Friday, May 18, 2007

Ebb & Flow

Copyright Tattered Edge 2007
This has been an interesting month. It's been filled with lots of teaching, goodies in the mail, visits with friends I adore, new opportunities and intriguing emails. It's also been a time of reflection and change. I just did up this flyer yesterday for the exhibit I am doing in a couple of weeks. My work is going to be shown at Poirier Library from June 2nd-30th. If you are local, be sure and stop by! I am really pleased to have this opportunity!

Some of my closest artist friends are struggling with being in what I call a "state of flux". It's that place you get to where you are feeling totally uncreative, unmotivated and it can be pretty scary. You can feel like you are wasting precious creative time. You worry that you will never find inspiration again. You question why you are an artist at all, does it really matter? Is anyone going to notice if you just go away and stop making art? You don't know where you are going. It feels pointless and depressing and terribly lonely. It's enough to unhinge even the most successful artist.

Does this sound familiar to anyone? Well I can tell you, I have been there several times. I have also come out on the other side and been perfectly fine. I get creative again and then wonder what all the fuss was about. It's like being on some cosmic see-saw. One minute you are the art queen of the world and the next, you want to slash and burn everything and just walk away. Crazy thing is, those feelings are normal!

The bottom line is that creativity has cycles. It's just like nature-if there is a spring and summer, there has to also be a fall and winter. Much as you may like to, you cannot function in a high level of creativity 365 days a year. You cannot keep drawing from the creative well without taking timeout once in awhile to refill that well. To even try is to risk feeling burnt out and once you get there, it can be really hard to recover. The trick is to recognize the signs and to honour the fact that sometimes you need to take a break and do something else. It's not slacking- it's being kind and gentle and nurturing to yourself. You want your art to come from a place of strength, not from fear. To keep pushing when you are tired and need to rest is to give into the fear and you will find that the art that comes from that is not going to be your best work.

I have posted this before, but it bears repeating, simply because it's an excellent reminder of what being creative means. Write it down. Post it in a place where you will see it often.

Ten Commandments of Creative Beings

1. You will always remember: You are a creative being.
2. You will honor your creativity by nurturing it.
3. You will honor others creativity by nurturing it also.
4. You will allow yourself to take creative risks.
5. You will use your creativity to express and increase the beauty of the world.
6. You will use your creativity to express truth.
7. You will use your creativity to see more beauty.
8. You will allow yourself and your art to be a work in progress.
9. You will allow your creativity to be the "true voice" you hearwhen others may scoff.
10. You will accept and love yourself during times of feeling fallow, trusting this quiet time is necessary to precede new birth or creation.

If you are an artist right down to your soul, creativity is like breathing. Relax. Breathe. Your muse will return and in the meantime, take comfort in knowing you are not alone.


liz elayne said...

thank you, thank you for sharing this.
words that are balm for my heart today. i am going to print this out and read it. over and over again.

blessings to you for this and everything...

Judy Wise said...

I love it. "After being the art queen of the world". You have no idea how I needed to read this today. Thank you. (going now to print it out and paste it in my journal)


Shari Beaubien said...

I REALLY like your flyer, Lelainia! Terrific job! I hope the show goes well... Shari

Beth said...

WOW....thanks for this post. I really needed it !!!!

Mia said...

You really explained this well - it reads like an article in a magazine! Thank you for your insight!

Nathalie said...

I can relate to everything you wrote. Beautifully said.
Hope you are feeling better now.
Look after yourself.

Paulette Insall said...

Oh thank you so much for sharing this hon! All too often I am in this place you've described and in need of a gentle reminder that it will pass. I will be printing this out to put in my studio so I will have it handy the next time I'm on a "down cycle". xo

kathywas said...

Your flyer came out SO GOOD!! Best of luck with the upcoming exhibit!