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I Haven’t Been Painting for Awhile

The last five months have been filled with activity and pretty much devoid of painting. As a Creativity Coach I am loathed to admit my failures! But there it is. Now you know. Notice though that I said I have done little painting. I have however been using my creativity in other areas of my life. Although I am not entirely satisfied with what my creative practise has been in the last five months, it has been chugging along all the while.

Most of what I have been busy with has been family stuff and health issues. Nothing really serious with the health issues; nothing more serious than getting older and needing to deal with more things. Nothing more than having to pay attention to things like exercise, eating well and getting enough rest.

The family stuff included helping alter bridesmaid dresses and a wedding dress for my daughter’s wedding in Mexico in December, the busyness of Christmas and then a new grandchild born last month. There have also been quite a few deaths that have touched me in the last five months. An uncle died in September, an aunt in October, a close artist friend in November and another artist friend in January. All these deaths have reminded me that we only have so much time on this earth to accomplish what we want and need to do.

Now I face the challenge of getting back to my painting. I have lost my momentum and don’t know where to begin. It is important to realize that there is no easy way to begin again. Just knowing that can be helpful in lowering our expectation of ourselves. Here are some ideas:

  • Go into your studio or work area and ‘hang out’
  • Put on your favorite motivational music; music has a huge affect on our moods
  • Spend time cleaning up your work area or rearranging things more efficiently
  • Don’t get bogged down in cleaning up but use it as a place to start
  • Set up your materials and replenish what you are short on
  • Take a look at unfinished projects and see if they still have merit
  • Give yourself a little treat for whatever you accomplish
  • Plan to return tomorrow and keep doing what you love to do

I hope you get back on your creativity horse in the very near future. If you never got off, I hope your ride continues to bring you joy. If you have any ideas that have worked for you be sure to share them with us.

4 Comments.[ Leave a comment ]

  1. I’ve had some dry spells, usually following completion of a series for a show. Whoof, the momentum leaves you and you’re at loose ends wondering what to do. I did pretty much what you suggested, hang out in my studio, turn up the Miles Davis jazz, take stock of paints and canvases (although I usually don’t clean much). Then after a while I found I’d pick up a canvas, grab some paint and mKe a mark on it. It doesn’t matter what the mark is, just get it down, so the stark white canvas doesn’t inhibit you (thanks to Harley Brown for this tip). I found myself just continuing with the mark making, then applying more gel/paint/goop and I was on my way.

    While instilling a work ethic (if you want to be a writer you have to write X hours/day) is great for volume, creativity can’t be forced, but it can be nurtured and coaxed into life. Don’t overthink it, don’t worry about it. Do like you say and it will come back to life.

    • Great advice Miles. I like your idea of nurturing and coaxing creativity into life. It really is like that. It’s in us and if we set up the right conditions for it, it will come alive. Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

  2. Wouldn’t it be great if creativity horses were creativity cars instead? Then we could send them to the garage to get suped up while we aren’t using them. I suppose they might be a lot more expensive that way though…

    I wonder if there aren’t some really simple and time effective (like 10 minutes a day?!) habits to cultivate that might let our creativity horses free graze while we aren’t riding them?

    For example, maybe the first item on your list should be a must do (every day or two?) for every artist – is it possible that just being in your creative space for a few minutes every day might prevent – to some degree – the challenge of restarting?

    • Thanks for your comment Rick. And great ideas too! Thanks for encouraging all artists to cultivate those good habits. I like the idea of coming in contact with our creative work each day even if we don’t actually do it. The metaphor of the grazing horse is a good one and helpful in those times when we can’t get on our creativity horse for whatever reason.

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