Things I Learned as an Oil Painter: Thing #21

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OK I'm back - bet you thought I was done...

An appropriate subject for thing #21:

Feel free to take a break for a while but make sure you get back on the horse before too long.

I'm in the midst of this right now - getting back into the rhythm of creating after a summer of doing "other stuff" (hey, I found Maine!).  I didn't completely drop the brush: I was involved in a couple of exhibitions, I gave my first ever demo and I had a commission to paint.  But somehow I got out of the habit of stepping up to the easel and I recently found myself making excuses for not doing what I love best.  Weird, eh?

Taking a break once in a while is an awesome thing to do.  I played in the ocean with my family and hiked a couple of Adirondack peaks with friends - really cleared my head. However, I don't think that artists are ever completely "on vacation" and that was true of me. Part of what makes us artists is the way we look at the world - whatever we're doing in it. A break from routine can help refresh, reinvigorate and even enhance that vision. Thanks to my trusty camera I now have a ton more source material to use...

Last night I consciously resisted the temptation of the couch and stepped up to the easel. I have a half-finished piece that's been a work-in-progress for longer than I'd care to mention. I methodically went though the prep work of setting up my area the way I like it.  I even threw some crazy jazz on the CD player to get me "in the mood" (Dave Holland Quintet, if anyone's interested).  I stared at my canvas for a while trying to figure out a plan and worrying about how it would turn out. Then my inner Yoda kicked in - "there is no try, only do". So I did. Before I knew it, I'd been lost in painting for a couple of hours and the worry had melted away. My painting still had a way to go, but I was excited about the next steps. It felt like the motor had been kick-started again and I was up and running.

It's the next day and I'm eager to get back in the studio. I know exactly what to tackle next and I have a much clearer vision of the final piece. It looks like I'm back on the horse.

So what's the "take-away" from this? What's that pithy piece of advice I can give.  Don't ask me, ask your inner Yoda.

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LauraHolArt's avatar
That is one thing that is interesting about watching people on here....it seems most people have tremendous bouts of creativity, and do many things in a row and then fizzle out for a while and then suddenly reappear and repeat. I am much the same. I find having a break and clearing my head helps me evaluate what I have just created in one of my busy spells and recharges my battery! I need to stop for a while to remember why I paint in the first place. Great advice :clap: 
maccski's avatar
Ha - you got me! I'm very guilty of using dA in bouts.  I guess I get wrapped up in my "offline life" (not a bad thing) and posting my stuff stops being a priority. Then all of a sudden i realize it's been months since I posted and I feel I have to make up for lost time...at least until all that offline stuff takes over my life again....
21stCenturyDamocles's avatar
i agree with every thing you said. i sort of had some time off this summer too i had to move to a new city 400 mil i was miserable the whole time. when you are a painter it is never far from our minds is it? i always see paintings every were i go this need we have to create it is ether a blessing or a curs some times a bit of both. 
maccski's avatar
You're right - for me the blessing is appreciating the beauty in the world no matter how mundane and the curse is not being physically able to do it all justice...