Saturday, January 7, 2012

A slow start

I'm at a dangerous place in my studio. I've finished the projects I was working on without an idea for something new. As a professional writer, I understand writer's block. I have been writing for so many years that I've come up with strategies to overcome it.

My art is different. Although I've been painting most of my life, I recently sold my business and it's only been the last year or so that I've worked on my art full-time. When I get to an "in between" place I become afraid that my creativity has left for good. Fear, of course, is the biggest de-motivator and inspiration-stealing emotion we live with. Even though I understand that, I'm not confident enough to not be afraid when I'm between projects.

I normally work on at least two paintings at a time. I try to start something new while I still have something to finish. There was just something about the end of the year, the holidays, exhaustion, etc. that kept me from doing that.

So what should I do? 
  • I'm going to stop being afraid. I have been at this long enough, and have a big enough body of work, to know I'm creative.
  • I'm going to give myself some time to process what I accomplished in 2011 before starting 2012. I had a greater out put of work in 2011 – 33 paintings – than I have in the last few years combined.
  • I'm going to take some time to read. I get so focused on the art that I stop reading. Reading is inspirational whether it's a book on art or an artist, or something I just enjoy.
  • I'm going to visit our art museum. I haven't been for more than a year – which is unusual for me – and I am always inspired by other people's work.
  • I'm going to stop worrying. I'm going to "let it go, let it flow." This, of course, is easier said than done, but the more I stop myself from going there, the easier it gets.
Being an artist is difficult enough without sabatoging myself with doubt, fear and worry. So it's January 7th. So what. It's not time to panic, I have 358 more days to create art.

Happy painting,
Susan L Stewart

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