This week I have been working on a small 10 x10 inch painting… Attached are my progress photos from this week. I re-worked the color scheme in this painting from being predominantly warm in tone (yellow, orange, red) to more analogous colors (blue, blue-green, and green).
It has been a herculean effort to make myself work and I feel like I have had to be a Nike athlete and follow the slogan, “Just do it,” whether I feel like it or not. All this struggle to be creative, has made me wonder, Is it ever justifiable for a professional creative to take a break from painting, or whatever their medium of choice may be (songs, poetry, novels, dance), especially when the passion or inspiration is lacking, or should we ( as creatives, makers, musicians, writers, etc.), just slog through regardless? I suspect there are as many opinions about this issue as there are anything else…
Here are my two cents on this subject. I read a blog by writer, Austin Kleon, author of Steal Like an Artist, and Show Your Work! and he had some advice which I found very helpful. Kleon referenced a quote in his blog at http://www.austinkleon.com, from February 9, 2017 in which the writer, Goethe, said” “one ought to every day at least hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words.”Kleon (2017), states that in this quote, we find the emphasis on appreciation, rather than production. It might seem like a counterproductive concept to many of us, who live in a workaholic 24-7 Western culture. And this mentality is not limited to the corporate world, it has even dripped down into the creative community where we often find articles about, being more efficient with our studio time and the importance of drawing or painting every day. And as an art student at McDaniel College, I had a teacher who always emphasized that art students should work on multiple projects every week, and that production was the key to their artistic growth.
In my experience, the pressure to produce art every day can get especially high for me when an art show deadline is looming or if I am working on a commissioned piece for a client or an art project for an art class. And while I would be the first to agree that if you want to get better at something you need to put in the time every week, daily if possible, whether it’s learning to play piano or learning to paint and draw, it’s also important to know yourself. Are you someone who really needs to buckle down and work on a creative project every day, or are you a workaholic who needs to schedule in breaks to refuel and recharge your creative batteries? As for myself, I am giving myself permission to take some much needed time off and read a good book, or go to Borders and read some art magazines to try and get my passion for painting back once I complete this painting. How about you, fellow makers and creatives? How do you recharge your creative batteries to make paintings, write poetry, sing songs, etc? I’m open to suggestions and would love to hear from you in my comments box.