Tuesday, April 27, 2010

When the creative spark is MIA - then what?



I run hot and cold as an artist. I'll have a spurt of creativity, lasting a few days to a couple weeks, then I'll hit a slump where I'm just not motivated to create anything. I had a terrific run in February, where I completed a couple large paintings, but now I'm in the doldrums again.

I don't like the down times in my creative life, but it is a cycle, just like so much else in nature. I guess I can't keep that creative "fever pitch" sustained all the time. And, just maybe, I need the down times to recharge and get ideas for the next artistic outburst. Life with a family is like a long hike - lots of banal everyday distractions mixed with the wonder of life and the chaos of living.

This past week I made myself sit down and do some prep work for some small paintings - collecting ideas from my gardening books for the cottage paintings I want to try to do, and doing some preliminary background work on the canvas boards. I also started one abstract, in moody bold reds and oranges. The abstract is almost done, I just need to sit down and focus on it for an hour or so to finish it. I did start a cottage painting, and the jury is still out on whether or not I like it. I've never done anything like it before. Still, I know myself: sometimes I have to just make myself start a project or two, and the feelings will eventually catch up with the discipline of work to ignite something more in the process. Isn't life like that anyhow? Sometimes, "Time to make the donuts," will morph into, "Wouldn't it be great to bake a maple-pecan cheesecake, and while I'm at it, a batch of double chocolate fudge walnut brownies, and a deep dish apple pie?"