Sunday, January 25, 2009

Slumps and Solutions

I've been in a slump. Nothing I have painted the last couple of weeks has gotten me excited, and I've thrown out more half-completed work than usual. It's the weather, grey and close enough to zero to hurt; it's an up-coming exhibit that I set the bar a bit too high for; it's the fact that there's no snack food in the house; did I mention the weather? I'm fairly certain I'm one of those folks who should wear a full-spectrum-light hat around from October to May.

I'm working my way out of this little Gulch of Gloom by giving myself a break. Rather than try to work through it by, well, working through it, I'm caving in.
I think it's working.

I rested the last two days, which means I slept late and took naps . I ate a handfull of chocolate chips without feeling the least bit guilty. (Well, actually two handsfull.) Went out to eat with friends and did not order off the healthy menu.

When I did enter the Studio of Sadness I did so only to straighten up from the last week. There's nothing on my easel, which means there's nothing to feel inadequate about. The pile of reference photos and scraps of important papers have been returned to their respective folders or trash bins. The oil paints and pastel sticks have been put back into their storage space and those paintings that never made it out of their infancy have been wiped clean and put away for another day. A clean studio means a clean slate. (Is there a pun in there?)

While I was there digging out from a couple of weeks of frustration, I noticed hanging on the back of my studio door my vision board, created months ago. It was like seeing an old friend unexpectedly at the grocery store. As I revisited the images and thought about the reasons for their selection I felt the weight of my frustrations slip from my shoulders. My vision board reflected images of delight and fun, acceptance and letting go of junk (like slumps). It reflected my journey, the part already taken and the steps yet to be made. And this smiling woman in all kinds of mis-matched fabrics that remind me that it's okay to be who I am.
In the immortal words of Scarlett O'Hara, "Tummarah is unuthah day."
How do you work yourself out of a slump?

top image 5x7 oil, Grey Spring
middle image 20x20 mixed media
bottom image 5x7 oil, Sunlit Trees


Nancy and the fatties said...

Hi Patty, *waving paws* what a great post! I love the half peach on your vision board and can't help but wonder about that one. You realize at your level, your failed paintings would be triumphs for most of us?
I get through slumps by forcing myself to do prep work when I'm not painting. And the sheer drudgery of the office day job, when I'd rather be home painting, sure does help get my hiney into the studio when I'm home.
You're just resting and building up mojo right now for your next masterpiece. Even the muses need a nap once in a while. ;)

Karine said...

I second what Nancy says about "your failed paintings would be triumphs for most of us". Be kind to yourself. I think cleaning out the studio is a great idea.

To get myself out of a slump, I also take a break, but then I make an effort to "play" with art. Work in a different medium, and do something just for me. That usually helps!

I am confident you will recover, but if you need a warm up, you DO have a friend in Southern California! (of course it was only 33 degrees when I woke up this am. But the sun is shining!)

Sarah said...

Gosh, it's a amazing how we artist's can relate to one another! Taking a break is a great idea!
I agree completely with Nancy and Karine. As Karine said,"play" with art and work in a different medium, and do something just for me." I think that's what's so great about a painting a day. It is just for me! I have forgotten what others will think or say, and I've done what I love to do...PAINT!!!
I love,love,love to paint!!!!!!! Even when they don't turn out exact,I see things I need to work on. I learn something new everytime I do a new painting a day.
Once you are through with your show I believe you will enjoy your 100x100 with Mavis. Cut loose,do it only for you and you will enjoy every stroke of luxurious paint.
I'm so thankful to have such gifted, wonderful artist's/friends like you to help me through (-:

Patricia said...

Wow, thanks friends! It's great to know you're out there cheering me on.
Hugs to you all!