Procrastipainting is when you have a million things to do, but ignore all of them and go make art instead.

Being an artist is a bit like living with a pressure cooker lid on your calendar. If you don’t relieve the art valve every once in a while, you might end up with tomatoes splattered all over the ceiling.

Life has a way of trying to prevent us from making art. Just surviving takes a certain amount of energy. We have to get groceries, prepare food, maintain our homes, earn a living, manage our health, fulfill family obligations and maybe even get some social time in.

Fitting in art-making can be a challenge. That’s why I’ve invented procrastipainting. Some artists find themselves always relegating art to the back burner. But I’m often in the opposite camp. I’ll put off other important action items in favor of fooling around in the studio. Because I’m being sort of productive, I also avoid any guilt that would arise from regular procrastination.

Art is the one thing that helps me feel more calm when there are a million things on my calendar. My schedule has been jam-packed since my husband died – trying to juggle my own teaching and shows with my husband’s business and probate.

We often hear about the healing power of art, but people don’t always make time to do art under stress. I’m here to let you know, procrastipainting is a healthier alternative to other forms of stress relief like over-eating or binging Netflix.

One reason: procrastipainting has the advantage of resulting in an actual physical product. You can enjoy the fruits of your labor, share them with others and process the often complicated feelings that arise from stress.

 Original diptych before revision

Dark Water I & II are products of a recent stressful time. I didn’t even feel like I had time to start a new work when I did them. Instead, I took two older paintings (pictured above) that I had never felt satisfied with.

Sometimes it takes time to pinpoint what is missing with a piece. These two had been languishing in my rack for several years. I took a quick look around the studio for something to fool with and decided to try to unify the rather glaring palette with a misty, foggy look.

The new pieces, below, now feel more subtle and mysterious. They remind me of cool foggy mornings on the farm, dreamy afternoons in the studio and the soft, misty fields of the Willamette Valley where I grew up.




Dark Water I & II, Acrylic & Collage on Canvas, 24 x 24″ each. Available at the Portland Art Museum’s Rental Sales Gallery

If you’ve never tried procrastipainting, give it a whirl and let me know how it goes. You don’t have to start from scratch – just pick up any old discarded project and start fooling around with it.

Even if it doesn’t end up as a finished painting, I promise you’ll feel better because procrastipainting relieves stress!

Come see these beauties at the Portland Art Museum’s Rental Sales Gallery Fall Show, opening this Friday, October 28, 2022 at 4 pm.

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