There are some days where you just can’t bring yourself to do anything. BOY have I felt that way about art-making as of late. When I mention this to others, people always offer me excuses: “Well, you have to be in the mood,” or, “Perhaps you deserve a break.” Of these two, the latter holds most validity for me. Anyone who knows me knows I can dive in too deep before I realize I will eventually need some air. The former? I would describe that as an excuse based in fear and lack of understanding.
Yes, there are times when I paint better and I am in “the zone.” But if I always waited for just that moment, I would have many fewer artworks. In fact, my 52 Weeks project would have failed in the first weeks of its inception. I would not have artwork for the several shows I have exhibited in and may have failed on several commissions (think deadlines) had I taken this approach.
Artwork is hard work. It is emotional, personal, physical and intellectual. I feel the adrenaline pumping through my veins as I complete a work much in the same way I feel that energy after a great run, or a good yoga class. When I arrive at class or start that run I might be reluctant, stressing out about time commitments, projects left incomplete, etc. Yet once I focus my attention, all of that falls by the wayside and I can deal with the task at hand. Art is no different. Yes, there may be some days where being less “in the mood” will affect my artwork (see Week 49 for exactly that example!) BUT struggling through and making art every day or every week allows me the practice I need to grow technically and intellectually. Being a successful artist of course requires making art and often making lots of it!
So, in this busy time of year, this is my pep talk to you. Don’t forget to keep working! Taking a break is realistic and necessary, but if you are coming up with excuses to take a “time-out,” do you need that break or are you afraid of continuing your work? Don’t let your fear be hidden by socially accepted excuses. If you end up making work you hate, rip it up, hide it away in a folder, or journal it out. In the end, you will feel more centered and have made room for even more ideas in that ever-thinking head of yours!
BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: Take the time you need and give yourself rest. BUT, if you find yourself making excuses and ultimately avoiding your artwork, it is time to jump back in. Make the work without judgment and remember you are more likely to meet success through the sheer number of hours you place in an endeavor versus waiting for that perfect “piece.”
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