Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The I'lljust Syndrome

Artist Success Feature Article

Crisis Affects Women Artists

There is a crisis affecting women artists today. It eats into their studio time and artistic output or, more to the point, it creates a lack of output. Evidence of this crisis is based not only on observation but on surveys and through conversations and is reaching alarming and epidemic proportions. Yet it goes unrecognized on a daily basis.
Up until now, most women artists cite a lack of time as their reason for not creating the art they want to make. Based on my findings, I have discovered another, more insidious reason for their behavior. It’s not that there is a lack of time, but there is something eating away at their time.
So what is it?


I’lljust Syndrome
Simply put, women artists (and, truly, women in all walks of life) are letting the I’lljust syndrome get in their way of getting into the studio.
Signs and symptoms appear immediately before sitting down to make art and may include any or all of the following:
  • I’ll just throw in a load of laundry
  • I’ll just rinse those dishes
  • I’ll just call Mom
  • I’ll just check my email
  • I’ll just tidy Annie’s room
  • I’ll just get the grocery shopping out of the way
  • I’ll just clip my toenails
  • I’ll just post on Facebook
  • I’ll just put away...
  • I’ll just relax a bit
  • I’ll just go get...
  • I’ll just clean up...
  • I’ll just straighten up...
  • I’ll just...
  • I’ll just...
  • I’ll just...
Before you know it, the whole day has been I’ll justed away. And it is not a 24 hour virus, Chances are it will linger on indefinitely unless she takes immediate action NOW. There IS a cure!

Treatment & Prognosis

A 10-Step Program
As with any condition, the prognosis is determined by how consistently the patient applies and continues treatment. Not only that, but she must believe that she has the power to gain and maintain control of her physical, mental and artistic well-being.
Presented below are the 10 steps necessary to overcome I’lljust Syndrome:
  1. Recognize you have a problem.
  2. Acquire a calendar, planner or scheduling system
  3. Group like activities together. ie: Laundry & housework on Monday; errands Tuesday AM; social media 7-7:30; etc. etc.
  4. Schedule no-excuses studio time on a regular basis
  5. Show up and remain at the appointed studio time whether you feel like it or not
  6. Pass by or delay all I’lljusts until their appointed time
  7. Maintain a notepad on your studio table to write down all distracting I’lljust thoughts while working
  8. Repeat steps 3-7 consistently until improvement is evident.
  9. Remind yourself daily that you are in control of your artistic future.
  10. To ensure excellent physical, mental and artistic health, make this treatment a part of your wellness plan.
Lesley Riley, The Artist Success Expert, is the creative founder of Artist Success, Solutions for the Struggling Artist. To receive her bi-weekly articles on creating your own success as an artist, visit

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Playing during the Holidays

This time of year gets so very hectic that I found myself just playing with photos on my ipad to relax. What fun this is, o dear I have just added one more thing that I want to do with my limted free time. There is always time for a little creativity - right.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Mind is on babies

I did this piece while waiting for my first grandchild, a little girl. Well she has arrived and all is well with the world. I am entering this piece in the Great Lakes "Small Works" juried show at the Riverside Art Center to be held in their wonderful gallery in Ypsilanti Michigan.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Thanks Leslie Riley

This article came across my desk, o my, how I can relate. I know I have more creative ideas then Ihave days left but I continue to gather more. If you are like me this is for you.

How Not To Drown When
You're Swimming in a Sea of Ideas

If I had a finished piece for every idea and inspiration I had, I could fill the National Gallery of Art here in DC. I know you can relate. You and I both will always have more ideas than we could ever take action on. And to that I say – HOORAY!

Problems do arise, though, when ideas outweigh time, resources and even space. I’ve identified the top four:

1. Overwhelm - When there are so many things you want to do you can often end up in overwhelm and do the unthinkable…..nothing.

2. Fear - “What if I start on this one and it doesn’t turn out the way I expect. Then I’ve wasted my precious time and money on materials.” So there goes that idea.

3. Regret - “If I work on this one, then I won’t be able to work on that one and what if I forget about the other great idea?”

4. Flitting – While working on this really great idea another even greater one pops into your head and you abandon the first and start on the second. Nothing ever gets finished and you end up with a closet full of unfinished projects you have lost interest in.

So what’s an artist to do? How do you swim when you are drowning in a sea of ideas?

To save you from one or all of these situations, here are four life preservers I’m tossing out for you:

1. Keep an idea catcher. It is inevitable that you will get many new ideas while you are working. Keep a note or sketchbook by your side so you can jot them down as you go. You’ll be amazed at how catching those ideas frees up your attention to focus on the work at hand. P.S. Use your idea catcher 24 hours a day.

2. Work on several things at a time. Who says you can only work on one thing at a time? Ideas need time to percolate, paint needs to dry, workspace shrinks and grows with each project. By having several things in the works at the same time, there’s always something to do, even at a moment's notice and even in 5 minute snatches of time.

3. Decide! Keep in mind that it’s the journey, not the end-result. Any art you choose to work on contributes to your success as an artist. Whether your reason is to reduce stress or to propose an article to your favorite magazine, knowing why you are making your art gives you purpose and direction and conquers the inertia, fear and regret. You will benefit no matter what your purpose is. The biggest reward is the joy and physical well-being that results from creating.

4. Have a goal in mind. If you don’t know where you want to go, you’ll never get there. Not knowing why you create can prevent you from creating, even if you have a bazillion ideas. Knowing what you want from your art will help you decide what to work on and why.

P.S. If you want to know what opportunities are available for you or if you know what your goals are but are not sure how to accomplish them, be sure to sign-up for SEEK when you receive your special invitation on July 5th. It’s FR*EE and FULL of Solutions, Experience, Expertise and Knowledge to get you on your way.

Lesley Riley, The Artist Success Expert, is the creative founder of Artist Success, Solutions for the Struggling Artist. To receive her bi-weekly articles on creating your own success as an artist, visit

Thanks Leslie Riley

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Playing with Photoshop

I did this picture so long ago I can't remember how I did it. It is a picture of my sister-in-law, Alice. My plan was to do a piece where I had all three of my sister-in-laws in their early twenties and layer them together. I seem to have more ideas for art work then I have days to do them all. I wonder if other artists feel the same.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Bacon on Artist's Job

Bacon 's quote is: "The job of an artist is always to deepen the mystery." This new piece celebrates spring with a mystery of it's own