It’s Just Not Happening…Yet.

Camera-PhotoHere we go again…the turmoil of the creative juices not running,  artist block, the losing of ones mojo.  I’m there, fighting the fight to get back onto the art path when there are obstacles in my way, no directions and wonky navigation.  My life, my head and the weather here in Perth are playing tricks on me, doing all they can to keep me out of the studio and away from my painting projects and it’s hurting.

After 6 weeks off from painting, playing in Scotland and Dubai, having a grand old-time with my trusty camera, you would think I would have all the creativity of Picasso, my head filled with beautiful images of stunning landscapes and exotic lands, that are wanting to flow forward onto a blank canvas.

Ahhh?  NO.

It’s just not happening… yet.

I’m waiting, still waiting, for the dam to break and those amazing ideas, that are locked in my brain somewhere,  to drown me in the joy of painting once more.   The problem is, the longer it takes, the more that keeps getting in the way of me starting.

School went back for my little one on Thursday. A day I had diarised as my time to get back into the studio and start some semblance of working routine again.    It was meant to be Bon’s first day of high school, an event she has waited excitedly for since mid December.  Her bags were packed, uniform ready and waiting, lunch box already filled…but she never got there. My poor, sweet, school loving angel was struck down,  in the middle of the night,  with the worst tummy bug this family has ever known.  It was a shocker! 18 hours of vomiting (sorry to the squeamish amongst you!) and a visit to the Doctors when I started to panic it was appendicitis, or that she might be getting severely dehydrated. That bad.   She has missed the first two days of her new high school; making friends, working out where everything is, finding classes, the important logistics of her new school .    Life can be so unfair.

So, after having put off my studio time for the last two weeks, with the excuse of waiting until the school holidays end, that moment got snapped away from me by my number one job – Motherhood.  Really though, I’ve been using a myriad of excuses prior to this.  Too hot, too busy, housework, kids around me, have a head cold (true!) no aircon in the studio and its 38 degrees outside (also true) , I need to paint my toenails,   you name it, I’ve used it.

I spent some time analysing my thoughts yesterday (whilst I lay on the couch with Bon, in the air-conditioning and delicious coolness of the main house) and poured over the internet, finding tips of how to overcome artist block (there are pages and pages of tips out there people – it’s a common occurrence!!) There were suggestions of taking walks, listening to music, getting in touch with nature, meditating, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.  Not helpful .

I searched some more…and some more… and finally I got it.  My mind energised from its lethargy with one simple quote…

If you find yourself asking yourself

(and your friends)

“Am I REALLY a writer?

Am I REALLY an artist?”

Chances are

YOU ARE.

The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident.

THE REAL ONE

is

scared

to

death.

(Steven Pressfield “The War of Art”)

That’s me…Scared to death, self sabotaging, blocking myself.  I am so, so  scared of mucking this year up.  2013 is  following on from an amazing first year of full-time art and public acknowledgment that I paint.  2012 was a year of productive painting, a couple of wins and the selling of a substantial piece.  What if I can’t sustain it this year?  What if I run out of ideas?  What if I forget how to paint?  What if I’m just plainly, simply crap at this?  What if…what if?

The cure, my friends, is knowledge.  If you are going through the same battle as me, losing your confidence in between painting projects, you need to work out what makes YOU tick…Knowledge of what you  like to paint and what tickles your fancy when you are in a good painting zone;  knowledge of what you like in other artists work and why you may prefer one painting over another; knowledge of your strengths and weaknesses.  Knowledge that you can win this battle if you can just believe in yourself.

After really, really pondering these questions yesterday, my knowledge is:  that I prefer life portraits over landscapes; large blocks of solid background and not busy backgrounds;  big canvas’, and not small works; strong composition and vivid colour;  that I am quite impatient to get to the detailed part of the painting,and need to slow down and enjoy the early steps, that I’m good at the detail when I get there, but I need to be patient on the journey; that I am not great at premixing a full palette of paint and need to push myself harder to do this vital step;  that I love preplanning the photography stage of a painting and capturing a great image, so  I need to utilise this love of photography to then paint an amazing work….and that I can keep on painting by just getting in that damn hot, sweat inducing sauna of a studio and going through the motions of painting, until I just start seeing the work evolving on the canvas in front of me. Patiently.

Update…

24 hours into analysing the depths of my brain space and I think the flood gates have been opened…I worked today.  With this as my inspiration:

The Protector

The Protector

Its hot, so hot, even the cicadas have even given up their joyous rapport to find some shade.  The garden is burnt and wilted, the sky is the  amazing vibrant blue of a scorching summers day.  Its 38 degrees and only slightly cooler in my studio…but I painted.  Only coming inside to refresh my water bottle and wipe the sweat from my brow…and armpits. Thank goodness I was painting snow!

Update, update!

Dudie has JUST bought me a portable air conditioner!!!  YIPEEE!!  See, all it takes is a plan of attack and things fall into place.

I leave you now with some parting words (from Pinterest) that I am planning to use…

Be You, Bravely

x Mia

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4 thoughts on “It’s Just Not Happening…Yet.

  1. I SO identify with so much of what you wrote. You nailed it! Just part of the process I guess. Just muddle through. Be kind to yourself. Celebrate an air conditioner. Trust it’s all as it should be and when nothing is coming out of us it’s because it’s all circling inside and put together future _AMAZING_ work! Or maybe we’re just catching our breath. Anyways, I get it! And I so appreciate reading someone else’s experience with it.
    I have so little time to paint these days and am feeling so removed and fumbly at it because of it. THe more I paint the better it feels and looks. But when I find an afternoon or a morning I keep doing other things until the time is cut down to nothing. Why do I do that??? I’ve got a busy month but after that I plan on giving myself at least a few weekdays in a row to paint and get my head back in it. Not fitting in a few hours on a weekend between soccer and dinner making.

    Looking forward to seeing your new work when it happens.
    Jennifer

    • Jennifer, sorry it has taken me so long to respond….I’ve been painting! Thank you for your wonderful comment. I think the key to continual work is to diarise work time, so it feels like you are going to work. It gets me quicker in the right frame of mind, putting on my art clothes, going through a routine. Good luck… Or better still good mind space! Mia

      • No worries, happy to hear you’re painting!
        I think you’re right but boy do I find that hard with all of the other things going on in life. Hoping for a dedicated bunch of time in March to get back to it all.
        Jennifer

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