When you are a creative mind, it is usually good to push through difficulties in order to progress. I supposed that's what having "grit" is about. There might be moments when you feel like giving it all up because it's simply hard. There are good days and bad days, and when the bad ones are around we face what Steven Pressfield calls resistance in his book The War of Art. It is like a part of you, yet it could care less about you, trying to coax you to stop in order to stop the suffering. After all, it's all about living in the most pleasurable way, seems like. Or at least, that's what our primal mind thinks: if it's hard, don't do it. Most creatives go through this at some point and the key is to keep doing what you're doing, not stop. However, there are times when one might want to listen deeply and pay attention. That's what I did.
Rcently, I was struggling with my abstract work. There was a disconnection from it, I felt lost, and unsure of what to create, not enjoying my creative time. I tried a different style, more textural, simplified, etc. It wasn't working. It was becoming stressful to the point of dreaming, one night, of being inside a sinking boat and going down with it.
Yet, in that dream, the boat popped back up and I didn't die! I took the time to reflect on my work and realized that I was not enjoying this abstract style because I missed sketching and doing more figurative work. I missed it terribly, in fact. I had this vision of painting some simple flowers on a small panel, in a spontaneous way. I did some quick sketching and my painting evolved as I went. It was fun! I painted another 8x8 in. panel with a flower arrangement I made, and loved it. In fact, a friend of mine said at once she wanted to buy it. Wow. I did a third panel, more natural history-like, and had a blast, even though it was challenging in its ways. Texting it to another friend to get her opinion, she said too she wanted to buy it. Double wow.
And so, I am shifting my work. I have listened to what it is that I needed. It's not that I'm not plowing through difficulties as I should, as those 3 panels had their problems to solve, but I have listened to what my heart was telling me and now it's singing again.
Those 3 panels are what you're looking at above, and I will have many more. My intention is to open a shop on Etsy and paint a real variety of subjects. I am not stopping my abstract work but pausing for the moment. There is no such thing as utter joy when you are doing what you love. I am now!