View Full Version : "Slumpers helping Slumpers"

04-18-2003, 01:34 PM
There seems to be lots of people around here in a creative "slump" these days and aren't able to paint. Since I use painting for "therapy" (it helps me keep my sanity when my body refuses to do anything else - lol) and I can't just "sit and do nothing", it's easy for me to pick up a paintbrush and happily paint the time away. So I've never experienced a slump - but I can imagine how distressing or depressing it could be.

So gang, how can we help one another get out of our slumps? If there are some good ideas here, maybe I'll post a project to get everybody going.:cat:

04-18-2003, 01:48 PM
Andrea, you are such a stitch!!! You're always thinking and worrying about everyone else, bless your heart!!!:clap:

I voted Other... Since I'm so new to watercolour, I have all kinds of things I want to do and try... The learning experience is half the fun. I, too, find painting to be very therapeutic for a different reason. My job is quite stressful and I need something to completely get absorbed in... The plus side is my cheering section here at home...

Unfortunately, I can't offer any suggestions to help our slumpers quit slumping...:(

04-18-2003, 01:52 PM
I often experience slump times. What helps me is if I do something else craft or hobby wise. One might even try doing something in another media.

04-18-2003, 01:57 PM
I said--A good photo...so I am headed to the Reference Library now. I am also new to watercolor and tried some oils the other day but I quickly scampered back to my waters for now. ;) I need to do some more reading and exploring and maybe a class before I tackle those.

Thanks for the push Andrea....just watching your WIP's is an inspiration, no doubt. Hope to post something soon. Happy Holiday all.


04-18-2003, 02:18 PM
been through lots of slumps, I actually think it's part of the creative process. I recommend working through it. Work on technical skills, drawing & technically challenging subjects. Work even though you have no motivation to do so... just like a job... I think it's a key to success - perserverance. If you don't find anything motivating, do anything, just pic the first ref photo you see and make yourself do it.

good luck & hang in there!

04-18-2003, 02:31 PM
Here is a tip...


i have found that even if i don't feel very creative while painting, if i go ahead and finish it anyway, the urge to creat usually revives. also, having a purpose for the painting helps make it specail, like a gift, a card, for a charity, for a show, for a space on your wall, to practice a technique etc. Art without a purpose is a sad thing indeed.


04-18-2003, 03:46 PM
I voted "other". Usually it's the work of an accomplished artist that gets me going. I watched a George Sear video this morning and was motivated to find a village scene to paint.

I think you are right about not abandoning paintings though, Berthany. It's stopping the painting process which starts my slumps. Perhaps I should continue to the bitter end and then move on to another subject in future.


cinnamon girl
04-18-2003, 04:26 PM
I chose the photo option, but have found that quitting your day job also gives you quite a motivational kick in the butt! :p

Seriously, though. I agree wholeheartedly with Karen about working straight through it and treating your art like a job when necessary.

04-18-2003, 06:46 PM
boy I HATE THEM!!!!!!

but I agree....with some of you

working through them works

that said....I think it is part of the normal EBB and FLOW and not to be seen as "BAD" or "Negative".....just part of the ups and dowsn of the tides....

accept it as normal and it goes away faster maybe

*terrapist talk*

04-18-2003, 06:53 PM
Great poll. I generally don't give into slumps ... I just *try* to work through them.

04-18-2003, 06:59 PM
Well, this past week or so I've been in one H**l of a slump, I voted (time) but I am trying to work through it. All you need to do is look in my trash can to see all of the attemps to do so.......:eek:

May be coming out of it now, not sure.:rolleyes: but sure hope so........

I just think it's part of the down side that all artist go through......and glad to know it's not just me........

Strawberry Wine
04-18-2003, 08:12 PM
Interesting Poll Andrea:

Today I finished 2 out of 3 of last post cards. Now what I really want to do is paint something big. I just couldn't settle on something. I would like to do a landscape. I went through all my saved pics and nothing inspired me. I sort of have an idea in the back of my mind but can't quite grasp it. Is this a slump??? I spent an hour in the RIL but nothing jumped out at me saying paint me.

What does one do in this type of situation. Wait for whats lurking in the back of the brain, wiat for some other inspiration or just paint something, anything????

Feedback would be helpful.


04-18-2003, 08:37 PM
Thanks for trying to help those of us in slumps! :)

However, in my case, it's time that usually brings me out of a painting slump. I find my worst slumps are after I finish a painting that I am very pleased with that I worked really, really hard on. This was true when I worked in oils over 20 years ago, when I re-decorated my kitchen literally from top to bottom, and now in watercolors. It's like I use every fiber of my being, and then I just have to re-charge and that just takes time.

Again, thanks!


violet feme
04-18-2003, 10:14 PM
Meditating......clearing my mind and letting ideas enter. Visiting art galleries or finding a great photo.

04-18-2003, 10:16 PM
I was trying some new color combos and managed to paint 8-9 little muddy disasters. Took a little break. I think I deserve it. I'm getting out of it, the slump I mean. Mostly I get out alot of my painting books and do some enjoyable reading.


04-19-2003, 12:15 AM
I must say, if I knew what would pull me out of my slump, I probably wouldn't be in a slump, if you know what I mean. I'm looking for inspiration, just not finding any.

Having said that, I'm open to ideas...................,

04-19-2003, 01:38 AM
A couple of things occur to me as I read through your posts.

First, is that artists tend to be very right-brained and therefore probably more emotional than others. I think we feel things more deeply. So I think that if we are stressed about something.....art can either be theraputic or it can just seem like too much work. If we are tired or depressed, we may not get the enjoyment from painting that we normally would. It works for other things we normally enjoy.... emotional upheavals will effect the enjoyment factor so we may put things aside for a while until we can enjoy them again. And so it is with our creative urges.

Another thing I'm reading between the lines is that some of us may simply be uninspired! I know that for myself, I'm not interested in painting something unless it appeals to me somehow. The subject has to grab me by the throat and nag me to death until I paint it just to get it off my back! Like "Andy's Alley". I HAD to paint it! But now that the WIP is done, I'm back to searching for that next irresistable photo......and I haven't found it yet. It's almost like an emotional let-down because the painting turned out so well and was so satisfying to do, but now I don't know what to do for an encore. Maybe this is your problem too?

Right now I'm counteracting my "uninspired lull" by going through some of my lesson books and trying new techniques on scrap pieces of paper. Just experimenting and playing. I have a feeling that if I can get excited about a new technique then I'll be inspired to apply it to something in my photo file. But in the meantime, at least I'm painting and hopefully improving..... even if I'm not creating any "works of art".

04-19-2003, 05:00 PM
again, Andrea....just one more way we are all different

great poll!

Alan Cross
04-19-2003, 07:53 PM
I dont' have a problem with slumps gives me time to golf.....but really I think slumps are a signal that things are about to change so for me its a way of progressing.
Alan :)

04-20-2003, 12:44 PM
What would help me?

A babysitter.

04-20-2003, 01:04 PM
well.. I voted for "just time" and that's what I have in abundance now... lol

It seems that my creative juices start flowing the moment I was out of job..... and within a week of my unemployment.... I've had the time to complete my Chinses zodiac series, painted the shophouse, done half of the Swan Lake at class, took some pics, went to an exhibition... and I've just thought of another series that I wanted to do (6 paintings of roadside stalls, such as newstand, fruits sellers, ice-cream seller, etc.) But I'll need to get their photos first.

Also, I read in our community newsletter that there's a painting competition of scenes around the neighbourhood... First prize is S$3,000!!! Expiry date is 12 June 03.

Slump? What slump... well, hope I could pass on my sudden surge of creativity juices to those who need it... lol ;) :D

04-20-2003, 01:09 PM
you know, Marvin...not unusual

amazing what resting that LEFT BRAIN will do for the RIGHT

04-20-2003, 01:13 PM
Huh? I have TWO brains? lol

I always get confused... which is which?

Left is the logical, routine one

Right is the creative, artistic one

Am I right?

04-20-2003, 02:06 PM

left is your accounting one...now on sabbatical allowing your right (watercolor) one to excell

cool, huh?

04-20-2003, 02:44 PM
Originally posted by pampe

left is your accounting one...now on sabbatical allowing your right (watercolor) one to excell

cool, huh?

Yup! That was a "no brainer"!!!!!



(sorry that was really bad..... I'll just go away now.....):rolleyes:

04-20-2003, 03:14 PM
I voted "other". I find it odd that so far no one in this thread has mentioned a sketch book. I try to do at least one sketch a week -just an hour outdoors, for example, sketching an interesting tree, or rocks with moss, etc. All my sketches don't result in paintings, but based on my sketches I now have at least three definite ideas for paintings that I want to do. There is a juried show that I'd like to try for this summer (my first), so have to get cracking on these ideas. But I'm still working on hubby's portrait which I hope to finish this week.

I'm still so new to painting (18 months) that I haven't had a slump yet. But I don't do a painting a day as many of you do. It's more like a painting every three weeks or a month. Finished two paintings close together at the end of March and needed (and wanted) a break to do left brain things. Lyn mentioned "re-charging" and that's exactly how I felt after I finished the second painting.


04-20-2003, 10:21 PM
you know, I paint full-time

and I still don't have the discipline to do a sketchbook

I take one on every trip I make....and gerally bring it home empty

since digital cameras.....I find the sketchbook more a tribulation....jes me

I admire your discipline for doing a sketch a week

04-20-2003, 10:35 PM
Roberta, re-charging is what it is all about to me. I think I'm coming out of my slump--but I have started the same painting twice and I get to a certain point and I toss them!

I'm determined to paint this particular work--it's a doorway in Italy. Each time something goes wrong, I'm irritated--then I realize I've learned a little bit more about watercolors. This last try was on Fabriano 300 not, and I found out it doesn't take tape or masque well--so I'll try another paper.

I think if I try this work again, I'll do it as a WIP. That seems to really help me learn and to stay focused.:)


Lady Carol
04-20-2003, 10:54 PM
I voted for a project. Maybe I am lazy in that someone else can decide on the subject or maybe it is that nothing strikes my fancy with enough significance to get me motivated. I want to paint and to some degree I put unnecessary pressures on myself to paint for the sake of painting. I want to keep my painting enjoyable not heading off in the direction of striving to paint the perfect picture. I am definitely in a watercolor slump at the moment but you know what that is OK. If I find the right picture or project then I will get out the paints again. I haven't gone very far and I have learnt too much to let this passion slide by.

04-21-2003, 08:11 AM
I have been in a slump since last fall and finally organised a week-end workshop with a professional painter.WOW!!! I can't wait to try all those new techniques, papers and colours!

And also, when I am in a slump I don't force creativity: the more I tell myself I should be creative the less creative I get!


04-21-2003, 03:20 PM
I voted "other." Actually all of the first four have worked for me at one time or another. Sketchbook helps also, but not if I feel forced. Forcing myself to treat art like a job does NOT work with me at all. I just get more frustrated.

I really understand the "Muse" idea, because I often feel uninspired until the Muse "visits" again. That's what happened with watercolors and sumi painting for me recently. I'd been happily painting in pastels for almost two years, and taking pix as well. A pen and ink here and there.

I entered the Postcard 4 project fully expecting to do mostly pastels, as I'd done before, with maybe a pen and ink thrown in here and there. Inexplicably, I had the sudden urge to do a sumi painting. So I did, using some pigment in the old Chinese style. Then I did another, and another........ Almost all my postcards are sumi and/or watercolor. Just a few are pastels. I don't have a clue what prompted that. So I say, the Watercolor Muse came for a visit. ;) Seems it's an extended stay. :D

Often, I'll go to another medium for awhile. I'm a photographer, so taking pix is always an option. Sometimes I'll get one that begs painting. Or sometimes I just get into the photography for awhile and that's all I do.

Pretty soon, though, I'll miss drawing/painting, and I'll be eager to start up again.

It's probably got a lot to do with rest. Does all that sound confusing?

04-21-2003, 05:33 PM
I agree with Alan... a slump is almost always a sign that things are just about to change. It's like the brain tells us: "I have these great ideas i need to ponder, so do me a favor a get out of my sight for a few days, will you?"

04-22-2003, 04:03 AM
Well, I'm happy to say that I broke out of my "uninspired lull" today after flipping through a watercolor lesson book by Tom Lynch. He does wonderful landscapes and there was a tutorial on how to do a seascape - with a sunset, rocks, breaking waves, reflections on the sand.... the whole 9 yards. So, since it required very limited sketching (that's been part of my problem - laziness, not wanting to take the time to do a detailed sketch first!) I got out my paints and went for it. It was fun! I completed a whole painting today and got started on a second! Can't wait to get up tomorrow and work on it some more!

So that was the answer for me today. Hope the rest of you find some answers and/or inspiration soon!:cat:

08-29-2003, 11:47 PM
Bumping this for those of us in a slump.:)

08-29-2003, 11:59 PM
That's "Creative Pause"!!!:D

08-30-2003, 12:16 AM
Ooops. Sorry! Creative pause, creative pause.... must remember that. :D

08-30-2003, 12:28 AM
thanks for Bumping this Christie - that'll teach me to do a search next time......but sometimes I just ike "talking" to you guys :cat:

Off I go to read this ...thanks again Nandie and Christie !


Okay - I just read it and I think the post I really relate to is Artmom's - putting everything into your painting and then just needing to recharge ....... I also like Nandie's comment:
art can either be theraputic or it can just seem like too much work.

I think that's bang on - since I'm still in the learning stage it doesn't always flow easily .

anyway - I feel much better after reading this !:)


08-30-2003, 12:49 AM
Bre, I'm in a "creative pause" right now--again, after putting a lot into a basically "failed" painting. But I've been doing this long enough now that I know that I'll "fire" up again. I know exactly where you are coming from.

Good luck in working through to the other side.

08-30-2003, 01:12 AM
Oh no Artmom ! - that's even doubly frustrating when the painting doesn't turn out :(
...but I think that;s part of it for me too. When I do a painting that I like I think that maybe I'm getting there and expect every painting thereafter to turn out too and am very frustrated if they don't:mad:

I guess I should just shoot for the stars and be happy if I hit the sky ;) LOL

I'll be rooting for you !


08-30-2003, 07:09 PM
Hmmmmmm I have been is sl.....Creative Pause for 2 WEEKS :(:(

Don't know what it is.. My body feels tired, it's an effort to pick up a brush, I think of things to paint but if I try I know I am going to paint like a 3 year old.....(That happens to me sometimes) don't know why??

Reeces portrait was the last thing I painted. Oh I did pick up the brush yesterday and fiddle with the "Girl with the pearl earring" for 10 minutes.

I WISH I was MORE disciplined, I WISH I had a painting buddy. I WISH my head would clear, one can't be inspired to paint if ones head is all foggy. I do read water colour magazines, I bought 3 a month ago that I read over and over again.

I just feel like if I had a berrocca you know that vit B pill in a glass of water that makes the body sing, I would be fine. Of course that's not it ..

I don't know what it is:(:(


08-30-2003, 09:26 PM
I chose 'other'... but... LOL... I think my finger missed and hit "nothing - I don't want any help"....
I agree with Pam in her "therapist talk" mode, a few replies back....
I think they're just part of the ebb and flow... I have sat down, all fired up to start something new... something I really think is within my abilities, and have sat there with brush in hand, paper in front of me, and stood up, pushed my chair back in, and not returned for goodly stretches of time... have just simply decided I don't feel like doing this right now.....
Sometimes, I just need to be outdoors.... I just need to be in another part of my house... I need to dig in and do the tedious, crappy little stuff I've been putting off and won't feel 'settled' until I do... I need to settle down into some crafts that I also enjoy... I need to be around people....
I am never always driven to pursue or engage in just one thing...
Luckily, no one is beating my door down for any commissioned paintings... LOL.... I empathize with those of you who DO paint for a living and experience these slumps....

08-30-2003, 09:33 PM
I just really, really, need company from time to time .......


10-10-2006, 11:39 PM

10-11-2006, 02:01 AM
I marked None, because I don't discuss what I am doing or how I feel at the time, with anyone . I am not able to be inspired by someone else . My Family seem to sense that and have never said , "Why aren't you painting"? for example . They are so used to me being at the table , that it is an ordinary occurrence . For me it is all internal and my thing. I just do something else I like and wait until it passes .
But Normally, it is so much a part of my everyday life that I don't feel like myself unless it is part of my day. I am Happiest when I have something going . Keeping House, Caregiving and stuff are the things that get in the way of my doing it , so I spend a lot of time trying to figure out when I will get to it that day . Sometimes it s late at night Whatever !

10-11-2006, 05:37 AM
How interesting to see this poll rise again after more than three years... it reminds me how much I miss Andrea being here :crying:

I am also suprised I never replied at the time... though I remember reading it .........

I guess my reasons now are what they've been since Olga and I started a challenge......and Tom and I continued for a while and Jo's Landmark is now doing.............

Challenges work for me.... with individuals or small groups...... the feeling that I dont want to let the others down and miss my deadline .......but them my whole life has been geared around deadlines otherwise I'd get nothing done at all - probably why I went into broadcasting..........cant you just hear it

BBC Radio 4 Continuity.......... " Its two o'clock, adn time for 'Womans Hour'. Unfortunately we have no programme for you today as the producer, janet Thomas, failed to pull her finger out and get the programme finished in time"

My M Phil research thesis was handed in with 7 mns to spare before the deadline... and not profread !!!

So....... I need deadlines.........

I also need inspiration of the kind found in many of the wonderful tutorials/classrooms here........again that feeling of not letting folk down ...... tehn with luck I am gripped by the 'challenge' .....THAT word again !!! See my sig line :) The Childrens portrait tutorial unlocked something in me and bowled me over :)

I guess thats why I find it so very hard to leave the forum....I need my friends here for propulsion........ whatever other unpleasantnesses may be going on.............otherwise I would just procrastinate and stay in a doldrum for ever and ever...

So thankyou all my friends here ........for your generosity of time and spirit keeping me up to the mark :)

10-11-2006, 02:03 PM
Thanks for this analysis, JayTee... I have been in a non-painting
mode for months owing to my eyes, but that excuse is no longer
valid, and I'm still in a "slow start" on the Challenge, even though
I initiated it...

I am hoping that once I get started, the momentum will keep me

And yes, I too miss Andrea greatly.


10-11-2006, 05:56 PM
I think about this a lot. I can't remember what I said before. Heck, sometimes, I am hard pressed to remember my own name!:D Anyhow, I suffer from chronic depression and, when I am depresseder (as my daughter says about my down times), if I do not have a deadline to work to, it does not happen. So, I give myself hard deadlines to meet and it works. I can't say "a painting a day" because I do not have that kind of time available to me right now, but a painting every week, or every two weeks works very well for me.:)

10-11-2006, 06:03 PM
Christie.... interesting you should mention the depression.....when that hits me (which it regularly does despite a lifetime maintenance dose of anti-depressents) I lose all urge to do anything at all...... let alone something cretive.... but a challenge deadline almost 'forces' me to pick up a brush... with sometimes rather interesting results !!! it certainly distracts me.....

btw, I like depresseder....;)

10-11-2006, 06:07 PM
Jaytee, that is exactly what I feel like too. Do you find that there is a big difference between slump paintings and non-slump paintings? There is for me.

10-11-2006, 06:19 PM
Jaytee, that is exactly what I feel like too. Do you find that there is a big difference between slump paintings and non-slump paintings? There is for me.

yes.... slump paintings are generally failures that I can sometimes turn around when out of the slump !!! but not always :( They are often 'scrubbers !!!!!!! And I always approach them with fear and no self confidence.... so they could be said to be a self-fufilling prophecy !!!

10-11-2006, 06:26 PM
yes.... slump paintings are generally failures that I can sometimes turn around when out of the slump !!! but not always :( They are often 'scrubbers !!!!!!! And I always approach them with fear and no self confidence.... so they could be said to be a self-fufilling prophecy !!!

Me too! My slump paintings often need one or two things and then I am happy with them. Kind of a metaphor for the slump IMHO.:D

10-11-2006, 08:12 PM
Well, I am on low-dose Zoloft for depression
also, JT and Christie... It is Wed night and
I am staying up to paint ONE small painting
so I won't be seen as a talker not a do-er.
I do sometimes wonder if the depression is
there even if I don't recognize it ... just
no initiative (even with Challenge incentive)
to get it done before the last minute.


10-11-2006, 11:07 PM
I dunno Jo, I think for me it has become a habit to put it off using "I'm too busy to paint". I get the rest of my life dealt with before it needs to be dealt with, but not the painting.:D

Now, I did finish two challenge paintings tonight, so there is a cushion for me to get ahead, if I take advantage of it.

10-11-2006, 11:13 PM
When Andrea started this poll, I replied that painting was my therapy in dealing with stress... interestingly enough, that still holds true today...

I'm not working now, but other stressful events have flooded my life and I need to absorb my thoughts in the moment... the painting...

Interestingly enough, I blab more on WC! about this stuff than I do with my family... They know me all to well... and when I clam up, they steer a wide berth... Which is good... it's ok...

What I'm finding though... that while I don't get into a slump... I do get frustrated with myself... my work takes on another life and I can't seem to achieve my intent...

I paint every single day... I cannot imagine NOT painting on a daily basis... it has become part of my routine... part of me...

My heart goes out to those who haven't picked up a brush...