I can fall into a downward spiral of procrastination if I allow myself to. I worry that my canvas is too rough/smooth, about whether the composition I've arrived at needs more thought, about the imperfect conditions in my studio, etc. The list can be as long as I allow it to be. But I'm generally able to put a lid on such concerns and get on with painting.
The following are just some of the worries that I see come up a lot on the forum:
Is my substrate archival?
Should I use canvas, HDF, MDF, aluminium composite panel, wood, paper …?
Is this the right primer/ground for the substrate I have in mind?
I’ll be painting a la prima but how can I be sure I’m not violating the fat over lean rule?
Must my medium be exactly in accord with Mark’s recipe?
Will my pencil drawing bleed through the paint layer?
Will my used paper towels and brushes spontaneously combust?
Will my paints poison me?
Will solvent fumes kill the parrot?
And so on …
It’s not that these issues are irrelevant. We need to maintain a safe environment and we must do what we can to make our paintings last. It’s just that such concerns can be endless and, if we keep entertaining them, they can get in the way of our actually making a start.
A question that often crosses my mind before I start a major painting is: What if the idea doesn’t work? What if the painting is a failure? My answer to that mind virus is, So what? I'd rather the possibility of success than the certainty of failure, which is what I’ll have if I don’t start.
There are endless reasons for not making a start. And they all end in failure.
Do you procrastinate? If so, can you tell us how you pull yourself out of the downward spiral and get on with painting?