View Full Version : What is the longest period of time you have gone without painting?

05-04-2008, 01:20 PM
Just curious.. I noticed there seem to be quiet a few of us that had a really long break for various reasons & others that seem to have started and never stopped... What is the longest you have gone & could you share why?? For me.. I got burned out... & kinda lost the desire. ALso life got busy with a growing family etc. But I am beginning to feel like I need a break again... I dont want to feel this way, becasue the last time lasted close to 30yrs!!:eek: ANy thoughts on why some passionate artists start and stop & others have a passion that never seems to dwindle?

05-04-2008, 01:38 PM
I know what your saying, I just switch mediums for a bit. although I did have a 2 month burn out a year ago when I was doing portraits ad nasuem. A trip to the art store and a new air brush got me back, :) its always somthing, but all in all I see art opertunities around me constantly and the bug in my head needs to be fed constantly......

05-04-2008, 01:41 PM
Hi T...that burn-out is easy to come by isn't it. Usually happens to me after cramming for a show. So what burned you out exactly? Burn out is one thing but 30 years?:eek:

My longest period was the past year...although it wasn't a total withdrawal from painting, the only work I produced was the demo paintings I did teaching workshops. I have never had a year in the past 20 when I put out so few works. 13 to be exact when I normally strive for one a week or about 50 a year. Some years I make it but it's more about the striving than the actual count.

My stint as President of the Federation of Canadian Artists was the cause. Far too involving to allow for a real life. :lol: Having resigned last week...here you find me on Wet Canvas after a long absence. :clap: :clap: and happy to be here. Next week I restart my career as an aritst in ernest.:clap: :clap: :clap:

Cheers, Dianna

05-04-2008, 02:17 PM
Dianna, SOoo Glad you are back here & have more free time to paint. I must have a short burning passion fuse.. because doesnt matter the thing I am "into" I go 110% full speed until I am limp.. Not sure why it took so long getting back inot painting.. I wish I had stuck with it..

Wrichards, That's a good idea.. going in a different direction for awhile.. I haven't been in this direction very long... You have me thinking now.. maybe I could stand instead of sit... I think I am more tired of the sitting than I am of painting!

05-04-2008, 02:30 PM
i do have dry spells, and i hate them. it usually starts with a very stressful situation that comes into my path, then somehow it is a while before i go back to art, and when i do, i can't for the life of me, figure out why it took so long to get back, because it feels SO good to art again!! only once did i find myself retreating TO art, and i wish i'd do that more often. the situtaions wont' go away because i quit painting, and not being myself doesn't help it either!

the longest was when i was a young adult, single and in a bad relationship, that i didn't see as bad til it couldn't be ignored any longer. as soon as i dumped his stuff on the porch, i picked up a pencil. i was living in a house that my grfather built, and it had this little odd room between the main and the other parts of the house. as soon as the jerk's stuff was out, that little room was empty and made a fine studio space! i was in heaven! it had a window over my table, i lived on the edge of a 40 acre timber with other pastures where i'd walk my dogs.

i was rather out of art again when i got married and had a baby, then moving a good distance, all within 2 years. being all alone with the baby was hard--so again i turned to art to 'save me'. and it did.

don't let a dry spell be a dry lifetime!!

05-04-2008, 02:43 PM
Hi Chewie...long time no "see" :wave: Oh your little post-jerk studio sounds like it was heaven!!

Cheers, Dianna :cat:

WC Lee
05-04-2008, 03:45 PM
T, don't feel bad .. I stopped when I was 17 and didn't start back up until I was almost 42 :D working long hours to keep a roof over my head tends to destroy those little artistic urges. Anyhow, when I feel like I am starting to get into a rut, I change subjects or switch to a different medium for a bit. The mediums I play around with is graphite, charcoal, pastels and oil, but pretty much been sticking to pastels now.

05-04-2008, 03:49 PM
Chewie, that would make such a good movie... great visual of you dumping him & having done so found yourself & true love in that studio.. good stuff :)

I would paint _some in that 30 yr period... but very sparatically... like something to hang on the wall, or a portrait of family .. but nothing serious... not really learning... even so, I never quit seeing a painting in almost anything I looked at.. Those colors that others didnt see.. the area where the light turns.. I would see the blues purples & reds in what others saw as a bright blue sky... & could see the painting in my head.. So really, in a way, although I seldom put it on canvas, the passion never left me.

05-04-2008, 04:06 PM
WC, I dont feel _bad, just a bit dissapointed that I didnt keep it up. Wondering how much further along I would be ... sometimes I feel as though I wasted a talent that God gave me. Perhaps, if I had honed that gift/skill, I could have used it for Him in some way... I dunno.. just feeling overly reflective today I guess & interested in how others feel....

WC Lee
05-04-2008, 05:07 PM
I know how you feel, I'm also disappointed with myself for stopping, but however, it is amazing how much a person can learn in a reasonably short time frame. Since starting back up in Aug 2006, I am surprised how much I have learned and improved. Now the only thing I need to really learn is to use up my supplies before buying more :D I prolly got enough stuff to last me the next 10 years.

CM Neidhofer
05-04-2008, 05:24 PM
This is an interesting thread. I was always a doodler as a kid. Our small town library had a Young Friends of the Library club for kids 13-18. I painted a story board, of sorts, one of those folding type room dividers, with Peanuts characters for the library's story time on Saturdays. It was a huge success. I did this at age 13. I submitted a couple of drawings for a Library publication and was accepted for that. I did nothing much beyond that. No encouragement I suppose. The goal was to get through school and get a job. Many, many years later, toward the end of a failing 16 year marriage, I met a pastel artist online. I showed him some of doodlings and Peanuts characters. He said I was good and I should take it a bit more seriously. I took a drawing class through adult ed and found out I really could still do this! Then a colored pencil class and after that a pastel class and I've been hooked on pastels ever since!

But even now, life always gets in the way and sometimes as much as I'd like to paint, there just doesn't seem to be enough time, or too many interruptions, or excuses as the case may be. I think the biggest thing, for me anyway, is that I want the next work to be as good, or better than my last one, to the point that sometimes I just feel "frozen" about doing anything and put it off until I can feel adequate enough again to try! I hope that makes sense. Anyway, probably way more than anyone wanted to know! lol :lol:


05-04-2008, 05:45 PM
Christine, not TMI at all!! I know exactly how you feel about not being up to par on "the next one" . If I dont feel the call to paint it seems like that is when it doesnt work at all.. The mood has to be there.

LOL WC.. u can send those xtra supplies this way!!!

05-04-2008, 08:15 PM
Hi Maw-T,

Sometimes the thing to do is just paint through the feelings. Almost make yourself do it. This could be a period of time where you decide that the finished result doesn't matter as much, and you will really find a new path developing in your work.

I am one of those that has painted through every part of my life in one way or another. Probably even to the detriment of my family in a small way. Trying to keep that balance is one of the toughest things for me.

This last quarter has been terribly busy for me, getting paintings to where they have been promised, and framing and marketing etc. etc. so I have had the least amount of painting time than ever before, and find the impetus to just get into the studio starts to lag a bit... but I will force myself to get out there and do SOMETHING.

05-04-2008, 08:44 PM
I came back into the art world in 2005 at the end of an inordinate number of deaths in my family and circle of friends in a relatively short time period---and after about 30 years of just not being able to paint anything worth while. I had been moderately successful in the Santa Barbara Ca art scene in my 20s into my 30s then following the death of my only child in infancy amid a lot of other stressors my skills took a walk, as though I had never known anything about painting. (it's interesting to me that painting ended for me with my daughter's death, but returned on the heels of many other deaths, I'm surely glad to have it back) However. I continued to try from time to time and I kept reading, watching art shows and videos, going to galleries and studying every stroke and from time to time would try doing a piece. Oils continued to be definite disaster but some of the crafts, and drawings were satisfying. Now that I'm back into it art has been a daily part of my life, I paint most days and the skills have come back and done even better at least with pastels; still a little skittish about oils.

At this very moment I'm in serious need of a vacation from the art business but not from painting. I empathize with you Dianna, as being an officer on our Association's board is wearing me down. I've just had major disappointment at a judged show so am going through the child's tantrum stage of feeling I should just quit painting, but knowing that feeling will pass and besides I don't believe I could quit now. I think instead I'm going to pack the camping van with pastels, good food, camera and lounge chair and head for a near by lake for a few days; should make a new artist out of me :)

05-04-2008, 09:10 PM
I haven't completely stopped since I discovered I could paint. Instead my art has been slowed each time I have had a baby - like now. I don't know what it is like to paint without kids as I have only been doing so since I begun my family.
I know I could never stop now, it is a big part of me.

Tracy Lang
05-04-2008, 09:24 PM
Hey T,
Interesting topic!
I was pretty creative as a kid and through high school. I loved to write as well. I recently found some very old journals and each page had some type of drawing/doodle/sketch on it...it amazed me as I had forgotten...Life and earning a living gets in the way.

It's only been within the past few years that I re-discovered my creative side and I am truly passionate! Got to make up for lost time!!!

I've been through a tough time with my Mom these past few weeks and it has been so hard to not be painting...I have, however, carried a sketchbook and used it...not the same as my sticks, but, it's something to keep me from going crazy.

At this point, everything catches my eye in one way or another and I feel very blessed to have this passion.


05-04-2008, 09:29 PM

"I think instead I'm going to pack the camping van with pastels, good food, camera and lounge chair and head for a near by lake for a few days; should make a new artist out of me."

That's the spirit! A change of scene, get out of the rut and relax.

I couldn't say exactly what my longest period was, because of so many stops and starts, mostly because of responsibilities. I had a few jobs that took all of the starch and creativity out of me and by the time I would get home in the evenings, I would be a zombie. But I kept praying for a better situation and it happened. The last job I had before coming to Idaho was just great and the team I worked with was tops. My creativity came back and then when we moved up here I was able to paint every day if I'm so inclined (most days, I am.)

You've had some difficult trials in life, but God has gifted you wonderfully. Disappointments can also kill the spirit, but look at the thread by Water Girl about her Lemons painting being rejected by one juried show and then winning first place at another. Persistence and hanging in there is a good thing. So get out to that lake, relax and get a new vibe going, girl!

05-05-2008, 12:37 AM
Harriett, thanks for your soft shoulder and kind pat on mine. I'm just currently tired and therefore a little sulky. It will pass with rest and rejuvenation. Nothing at all can now dampen my urge to paint anyway. The show set back has spurred me to vow to do some things to take more intention and care in designing my work as I think what is holding it back from winning status is in the composition. I tend to push the rules a little :)
Anyway I think it fantastic that all of us on this thread have done a come back or two and paint dispite the odds against us at times. I doubt that the general public have any idea how strong an artist has to be at times.

M Douglas
05-05-2008, 01:22 AM
Longest time was probably 2 years, the main cause was burn out after trying to work full time and run a Painting studio/store, plus a couple of deaths in the family, then I got Rhumatoid arthritis which affected my hands, then a relationship break up and a move lol no wonder I didn't paint.

It was during this time that I found wetcanvas and Dianna Ponting. After seeing her work I was pumped to start painting again, this time with a new medium "Pastels" and a few classes from Dianna.

Last Sept I broke my wrist while out taking photographs for paintings so I was not painting for about 6 months, the wrist was better in about three months the rest was just my annual winter slump lol.

Even if i'm not painting the passion is still there for it, there is not a day that goes by that I don't think about it, I think i'm obsessed lol.


05-05-2008, 01:29 AM
How interesting that most of you so far have turned to your art to get through lifes bumps or even tradgedies...
((((((Trilby)))))) I am so glad you found the urge again! Your story made me cry... :grouphug:
Tracy I relate to you right now the most, as tending to my mother has taken up much of my time for the last several months. Seems when we get the kids raised, it is time to pay back our dear parents for their care of us. Tralalala life goes on... :music: ...
Such good advice Kim....as the saying goes "just do it" ...:thumbsup:

Suddenly I want to paint!!!

05-05-2008, 03:19 AM
My time away 32 years. But I have always had some sort of crafty outlet. I loved art in highschool and college. After college, I was more concerned with paying the bills, and raising a family. Now that my kids are older teens, I feel that it is time for me to do what I want to do for me. I was spurred into pastels by my sister, but what actually got my creative juices flowing again was going through the trauma of the passing of my best friend- my mother-in-law. Every time I pick up a pastel stick my soul is filled with a sense that she is behind me in this endeavor 100%.

TJ...I don't know about you but my soul gets plastered into each painting, it is a tremendous way to release feelings.

There is a great book out titled "Younger Next Year", its about how we can make the best of our lives in the "declining" years 40 and on up. We don't need to feel the pains of aging! They recommend daily exercise, nutrition, and a sense of community- to take up a hobby or activity that keeps you involved with life on a daily basis. I think this counts!

Great thread T!


Paula Ford
05-05-2008, 06:01 AM
I usually stop painting for about 4-6 months about every year and a half. It's not that I stop being creative because I do other things like make jewelry and clothes. Sewing is my first love. Have been doing it for about 30 years. Every season I make myself a whole bunch of new clothes. Now I make jewelry to go with my new wardrobes. Prices nowadays are just so awful. Doing those things myself probably saves me thousands and it is so much fun! Am very cheap!! :D

In one of those off periods right now. There is always a painting in my head though, so my pastels are always close just in case the mood strikes.


05-05-2008, 10:14 AM
This is very interesting! thanks for posting the question.

I came to painting late in life...I was 50! Like others I went strong for probably 7 +/- years. It seems that for the last couple though I have been in this real slump.

Some say you just have to paint through the dry spots but I find for me it proves even more frustrating when I try that. As someone said, some find this creative outlet and it's a passiosn for life...that's how I pictured it would be for me.

I turned to graphite and colored pencil. As for sales I have had limited success, (I have not really been marketing that much so can't expect more). In fact this seems to be a good nitch for me and the work I have produced is actually much better than the acrylic, oil or pastels. The problem I have encountered though is fellow artist say things like, "Well, when are you going back to real art?" This in turn would sort of deflate my success, until I reminded myself of why I paint...

Finally I made a list of likes/dislikes and it became clear to me that yes graphite and colored pencil (including pastel pencils) is where I belong - at least for now! I enjoy it much more than painting in acrylic or oils and truthfully pastels as well right now. My work is much better. I love the portability. I can work in a small area and not worry about terp., dust, etc.

So this just goes to show that change can sometimes be a good thing---just don't spend two years fighting it like I did http://wetcanvas.com/forums/images/icons/icon9.gif...thanks, Pam

05-05-2008, 10:21 AM
Oh, my, what an emotionally powerful thread.

Hugs to all.

I never really got *started* until I was 37 or so. I was always drawing and doodling or making stuff as kid (when I could be pried away from books). My father was a self-taught artist (extremely good at drawing, rather lousy as a painter), and my mother has a great esthetical sense, sewing clothes too.

At age 8 or 9 I wanted to learn art, so I got a test from somewhere I had to do right after a the 8 hour flight home from a holiday, no sleep. I totally flunked all composition questions, and didn't do well on recognizing famous art either. (What did they expect from an 8-9 year old, anyway?) So I was told I had no talent. And father didn't want competition... I was too little to understand that the test was idiotic, and that the circumstances were not good, so I believed the adults.

But, I continued to paint, and doodle.

Until age 14-15, when my parent's divorce was imminent, and I started to do worse in school, and stopped painting, drawing, and doodling for about 8 years, when I took it up again.

A bit later, I hung out with a cultural crowd, and we *did* things, like theatre, painting, writing sonnets, etc. Those people thought I had talent, which encouraged me to start developing it by taking odd classes. I also started to collect books on how-to, and in the 80s and 90s I could buy American Artist, and Artist's Magazine here, and I enjoyed reading those.

Next came my stint at university (Art History, with a bit of Philosphy and History of Ideas). I intended to enjoy a scholarly carreer, but found I didn't like the 'politics' of the ivory towers. And I wanted to paint, and by now I did believe in my talent and in my ability to develop it.

Enrolled in a serious preparatory class, was expected to apply for art college, but refused to do so -- I simply didn't want to learn what they taught there. (Abstract, conceptual, installations.) I wanted old fashioned painting on canvas, and I wanted to learn perspective, drawing skills, colour theory, composition, etc. And that was *not* taught at art college.

I learned about American Impressionism, knew I wanted to do that, found an artist who taught a version of it, spent a total of 8 weeks in her studio in California, getting a crash course of a year's worth of studies.

A while ago, I had to stop painting for 18 months, as I had pain in my hands. Finally I suspected it had something to do with my neck, went to a naprapath, and was cured by *one single treatment*. Have had to learn a new posture, as my vertebrae will squeeze nerves if I'm not careful.

To spare my hands wile recovering, I started to seriously use pastels (had only done very little with them before) last fall, and have now painted in pastels for, what, six-seven months.

And am heading into a slump... These two shows I have (one in april, one in may) are really putting pressure on me. I like a pace of about one painting a week, but now I have had to do 2-3 per week, and I'm feeling stressed. I guess I will paint less over the summer months, as I will take lots of pics for painting in the winter. But I will do plein air, this year. I have more confidence, and greater speed. But right now I'm longing for 2 weeks without painting, framing, writing statements, pricing, inviting, etc.

Generally, normally, I don't tire of painting, as I'm still in the intense learning stage, so there is always something new to try. And I vary subjects -- landscapes, then a still-life, a dark painting, a light painting, a close-up, a grand view, land, water, sky. I crave and need variation to keep me on my toes, so I see to it that I get it. More of the same bores me to tears.

A good way to get out of a slumpy spell is to participate in some of the events here on WC. Monthly pastel, weekly pastel, WDE, etc. No pressure, no prestige, just some fun. Almost no thinking, too. :-) To just do it usually jump-starts the creative juices again.

Gee, I think I type so fast I don't always realize how long-winded I get. Sorry.

05-08-2008, 06:56 PM
boy..i have to comment on this thread...lots of interesting reasons and motivations for people to paint..
I started painting a little late in life too...over 8 years ago...I think because of that I am not so hard on myself if i don't feel like painting...I only paint when I want to...I don't paint through the times I don't feel like painting..I just don't paint...it could be a week or a month...I really don't worry about it.
Trust yourself Maw-t...sometimes a break is good...
alot of times i have come back to painting after a bit and i improve...
"the art scene" burns me out more than anything....but when i go to my studio all by myself and it is just me and the sticks....the actual act of painting itself...never burns me out...it waits for me when I'm gone..and always greats me like I was just there yesterday.....
Painting is awesome!!!

05-08-2008, 08:46 PM
I'm just bored with painting right now. And right now could last a day or many days, even months, or end in an hour. ... My 6 kids were little when I first began to paint and I always painted in the huge family room so I could watch after them & I loved painting with them & hubby around me. .... I still like to paint in our family room even though I have other private places or even a seperate studio from the house, which I doubt I'll ever want to use. ..... I went 30 yrs painting very spariodically, most always in oils and maybe if I tried them again, it would be refreshing. ...... There's been alot of stress during those years, losing dad, a son and a G/son. Now mom's not in good health. .... But still I feel so blessed! I call myself a 'retired housewife' lol, because I have someone to clean & cook for us, and my dear hubby of 52 yrs encourages me to do whatever I want. ...... At this time, God has laid it on my heart to glorify Him and to be more in The Word. ...... I enjoy other things besides painting so it doesn't bother me not to paint. .... It's there when I'm ready.