When I Don’t Like to Paint
I have a secret. For some reason, I feel kind of ashamed of this, but in the spirit of authenticity, I’m going to share it with you.
Sometimes, I don’t like to paint. Sometimes I don’t want to paint.
I beat myself up over that one for a long time, then I read this amazing post at Dirty Footprints Studio, and I realized that I’m not the only one who has this problem. We’re used to seeing the stereotypical artist or writing slaving away for days at the easel or typewriter, littering the ground with crumpled paper but stil working passionately. I thought “I should be like that. I should never want to avoid painting, or just not have a good time painting. I should be a never-ending fountain of creativity and awesomeness, right?
But it’s true. Sometimes I just don’t have ideas (time to fill the well!) or sometimes I don’t like whatever I end up doing, and sometimes I’d just rather do something else. Not many artists blog about his feeling, though I suspect they all feel it at some point. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Part of making good work is making crap sometimes.
I have a painting in my studio that I made after my first sale, when I was all jazzed up about being a professional artist, and it has never seen the light of day and probably never will. I’ll probably just gesso over it so I can reuse the canvas. There’s nothing wrong with it.
My logical brain knows that it’s ok to feel this way sometimes, but my emotional brain always throws a fit when I feel like reading a book when I have some spare time instead of working in the studio or if I paint something lousy. However, I think I just needed permission to be ok with that sometimes. As Connie from Dirty Footprints Studio puts it, I didn’t over analyze it–or let myself go down the road of thinking my creativity is over–my talent is gone–I’m less of an Artist–blah blah blah.” That’s how it is, and that’s the best attitude to have.
I realized that expecting that I’ll always love painting no matter what and never have a bad day is like getting married and expecting to never have a disagreement. An argument doesn’t mean that you’re not in love anymore or that there’s anything wrong with you, it just means that you’re two different forces who happened to clash one day. No big deal.
I hereby give myself permission to have bad studio days, to not like what I paint sometimes, and most importantly, to let it go. If you struggle with this, I give you permission as well.