Question: How do you become re-motivated to do a beloved activity again?
Answer: Try doing whatever worked in the past.
I haven’t written very much about the art side of our lives lately. My painting took a back seat when we finally moved into our wonderful house six months ago.
I tried out the following excuses for not painting:
- Moving into a grand house that still needs finishing is too distracting. (painting, shelving, organizing)
- This a lame excuse. What difference does paint-on-the-walls make to painting on canvas?
- How can I paint when I’m visiting with our VIP guests? Our wonderful kids came for a long winter’s rest and like an adoring fan, I just wanted to follow them around and have conversations with them all the time.
- Also lame. They didn’t appreciate me stalking them either!
- It wouldn’t be fair for me to create while Larry still has to slog it out in the main studio insulating, mudding, drywalling, painting , etc.
- Another lame excuse. It would actually be helpful for one of us to start creating a marketable product!
The longer the non-painting period lasts, the harder it is to get back into the brush work. I started questioning whether painting and art is what I really want to do and whether I still have that creative spark anyway. This is one of the topics of conversation that comes up from time to time with fellow artists in Bear River.
I thought about where my motivation came from in the past when I went through ‘fallow’ periods in painting. I remembered that painting with others has always created an energy that leads me back to a place where the ideas, motivation and inspiration start flowing again. I fondly remembered painting with my friends Kathy and Dianne when I lived in Toronto. We’d spend a Sunday together painting and eating and catching up on each other’s lives. I missed that camaraderie and I wanted to recreate that for myself.
Kathy missed our painting time too. (Dianne would too, but she’s busy having a fabulous winter in Hawaii). We talked on the phone and made a date to Skype each other and try to recreate one of our painting visits.
We treated it like an actual visit and sent each other photo reference material in advance so that we could work from the same images. We made a decision to work with watercolours this time. We angled our computers so that we could watch each other paint. It was quite the experiment!
We spent 3 hours on Skype and chatted while we painted. Kathy’s had lots of work to show me and I felt that old energy and love of painting coming back. It wasn’t as good as actually being together, in person and we got disconnected a couple of times. The worst part was the visual. Skype is not (yet!) able to display the range of colours and high resolution like a photograph does.
BUT it was a wonderful way to spend a morning and way more successful than I thought it would be. By the end of it I felt like I had actually spent time at the same table with Kathy.
I’ve waited a couple of weeks to write about this, partly because I didn’t want to ‘jinx’ my return to painting. Since then, a couple of other developments have helped to spur me on and, guess what? I DO still have the spark!
I’m painting and I’m loving it.