Sticky Situations

Have you ever been plagued by being stuck, unable to move forward? Desperately wanting to run towards your dream but, somehow, unable to move. A ball and chain around your ankle perhaps.

(I keep wanting to move Mickey’s apparatus closer to the wall!)

There’s lots of advice (other than silly gifs) on the web to “assist” you in this quest! I’ve always believed that it’s really only me that can find a way around my ruts. But it’s very frustrated when you get stuck again and again and end up feeling like there’s a major fault somewhere that needs fixing.

“Just do it” they say. Yeah, right! Like it’s that easy! There are any number of “solutions” out there, none of which have worked very well so far.

There are so many factors that can contribute to these frustrating times that you have to be very lucky to find the right solutions. Our lives are so variable and different and our backgrounds just as much so. Surely “just do it” is an oversimplification. Does it come from people who miraculously don’t seem to have these problems?

Yet, at the same time it seems to be one of the keys because no matter what tiny thing you start with, it’s likely to make you feel good about what you’ve done and it might lead to more action, at least in the short term. Just don’t “go big” too soon.

It worked today. I chose the mindless studio job of gessoing paper and got into the swing of it. The impetus led to gessoing over six old painting canvases, providing some inspiring textures to work with.

Recently, I watched a couple of videos about this problem and creativity in general.

One of them stated that you can’t keep going with self motivation alone. It later went on to say, about one of the proposed steps, that, you won’t feel like doing it, but you just have to! Wouldn’t that take motivation? Mmmm?

The same video suggested that action changes your mood. Yes, I would agree with this. Taking action means you can cross something off your list. Or, you’ve started and it’s most likely going to be easier to keep the momentum going. You might now be excited and have completed or moved closer to completing something.

(It worked with getting these cards ready for an exhibition. Small images were needed and I found a few so I kept going.)

The other video was looking at Leonardo da Vinci’s ideas and habits around creativity. The ideas, while seemingly simple, point again to motivation plus, interestingly, consistency in habits. Something that can seem difficult to maintain.

The stand out item here for me was keeping a notebook and consistently using it for various things that were suggested.

(I did make a list of items to get ready for the exhibition and it has helped keep me on track.  These A5 size images are now ready to mat up.)

So, to get moving ….. plan something vaguely motivational, however small, to get you started, take some action, write about and record it, make more plans in your notebook and …. back to being motivated! Leonardo would be proud! Together, they all lead to action and hopefully the development of habits.

But what about the inevitable obstacle? Internal, external, emotional, physical and mental obstacles, out of our control or not. In my case, this puts me back to square one! The first video suggested planning for these obstacles.

But how?! Probably, the stronger, more long lived, the habit and the greater the importance we attach to it, the easier it will be to overcome obstacles?

This dreadful thing or one of its cleaning cousins can be constant obstacles for most of us!

For example, with respect to the “obstacle” above, I suspect most of us have been conditioned to feel better about our art time if we diligently put in some time using it, or a cousin, before starting our art! Only if it’s needed of course!

Obstacles come in a wide range of types and it seems complicated. But really it isn’t, once you have a good think, you can try to brush aside the unhelpful thoughts and alter unhelpful habits! You have to try, then try some more and more again, because it doesn’t seem to be consistent or predictable and circumstances change. Habits take a while to change as well. Some sort of reliable method is needed and it probably needs to be your own. Not that of an internet guru, who when it all boils down to it, is just like us, but they’ve found their own way and want to spread the good word!

My advice. Find your own way folks. I’m still looking!!

I like to remember these wise words that are generally attributed to Einstein:

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”

Here’s to momentum and bliss in art!

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What’s Your Motivation?

Or, I could ask “What’s your poison?” because painting and art in general gets into your system and insidiously affects all you think and do. Motivation for most artists is so strong that at times nothing else matters, except perhaps a fire in the studio.

What’s my motivation?

Getting awards and selling a couple of pieces has prompted me to think a little more rationally and less emotionally about why I paint.

Emotion in the how is what we want folks. But, the wrong emotions taking over the why can lead you down many paths that won’t necessarily be good for your art or you.

(Getting motivated by doing collage sketches at the Lady Franklin Gallery!)

The “please buy my art” path will most likely be the undoing of some of the enjoyment in making your art. I’ve experienced this first hand and believe me, it’s soul destroying. I think I have partially let the need to sell go. Sales here and there are certainly great, but that’s a byproduct of painting and exhibiting, not a major reason for doing it.

There’s also the “Why didn’t I/when will I win?” mindset. This whole scene is quite fickle. Wondering whether you might win an award is counter productive. It stops you making art in a relaxed way. You tend to adjust what you think or do to suit judging at the expense of your own preferences. And, funnily enough it can detract from the art you create.

Judging awards is really down to the judges and is difficult to predict. Even if you have three judges, they are all going to have differing opinions about the work being judged. I know from experience that there are always other works as good as the winners, but for some reason, mostly unknown to the artists, a particular piece is chosen. Some years ago, a judge told me I won an award mainly because I had collage in my graphite drawing!

As for my personal motivation, I could ramble on with some arty garb, but I just want to paint, learn and improve my art. For me, the need to be creative, to paint or draw, comes before the subject, medium and techniques. My art (process and product) is, first and foremost, for me! 

With that in mind, these two paintings are the newest additions to the catalogue of art I have available. They’re two works from a small series where I recall really relaxing into painting and, as they say, “just doing it”!

Curvy” 20cm wide x 20cm high – To find out more on Bluethumb click here
“Orbit – 20cm wide x 20cm high – To find out more on Bluethumb click here

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Click here to find out about exhibitions Wendy currently has work in.

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