Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Artsy ebbing (includes some spreads from the atlas)

It's been one of those weeks where nothing gets done and nothing comes out of my hands. I have been busy with other things, but it's not like I didn't have time to do art. It just...I don't know...sometimes it just won't work. I'm trying to get back in that artsy groove again, because I hate feeling so detached from the things I love doing most.

Of course 'nothing' is an overstatement. I have journaled (be it less than usual, also a sure sign that I'm feeling a little 'off') and I have sketched a little in my sketchbook (just to keep from feeling completely idle). I do try to keep my hands busy every now and then, but I just don't have that excitement going right now that you can have when you're really working on something that moves you. I suppose everything has its ebb and flow and I just need to ride it out. I guess I'm 'ebbing' right now. ;-)

This also explains why I haven't blogged since last wednesday, I just haven't felt like it (sigh). It seemed like just one more chore I didn't want to do. Usually I don't feel like that at all about my blog, I love keeping it up.

In my experience there's only one solution to this thing and that is just to keep going and doing my 'chores' whether I feel like it or not. So...today I have dragged myself to my computer and am doing a blog post.
Better a whiny blog post than no post at all, right?

And tonight I will drag myself to my studio again, which will be the first time in six days. The artsy stuff I have done, I have done outside of the studio, to sort of make it easier to take that first step, if that makes any sense? Unfortunately that also made me feel like I was just trying to escape the 'real' work. Really, I don't know why I'm so critical of myself sometimes. (another sigh)

I guess this kind of feeling happens to all of us at times (please say 'yes, it does'!). There's nothing really wrong, I'm not seriously depressed or anything and it's not like I'm unhappy. I'm just out of sorts somehow, not in that wonderful flow of things that I love so much, where idea after idea comes at me and I just get excited about all of them.

Funny, I look at the above picture and it has the word "Winterslaap"  on it. That is the Dutch word for "Hibernation". Maybe that's all this is, a little artsy hibernation, even if it is in the midst of summer. I kind of like that idea.

I wonder, dear blog readers, if you ever suffer from these artsy ebbs and what do you do to get back out so things can flow again? For me, like I said, it is usually a matter of keeping up my routine, even if I don't feel like it. I can't always get myself to do that when I'm in this mood, but it is in the end what works best for me.

What works for you? I'd love to read your input on this.


  1. They're few and far between...but of course! Yes! I don't know anyone who doesn't go through "down" time. I do love the quote...The muse comes to the moving brush...and it's helped me to get into the playroom at times when I didn't feel like it. Even if I go in to sort buttons...or like this week, jewelry...I sooner or later get inspiration. A friendly word of advice...and I apologize ahead of time but will say it anyway...Please don't drag yourself into the studio tonight!!! Skip, dance, hop your way into it!!! And have fun...even if you're just twiddling your thumbs. Love you and your work!!!

  2. Jude Ongley-MowrisAugust 2, 2011 at 9:30 PM

    First of all, your journal pages are fabulous! And you created them while in an artsy funk? Hard to believe! Of course we all have ebbbs and flows...in all aspects of our life. The trick is to not let it last too long! When this happens to me, I hit the internet, read some inspiring blogs or websites, and go after something totally new! Which is probably why my studio looks like a trainwreck of different things! (and I love it).

  3. I have these ebbs and flows all the time - I don't think we are designed to be art production machines! I read Julia Cameron's book 'The Artist's Way' many years ago (and re-read it when I go through down times). She argues that creative people need to 're-stock the pond' regularly - we can't just keep fishing all the time. She recommends scheduling in regular 'artist's dates' in the diary: doing something that inspires you (which might be as simple as a visit to a food market, or a gallery for example). Maybe you just need to re-fuel? Or be a bit kinder on yourself: your artwork continues to be lovely.

  4. Routine works for me - and I just find something small, anything, that I can sketch so I don't skip my daily sketchbook page. If it continues for a few days, I'll schedule time some place where I usually like to sketch - a museum exhibit, the streets of New York City, a flower shop to sketch a few flowers. That is usually enough to get me going again.

  5. I see lots of artsy stuff!
    All your titles indicate progress.
    Heel mooi en vloeiend!

  6. The pages you have shared are simply wonderful. Yes - we all feel it...or at least I do! Last month I had been blogging for a year and went thru a patch where I felt so un-inspired I almost gave it away...but I kept plugging along and I am back with heaps of enthusiasm for lots of new projects. So hang in there, and you'll get your groove back :-)

  7. I too am in one of those ruts. I figure better to make a whiny journal page than nothing at all. I hesitate to post such pages on my blog, but I have. That is the reality of life... not all times are easy and good.
    Thanks for sharing your fabulous pages!

  8. Thanks for this post. It is a good reminder that there are ebbs and flows for all of us. I am in an ebb time too. All of your pages are really nice. I like the heart border on the "spoil yourself" page. :-) I hope your artsy "flow" comes back soon.

  9. Thank you so much for your comments ladies! It's good to know we all go through this sometimes.

  10. Pretty pages, doesn't look like a ebb to me but if you say so... ;-) I never worry about it. If I don't feel like making art I watch I movie or crochet or read a book, or... another day I will feel different.

  11. Hey Caatje, je foto's van je journal zien er prachtig uit hoor! Ik vind het ook mooi hoe je ze gefotografeerd hebt.... Dat onthoud ik (speciaal voor de text gedeeltes...!) Niet altijd voor andermans ogen bestemd.
    Ik zie aan de reacties links dat je een soort van een "art - dipje" hebt op het moment....
    Bezig blijven is mijn devies ;-) al is het maar 5 minuten doodelen! Echt het helpt heus waar (misschien had je dat al in je blog geschreven, maar ben op het moment een beetje bissy kom zeker weer terug om uitgebreid te lezen, maar wilde je alleen even bedanken voor je leuke berichtjes!)

  12. I love the soft colors of your pages and the composition is really nice! I go through the ebb and flow of the creative force as well. The Dutch word for hibernation is great- winterslaap, as if winter slaps you upside the head and leaves you dazed and sleepy!
    Usually, if I am not feeling inspired, I do some sort of chore in the studio. The floor always needs sweeping and things always need cleaning. I also like to gesso paper for handmade books. For example, yesterday morning, I gessoed 24 large pieces of paper. It does not take any creative ideas or thinking to do that, but the next art journal I make, the gessoed paper will be there! I also will go through and cut out magazine pictures and sometimes that will spark ideas!

  13. It's so fun to see the pages of your atlast journal...they're gorgeous! Sorry about the "hibernation"...I totally get it. More than anything I sometimes get out of the "habit" of making time for art-making. It is easy to let it fall by the wayside when other interesting, creative endeavors crop up. It's hard to balance all the worthy things that vie for attention in our lives!

  14. To get out of this kind of feeling, I ofte start with simple things, like gesso-ing the pages that I want to work on. Sometimes even just clearing and cleaning my worktable: handling the snippets of paper and things will often spark off an new idea. I might not react immediately to it, but it often inspires me to come back soon to my workspace and get something going.

  15. Ik heb het al maanden, ik maak af en toe wel wat omdat ik iets voor iemand wil maken maar je ziet het er echt aan af dat de inspiratie er niet was, het voelt dan inderdaad als een klusje!

  16. Mooie journal pagina's weer! Ik hou wel van de boodschappen die er in het groot uitspringen, ze zijn echt to the point :)


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