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Weekly Blog on creativity and what it takes to be an artist by David Limrite (artist, teacher, mentor & coach)


David Limrite-Artist, Coach, Mentor, Teacher

I've noticed something about myself. Perhaps you deal with this yourself.

I've noticed that when I finish a piece, or at least declare to myself that it is finished, I go through a bit of down time and have trouble starting another piece.

I find this rather annoying and frustrating.

In my case, it is not for lack of ideas. I have more of those than I can create in a lifetime.

So, what is it?

I try to have several pieces going at once and at various stages of completion so that I always have something in process to work on. I think this a great idea and one you may want to consider for yourself if you are not already doing so.

However, invariably, I find myself finishing all of these pieces and sometimes forget to start something new. Because of this oversight, I often find myself with a studio full of blank canvases and empty sheets of paper. This problem I understand and realize that it is totally within my control. Blank canvases don't scare me so much and, yet, there they are. I tell myself that I can handle a blank canvas.

The real issue for me is that I have been working really hard for months now with great enthusiasm and momentum creating all new pieces for my upcoming exhibit at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art. And all of a sudden, I find myself unable to begin some new pieces. As a matter of fact, I have two pieces going in the studio right now that I could just walk in and continue working on. I also have ideas for seven more pieces. Imagine that! I know!

So, what am I complaining about? What is my problem?

I have thought and thought about this. I am still excited and enthusiastic about what I am doing and I am looking forward to working on and bringing to fruition those next seven pieces.

So, what gives?

I finally realized that I have been over thinking this. I JUST NEED A BREAK! I have been working really hard. It doesn't have to be a long break. One, two, three days, maybe. Making good art is difficult and exhausting, especially if you are serious about it. I just need to take a breather, get away from the work and rejuvenate myself for the next round of creativity. Even as I say these words, I feel better.

It is the same as stepping back from a painting, while it is in process, to see what you have done, to check out the red background you just painted to see if it is working or to see if darkening that cast shadow made a difference or not.

I'm sure I am like many of you. We work so hard. We push through our exhaustion. We are so hard on ourselves. We have such high standards for ourselves and our art. We don't give ourselves a break from time to time.

Taking time to step back, asses what we have accomplished, plan for where we want to go next and take stock of ourselves mentally and physically is just as important as working hard and creating enthusiastically.

I know that if I continued to work and never took a break, that I would not be at the peak of my productivity anymore and the quality of the work would suffer. That would not be good.

By the time you read this I will have had my break, which lasted four days, and I am back out in the studio working with new found energy and enthusiasm.

Just like everything else, there needs to be balance to be productive and successful.

What has been your experience with this and what have you done to restore balance?







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