So, the creative burn seems to have come to a halt. The universe seems to have dumped a big bucket of cold water over my head and put my fire out. I cannot, for the life of me, find my muse, my inspiration, or whatever it is that is going to help me break through this block. I am not in the space required to paint something brilliant, mediocre, or even just plain bad right now. When I think about the paintbrush I just feel lazy and tired. The blank paper and blank canvas have both become my mocking enemy. I just stare at them and shrug. You win. I’m painted out. Then I go looking for a snack.
It was bound to happen. After a few weeks of having great ideas and the energy required to execute them, there has to be a period of stillness. A time for rest. A time for the creative process to start baking again. I’m in that phase right now. This is the ebb and flow of my creative work. I’ll admit it can be a little frustrating to play this kind of waiting game. Especially when I have to play it with myself and all by myself and only for myself. It can get a little lonely too.
Usually, during this non-painting phase, I cook fancy meals, get my house sparkling clean or catch up on some of the movies I have been missing. I invent new games to play with my toddler, spend more time with friends, or just hang out in general. For some reason, this time, I have decided to try something different. I am trying a couple of things actually. I’m attempting to be proactive in the hopes I can spur on another burst of creativity.
The first thing I am doing, in my new plan of action, is to work with paint and paper daily (even though I want to procrastinate and put it away for later). I spent a few hours, one day last week, painting several canvases blue. I set them up like a bad painting factory and went to it. Once they were dry I started ripping paper up and doing collages on the blue backgrounds. I’ve done three flower collages so far and started on a tiny ocean scene complete with abstract looking paper fish. I’m playing with colors. No pressure, no stress, not really much excitement either. I’m just kind of humming along, keeping pace with my busy hands and enjoying the moment.
The second thing I am doing is doodling. When I am on the phone I draw weird little circle and line drawings. When I am making a “to do” list I doodle on the side of it while I am thinking about all I hope to accomplish that day. I even doodle on the bathtub walls while my daughter takes her bath. Bathtub crayons are a really fun way to experiment with colors and images. Especially if they come out horribly bad because they rinse off with water and nobody ever has to ever know they even existed.
Neither of these things are a big deal, but I am experimenting. Maybe if I keep my hands busy my brain will get a rest. Hopefully this rest will allow me to come up with some great ideas (and I will be back in business again). Maybe an unconscious doodle or color combination will ignite my passion and set me on the fast track to making something truly beautiful. Maybe, just maybe, staying in the game will be better than taking a complete vacation from it. It’s too early to tell if my plan is working, but if your job is making art it seems important to be making art for at least part of every day. Some of it will be boring and some of it will be bad, but I will still be learning something about technique no matter how the pieces turn out in the end. It’s a process. I’m in a stage. I’m working through it and trying to be productive. Life is an adventure even when it doesn’t seem like it is. I’m excited to have the time and space to wait for the next creative surge. Right now I think I’ll just enjoy the peace and quiet and paint and glue my way back to enthusiastically expressing myself. I just need some patience and maybe another snack.