Can Painting Teach Us To Be Patient?

Ever since young, I found that painting has taught me many things about life. I knew for a fact that it helps enhance our creativity.

But more than that, painting also can help us take our mind off certain things, it helps us relax better, and it just feels fun to do it. And so I’m sure many can agree that painting is very therapeutic too.

Well, I never taught about it much before, but after I became a full-time artist and started painting a lot more than I usually do, I now find that painting can also teach us to be patient!

This is because painting involves the following:

1) Setting up the work area

Many things go into setting up the work area before we start painting.

First, we need to place the canvas in the right place and position where it’s most comfortable for us to work. And that usually depends on our canvas size too. For example, we can place a smaller canvas easily on the easel, but when working with a larger canvas, we might need to secure the canvas properly and hang it against the wall.

My studio set up
(It can be really messy at times!)

Placing the paints, brushes, rags, and all other tools we need to use while painting is equally important. It’s always good to have our tools within reach because we don’t want the inconvenience of having to walk up and down to get them while painting.

2) While Painting

Although we might be listening to music, or sometimes I even listen to my audiobooks while painting, we can’t deny that painting requires a lot of focus.

There is also quite a lot of thinking that goes on at the same time, and this requires a lot of patience too.

3) Drying Time

After we’ve completed the painting, the next thing to do is to wait for it to dry completely. Depending on the mediums we use, some are fast-drying, and some are slower than the others; the drying time can take anywhere from a few hours to a few months!

4) After Drying

Once our painting is completely dried, we have the option to varnish it to protect it better. If we choose to have the painting varnished, we’ll then might have to move the painting to another area where it’s airier as varnish usually tends to have a strong fume. Of course, then we’ll have to wait for the varnish to dry as well.

But even if we don’t opt for varnishing, we still need to carefully store the painting in a safe place and preferably covered up, as this helps protect the painting.

You need to clean, clean, clean…

5) Cleaning up

Now let us not forget the cleaning up part!

I have to admit this is the part that I look less forward to the most. And if you work with oil paints, even cleaning the brushes can take hours. And then, of course, there’s the table, rags, and obviously, the floor would need to be clean too.

All of which requires a whole lot of patience!

The Verdict

Do keep in mind that painting alone often takes hours to complete. And for some, it might take days, weeks, months, or even years.

Of course, we should always try to paint within a specific timeframe. But it all depends on the size and the intensity involved or how complex the painting is.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty sure that there will be days when we might get frustrated and even throw away the canvas. And that’s ok because even Roger Federer has smashed his tennis racket before!

But the thing is, even if we’ve ‘destroyed’ a painting and threw it away, we would still need to clean the brushes!

And so, I guess after years of painting, patience is then naturally formed, which makes it true – That painting can indeed teach us to be patient!

“A man who is a master of patience is master of everything else"
- George Savile