Monday, November 9, 2009

Painter's Funk

I hate to admit it, but I've been in kind of a painter's funk lately. I guess that's similar to writer's block but, whatever it is, it's not fun!

Actually, I think it may be due to the fact that I feel a little overwhelmed these days. So much going on and so little time it seems. I actually have a stack of photo references that I really want to paint but I look at them and then put them away again. I can't even decide what medium I want to use for them!

I'm working on the cutest commission too and even though the dog inspires me and I really want to paint it, I start then end up wiping off what I've done. I've gotten a ways into it in both watercolor and pastel then seem to hit a brick wall and end up just throwing down the brush/pastel in frustration! This is my last commission before Christmas too and I really need to get it done and in the mail before the holiday rush.

So, how do we get past this? I know that I would just let it naturally run its course at any other time but this commission has to be done soon and I need to snap out of it like today! However, it seems that if I try to force it, I just mess up and end up spending more time and effort on any painting I'm not in the mood to do.

On the other hand, if I feel that I still have time, I'll put it off until I absolutely have to do it and I may still not be in the mood. Grrrrr!

So,if you have them, how do you handle these times of artistic funk?


sue said...

Well, as you know Jan, I don't have an answer either. My way of dealing with 'artists block' is to bury my head in the sand, or at least get sidetracked looking at other artists' sites or seeking out cute animal/wildlife pictures.

I work better when adrenalin kicks in and I have a tight deadline to meet ... give me too much time and I usually spoil the piece by overworking it or making too many changes :o)

Hope your motivation returns soon.

Teresa Mallen said...

Well I must confess I don't ever get painter's funk (I can get into a funk over the business stuff though!). I would suggest a time-out doing something you find engaging. I think the trick is to get absorbed in doing something so you can come back to your work with a fresh perspective.

Like Sue said, I hope your motivation returns soon!

Teresa said...

You might want to try Harley Brown's method for getting started when you don't want to (from his EXCELLENT book: Eternal Truths for Every Artist).

This is not verbatim (been a while since I read it) but the gist of it is this: You're feeling that you don't want to do art today, but you know you need to. What you're going to do is "trick" yourself. You decide you'll go in to your studio and paint/draw whatever for ONLY 10 MINUTES. Takes the pressure off. You can do 10 minutes. It doesn't even have to be good art.... just spend 10 minutes doing something and you've met your requirement. What usually happens (according to Brown) is that when you go in there with that attitude of no pressure, no problem, once you get started you find yourself getting into the groove and the creative juices start to flow.... and you end up staying longer than 10 minutes.... you "tricked" yourself!

I tried it and it generally works for me!

Jan said...

Thanks for the responses, everyone. Sue, most times I'm like you and prefer a tight deadline as it gives me less time to agonize!

Teresa M., how fortunate you are to be motivated all the time! Well, I think I'm actually motivated because I really want to paint, but guess it's more that the ooomph to accomplish anything is gone.

Teresa, that sounds like good advice and I have used a version of it in the past. I would make myself go start to paint but didn't set a time limit. I think the time limit may be the secret as before, I'd get started then put down my brush/pastel almost as soon as I started. I'll try it with a time limit but must say that I'm feeling more up to it today anyway. It's nasty outside from hurricane Ida remnants and I put a daylight bulb in my studio lamp which helps a lot!

Will update everything soon.

readingsully2 said...

They do indeed happen. It happens to me a lot. I think you can run out of can use it up....but usually if I don't push myself, it will raise its head again.

I think all of us have moods too...up and down is a natural cycle.

HOpe you pull out of it soon. :)