Believe it or not, I have some tragically awful art days, too.

I know some of you think that someone who’s an artist for a living doesn’t suffer that. Maybe you think we don’t get impostor syndrome. That we can draw or paint anything. Not so!

I had a tough day yesterday, and I’ll tell you all about it in the video!

Tutorial: What I do when watercolor won’t work

Watch the video below and scroll to the end to leave comments or questions — or click HERE to watch it on YouTube and leave comments over there. I read both dutifully!

Get back on the horse!

For some people just leaving the studio helps overcome a rough art day. Not for me. I take the failure-feeling with me, and next time I walk into the studio, I’m nervous about getting my mojo back!

Instead, changing medium, subject matter, or project helps to dispel that failure and prove to myself that yes, I can still make art! 

What works for you on a bad art day?

Let me know in a comment…..and if your method isn’t always just what’s needed, try mine. Get back on the horse and prove to your inner voice that it’s time to hush up with the insults. 🙂 


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  1. Mom’s random pastels
  2. U-Art pastel paper 
  3. Photo reference

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  1. Karen Zemko

    In a way, nice to know you have “those days” too. So often I get an idea in my head, but it turns into a disaster, or at best, not what I imagined. Walking away helps, but sometimes I don’t get back to it, or just start over with something else. But often, it leads to a better idea. So I agree, don’t give up! Just reinvent.

  2. Crystal "Cris"

    Was your mom a professional artist like you? I bet she loves having you use her pastels. That picture was gorgeous. I had turned away to gather some things and when I turned back you were almost done and it looks so real!! Beautiful work!

    • Sandy Allnock

      She wasn’t a working artist but did get a college degree late in life—art major She’s fine art for fun since, and has had pieces exhibited and sold.

  3. Lori Spitzer

    I organize my supplies and clean my work space or I just make backgrounds. I am a cardmaker, for reference, when I am not teaching language classes in a public HS.
    Lori S in PA

  4. Cindy Madrulli

    Are you using chalk pastels or oil pastels?
    Brand of white pencil or pen to make highlights?
    thank you also for your tutorial on quash. I’ve had a set for years
    but didn’t know what to do with them. They are still good!
    You are the best.
    Cindy M

    • Sandy Allnock

      Soft pastels. Oil are gooey. Pastel Pencils are Faber Castell but they’re so hard, I wanna save up for good ones.

  5. Cindy Madrulli

    What a lovely treat your post was today. I visited
    a butterfly sanctuary Saturday and was in awe of the atrium with
    beautify butterfly’s doing their thing. These creatures were purchased
    from Butterfly breeders and were not local, but none the less, spectacular to
    Thank you for sharing your wonderful talent and do not beat yourself up.
    I’m now implementing the “3 strikes your out” game. If it doesn’t go well in the 3rd inning, walk away and get a glass of wine or coffee and take a break. if it doesn’t look good after drinking the wine, try another cup of coffee. If that doesn’t do it for you – it’s only paper as they say in the crafting world.
    Sandy you are an awesome artist and person and your weekly news letters and mini online fixes make me feel like I have a new friend. Have a great day and have some fun.

  6. Karen L.

    Oh my goodness! Thank you so much! Sometimes, I just can’t get things to work out the way I want. Thank you for being so transparent. You are such an encouragement, Sandy.

    • Sharon R Graham

      I had such a good time watching this pastel. I usually watch and make comments, negative and positive. Kind of like I’m there with you. The piece turned out very nice and I enjoyed the pastel art. Now I need to try pastels. Hugs to you. You still got it baby!


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