me grounded. I love listening to the podcast while at work, as an aspiring full-time artist. Thank you Antrese!” - Ken Painter - Apple iTunes


  • Once again Antrese- you NAILED IT! WHAT A WONDERFUL TALK. i love that you always give concrete examples when you make a point & add your own personal experiences so we can better understand your point. thank you! liZ

    • Thank you so much Liz! That’s helpful feedback and I’m glad this episode resonated with you! Our minds are incredibly powerful, right?

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