I haven’t written a blog post in a few weeks and whilst a lot of that is due to lack of time, if I’m honest I just feel like I’ve lost my painting mojo. I know everyone experiences times when their drive and passion to paint is missing. And I’ve had dips in the past, but this one feels a lot tougher than the others.
I spent a bit of time last weekend trying to figure out why I was feeling this way. I thought this might help me come up with a solution. But I can’t think of one specific reason, it feels like a combination of things….
Firstly I’m really tired and have felt like this for a few weeks. Unlike many people I wasn’t furloughed during lockdown. Despite the business being closed (my day job), the past 18 months have been busier and more stressful than any other time I can remember. At the end of August when we reopened, we seemed to go from zero to 100 miles an hour within a couple of weeks. Having lost staff during lockdown we don’t have our usual resilience so its all hands to the pump.
Added to this, being open means I’m back to commuting. I don’t go into the office every week – but. I forgot just how tiring the 400+ miles round trip, along with nights in hotels, can be.
A Break is as Good as a Rest
The second reason is a bit odd but I took a break. I know this sounds counter initiative. A break should help address the tiredness. But having not painted for a few weeks I’m finding it hard to get going again. Some of this is down to habit. I seem to have lost the the momentum I had of an hour before and work. Some I think feels like a loss of confidence.
Too Much Fine Tuning
The third equally odd – I had some successes. This is the really weird one. Having been selected for the RA, an exhibition in Manchester and had my own exhibition as well as completing my first commission.
I’ve sold quite a few paintings recently.
So in August and September most of my time was spent finishing off and fine tuning. I didn’t get started on any new pieces. As a result I’m finding it difficult to gear up. Fine tuning and finishing work is so different from those earlier stages when you need to make big, confident moves that I seem to have lost the muscle memory.
I’m honestly not sure I’ve found it but rather than just avoiding my studio I’m determined to get back into my art habit. So here’s my plan….
I noticed it was #oneofmanypostcard time so I have thrown myself into collage. This year I have created 13 postcard size pieces to offer up. I’m making the draw on 31st October and already have quite a few people who have asked to put their name in the hat.
If you haven’t come across the #oneofmanypostcard campaign check out my previous blog post. But basically it’s the brainchild of the very talented artist and print maker John Pedder. It is open to absolutely any artist. Artists create some postcards. Post them on their Instagram feed offering them for free on the understanding that the recipient, donates to charity. When someone receives the art they donate what they think they would have paid for it, or an amount that they can afford to a good cause of their own choosing. It’s that simple.
John started it in 2018 and whilst most offerings are postcards there have been prints, paintings, collages, jewellery, bags, sweets, ceramics, sculptures and even mixtapes.
Immerse Myself in Art
I have some many beautiful art books so I’m giving myself a break. I’ve decided that when I can’t muster up the energy to paint I’m going to spend some time looking at the brilliant work of other artists. My husband bought me this stunning book for my birthday so that’s first on my list.
Rather than my usual flicking through, I have a nice new notebook that I’m planning on filling with notes on what I like and any ideas this sparks.
Have a Sort Out
Unlike my usual studio tidy which involves sorting out and tidying paints, brushes and collage papers. This weekend I’m planning on collecting together all the partly painted pieces I have. Many are stacked against walls, sitting in drying racks or just piled up in my studio. I know a lot of them will remain abandoned for months but my intention is to work out what I liked and didn’t like about these pieces and try to move a few forward.
Indulge in Some Playtime
Rather than jumping back into painting boards and canvases I’m going to spend a few weeks just playing with different mediums and tools. I feel like I’m in a comfort zone when it comes to the marks I’m making and the brushes and scrapers I’m using so I think I need to mix things up.
Wish me luck!