Six Ways Artists Can Stay Motivated During Winter

As a full-time artist who enjoys plein air painting, winter months can be long and sap the creative spirit. This year has been particularly difficult to stay motivated due to the abundance of rain. I’d love to hear from you if you have additional suggestions or tips for the winter blues. Here are my six favorites.

  1. Read art books and magazines. Stay engaged with your art education by taking advantage of those art books sitting on your shelf that you’ve been meaning to study. My current favorite is Gruppe on Painting by Emile A. Gruppe. I’ve read it numerous times over the years. As my skill progresses, each reading brings new meaning.
  2. Visit galleries and museums. On a recent paint trip to Maine, the weather wasn’t cooperating. During my 10 days, I visited every museum in a 50 mile radius along with numerous art galleries.
  3. Complete studio preparations. A general declutter of your creative space can lift your spirits. Creating an inventory of paints and supplies helps me to know what to be on the look out for with sales at the art store.  If you stretch your own canvas or gesso panels, increment weather is a great time to stock up in this area so you don’t have to take time when the weather is nicer.
  4. Set up a still life. Whether you use flowers, fruit or bowls and knick·knacks, when you can’t be outside painting, stay in your studio and paint a still life. The more you experiment, the better all areas of your painting will become.
  5. Coffee with artists. An artist can live a solitary life unless effort is made to socialize. Even if the weather doesn’t allow you to paint with other artists, you can meet for coffee and talk art. The mental stimulation is good for lifting spirits.
  6. Take advantage of weather breaks. During that recent Maine paint trip, I scoped out paint spots of interest close to my hotel, prepared my art gear for a quick departure and monitored the weather closing for breaks. Sometimes, a plein air painter only needs a couple of hours to create. When the rain stopped, I knew exactly where to go and used every minute available.  Chasing the Storm is what resulted from this effort in plein air painting between storms.

    Chasing The Storm, 9 x 12

    Please share additional tips you have to keep motivated as a painter during the winter months.

About The Author

Brent Jensen

Plein air and studio fine art Impressionist oil painter.