03 August 2012

How I keep painting

My motivation to paint is like a menstrual cycle. There will be a time when nothing's going on (Mental Block), when I just break down or break things (Chaos), and there will a time when I start picking up signals that turn me on and make me excited (the Kick).

I've learned how the stages are connected with each other. Too much work leads to one thing which leads to another.

  1. The Burnout
  2. The Mental Block
  3. The Chaos
  4. The Silence
  5. The Trigger
  6. and finally The Kick

  1. The Burnout:

    Happens to anyone who works too much and too long in one go. I made the mistake of not putting the brush down for a minute to take a break and my motivation burst into pieces like an overheated lightbulb. Poof. Gone. I had to live with it for the next few days.

  2. The Mental Block:

    I knew what I wanted to do for my new collection, but something was in the way and all I saw was a thick wall between me and the ideas. Nothing occured to me anymore and at this point if I don't do anything then nothing happens. It's a phase that just prolongs itself continuously.

  3. The Chaos:

    Then it messes around with my feelings and puts pressure on me. I spend night after night of insomnia and lying in bed for hours not knowing if I should keep my eyes open or closed because my thoughts become voices in my head screaming... and the screams are all the same.  And at this point in time I know I have to pick myself up again and pull myself out of negative thinking.

  4. The Silence

    I'd turn to my role model and teacher: Eckhart Tolle.
    I'd put my headphones on and close my eyes for good.

    It's good to have something to fall back on, when one is on the edge of his or her sanity. To fall back on something that is not an object or a person, but something deeper and stronger.
    It's his voice and the teaching which I need to hear, whenever I feel like I'm going crazy. And I keep doing this as long as I have to.
    And then I notice silence and stillness around me.

  5. The Trigger

    When the inner turbulence is over I explore my surroundings again like a child. Everything becomes new again and I carry on where I left off.
    I search for articles to read, which will help me with my art. I learn more about art movements - perhaps I will find something I like.
    And I watch documentaries about artists who inspire me.

    Recently I watched a documentary about Salvador Dali which I coincidentally came across on TV on a channel that no one would even watch.
    And then it hit me. I was simply fascinated.

  6. The Kick

    Last night while I was reading a book by Barbara Berckhan about escaping the habit of being too nice, I saw an illustration in the book which pointed me to a strange direction. And that was the kick.

    All my ideas fell into place in that moment and I now know, what my next collection is going to be about. I dropped the book and starting sketching one draft after the other and I felt like I was in a mad rush.

    I put my headphones on and turned up the music. My eyes started to hurt but I didn't care,  I had to seize it before it goes away again.

Many aspects keep me motivated to paint and it's made up of both negative and positive situations in life. There are things that I just have to let be, and things that I have to do something about.

Most of all I've learned to respect my work, to take a break no matter how exciting it is, to seize every idea regardless of what or how they are, and to drop everything else when the kick happens.
That's how I carry on doing what I do.

Standing in front of a blank canvas with a bit of hopelessness.

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