Here 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.
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?”
The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident.
THE REAL ONE
(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.
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:
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!
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