Winter is usually a time of retreat and reflection. This year more than others, I craved solitude. Time to myself away from the studio to replenish my creativity. At first, I was wondering why I was avoiding the studio. I realized it was because I didn't know what to do next.
I knew my work needed to evolve, but how? I should work through it, right? I should make a bunch of ugly work and learn through the process of doing. I should redirect my attention to a completely new project so I can get reenergized from working in a different way. I should... but I didn't and I'm not. Not right now at least.
I listened to a podcast and two episodes resonated and reframed how I considered my experience*. I transitioned from thinking I was in a dead/dry spell to realize I am in an incubation phase. Yes, I am replenishing my creative energies but I am doing more than that. Under the surface, I am sorting out what I want to do next. I'm mentally trying to evolve my work and practice. Eventually, I will need to work it out on the canvas/paper/whatever but for now, I am okay with absorbing, conceptualizing, and thinking about new themes I'd like to explore.
*The Messy Studio put out these two episodes that really spoke to me...
Keeping It Going: Maybe it is a reflection of the winter doldrums but blocks and downtimes can happen any time of year. How do you cope with feelings of boredom and frustration that make it hard to keep working?
Changing Directions: The creative journey is never a straight path and all artists go through times of change in their work. These are necessary but can also be frustrating and painful as you head into the unknown. Today we’re going to talk about times of change in your work and some of the challenges that artists face.