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The 5 Most Tedious and Boring Art Tasks

A list of art tasks we'd probably all avoid if we could.


Being creative through art is undoubtedly rewarding and enriching, but there are some unavoidable art tasks that are simply tedious, repetitive, mind-numbing, and boring, albeit essential.

1. Cleaning Paint Brushes

Photo of stained and dirty paint brushes
Photo © Marion Boddy-Evans
No matter how much you may enjoy using a particular brush, are you really meticulous when cleaning it every single time? It's important, of course, because it prolongs the life of the brush.

Solutions: Swap to watercolors, where the paint doesn't stick to a brush as much as with acrylics or oils. Use a painting knife rather than a brush, as a wipe on a cloth is generally all it needs to clean it. Or a pouring technique.

2. Cleaning a Paint Palette

Paper palette
Photo ©2010 Marion Boddy-Evans. Licensed to About.com, Inc.
Who hasn't ruined a color mix by unintentionally picking up a stray bit of color from a palette that wasn't as clean as it might be? Stopping while you're painting to clean up the mixing area seems like it interrupts the muse.

Solution: Use a paper, disposable palette.

3. Keeping Paint Tubes Clean

Stuck Paint Tube Cap
Image: © Marion Boddy-Evans
You're in a hurry, you squeeze out some paint from a tube and get a bit over the top of the screw thread, but put the cap back on anyway. Next time: you can't get it open.

Solution: Keep a clean cloth or piece of paper towel nearby, and have the patience to spare 15 seconds to wipe the tube before you put the cap back on.

4. Varnishing Paintings

Photo of Varnish Brush and Painting Varnish
Photo ©2011 Marion Boddy-Evans
You've spent days, weeks, even months perfecting your masterpiece. So why not give it another layer of protection by varnishing it? Sure, it's that worst of tasks, something that needs to be carefully done but isn't creatively rewarding.

Solution: Hire an assistant. Bribe your partner to do it.

5. Explaining Your Art

Art tasks that are tedious
Photo © Marion Boddy-Evans
You've probably encountered these questions and feel your heart sink when faced with them yet again: What is it? Is it finished yet? What does it mean? Why do you...?

Solution: Memorize a handful of phrases about your art, your motivation and intentions. Talk about how your created it, rather than why.

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