Slowing Down

As artists, we must learn to be self nourishing. We must become alert enough to consciously replenish our creative resources, as we draw on them.                                                                          Julia Cameron "The Artists Way" page 21

artists-way

In the spring I usually feel an abundance of new creative energy. In 2019, I had so much energy I made more than one art quilt a month. This year my creative energy is at a low. Perhaps it was the pandemic or the lack of exhibitions that has me in a creative slump. It might be that I am now dedicating more time to creating online courses and sharing consistently on social media.

I still have a creative ritual. I do some reading and write in my journal. Everyday I spend a good portion of my morning working in my sketchbook. I post these sketches in stories on Facebook and Instagram. I try to respond during the day to comments from my community. But there is another explanation for a lull in making large work: I had failed to replenish my creative resources.

 


I looked at my production from last few years and felt that my creative well was running dry. I needed to address the issue.


There are many online resources outlining systems for boosting creativity. Suggestions like taking a walk, eating better, finding resources, collaborating with others, and setting specific goals were common in addressing a lack of creative energy. Some lists, like this one; were more general. 

Commit Yourself to Creativity.

Become an Expert.

Reward Your Curiosity

Take Risks. 

Build Your Confidence. 

Make Time for Creativity.

Overcome a Negative Attitude.

Fight Fear of Failure.

Although these sound like great ideas my approach was to listen to my inner artist and  allow myself to slow down until  my energy returned. There is no point to working simply to continue producing. It's a quantity vs. quality dilemma.  I want to make work that is worthy of my efforts, is inspiring, takes me to a new level of artistic expression, and builds on previous work. In order to make this kind of work, I needed to fill that creative well up again. 

I have my own list to of interventions until I get back on track:

  • Read: I have started to read more books about art and artists. 
  • Write: Each day I am going to write more in my journal. 
  • New Skills: Using an app called Splice I am going to post more videos to YouTube. 
  • Physical Activity: This morning an Introduction to Tai Chi class came to my attention as an option. 
  • Create Small Scale: I have been working in a sketchbook and going out to paint occasionally
  • Rest & Relax: Everyday I do one thing in my studio. I do not have any looming deadlines. I will be taking a short trip with a visit to a spa, lunch with friends, and a visit with one of my kids

Although I am slow I have not completely stopped working. The current project on my design wall is an picture of red tug boats heading out of a harbor from my pre-pandemic trip to the Baltics.  It will  be hanging next to another quilt in of boats in my house. I have several projects already printed by Spoonflower and ready to be painted. One of them was inspired by a sketchbook drawing but none of these projects are for a specific exhibition. I am not feeling any pressure to get them done by a specific date. 

Slowing down my production will reap rewards down the road. In the near term I will be working on other projects. My next  course on creating vintage portraits is in the works .I have been making my daily Art Yoga creations (see the selection above)  into little books and postcards just for fun. Using Splice my YouTube Channel will have more fun offerings that are about my work, workspace, and process.

 

If you are feeling drained, do yourself a favor. See this as an opportunity to do little things, take a break from pressure, and recharge.

Until the next month...

Margaret