Time to get back to the easel …

Terrifying confession time …. I have been in a rut lately, well for the last few months actually. In my artwork and in writing that brand new course that I had planned to release way before now.

Illness for the first three months of the year, giving up my part time job (hey Gillian, now your income depends on all this – are you feeling the fear – Well Yes I am!!) and another dose of the return of Crippling Back Pain Part 145. Hard to admit to both myself and here – but time to get real and be accountable and pick myself up and move on!

collage 1

I wonder how many of us could raise our hands to feeling like this from time to time? I have a sneaking suspicion it would be quite a few if not most of us. So that makes it completely normal. And also I think there can be some comfort to just digging down and laying low for a bit just to pause and drift. As long as it doesn’t go on too long – and for me, now I have itchy feet and a brain beginning to buzz with energy.

collage 2

I guess there are a few ways around it – force myself out of it (works a fair amount of time but not always), or begin to find solutions to the things that are stopping me from doing the things that I really want to be doing! My back has been bothering me for a while (20 years of problems too boring to talk about) so I am now seeing an osteopath – tick! So now I can put my faith in someone else to help me rather than going on as I have been doing – but I am also taking action myself – swimming again a few times a week for strength and also taking action with my weight (going down week by week slowly but surely).

collage 1

I have been out of practice with creating art – this inevitably leads me to lose confidence and get out of a habit which in actual fact is one of my favourite things to do in life! So what I am I doing about it? Making sure I get in daily practice – no matter what. Concentrating on process and not product. Just turning up and getting the paints out – working a little more in my colour bible just to start the day before painting a small portrait as rough as they are. (I am pretty sure I have written a post about my colour bible previously but can’t seem to find it, but am thinking about creating a wee video on it soon – let me know if that is something you would like to see!)

I have set myself a bit of a challenge, inspired by all the wonderful artists I see creating art every day. I am attempting to paint a small acrylic painting on paper every day for the month of June and what you see here are the ones I began towards the end of May (before I made it a daily task) and all the ones for the first seven days of June. So interesting to see them together. I am not aiming for wonderfully finished works of art – I am aiming to just practice, put brush and paint to paper, have fun and when they are done they are done, no matter how refined or beautiful or ugly they are. So far so good!

collage 2

And as for the writing of the new e-course, it is coming, slowly. But I am not putting too much pressure on myself – I figure first and foremost I have to create art before I can teach it – so the writing and development of the course, I am sure will come naturally once I build a little trust in myself just to turn up to the easel and create – getting the foundations strong again so I can move forward.

What have you been creating recently? What do you do to get yourself out of that rut and back into working at your art? I would love to know!


Comments 7

  1. Sue

    I’m in a rut too Gillian, probably compounded by the fact I’ve had a busy June with hardly any time in the studio. I need to make sure I restart your course again when I’m back in mid July. I think I also need to just accept ebbs and flows, which I do now more easily than I did before. It’s all part of the journey x

  2. Lainey Whitworth

    Would love to see your colour bible. I adore your work, and have done for many years. I can sympathise with a bad back, having had a bulging disc injury this last 12 weeks, getting better with physio… but yes too boring to talk about. I sometimes feel in a rut too, especially when i can’t do new pieces when i have too many orders…….but it is orders that pay the bills! keep on painting, you have inspired me to do a quick sketch everyday no matter how un refined it is! that would be out of my comfort zone! maybe that is the way to go. x

  3. Patty

    Yes, please share your color bible when you feel better. Back pain is draining. And, yes,
    I’ve found long dry spells in making are terrifying. I usually turn to some other materials
    to make stories with. A book by Twyla Tharp, The Creative Habit, has given me insight into
    these fallow times. Her medium is dance and movement. Odd how all artists hit the same
    wall. Looking forward to taking a class with you this year. Take good care.

  4. teresacash

    Your words were fluently spoken and I felt each and everyone. My heart is with you as you travel the rough terrain of your journey. Sounds like you are moving forward and that is the most important approach. I lost my job 1 year ago and I, too, have experienced fear creeping into my life because that financial crutch is gone. Sometimes it (fear) has knocked me down and I have wallowed around in misery before I even realize what has happened. And just like you… I slowly pick myself back up and just keep moving forward. The whole idea that I am even creating art (only for 4 yrs now) is a gift from the Universe/God. I am so grateful! So I figure, whatever I am going thru is just part of the journey and I have the Universe/God on my side. And just like you…I show up, do the work, and let the results will appear.

    Thank You for sharing your story. When “popular” “well-known” artists share their trials in a solution minded frame, which is what you did, it reaffirms to med that I am not alone. Thank You for that.

    I LOVE your art and all that you do.

    1. Post
      Gillian Lee Smith

      Teresa thank you so much for your thoughtful and thought-provoking comments. Fear is such a disability I think in terms of creativity if we let it become overwhelming (a teeny bit is not a bad thing if we use it to propel us forward). I completely understand where you are coming from and I am glad that you too have found a way through it. The internet is a wonderful thing in terms of finding and encouraging like minded souls – so thank you for visiting here and taking the time to comment.

  5. Ann-Marie

    Color bible video? Yes please! 🙂 actually Instagram has moved my art forward more than anything …that (almost) daily practice/posting its like an accountability partner in and of itself. .not to mention at the touch of a button I can see my journey. And of course the encouragement and support I get from the IG followers both thru their faithful comments AND viewing their wonderful growing work. Many I met through your UGC course @kolorcircle @julier13johnson @throughedgarslens to name just a few have been amazing and so inspiring in addition to yourself. Not that I consider myself anywhere in their league and really may never be but I can take those daily steps and see where I can go.

    1. Post
      Gillian Lee Smith

      Ann-Marie thank you so much for commenting here. I think there may actually be a video on the colour bible in Unearth Gather Create but I will likely re-do it to have on my blog too so will get to that soon! I love instagram too – infact much more so than FB which is overwhelming and distracting for me. I love seeing your daily drawings – keep going – you are doing brilliantly!

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