One of my absolute favourite artist quotes:
"Inspiration is for amateurs - the rest of us just show up and get to work" ~ Chuck Close
It's one thing to say, especially for Chuck Close, come on! But as another artist friend of mine says, some days it feels like "I'm just pushing paint around". How to stay motivated and keep creating when you're in such a lull?
I'd say that most artists have experienced these dark periods, where everything you throw at the canvas looks wrong and those negative voices are at their loudest. How do you get through it? For me, it has always been to just keep going... Sometimes I'll change it up by getting into a really good book on tape, or a new podcast. Other times I'll need to actually get out of my space, walk around and open myself up to the world again. Being an artist can be quite isolating, especially for me with my closed off, hermit tendencies. It's really necessary to get out, talk to other artists, see other work, read, sketch, photograph. Find another way to bring yourself back to your light. Photography for me has always been my form of sketching. When in doubt, I dust off my old SLR and get out documenting anything that has any remnant of what brings me to paint. And then, bonus, I have tons of new source material for when I do get back to the canvas! That's usually what works for me, but I'm curious to know what helps other creatives?
The reason I chose to write about this is not because I am going through it right now, but because I just went through it for years and now suddenly it's gone. I know it's more complex than that and there were so many other elements at play, but coming out on the other side and having that drive again has found in me a new person. I am so much happier with all that life throws at me now because I have a sense of purpose, a newly discovered sense of self. I am so happy to have come through that, but I would like to understand it more - never to return! Or at least not as deep into it as I was. Maybe it's necessary to have quiet times in your creative process. Just like sleep and meditation. So long as we find our way to the surface again.
So I keep painting even if I am too tired or the house is a disaster, I keep painting. Eventually something great will come from it all. I am a huge believer in happy accidents, as so much of what I do has come out of these unintentional fortunate misfortunes.