Tuesday, April 5, 2011

My Middle Child, and Artist's Block

My Middle Child
10" x 14"

My sweet boy. My middle child.

 As different as my children are from one another they all have one thing in common, gigantically pure hearts. But of the three, this boy, has something else too. He has such a huge light inside that he's always, always willing to share with others. He has an almost infinite capacity to love and accept others, even those who are different. Sometimes drastically so.

And, he's always SO happy. Even when he's in trouble .

Which reminds me of something else that he has. An almost infinite capacity for mischief. Maybe that's to help balance out all that pure, tenderhearted sweetness.

I have to confess that during my two months away from the computer I did not do as much painting as I usually do. At first I told myself I was taking a well deserved break, that I'd get right back to painting later that night, or the next day, or the next day, or the next day.

But I didn't.

Staying away from painting slowly became a habit. One that I'm still working to break.

This painting was a struggle. And I can't really say why, it's a simple, straightforward pose, with beautiful lighting featuring one of my three favorite subjects.


I don't get it.

Ok, that's not entirely true. I know that it has something to do (probably a lot more than something) with my lack of painting time. My brushes started to feel like foreign objects in my hand, not the well known companions they had come to be.

 And even when I did make myself sit down and paint I found myself just sitting there. Staring off into space, cleaning my palette, organizing my brushes, anything but painting. 

It was frustrating. Still is.

When my computer crashed I was teetering on the edge of something that I'm not sure what to call. I was feeling massively burned out and exhausted with painting. It had become a chore, not a passion. And I hated that.

But lately, I'm starting to feel differently. I set the watercolors and paintbrushes aside and pulled out my colored pencils (which for some reason always seem to make me feel better). I'm working on a piece that I've set aside for months, and so far so good.

I'll let you know how it goes. Don't you be worried about me. I'm not giving up. I know this will pass because I ain't no quitter. 

Ever felt like this before? What do you to break through the block?


  1. Your little guy is beautiful, Crystal. When I feel that way, and trust me I do quite often because of my working nights and getting my internal clock all messed up, I start watching artists movies like "Artemesia", "Girl with the Pearl Earring", "Georgia O'Keeffee", "Pollock" and the latest "Serefina." You've got to see "Serefina." Then I look at all your blogs and those of the other wonderful watercolorists like Carrie Waller and I drool. Then I look up at my bulletin board with so many inspiring photos just waiting for me to pick one. I thumb through a magazine or two and voila' I get an idea from one of those places and start in on it. Oh, most of the time I have to make a second attempt at it like with my Koi I started and now am on my second try because I messed up. But, eventually I feel back in the swing of things and you will too. Now, which movie do we watch first?

  2. My sister, Denise, also a middle child, is very much like your middle son. As for the painting, I couldn't touch it for over a month recently, during and after a bout with a bad flu. Gradually I have come back to it, but did not force myself. Good luck, Crystal!!!

  3. What a beautiful painting of your middle son! His light shines even in the painting. You definitely captured his spirit, as only a mom can do! Keep painting, your work is awesome! :-)

  4. WOW.. That is so soft, sunny and beautiful..

    The secret to happiness is to accept.. To be at peace with everything.. I guess he understands that..

  5. Love the push pull of warm face and cool white shirt and background!
    Picking up the pencil or paint brush and just slogging thru it with a small piece helps me:) and lots of looking -in art books or blogs to get inspired !

  6. Crystal, what a beautiful boy! Of course if your boys are like mine I'd be in trouble for saying beautiful instead of handsome:) This is really a stunning portrait. You should enter into the Artists Mag Comp, deadline is April 15th and they have a portrait category.

    I think we've all been blocked and frustrated with ourselves for not painting. I spent the better part of the weekend organizing my art stuff because I'm intimidated to start my next project. And I don't even want to tell you the internal struggle I had to get brush to paper to complete my last 6x6, really took me a week to finish:( I think the best thing is to not beat of selves up. I'm a list maker and I find that I complete more stuff when it's on my list. I think anyone that had taken a couple of much needed months off would feel the same way you are. Just hard to get back in the saddle again!!:)

  7. Crystal-
    Love this new painting, it just glows! As for burn out- just paint when the mood strikes! It will work itself out. I think it happens to all of us for whatever reason. Sometimes, other things just take priority for a while.

  8. Your little one is so sweet! I guess with his "mischief" it all balances out doesn't it! What a doll!! I can't wait to see the new work. I do the same thing and maybe this change with the pencils will fire you up again!

  9. What a lovely boy he is!Happiness shines in his eyes..and a totally awesome portrait.I think you just have to start, everything else will fall into its place.
    Wish you luck, waiting to see more of your beautiful work.

  10. What a beautiful boy! I love his portrait, and it is so nice to read more about this unique little person. I've certainly felt about writing what you're feeling about painting, and it's normal, I think. Yet, I often let negative thoughts in my head get in the way of my developing my talent. When I push past that resistance, I usually accomplish something worthwhile. And I wouldn't be too hard on yourself, Crystal. Being tired or stressed or overworked takes its toll on anyone. I'd say, do what you feel like doing on your projects, and look for some balance in life. Joy comes with that.

  11. Some times we just need a vacation. Some times we need to do something different. Some times our priorities change. Some times the reason we do things change. Some times our expectations change.
    You have a gift that will be with you your whole life. You can always come back to doing what you love.
    Follow your bliss.

  12. Another beautiful painting, Crystal! I tend to do the same thing that Carol does when I'm having a creative block: look at other artist's work that inspires me, watch art movies, look at the reference photos I've taken over the years or go out and take new ones. The morning light and the light right before sunset inspire me, too.

  13. Gorgeous painting, Crystal !

    Do just as you're doing, pick up a pencil, a pen, anything and just draw or doodle - and don't overthink it, or it will become a problem! *hugs*

  14. Crystal! You are AMAZING! Wow.. You inspire me.. Well done of your beautiful boy!

  15. WOW, what a outstanding piece of art. I also enjoyed reading your blog.
    thank you for sharing it.

  16. Whenever I admire your artwork remain open mouth!

  17. No way does this work look as though you 'struggled'. The light is magnificent and his michievous but pure heart shines through.

  18. Ce portrait est vraiment une belle réussite, vous l'avez aussi bien peint que vous en parlez...
    Je comprends tout ce que vous ressentez... Il faut prendre le temps parfois et laisser mûrir en soi son ressenti qui un jour explosera sur votre toile.
    Tout comme une petite graine, laissez-la germer.
    Gros bisous

  19. Crystal, the painting is beautifully done and your sounds delightful, sweet and mischievous.

    I have no doubt your joy of painting will return in double force. It is good to hear that you are relaxing and working in colored pencil without pressure to paint.

  20. Firstly, if you found this painting difficult, it doesn't show - It's beautiful as always :0)
    I have been going through a similar thing recently myself - Not because I don't love painting and drawing, but because the course I am doing has been making me feel so moulded and stifled. I am constantly being told I need to paint in this style or that style ... What about my own style???
    I'm beginning to wonder if it's the right way to go for me because all the art I am happy with are things I have drawn from the heart and all the things I am really embarrased about (mainly hideous landscapes)are those paintings I have had to do for the course. I suppose I am not very good at translating someone elses idea from a course folder, on to paper!
    Anyway, I decided to take a couple of weeks off and have a think. Withing 24 hours I had drawn a couple of things, just for fun that I'm not only happy with but I REALLY enjoyed! I'd forgotten that feeling! Hmm... What to do...?

  21. sending you an email and support! just rest up, you're recharging.

  22. love what you had to share about this darling, sweet boy... my middle son was just like him. (and still is) very loving, and always so caring with others that were different from the rest. I remember such wonderful things he said and did while growing up. Your painting is amazing. the colors of the shadow area are gorgeous... beautiful portrait !!

  23. Beautiful painting Crystal. You're such an inspiration. O.k.!! leave your paintings..rest for awhile ...then begin again. You are incredibly talented.

  24. Wow! What a lovely portrait. IT brings out his loving forgiving nature so well.
    I do hit such patches very often. Its only rarely that I cant stay away from my brushes, and so when I do I try to make the most of it by painting as much as I can.

  25. There's a time and place for everything, an ebb and flow to all we do. If it's time for a shift in what you're doing, I wonder what will come of it - surely something good. :)

  26. Lovely painting, you make it look effortless every single time :)

    It's good to hear from you, I was wondering where were you hidding! blocks suck, but looks like you're in the right track: if it starts to feel like a burden just pick whatever makes it fun and play and rediscover the joy of painting, in your case colored pencils are bringing back the sandbox time, just rock them! HUZZAH!! (Oh how much I've missed your huzzahs heeheehee!)

  27. WOW! I love your work! You are quite talented! I Love how you capture the colors and light!


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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