"Suck it up!" you say?
Today I spent three hours playing with Sculpey, just trying to come up with something I was happy with. I found (online) a cool idea of using Sculpey to make a book cover. I tried using some of the letters (for example, see the Piper Print) I had previously drawn up to cut out of the book cover. Fun idea? Well, somehow, it just wasn't working for me today. Then I thought about making interesting objects out of Sculpey to then eventually use when creating a mobile! Cool, huh? Yes... perhaps later down the line, because, again... it just wasn't working for me today. I opened up my sewn sheep project, and realized that THAT project, too, just isn't floating my boat, right now. So I've decided, "Is it so bad to take a few days off? A day to recharge? To get my life up to snuff? To let the creative 'store' recharge and refill?"
The answer is yes. And no.
The YES argument:
Like any good artist, writer, etc., practice each and every day, even with something small, and even when you don't feel like producing, is what brings upon breakthroughs and discoveries both large and small. The key is to keep pushing along, even when you don't feel the vibe. Later, it's easy (and fun) to look back and sift through everything you've worked on in order to pull out the good from the good (and the good from the bad), and be able to then pursue new directions or more complex projects, possible combining multiple avenues along the way. Without the process to explore (even when we don't want to), it's difficult (or nearly impossible) to build upon our prior experiences and grow to become better artist (or better at whatever you do).
The NO argument:
Sometimes, it's true, you just need a break. Like anything, we need time to restore (back to our normal equilibrium) and refill (with ideas, thoughts, energy). There's nothing worse than that feeling you get when you're bored, tired, or just having a creative cramp: STALE and CONTRIVED! Ohhhh, those loathsome words! When in doubt, searching databases (art stores, educational lesson plans, museums, museums, museums...) is always a helpful tool to help get that inspiration right back where it needs to be. Another aspect is that I have spent my career as an artist creating for other people, and "on the side" I have created artwork for myself. What I call "my art" is specifically something that I create because I FEEL the art, I WANT to create the art, and I LOVE the art. Isn't it always far more exciting to do something because you want to, and because you're interested in it? Once I start placing art into the category of something I HAVE to do, it unfortunately becomes a little bit closer to the word CHORE (or WORK). I use the word work in parentheses because even projects I'm excited about can become work, however, it's the excitement that pushes the project to continue (and me to ignore the idea of it being work) as opposed to it becoming a chore. Another aspect is the idea that the 'creative store' (which you can tell I love to call it), can be depleted by other things besides just running out of ideas. For example, my house has been under the constant state or reorganization as we have virtually no storage closets or spaces, and we are opening up my studio to become a bedroom once again. Therefore, I spend at least an hour a day (often times, several hours a day), coming up with creative solutions to storing our every day essentials so that the house doesn't stay in this state of disarray and clutter. (Which, easily I can recognize is another cramp to me feeling like I want to create- disorganization and claustrophobia!) Another area of creative drain could come from creating dinners, writing lesson plans, and other daily ins-and-outs of life.
"I've been reading this and all I hear is WHINING! Suck it up!"
What's the moral of the story? You get to decide what's acceptable for you. I'm not complaining about my situation, because, of course, I put myself in it! But, I am trying to take a moment (away from creating) to discuss creating. We all need to take a look and recognize the pros and cons that affect us as artists (or creators of anything), and acknowledge that it's okay to take a break, just as much as it is not okay.
So today, and tomorrow, I take a break. Forgive me! I'll work hard to keep you impressed, or at least mildly entertained. Is that a deal? In the meantime, send me suggestions!! I promise I'll take them... and I'll make them!