Critics, colleagues & collectors alike have remarked that I create works FAST and am quite prolific (when I wannabe). I certainly don’t feel like either of those…Fast….or Furious. I guess it’s all relative. Reflecting back on my ability to be prolific – “they” may be right. In 2000, I actually created 48 paintings in a six month period that were all published and all sold out as soon as they were completed (with 2 little ones under 8). Last year, I finished 52 works in a one year period – with a full time job and three kids…however, I think both of those efforts just about killed me.) Not something I want to repeat, and I’m happy to say, I’ve ditched the full-time job in favour of the full-time studio.
The trick is…I don’t feel like I’m prolific or productive. I am afflicted with the dreaded BCS (Blank Canvas Syndrome) every single time I look at that big white space on the other end of my brush. Even worse, I have a nasty recurrent case of ABD (Artist’s Block Disease) that prevents me from even entering the studio.
“Baby, I Got Dah Blues….” :: Seasonal Upsy’s and Downsy’s
Like Buddy Guy says, “Damn Right I Got The Blues.” There is definitely a seasonal pattern. I’m usually quite productive from September – November. It tails off over Christmas and picks up again in mid-January – May. This might just be a pattern formed early in life by attending school. In fact, I’d bet on that.
There are also hiccups in the pattern, kinda like an ECG. Times when I’m searching for something to come…..there’s nothing. Zip. Nada. Zilch…. I am convinced that I’ll never paint another thing as long as I live. I convince myself I haven’t got a bone of originality in my body, and am the worst painting hack on the planet. Not quite a positive, healthy attitude towards my work, I must say. I think a lot about this. I know for a fact that many of my friends – other artists, musicians, screen-writers and creatives at the top of their game have the same thoughts.
We all have our excuses, diversions and remedies. Since we’re sharing…..here are mine:
My “Sad Excuses” – Ten Reasons Why I Can’t Paint
- I’m worried about my personal finances, a family situation or the overwhelming Meaning of Life and How To Create World Peace.
- I’m feeling sick.
- I have too many ideas.
- I don’t have enough ideas.
- I just want to watch a movie.
- I don’t think I’m good enough.
- I’m worried if the painting will “sell”.
- I didn’t sleep well the night before.
- There are too many things going on in the household.
- The project I’m thinking of seems too big and unmanageable.
My 8 Diversionary Tactics for Avoiding The Studio::
- I play on Facebook, Twitter or the web or write a blog article. (like now)
- I watch a movie or just listen to some music on the floor with my yoga roll.
- I go for a nap.
- I cook.
- I go grocery shopping.
- I email friends.
- I do laundry.
- I clean my house.
My 8 Steps To Drive The Creative Muses To My Studio::
- I have a clean house.
- I have the laundry done.
- I connect with friends.
- I’ve got the grocery shopping done.
- I’ve got some great meals ready for the family.
- I’m well rested.
- I’m inspired by a book, a movie or music.
- I’m inspired & encouraged by folks on Twitter, Facebook or my blog.
Notice the pattern here? I sure do, and my family hates it when I get into that groove where I “clean house”. I recognize now that I do it so I can have a clean slate to be creative. Things just don’t come to me when the house is a mess, and I’ve got outstanding things that need to be “in their place”.
It’s really quite simple. To be creative and prolific, I need to:
“Get rid of the things I don’t love to make room for the things that I do love.”
And what I do love…..is being creative in a space that allows me to do that.