It’s already a month and a half into 2021, and I am ever so slowly, and only now, getting myself unstuck from 2020. In the last half of last year, as if it wasn’t enough that quarantine had cornered me into a daily repetitive routine against the backdrop of the pandemic, even my art – which was supposed to be my refuge and outlet – became repetitive, mechanical, and draining such that it no longer offered an escape but became something I avoided and almost loathed.
Lest the artwork become affected and deteriorate, (which to the discerning eye may be somewhat evident in some of my late 2020 work) I decided to take a long break over the holidays and a month after and stayed away from painting and drawing. This, before I could return to working on my commitments.
In January, I finished the commissions and projects of last year. Only a few lose ends now remain to be tied.
It’s a lesson learned. No one but myself to blame really for the slump I fell into. It was a reflection of my own lack of discipline, my weakness at staying organized (though I try to improve), and my tendency to overpromise or overcommit myself. I’ll be careful in future, and define better how much time and energy I can give to any projects.
Happy New Year!
So here I am at last, in February, late, but ready to begin my New Creative Year. And the best way that I thought of how to completely shed 2020 was to change it all up. No commissions. Paint and draw only for myself, try different colors, different media, different styles, different everything, mostly.
I’ve already spent the past few days in my sketchbook, while finding inspiration from looking at the works of other artists. And also by looking back at my previous works from days when I was in a better mental state for art. Already, I’m feeling that tingle to create, the urge to shop for art materials (at the peril of my wallet haha). My mind is filling with ideas.
I Know, We’ve Been Here Before
Possibly, you’ve heard it all before: How often have I declared “My art career is now on track!”, and “I’m totally motivated to reach for my goals!” You may also remember that in early to mid- 2020 I was all eager to commit to my art business. But then something always derails me, be it my other work, life, or simply (and often) excuses that I make up.
It takes me a while, but slowly I figure out my patterns, my cycles, and how best to avoid my usual pitfalls. As they say, the important thing is that you always come back and keep trying, keep going. If nothing else, at least, I always come back.
One of my goals this year – on top of the business plans I need to get back to – is to fill more sketchbooks. I currently have five or six that I’ve started on but have yet to finish.
I’ve been following several very prolific artists and one thing they have in common is that they can boast of huge collections of filled sketchbooks. So, I’ve realized, I have much catching up to do, not in comparison to other artists, but with regards to my own timeline and my development. It’s a bit daunting maybe even ridiculous talking about personal growth and development at 40, but, you know, me being self-taught, long internal and external struggle before finally coming to terms with being an artist and all that… It took a long time before I committed to this. So, anyway, I am making it a goal to finish all my current sketchbooks, which means a ton of art, which means I intend to give even more time to actually live the artist life – while working another job and dealing with life in general. It’s gonna work out, trust me.
I also mean to blog more – yes, I have time for that, really. Because writing helps me dissect my thoughts, and I haven’t been doing either of those two enough – writing and dissecting my thoughts.
YouTube, social media, creating stuff to post is all secondary, I have to remind myself. Sometimes I get things mixed up and do art for the sake of posting something. Honestly, who’s not guilty of that?
Alright, I’m gonna stop there, coz it’s been a few hours and I’m feeling the need to create art at the moment. And we must always give in to the muse when she calls.
I say, for the nth time, let’s get back on this horse and continue on this journey.
To end, I leave you with a quote from writer Elizabeth Gilbert:
So this, I believe, is the central question upon which all living hinges:
Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?Elizabeth Gilbert