Wednesday, October 17, 2012

7 steps to getting out of a painting funk

burning stuff once again

it's real talk slash tough loving time.
you know those times
when you come out of studio
- having forgotten to eat and sleep for days -
utterly content
and completely spent?
this is not one of those times.
(if it is, how did you make it past the title? and
for crying out loud, pour yourself
a big glass of red, bask in
the glory of it, and enjoy
the fruit of your labor!)

oh, this is different.
you just checked your facebook page
for the 13th time today,
hit refresh on your etsy stats/inbox/twitter,
spent hours/days/weeks getting inspired by 
crying over breathtaking art on pinterest
and even more time staring in despair
at blank canvas.
read on, my friend.

 having come out of a 2, ok, 4 week studio funk
with one glorious full day of painting,
i'm feeling good. in fact,
i feel victorious enough
to impart the bits of wisdom
that really worked for me.

1.admit you have a problem
in the midst of the funk, your creative spirit
expresses itself
in one way only:
by making beautifully crafted excuses.
be honest with yourself.
do you really need more research
or inspiration?
more often than not i find
i'm just procrastinating,
overcome by fears.

2. give yourself a (guilt free) break
don't be tempted to skip this one.
sure you've spent a lot (too much) time
not getting essential work done,
but beating yourself up
doesn't exactly count as relaxing.
take some intentional time off
(a half an hour, even a day if you need).
and make it good!
you'll be much more motivated to get to work
in your newly found
good mood.

3.take a hike
go for a walk. breathe in the crisp air.
get your blood pumping. 
open your eyes. listen.

4. ease into the work with a bit of play
don't start off trying to paint the next masterpiece.
that buys you an express ticket
to overwhelm town.
instead, go non-committal. have some fun with it.
i tear some lovely papers to bits.
burn the edges.
glue random odds and ends to a failed canvas.
throw some paint.
explore a new way of making marks.

pretty geometry

5. meet self imposed deadlines
now that you've been quite nice to yourself,
it's time for some tough loving.
create some artificial deadlines.
push yourself to the limit.
find that you're made of steel
in addition to the ooey-gooey arty stuff.


6. turn your computer off and get to work
eliminate distractions.
also, literally,
turns your computer off and get to work.
just do it. 

7. celebrate the little victories
you know what to do.
for me, it's the sweet sweet vices:
whiskey & a nice cigar on the patio.
or working on a fun sewing project:
giving an old sweater
edgy & feminine new life.

cheers! you did it!

tell me your tales of painting victory
and beating studio funk!

beautiful decay


  1. Absolutely beautiful... words that come straight from my heart as I look at these images, and sigh with contentment. I will now go back to look again, before my visit must come to an end, and I return to my own creative play. Those burnt edges combined with the stitches are delicious. Thanks for the lovely advice to get out of a funk.

    1. thank you, kim! the burnt edges and stitch combo happened fluidly and a pleasant surprise. may your creative play lead to myriad of pleasant surprises!

  2. So many paths, so many ways...
    seek beauty in the world, gets my hands dirty.....
    Always an enjoyable visit here. Cheers!

    1. yes, a bounty of intriguing paths.
      cheers to a relentless search for beauty, dirty hands and satisfying discoveries!

  3. This is a grew post Anca. A lesson for us all there ...... one we need to remember often! thank you.
    Love the burnt and sewn images. Delicious.

    1. thank you, susan! i learn my lessons the heard way. hoping others may be wiser.
      the burnt & sewn combo discovery may be a catalyst for much exploration. may your own explorations lead to delicious discoveries today!

  4. Replies
    1. thank you! gleaning some lessons on the journey.

  5. yes, great words and pictures, thank you for sharing your wisdom!

    1. welcome, stephanie! new found wisdom. let's hope next time it will help bypass weeks of agony.

  6. This must be my 5th or 6th visit to this post. I get lost in your photos and words and leave without commenting...being enthralled with both. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and 7 step program. This is truly a most lovely post.

  7. Excellent advise! We all have those down times when nothing seems to work & we need a little boost. It also helps to know we are not alone in this. Thank you.

  8. Every bit of advice here is so, so true! I had more than one laugh while reading them. I am really bad at setting deadlines for myself, I find them absolutely intimidating, but turning off the computer is a huge liberation! Life away from the computer is so much more free and creative. Thanks for the inspiring post!

  9. Stunning! I really needed to read this. Sharing the post link with some friends on Facebook as we were all just discussing how our crafting has come to a complete stop in the holiday stress. Number 6 is dead on- will turn off the comp right after i post- promise! Love what you did with the vellum- such a lovely effect and the stitching is gorgeous!