Do You Need to Take a Break from Your Art?

I know that it’s been quite a year for all of us as we have navigated our way through the Covid pandemic. Experiencing everything from lock downs, quarantines, and so many unknowns.

One way that many of us have weathered all of this is through our art. Did you come back to art after many years or simply found you had the extra time and opportunity to do more of it? Was it great a year ago, but now you might be finding that you need a break from creating?

Depending on our circumstances, art may have been a great escape. Personally, I find it very calming to be in the art “zone”. You know that place that you find yourself in without realizing when or how you actually got there. For me, when I have had a stressful day, I will normally head to my desk and pull out my art supplies and start to tinker. Then before I know it, I feel the calm as both time and stress have slipped away.

I love to create. Not only is it relaxing for me, but it is also normally a great source of joy. I love the times that I look over at something and my first thought is “who did that”, before I realize hey it was me.

Luckily, I don’t have too many days where my art practice becomes a source of frustration. But if we are all honest, we’ve all been there. Those are the days when nothing is working the way we think it should. You might pull wrong colors, or you put color in the wrong place, your supplies just fight you every step of the way. Those are days that creating art can be really frustrating.

But today it’s different and I can’t get myself to color at all. It’s not the pandemic, it's not that my art is frustrating me or not having an in-progress project on my desk. It’s because I lost my coloring companion this week. Mac (my 16-year-old Jack Russell) was with me from the very first time I picked up a Copic marker. She loved to color with me. She would sit behind me on the same chair the entire time. I supposed she didn’t like the coloring as much as knowing I wasn’t going anywhere, and she could just snuggle in and be warm and happy.

Today it is too hard to sit in the chair without her. You might think that the best thing I could do is to color until I’m in the zone. But I know myself well enough to know that I am better off to wait a couple more days. So, I am giving myself permission to not create for a few days. I know I will be back soon, but I wanted you to know that if you are also experiencing emotionally tough times, you don’t have to force yourself to create either. If it works for you, that’s fantastic, but if not, it’s okay to take a break from your art. When you get back to it, it will be like riding a bike, you won’t forget how to create. Our emotions (good or bad, happy or sad, etc.) can impact our ability to create and/or the outcome. It’s not to say that when I’m sad I can’t create something amazing, but for me it’s less likely to happen . . . just picture this, have you ever tried to color through trifocals and tears?!

When I get back to my creative space, I will seriously consider doing a project to capture the spirit of both Mac and Jack. I do wish now I had taken a class on coloring pets as it would have been easier before this week, but now I’m motivated more than ever to give it a try.

What's happening in the Corner . . .

Have you ever stopped to ask yourself why you are attracted to an image, so much so that you want to color it too? Whether it is whimsical or realistic, chances are it's the shading of the image that caught your attention. Join us this month as we focus our practice on the creation of clean edges and smooth color transitions.

If you are reading this after we moved on to the next technique, you can find the Work-at-Your-Own-Pace Practice for Clean Edges & Smooth Color Transitions here.

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