Drought

1/07/2010 05:24:00 AM Posted In Edit This 12 Comments »
This morning I was thumbing through last year's journal and came upon this page.  I had a similar period of "nothingness" last year, but it wasn't as severe as this one has been.  When it was over, I did this simple journal page that seemed to express my relief at finally reaching the end of it.  With this most recent episode I haven't yet reached the feeling that it's over - no elation, no real relief.  I don't trust that I'm out of the woods yet.

I've been doing a lot of thinking about all of this trying to figure out exactly what it is that happens  when I seem to just fall off a cliff.   All of the reading I've done over the years about writer's block, artists block, etc say the same thing:  you just have to do it (write, make art, compose - whatever It is), every single day.  The advice is not to worry about the quality of what it is you do, just do it.  It doesn't matter if you end up with only one sentence, one line, one mark on the paper (or not a single one) that you like, as long as you do it every day. I  once read that ballet dancers have to practice every single day no matter what, or their muscles lose tone and elasticity in just one day! I've become convinced that there is a parallel to that in art.   So, now I'm coming  to believe that these periods are caused by my self-indulgence, lack of self discipline, and the erroneous position that somehow it's not my fault - that it's caused by some mysterious force that's beyond my control. 

So, with that in mind, I'm planning on doing one thing every single day - even if it's just a 5 minute sketch of something.  I'm going to try not to care if I like it or not, if I think it has any merit - in other words, I'm going to try to keep my ego out of it and instead focus on feeling good about just having done it.  Baby steps, baby steps ..... then, just maybe, I'll feel like this again:




P.S.  For those of you who saw the original of this post, you no doubt noticed I spelled "Drought" as "Draught".  My pal Vicki wanted to know if it was a Freudian slip and that what I really needed was a beer .... hmmm .... could be .... except I don't like beer.  Now wine, that's a whole different matter!  



12 comments:

Vicki Holdwick said...

Nancy,

I love that frog!

Good for you and your resolve.

I can't wait to see what you do because you never fail to impress me.

xoxo

freebird said...

What a wonderful drawing! I think the practicing everyday but letting go of how well you are working is a good answer for moving ahead. How many kids question their work? They just do it. And until someone instills the critic in them and starts up the judgement routine, they keep doing art. Once the judging comes in most of them quit. So if you love art, keep doing and the heck with judging it. Just set each piece aside and start a new one. Try getting out some kids crayons perhaps and play for a day. Just make marks playing with the colors without any picture intended. If it turns into a picture fine. If not fine! If it happens at the same time of the year, the weather may be to blame and not just the shorter days. Highs and lows in the weather affect us and at different times of year there will be more or less of one of them. Like you say though, this would be your time to just practice and your feel good time would be the time to push for getting the extra as if you were at a ballet recital.

Janet Ghio said...

That little frog is just so happy!! I love it!

An Evolving Artist @ Swallowcliffs.blogspot.com/ said...

I love the saying. I too am thinking the drought is over. There are many kinds of drought I guess. Happy little painting this is!

curiouscrow said...

I'm a believer in the need for breaks occasionally. I don't think they do too much harm, in fact for me they can be good- but really it's a matter of working out what is right for you - I hope your plan works well and is the right way for you :)

Dan Kent said...

Hang in there Nancy! You may remember some time ago there was an EDM post on artist's block, and many responses - I printed it out (knowing I would need it some day) and put it in a file. So I've pulled it out for you.. Paraphrasing: (1) Quit pressuring yourself to be the artist you think is inside - instead be free, doodle, allow it to be fun and relaxing. (2) Step away a bit, take a walk or a break, so that you are refreshed when you start - even creative people need a break! (3) Don't be afraid to fail: Thomas Edison said "I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won't work." (4) Take a step back and do something non-creative - you can find inspiration from the strangest things. (5) Switch your medium for a change to shake things up and still be creative. (6) Remember that "Despair is the path of least resistance." - focus instead on the positive (like your beautiful dancing frog!)

There you go. Nobody better than EDM'ers. And thank you so much for the kindness that you have shown me.

Claire M said...

I can totally relate to the feeling of being in somewhat of an art 'slump'. I've sort of been on 'pause' myself lately. But... I hope to change that tonight....

raena said...

When I read that you went through this at the same time last year, it made me think winter blues. I know I always think I'll do more in the winter when there is nothing else to do, but then the time comes, and because there isn't anything exciting happening, my creativity goes to sleep. Maybe the harsher winter is the reason for the longer drought. I've faith you'll come through shining on the other side! And, that frog is amazing! How did you get the patterns?

Alissa said...

What a happy whimsical frog! Happy doodling for the year. I hope this means your motivation is back

Phyllis said...

Such a vital expression of JOY... all caps intended. I think your challenge is in and you've set the bar for expressing JOY. hmmmmmmmm. :)

Sandra said...

Think that your comments apply to many of us. Just remember your frog. He does express joy!

Possum Patty said...

Happy, happy. Joy, joy. Good for you.