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Getting over my post show painting slump

Hello Blog Readers! It has been a while, as work and life got the best of me for a while and blogging fell to the wayside.

The month of October found me painting. Painting mornings with my youngest son hanging out in the studio, afternoons while both kids were at school, after dinner and into the night and weekends. It was all in preparation for my big Christmas show and sale at the Leighton Art Centre. I churned out 3 times the amount of paintings I typically do in a month, and I achieved my goal of handing 24 paintings in for the show (by the skin of my teeth). All that while my husband got called out of town a bunch unexpectedly (queue superwoman theme music).

However it did come at a cost. There were the obvious tradeoffs, a messier than usual house, some simpler meals, not as much sleep or exercise for me and my kids did a great job at entertaining themselves more than usual. But after I handed in all of that inventory there was the dreaded post-show slump. I have experienced this before, as have many other artists (it reminds me of the post exam slump in university). It was incredibly hard to get myself into the studio, I questioned my whole artistic style (artist identity crisis) and was just exhausted in general.

So I put into place the advice of my painting teacher who has had 40 years experience at the ups and downs:

-cleaned my studio

-took a week off painting

-did some craftier and playful pieces

-caught up on paperwork

Still... the slump continued

So I tried a few more things:

-got back to the gym

-went to my artist networking group meeting

-read some books about art process

-signed up for some online workshops

Still no luck.

Luckily the answer came to me when I found an old shawl I had knit in my studio. For 10 years I had been an avid knitter. And this shawl sitting in my studio, although not the prettiest, most functional or most complex piece of my previous knitting time, had survived the big purge of creating a basement studio and this piece was really special. It was special because I had met the sheep the wool was sheared from, I had washed and carded and spun the yarn myself. I had then knit this piece as tiny bits of grass and lots of lanolin covered my hands. It was not the look of the piece that made it special, it was the intention behind it. That entire sheep to shawl process had been incredibly inspiring because of the experiences behind it.

So through all of the hours of painting, the lack of play and inability to notice the world around me had really left me without inspiration. And while getting inspired is often a more organic process, I purposefully started looking everywhere to get inspired again. And the noticing paid off. Even if I wasn't painting what I saw, I was loving the patterns in the tree branches and the frost on the sidewalk. I filled up the birdfeeder in my backyard and took myself to an art show. Slowly but surely, likely due to all of the pieces I've mentioned combined, I can finally say I've got my mojo back. And just in time to make some holiday gifts for those I love.

What do you find the most inspiring? How do you get yourself out of a creative slump?

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