All of us who are driven by an inner passion to express our Selves... no matter or art form or genre... face fallow periods... and not surprisingly... because creating is such a personal process... we come down hard on our Selves because of this situation. We assume that our "Mistress"... has left us.... forever!
It is a painful process... and in visiting a number of blogging friends sites, I have recently discovered a fair number of folks who are suffering from this affliction. Perhaps this feeling is driven by the slowing sales in the art world all over... or perhaps simply because we spend so much of our time seeing many other artists... who (supposedly) by their almost daily postings... are always "on top of their game."
If one looks carefully at those artists... one can readily discover that they share one thing in common. They are not trying to paint a "master" piece. They are quite simply...painting! They simply find something(s) close at hand in their immediate environment... and set down to paint it. That's one strategy to overcome the dreaded "block"!
Other artists connect with other blogging friends to create thematic challenges... throwing down the gauntlet to their friends to take a stab at a common theme... let's say... "Camera". In so doing ... they create a group enthusiasm and creative spirit by responding to an "Idea" that wasn't their own. It works for them and great things come out of that exploration... for everyone involved.
Other artists sign up for a workshop with someone they admire to add new ideas and instruction to ignite their flagging enthusiasm... and usually they come home vaccinated against depression and withdrawal with a good "shot" of new possibility to suppress despondency. Another great strategy!
There are countless ways to approach this very ordinary creative occurence , but as with all hurdles we face in life... it is the individual themselves who must think and act to create their own solution in the end. Each of us is different... unique in our needs... our process and our goals.
I would like to share some insights into my own strategies for keeping this demon at bay. When I feel drained... artistically impotent,,, unmotivated... looking for my next "Idea"... a number of strategies come to mind. Obviously... working en plein air is my "magic bullet." It never fails to revive my spirit. Simply put: ... "beside still waters... it restoreth my soul." But weather... or at this time of year black flies makes that an impossibility for allergic ol "Me"... so on to plan B !
I slip into second gear - change medium for a spell. During the past week... I have worked in acrylic instead of oil. Boy... that approach sure created new thought and perspiration... believe it! But after my third piece... I was over the top... excited and refreshed. As well... I REALLY shuffled the deck... and changed subject matter... going to figurative work... definitely not my forte. Astonishingly... to "Me"... there was an epiphany moment in that genre for "Me". That moment would not have happened... if I had stayed on my usual... safe... and well-travelled landscape route. I will not become a convert to figurative painting... but it did inject new enthusiasm... and create an awareness in "Me" that I was not limited to just painting landscapes.
Yesterday I took three separate views of a wonderful Charlevoix, Quebec site... and with scissors in hand... "cut n' pasted" an entirely new and "virtual" subject. How freeing it was to create... first with scissors... then with acrylics... on a new painting surface (I'll load that story for you on another post). The result was nothing short of the feeling one gets... standing at the foot of "David"... towering 25 and a bit feet over you. Get the picture?
And did I mention? Deb is away with her Grand Gals in Yorkton Saskatchewan for a week... a well-deserved and necessary shot in the arm for "Her." She unconditionally supports my family members and "I" in every area of our lives... every day 0f the year. Travel is another way to support a positive and creative spirit. Our trip to the Barbados was just that in early April.
I will mention (gleefully) as well... that as the sole person manning the Gallery... I am in charge of the daily play list for a whole week! My diet yesterday... Diana Krall... Forest Music... James Taylor... Gordon Lightfoot... Andrew Lloyd Webber... and... The Jersey Boys!!! How good does it get! Boy...did I "cut the carpet"... all day around the studio. Back n' forth to the easel... just being sweet sixteen again... "Me"... my Self... and "I"!!!
No... I'm not at all manic -yet! But "I" am full of energy... vitality... and productive! I could run on at the mouth forever... but I'll leave you with this food-for-thought... from God (only) knows where on my journey. But the idea comes from a source we all know and understand intimately in our common pasts:
"We could all learn a lot from crayons. Some are pretty. Some are sharp. Some are dull. Some have weird names and they are all colours.But they all live... in the same box."
We, as artists... though we might differ in technique... medium... abilities... experience and physical locations "live in the same box"... and we share a common passion for making art. Through sharing "Ideas" ... process... feelings and Hope.. "We"... are a Family! The world... in these turbulent times... needs people who think this way... and through their sharing this feeling we demonstrate... that Peace is not just a word... or an impossible dream. It is an action!
"Some say that I'm a dreamer. But I'm not the only one!"
Sweet dreams and sharing... and Good Painting to ALL!