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Beating the slump... when you are an artist

I don't know who needs to hear this, but, if you are an artist, you have been here. It is tough to be in a bit of a slump when it comes to your art.

I am a painter, and I’ve been there. There is one thing I know for certain: Not painting reinforces not painting. Just like not exercising reinforces not exercising. In your artist mind, you wonder, "If I pick up the brush, will things go wrong and will I feel worse?" This is so normal. We fear further discouragement.

The good news is, there is a corollary truth: Doing art reinforces doing art.

Again, I return to the exercise analogy and the pain of going to the gym. It's only a pain when you're not doing it and you are beating yourself up about it. Once you get to the gym, the endorphins kick in and you are congratulating yourself on fitting the workout into your schedule.

Same with art. It is that first step that can be the hardest of all to take, but, if you do, when you do, you are betting on the chance that you feel better. Most likely you will.

If you find yourself in a bit of a slump and you haven't painted (or done your favorite art) in a while, listen to the quiet voice inside that is saying, "Remember me? I am an artist." Push yourself to lay out your supplies and become reacquainted with them. Find a photo to draw inspiration from and attempt to render it. Or, be spontaneous and go crazy with mark-making. Find the inner Kindergartner in you and don't focus on outcomes. Just play! Play with color, or shapes, or lines. If that is not appealing then attempt to copy someone else’s work as a technical exercise to learn from the process knowing you cannot show that work to anyone else as your own. If it's a fail, so what?

All of these actions will get you going and reconnect you with a part of yourself that is longing to breathe. What are you waiting for? Here's a scribble of mine...



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