I think we all strive to do something, whatever we are doing whether it’s writing, painting, learning something new. We think we’re supposed to do it, work on it, no matter how we feel. Recently, I was talking to a fellow artist (who is a fantastic and talented painter). He admitted sometimes he doesn’t feel up to the task of creating. I told him that was okay to give yourself permission not to paint at times. We have to realize that we aren’t always in “creativity mode” and that’s when we give ourselves permission to step back and breathe a little bit. Creating can come later when we’ve recharged, our brain and body are back into the process. We also have to give ourselves permission to get rid of our creations if we aren’t satisfied with them. Start over from scratch.
I met an artist a few years ago on Monhegan Island, Maine, in his studio. He has decades of painting behind him, and he gets a lot of money from his wonderful paintings. But he also had a pile of paintings that he was going to destroy. Although he didn’t elaborate, when asked what he found wrong with a particular painting, he answered, “Because the paint got too close to the canvas.” We laughed, but we knew what he meant. All artwork is not a work of art. Sometimes the exercise of creating something is just a lesson for what better work is to come. I call them “studies” when I’m not painting what I want to paint but it doesn’t mean I can’t start again and get what I’m looking for in my work.