Frustrating Frustrations

All artists have those frustrating days when nothing seems to be working. Follow these simple ideas for breakthrough to making art fun again!

All artists have those frustrating days when nothing seems to be working. Every effort just isn’t coming out right. You want to throw everything in the trash and start all over. Or worse, you want to give it all up. Its too hard.

What can you do when you are at the point where you want to throw in artistic towel? The main thing is don’t. Don’t throw in the towel until you see what other artists who have been in that same boat have to say.

The Virtual Instructor says when things aren’t going your way that it is often a sign of growth. All the more reason to stick with it! The Virtual Instructor goes on to list some helpful points for overcoming Frustrations.

  • Take A break
  • Don’t quit
  • Success is victory over adversity

In other words, keep going. On his blog, Don Corgi also says to take a break. He says, “Either just stop drawing for some time and instead watch and do things that inspire you.” Step away from easel or the table or whatever you make your art on.

Another site, SomeCallMeBeth, says, “Go easy on yourself.” That’s a very important point. So many of us are our own worst critic. The other important point SomeCallMe Beth makes is, “stop comparing yourself to others.” We can become critical of our art that is not working and then start looking at other artist’s work. We have a tendency to think other artists never go through frustrations. That its always easy for them. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Taking a break is the first thing I do when I’m in that place. Take a few minutes or take a few days. Walk away, then come back and take another look. It’s amazing how taking a break then returning will frequently point out something I did not see before. It’s hard to resist the temptation to make comparisons with other artists but sometimes, an idea can come from looking at what another has done. It may spark an idea. What’s important is not to fall into the trap of thinking other artists couldn’t possibly have felt what you are feeling. They do. They all do. It comes with the territory.

Take it from other artists and go easy on yourself. Take a break. Success may be just around the corner. The most important thing is: do not quit!! We all hit roadblocks. The is the moment to keep on pushing. When you do, you feel really good about yourself and your art. Then you’ll be flying high again!!

The Tufted Titmouse

If Elvis was a bird would he be a tufted titmouse?

Bird Group, oil on canvas

If Elvis was a bird would he be a Tufted Titmouse? These funny little guys, the tufted titmice, love to flit around in the trees around my bird feeder haranguing with the chickadees and the cardinals in the winter months. They were frequently up in the trees wearing their cute little blue shoes and serenading the others at the feeder with their sweet song. One thing, I noticed about the titmice was the way they would take their seed up into the tree before they ate it. So many of the other birds would sit at the feeder gobbling up multiple seeds like little gluttons or foraging around the ground underneath picking up what others knocked out. The little titmouse would swoop down to the feeder, grab a seed and flit back up to a high branch to munch down on the newly acquired treat before breaking back into song. I wondered whether he was afraid of someone stealing his treat or was he just in a hurry to get back to his singing?

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Tufted Titmouse in the snow.

The Tufted Titmouse is part of a family of titmice according to All About Birds and are most visible in the Southeastern United States. Birds and Blooms says: “The tufted titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor) is a small songbird in the tit and chickadee family (Parade).” That would explain why I always see them hanging around with the chickadees. The reason they grab a seed and fly up to the tree tops is not because they can’t wait to sing. Birds and Blooms also tells us, “they grab one seed, fly to a nearby perch, hold the food with their feet, and then pound it open with their stout, round bills.” Seems like a slow way to eat but then they aren’t particularly fat little birds so maybe that’s why! Maybe I should grab a bite then flit off somewhere to eat it before coming back for the next bite. I might be as little and energetic as a titmouse if I did that. Interesting thought but back to the Titmouse.

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Tufted Titmouse in the Trees

The titmouse gets its funny name from the old Anglo-Saxon names “tit” meaning small and “mouse” referring to any small bird or rodent. I can’t see the mouse reference. They don’t look anything like Mickey to me but what do I know. Can’t quibble with those Anglo-Saxon bird namers. This information came from The Charismatic Planet. Another source, says that originally it was Titmase, the word “mase” meaning small bird. Around 500 years or so ago it was changed to mouse because of the widespread understanding of the word mouse. Tufted Titmice are such cute little guys, I hate to have them associated with scary, creepy little rodents. But then the word Titmouse is so much easier to say that titmase. Perhaps that is the real reason the name was changed. How could everybody know so much about mice when Mickey wasn’t even around then? Oh well.

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Titmouse in a tree

At any rate, Tufted Titmice are so cute at the feeder and just hanging around. I love to watch them. Who couldn’t love a little bird with a sweet song wearing blue suede shoes! To invite these little singers to your house, you can find out more about how to attract them to your feeders by following the advice found on the website The sweet sound of the music the Titmouse sings is reason enough to want more of them in your neighborhood. Fortunately there doesn’t seem to be any concern about them disappearing anytime soon as says the IUCN has the tufted titmouse rated at “least concern.” Good news for a change! Maybe thats why they hang with the chickadees. Safety in groups!

Listen to the sweet sound of the tufted titmouse:

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Blue Suede Shoes
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