Monday, May 11, 2020

Too much of a good thing

So I think this is the 9th week of Shelter in place. It's become a long slog. It started out good. I finally got my chance to live the full time artist life and paint all day. Normally I have a day job running my own massage business which I've been doing for 30 years. I find time to paint in the mornings and on weekends. I can usually get about and hour or two in the mornings during the week and maybe 3 to 4 hours on weekends. I find that having only an hour or two during the week isn't enough to get into something and it has been my wish to have more hours in the day to do more painting.

Careful for what you wish.
My wish  came true March 16th.  I couldn't go anywhere due to the shelter in place so I had no excuse but to stay home and paint all day guilt free. At first I thought it was going to be only for three weeks so I wanted to make the most of it. I had a backlog of ideas and several canvases already started and wanted to get things done for future shows. Being a photorealist painter it takes long time for me to finish a painting. I was averaging about 3 months from start to finish so not a lot of production per year. So this shelter in place was a blessing to get some things done.  I had 4 car paintings at various stages I could work on and I had these vintage toys I wanted to tackle so started another 6 smaller canvases. I was in the zone for the first three weeks before I started to feel like this was becoming work. I realized I wasn't enjoying myself anymore. I was gutting through the paintings. Halfway through the 5th week I was feeling my stomach tighten when I thought of painting. Thats when I realized I drained my creative well. Julie Cameron of the "Artist's Way" says that you need to replenish the well otherwise you'll burn out and I was doing just that. I needed to put it aside and don't look at any of it and do something else until I could recharge again.

Go on an artist date?
Finding a way to recharge during the Corona virus is challenging. Normally I would go to a museum or a car show or a street fair or movie or a a drive to the beach but none of that was available. All I had was my house and yard and long walks around the neighborhood. Even all that gets old when you do it everyday. So now its week 9 and I'm not painting so much like I started to I realize that this sheltering in place is insidiously draining to the creative process. Because there is a level of uncertainty about our lives and when this will be over and what kind of normalcy will resume trying to be creative is proving to be more challenging. It's become harder to get that creative spark going to the level it was at week one. Trying to be creative when your primary needs are uncertain is really difficult. But I will persist I will still get up and do what I can. I am still getting things done I am moving forward and that's a good thing.  I don't know what the future of art will look like I can only hope that people will still want art in their homes and offices or where ever they spend their time. We may need to adapt as a market to reach people who are not coming out to see us in the galleries or art fairs. Right now everything is still on a "wait and see" basis. We don't know what will change and how we will need to adapt to this new environment of pandemic shopping.