What could be stopping me? Is it the piles of snow to shovel and play in? Is it the cold? No, I have been thinking too much. I started reading advice on the internet about "being the right artist", "creating a consistent body of work", and more. While it's great advice and good reads I have gotten so caught up in analyzing myself and my work, it actually made the last two weeks the least productive weeks. While these breaks of thoughts are healthly to stop and question one's work, I have found myself going too far to questions like "who am I painting for" and "am i consistent enough". And then I find myself not painting or motivated anymore.
Well an entire weekend of not doing laundry, vacuuming, grocery shopping, nor painting has cured all those dark thoughts. What did I do? I surrounded myself with great friends. Spent the whole day on Saturday eating and enjoying a play, which included great laughter. Then continued this productive time on Sunday with yoga, skiing, and eating with more great friends.
What did I learn? That sometimes when one is stuck thinking, not only is being active great, but finding laughter and play. Play is so important and that's just what I did, made snow angels, jumped in the deep snow like a whale, laughed so my mouth hurt, and thought about nothing but the moment.
Today I got out of work early because there is a snow storm brewing and was motivated to jump into my studio. Luckily my lovely husband was so motivated to shovel the 15" of snow we got that he encouraged me to go (he's the best) paint.
I didn't paint today, but I prepped. I prepped a whole bunch of canvas pieces I found in a bin I had forgotten about. I felt like I was painting the buckets of snow that have been falling the last few weeks. The gesso flying everywhere and my hands filled with paint. I had so much fun being in the white paint.
I remember one of my first painting teachers was so adament that when you paint a canvas you should first paint it with vertical strokes and then after it dries paint it with horizontal strokes. There was one student that didn't do that and he used her as an example of what could go wrong. Then she said she purposely likes to paint irregular because it creates lines in her work.
At first I prepped my canvas as this instructor had told me (didn't want to rock the boat after all), but then there was a moment in my life where I realized this was not freeing and the reason I love to paint is the freedom I feel with the paint. So why start a painting with a tense energy? I got so rebellious with creating texture with my gesso that one day I actually dragged three canvas's across the sand at the beach.
Well now I just allow the paint to fly and my hands to be coated with gesso, because that is how I can play. So I encourage you to find time to play, whether in your art, the outdoors, dancing like no ones watching, and so on.