I stalled recently on my creative endeavours. Events in my personal life have been sapping my energy and resulting in a struggle to get myself into my studio. When I feel overwhelmed like this, my creativity is one of the first things to suffer.

I feel stirred to create when I see the posts of other artists I follow, yet somehow I struggle to then take the next step and actually go to my materials. I’m not sure if it’s fatigue, fear, being distracted energetically or all of the above, but it’s been 4 days since my last creative endeavours.

I met an artist friend recently for a coffee and we chatted art. What we’re up to, what we want to be doing, our fears, our dreams…. it’s scary sometimes to realise what a kindred spirit she is as we both arrive at a point in our lives with urges to pursue our art that are overtaking our other career choices. Our lives seem to be mirroring each other, we speak each other’s thoughts and raise the same challenges – and this is both incredibly supportive and at the same time a little spooky! Having not seen her for a couple of weeks we had a lot to catch up on, and it was cathartic to release my inner frustrations and celebrate my victories with someone who so totally understands what I’m feeling, and after nearly 2 hours I felt so energised by our time together that I drove home planning the rest of the day in my studio.

This is something I do often, plan to paint, but somewhere along the course of the day I talk myself out of it. I’m tired and need to rest, my injured wrists and elbows are playing up (an unfortunate hangover from 2 years of boxing out the frustration of a difficult divorce!!), or I’ve left it too late and the good natural light has grown too dim. If there’s an excuse, I’ll find it.

I’m starting to learn ways I can overcome this though, with the help of one of my accountability groups. I’ve recently been encouraged to do Facebook lives more often so  I jumped in and outlined what I was going to do that afternoon – and that I would post pictures of the results later. Once that was out there I had to follow through on it, but I could already feel the resistance creeping in. So how was I going to approach this, in a way that would keep the pressure to a minimum and hold my energy?

As I tend to get impatient with my painting and work back into a piece before it’s dried enough, I decided that I would get four panels on the go. I wanted to keep to a simple palette of three colours, black and white, and only do one pass on each board before swapping it for the next. This way I can keep things moving, keep the colours in the series consistent and not be tied down to one panel for experimenting.

This worked brilliantly for me! With four panels on the go, each time I came back to one it was dry enough to work into further, with no muddiness. And because there was no muddiness there was no loss of colour and value…. it was actually flowing easily and what I ended up with were four panels that already looked like a body of work, even at that early stage.

As I commit more and more to living as an artist I’m having to figure out how to address the resistance and fear such a commitment raises in me. I knew this would be a scary venture, it’s been so long since I was last in my creative flow that I’ve forgotten how to motivate myself and keep the focus. Experiences like today are all part of that learning what helps me work best, how to keep myself on track and taking action.

I know at some point it will come so naturally to me that I’ll look back on this time and wonder why I found it so hard, but right now I understand that it’s another change in my life after a period of some very significant events that have created huge shifts within me. And as the saying goes, this too shall pass. The fear, resistance and impatience will no doubt always be there, by my side as I push onwards, but over time they I’ll become comfortable with them and use them to challenge myself and my art. They’ll no longer be what holds me back and stops me creating art, but will empower me to take bold steps forwards, connect deeply with who I truly am and be the artist I was born to be.

If you like what I do, please support me!

© Natalie Day 2018

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