Monday, July 19, 2010

Breaking Through, Motivational Monday #2

"A self respecting artist must not fold his hands on the pretext that he is not in the mood." Tchaikovsky     

     Sometimes I just don't feel like painting. Maybe it's because I've spent a good deal of time on a painting that turned out to be a disaster, maybe I've gotten some criticism that wasn't too constructive, or maybe I'm just afraid that I'll ruin the vision I have in my head for my next 'great' painting. I'm afraid that I won't live up to the expectations I have for myself.

      Or, maybe, I'm just plain burned out.

      Ever feel like that?

     I firmly believe that our success as artists comes from putting in the time, from doing the work, and from practicing. It's not all about feeling inspired. It's not all rainbows, glitter and kittens. It's work. It's feeling that satisfaction you can only get when you've worked at something that was hard for you. When you've shown yourself that you can do difficult things and, holy-rusted-metal-Batman, you can do a pretty great job of it too.

     Sometimes we need a break. We need to recharge and focus on other things in our life, and when we do that we see the results in our work. We feel fresh again and that freshness shows in every brushstroke of our paintings.

      But most of the time we just need to keep working and not wait around hoping that inspiration is just going to drop in our laps and all our troubles will be solved. Because I don't know about you, but it doesn't work for me like that, sometimes I wish it would, but it doesn't.

      When I feel stale, blah, like nothing is working out and I wonder why in the heck I thought I could call myself an artist anyway, I start a new painting. Sometimes I have to start about five before I feel that flow coming back, but it always does. And it's always because I went out and found something I wanted to paint and got started.

      Pretty soon the light breaks through the trees, I can tell success is just around the corner and I feel like I can call myself an artist again.

      "You don't get in the mood to create - it's discipline." Twyla Tharp

     So, tell me, what works for you? :)


  1. You are right. I wish inspiration would fall into my lap. When I started writing today I felt rusty because I have not practiced. I know I have to continue to practice and learn to not only get inspired but to become a better writer.

  2. I agree Crystal. As a writer, there are plenty of times when I'm just not in the mood to write and I'll avoid my computer entirely. However, when I've done what you suggest- just start- I can usually get something worthwhile done. Your work is absolutely beautiful. As motivation for finishing some pressing assignments today, I'll let myself look through your work as a reward. I can't wait!

  3. This is so true. I just wish I had more time to practice! It's a slow process but so, so worth it :o)

  4. Christine, that's how I've been feeling with my writing too! I think i may need to have a daily word count goal again or something. Or just enjoy the summer and worry about it when the kids are in school. yeah, maybe that's what I'll do :)But your writing is awesome, you don't need to fear :)

    Thank you very much Wendy! :) And you are exactly right about getting started and seeing you've done something worthwhile :) That usually happens doesn't it?

    Sandra, Oh time. That's always the missing ingredient isn't it? ;) You are doing great with your work, it's coming along beautifully!

  5. Hello Crystal,
    Ah, motivation..........that word that causes panic even among the most talented of artists, writers, etc. Along with inspiration, and trepidation, should be "tioned" by us all in favor of words like desire, crave, yearn, passion.
    The power of life and death is in the tongue (from the Bible, don't ask me where) which is mightier than the pen or sword. Speak words of "life" to yourself and trust you are doing exactly what you were meant to do today whether it meets your approval or not at the time. I'm glad you are here today and I get to call you friend.

  6. Thank you so much Carol, that is exactly what I needed to hear. "trust you are doing exactly what you were meant to do today whether it meets your approval or not." Very wise, thank you my good friend :)

  7. If I waited for inspiration I would hardly do anything. I am never sorry, though, when I make myself start working on a new piece, or continuing on a piece, or finishing a piece - that special feeling does return after about a half hour of messing about with the art supplies!

  8. Not every piece will turn out; sometimes it takes time and practice...just do it, paint it with happiness and fun...As for me, if i am without the passion for painting, i will not do it at all...otherwise, the result will be ruiened in everytime...
    I wish you have fantastic and creative days...
    with love,

  9. Karen, I one hundred percent agree with you! You nailed it :)

    Nureeya, thank you very much for the sweet comment, I feel like you do too :)

  10. You seem to have analyised the mind of yourself, me and ever other aspiring artist on the planet pretty well there Crystal!

    What works for me is to just get stuck in, especially when going to art classes on Tuesday evenings, when that is the time when I have to do it whether in the mood or not, and anyway, I've paid for the session, and I'm jolly well going to do it!

    But like most us I suspect, the best artwork is done in my mind when I'm at work, in bed or even watching tv. then when it comes to actually doing it on paper, canvass, whatever, it's very often a compromise, letdown or very occasionally, a masterpiece!

  11. Chuck Close said that "inspiration is for amateurs, the rest of us just work." ok, so i'm an amateur. i need inspiration and right now i'm flat out. we always think that what we do doesn't live up to what we were envisioning. maybe we just need to accept what we do do. it's nice to know we all go through this. it's scary to me and i guess it always will be. great post, thank you.


Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment they really do mean so much to me! Because not all bloggers have their email enabled so I can reply directly through email I will try to reply here in the comments. If I don't please forgive me, life must have been hectic that day! :)) Huzzah!!

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