The Art of Waiting

"Are we there yet?"
The Art of Waiting
Waiting, Sofia Lind

Life is full of waiting. Some anticipation is optimistic, like a child's birth, a visit from a loved one, or a special holiday. Some waiting is anxiety-filled, like the excruciating wait for test results or the date of a vital surgery. Even waiting in a long line can spin us out of control. Yet, waiting is a universal human experience. Look at the artworks below to see the artists’ interpretations of waiting.


They are Waiting, Nnamdi Okonkwo
The Lean, Tine Reimer & André Hemstedt (ignant)
Edward Hopper, Cape Cod Morning
Vilhelm Hammershøi, The Tall Windows, 1913


  • How do you feel the artworks above capture the feeling of waiting?
  • How is tension created in each of the pieces?
  • Why do you think Danish Artist Villhelm Hammershøi placed his subject in such a large room with massive windows? How might his composition convey the sense of a long wait?
  • Have you found any ways to make waiting more bearable?


  • Read this article on the Psychology of Waiting which explains that the actual time we’re waiting may have little to do with how long the wait feels.
  • One way to make a wait less painful is to occupy your hands. Make a simple, small sketchbook that you keep in your pocket for just these situations. Include these prompts to get you started when you can’t get your mind off the wait!
  • Journal about how you feel when your waiting. Make a list of all of the good, bad and ugly things your body and mind experience. Make connections to overlapping feelings. Get it out. Leave it on the page. Move on!