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Old 06-12-2004, 10:49 AM
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aurora70 aurora70 is offline
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Struggling...

Hi everyone,

It's been a while since I've posted in here and I haven't painted for the last couple of months. My husband, who is in the guard, was deployed to Iraq and has spent the last month in Texas training. He doesn't go over to Iraq until November and then that lasts for about year. I've been in here looking at everyone else's work, which is fantastic I might add, trying to get myself inspired again. How do you get out of a slump??? I've been taking reference pictures on my walks, buying art magazines and I "think" about painting everyday, but find a dozen other things to fill my time instead. What is that about?? Anyway, I'm just venting because I'm so frustrated with myself and I figure you guys are the only ones that truly understand this...whatever this is. Does someone out there have a cure??...or maybe a kick in the butt?

Monica
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Old 06-12-2004, 11:18 AM
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SweetBabyJ SweetBabyJ is offline
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Re: Struggling...

Yep- do the June Pastel Project- make it an ASSIGNMENT.

Sigh, and curse, and figure it "won't be any good" all you want, just don't let your self talk yourself out of doing it. Do it NOW. Go on- get started.

Or, try one of the WDE's today- it's only two hours, and who cares how it comes out? You don't even have to post it- and no one will know but you. Sometimes, to get out of a slump, you gotta haul yourself out and it's hard work.

Now I mean it- go on- get out of here- reading this stuff is distracting you from doing your job- which is painting SOMETHING- ANYTHING- TODAY. Go on- shooo! We'll be here when you get back, promise.

To you and hubby- my thoughts and best wishes.
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Old 06-12-2004, 11:31 AM
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Khadres Khadres is offline
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Re: Struggling...

What SBJ said....DO it! I know exactly what you're talking about. Life seems to dream up stuff to keep me from working on art lately and I've gotta quit letting extranea rule my life....I know it's not easy. Buy hey, I'll make you a deal....you get busy and I'll get busy and we'll meet back here Monday afternoon with WHATEVER we manage to get done...how's that? We won't worry if it's great art, we won't even worry if it's rotten...but we'll bring SOMEthing to this thread by Monday afternoon. Deal?
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Old 06-12-2004, 12:12 PM
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Deborah Secor Deborah Secor is offline
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Re: Struggling...

You have a new normal to become accustomed to, and it's not easy, but be sure to build art into your life now so it becomes a part of everyday living and not just a treat you have to work up to. It's a valid and important part of what a creative person does, not a frivolous waste of time to be relegated only to the realm of entertainment. Just as we read every day, why not paint every day? It's as basic as that!

I leave you in good hands with good advice already, Monica! Julie and Sooz have made a good point--talking art is not the same as DOING it. Have fun, take some risks, don't be too product oriented and just go for it.

And my prayers and thanks go with you and your husband.

Deborah
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Old 06-12-2004, 12:19 PM
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Paula Ford Paula Ford is offline
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Re: Struggling...

Listen to Julie, Sooz and Deborah, their advice is GREAT!!

My prayers and thanks go out to your husband also.

We're always here for you Monica.

Paula
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Old 06-12-2004, 12:41 PM
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prestonsega prestonsega is offline
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Re: Struggling...

At the risk of being accused of playing devil's advocate I'm going to wax philosophical.....Periods of "slumps" are, in my mind,are part of the big plan,.... akin to the dormancy a seed experiences during the winter months....while you can't see it, you are preparing to bloom in all the glory of spring. Placing one's self in situations like the WDE (which is today with pics posted at 3;30pm EST) is like exposing the sleeping seed to warm sunshine and rain.. (gosh, that sure was sugery sweet, but I think I made my point )
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Old 06-12-2004, 10:27 PM
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Re: Struggling...

Nice analogy! I was busy moving heavy paper cabinets at 3:30 today, tho. I'll have to be late.
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Old 06-12-2004, 11:16 PM
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Lisa Olivarez Lisa Olivarez is offline
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Re: Struggling...

Hi Monica,
I was sorry to hear that you are struggling. I wonder if what you're feeling is a part of a grieving process, and, as Deborah said, adjusting to a new normal of every day life apart from your husband. I think Preston's thoughts are valid. Sometimes we have to live underground in the dank earth for awhile before we burst forth. I think it's cool that a seed actually has to die to become a plant, doesn't it? Does that make me a sicko??? No, really, I just mean that you could allow yourself to feel what you are feeling, and go through the natural cycle.

Could you just abstractly put your feelings on paper? Could you celebrate your season of life, no matter where you are? You may have to dig a tunnel for some light, via the assignment SBJ mentioned, or the Monday at 3:30 . Go ahead, we give you permission to do some perfectly awful work. Call it Art Therapy if you need an excuse for "wasting" materials, and write it off as a medical expense LOL. Seriously, just start with one stroke of a luscious, moody color, and let your emotions take over from there.

So revel in your season. Feed off of it, even apathy requires energy, and turn that emotion into art!

Our prayers are with you, too. Say thank-you for my fam. to your husband.
Lisa
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Old 06-13-2004, 01:58 AM
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jackiesimmonds jackiesimmonds is offline
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Re: Struggling...

everyone is different, and for some, painting can be wonderful therapy. When my Mum was dying, I found it really helpful to go and paint each day for a while, because when painting, I could NOT think and dwell on what was happening outside of the painting. I truly switched off for a short time. I know that this isn't the same for everyone...but you might just find that the same thing will apply to you, once you get going. Perhaps your subconscious mind knows this, and you aren't getting started because there is an underlying sense of guilt there - by painting, you forget about everything else, and your subconscious may feel it is "wrong" to be so "thoughtless".

However....you need a bit of space and time away from worry. Try painting as therapy, as suggested, and although it is quite good advice not to be too "result-led", aiming high will get your concentration even more focussed.

Starting is the hard part. Make a date with yourself. Treat it like an ubreakable appointment. At such-and-such a time, on Wednesday (or whatever), you put aside whatever else you are doing, go shut yourself in your room, put a couple of big green and red peppers on the table, plus half of a third one, and make yourself paint it. You work until you feel inclined to stop, but you have to start. Then, once you have broken the barrier, you will find it easier to make more dates to begin.

I wish you and your husband well.

Jackie
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Old 06-13-2004, 02:18 AM
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Kitty Wallis Kitty Wallis is offline
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Re: Struggling...

When I'm in a bad slump I have two tried and true techniques.

I can do portraits from life sittings. I will keep a social apptointment more faithfully than I will a committment with myself. The sitter shows up, I'm on. And I love doing portraits.

My other technique, a little more difficult, is a time deal. I make a deal with myself to start. To go in the studio and do at least 15 min of something. Even if it's just getting the paper on the easel. I can stay as long as I like, get as involved as I like in the work, but I'm committed to just 15 min. This makes it easier to go in there.
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Old 06-13-2004, 04:15 AM
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Dark_Shades Dark_Shades is offline
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Re: Struggling...

Ive been exactly like you..... struggling for months being unispired and not putting pastel to paper even, which feels like a sin, wasting time doing nothing, which makes me feel guilty ..... so I forced myself to paint... cant say I enjoyed it lol..... and the end results showed.... but kept posting away, and the encouragement and support in here, just spurs you on to do better...... and you still feel rotten inside, as you still dont feel inspired....

so I thought I would waste this time practising what Im not good at .. landscapes and greens/leaves/bushes.... kept doing more...... not saying I enjoyed it any better....... BUT..... Im getting a better understanding of it now ..... and parts of them, quite like ...... so, it really hasnt been a waste of time at all ......the time has been a learning process...... then, reward yourself...... DO something you DO enjoy!! ....... paint a subject you have always enjoyed !! ........ trust me on this, it feels a realllllllll pleasure again ........ I wandered over to the WDE yesterday...... and low n behold there was an image there, that I just HAD to paint

We honestly all go through this at some time or point .... be it from outside pressures or problems or self imposed ones on our own abilities or skills ....... it is just a matter of time before the 'right' object/scene/peson..... has your name on it and calls you to paint again
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Old 06-13-2004, 08:30 AM
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Kathryn Wilson Kathryn Wilson is offline
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Re: Struggling...

Sometimes we just need some space - as Dee suggests - a time to adjust to a different life style. If you have a studio or a quiet room, just go and sit and listen to some music, look through your paintings, read an art magazine. Wander through the Image Library - lots of inspirational photos. Join a Project or the WDE - you don't have to post, just pick a photo that speaks to you.

Draw - not even with pastels - go back to the basics. It's good practice, easy to do in your lap, and won't take long to get you back in the spirit.

Give this present to yourself - you deserve it!
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Old 06-13-2004, 11:44 AM
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aurora70 aurora70 is offline
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Re: Struggling...

I'm overwhelmed by the support in here, you guys are really great!

Thanks Julie I'm going to the WDE today to look at the images and I'm going to paint something no matter how crappy it turns out...

Sooz..you've got yourself a deal, I'm going to paint today whatever image I can find and I'll post back here tomorrow...I feel like a beginner all over again but this is what I need ..

Deborah..I do have a new life to get used to and it's been difficult some days..like being pulled in a thousand directions...doing for everyone but myself..and I know I need to get back to the pastels..if only for a refuge

Paula...thanks, I take great comfort in knowing I can always come in here..

Preston...thank you for the beautiful analogy..I will think of that often today as I try to get my gears in motion

Lisa...thats really a good idea and I think maybe that'll be part of what I paint today...just let my mood determine color and shape...it would be a great exercise for me..

Jackie..I also go into that right brain mode and think of nothing but what I'm doing..and maybe you're right, I think I feel a little guilty (okay..a lot) when I'm not thinking of hubby or the kids..and yes I do need some time away from the worry..thank you for putting into perspective for me..

Kitty..thanks for the techniques, I like the 15 min rule..it doesn't seem overwhelming and you put no pressure on yourself..

Dawn..thanks for sharing your experience..and I think it's really brave of you to push on and make yourself practice what you don't like. I like the idea of turning a negative into a positive and learning something from it..

Kat...yes, I will give myself some space as I know now that it goes beyond wanting it...but really needing it if I'm going to be of any use to anyone else in my life..

Thank you all for being so supportive and I will tell my husband today that all of your thoughts and prayers are with him...as for me I WILL do something today and post back here tomorrow now matter how awful or half done it is...it's a start right? I feel like I'm in that place when I paint where you lay the initial color in and look at it and think "this is gonna suck" but you push on with layer after layer of color and the picture comes out okay..my life feels like I'm in that moment where I need to make the decision to push on...and it's not easy...but I thank all of you so much..this is what I needed to hear and I'm glad I made myself post.
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Old 06-13-2004, 11:56 AM
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Deborah Secor Deborah Secor is offline
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Re: Struggling...

It's so wonderful to have a group of knowledgable, helpful, caring people. This is a place where we all encourage one another with real help, real skills, sometimes helpful critiques and sometimes just cheering the efforts--but always reaching out. I, for one, am pleased to be associated with all of you.

And Monica, I look forward to seeing what you're moved to do!

Deborah
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Old 06-13-2004, 02:24 PM
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Re: Struggling...

Quote:
Originally Posted by dee_artist
It's so wonderful to have a group of knowledgable, helpful, caring people. This is a place where we all encourage one another with real help, real skills, sometimes helpful critiques and sometimes just cheering the efforts--but always reaching out. I, for one, am pleased to be associated with all of you.

And Monica, I look forward to seeing what you're moved to do!

Deborah

I agree...this place is a true godsend, especially to those of us who don't have artist friends locally anymore. It's so easy to become isolated that way and you begin to feel what's the use very easily. I'm happy to know all the folks here; they're an inspiration every day!
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