We are programmed by society to think that taking a break is not productive to creating anything and that we should work non-stop, but upon further inspection you will see how valuable it may be to take a break from your work.
From time to time, I become uninspired to create and when I try to push on through and work anyway – I find myself getting so frustrated when it isn’t going exactly how I might have planned. This results in wasted time and negative emotions towards what I love to do, which isn’t healthy. So, when this happens to me I take a break.
Sometimes all I need is a short break lasting only a few minutes to an hour, then I get back to working on the painting with fresh eyes. Other times, my break can last a few days to even as long as a month. This recently happened when I traveled across the country back in September. I spent most of August packing up my belongings and planning the week-long trek and honestly didn’t have the energy, mentally or physically, to want to work on any paintings. I spent most of the journey taking photos and videos, documenting all that I saw so that I would have a lot of inspiration when the day would come that I would be settled in and start painting once again.
I found that this break has helped to not only improve my work as a whole, but also how I think and go about creating my work. I am able to be more patient while creating a painting, and I do a lot more in terms of planning and pre-painting stages.
Here are some things to do while taking a break that can help to improve your work:
- Go outside. Getting back to nature can be a huge inspiration.
- Look at some of your favorite artist’s work – Dissect it
- Read GREAT BOOKS from Great Artists
- Read some stories. Using your imagination to envision scenes can supercharge your creativity.
- Do an activity you enjoy! Get into a pattern of positivity and joyful thoughts.
- Laugh. Watch something funny – Laughter is the best medicine.
- Meditate. Sit in silence for a while.
- Take a walk. Find the beauty in everything you see.
- Clean your workspace/living area. Clutter can add to stress which makes it harder to work.
- Eat cleaner. Try a whole day of nothing but fruit/vegetables and juices. Clear your mind.
- Draw more often. Buy a sketchbook and start sketching what you see.
- Try different mediums. Anything from markers to pastels and beyond, give it a go!
- Always remember that painting should be for fun and enjoyment first and foremost.
- Think about what you want to express in your work and how you want the viewer to feel upon seeing your work.
- Yoga and exercise. Reduce your stress levels and increase your health!
Those are just some of the things that I do from time to time to help me get back on track when I feel I am falling off the tracks of creativity. I hope that this list was helpful to you and that it will inspire you to live a more balanced life while creating a painting. Do your best in every moment – don’t give in to the pressures of society to work your health away, it just isn’t worth – so work smarter, not harder!