Some days, inspiration just isn’t there. That’s how it was for me yesterday.
It’s understandable, I think. When I began oil painting, I seemed to be off on a stroke of “beginner’s luck”, and I quickly made a lot of progress. As often happens, I soon learned that the more I knew about oil painting — or thought I knew — the more challenging it actually became.
Now, I find myself standing at the easel contemplating different possibilities. Should I use my fan brush? Or maybe it would be better to grab that stubby little brush with the broken handle? Is my paint too thick? Too thin? Should I use a bit of Payne’s gray or mix my own?
What’s happening is that instead of having fun, I’m worrying about every little aspect of my painting. And that’s no fun at all! Worrying, of course, makes it all but impossible to paint, and as a result, I’ve hated everything I’ve done over the past few days.
Is it any wonder I feel uninspired?
I do feel it’s important for me to keep painting, even when my heart might not be in it. I still need practice, and even though I might start off uninspired, I know inspiration is most apt to come while I’m at my easel, not away from it.
So I gathered my wits about me yesterday and headed to my little corner studio wondering what in the world I was going to paint. I’m tired of painting mountains. I don’t want to paint any more mountains for a long time. I have a set of 2 small paintings planned, and I considered making a few sketches for the project, but with my mood as it was, I figured I’d be wasting my time.
I glanced around and saw a painting I’d started last week. I had finished the underpainting and had done a bit of the background. Yes. That’s what I would work on. Or, actually, I should say that’s what I would play on. Like my weird lunar picture — Blame It On the Moon — this one was done using the old hard back of an Arches Watercolor block. It’s an interesting surface to work on. I never know quite what to expect.
I had a reference photo, and while the finished painting is similar, it’s also much different. After painting in a few trees, I just decided to have fun with the painting, to play around with colors and brush strokes, and most of all, to not worry about the results.
In the end, I had a fun time painting, and in my eyes, the finished painting has a fun look about it. Or maybe I’m the only one who sees it that way. It’s certainly no great work of art, but I like the painting. I like my little path leading down to the water. I like the colors. I like the sky. I enjoyed this little painting, and while I’m not yet feeling inspired and excited again, that’s all right, too. I can just keep playing around, trying new things, and having fun.
What do you do when inspiration seems hard to find? Do you “paint through” those difficult days, or do you take a break? What little tricks or tips do you use to help you through?