Monday, November 16, 2015

Losing My Way Before Finding It In An Unlikely Way

I have found myself in an odd place here of late and I wasn't really sure how to move forward.

I added a house (based on an ornament I have in my studio) at the lower inside right corner.
I wasn't overly interested in sketching and since I have 973, 974 things on my need-to-do-right-now list, motivation has been scarce. As in, none. It doesn't happen often, but every once in a while, I hit a wall or plateau and it all seems to come to a screeching halt.
Ollie, hanging out on the back of the card
The thing that usually goes first is my personal sketching. It used to terrify me when that happened. I'd freak out thinking I'd never draw, paint or create again. Time, that most benevolent teacher, has taught me that panicking doesn't help and that eventually, the desire/need/compulsion comes back.

Sometimes, it's a slow dribble that becomes a steady drip before the faucet fully flows. Other times, it's a deluge all at once. I prefer the slow dribble because the deluge has a tendency to be overwhelming and I find myself unable to pick a place to start.

Back of the envelope
What gave me a spark this time was a mother's request. In a group I play with on Facebook, a woman requested for folks to write to her two daughters as they're very, very homesick for the United States.

They are currently in Norway for a year and their journey is only in it's third month!

Are you familiar with Beatrix Potter's picture letters that she sent to her governess' children? The illustrations Beatrix created in those letters would later become the basis for her books. The thought of having received a letter like that as a child stayed with me when I read Ms. Potter's life story.

Front of the card
How could/would my life have been different, if at all, should I have seen someone using art in such a normal, everyday way? I dare say it may not have taken me until my mid-20's to find my path.

So when the mother asked for letters to ease the girls' homesickness, I decided to give Beatrix's approach to art a whirl. I cannot tell you how much fun I had coming up with simple illustrations!

I didn't want to stop. I sprinkled little illustrations along the sides of the letter and in place of a few words. Then I made a list of other possibilities I could doodle if the girls decide to write back to me.

Either way, creating this letter did the trick of opening me back up to the joys of creating. I think because it was something so outside of my normal round, it helped to remind me of why I love to create.

Now, if it will help to alleviate some young ladies' homesickness, it will be even better!

When you lose your way, how do you get back on track when you've misplaced your desire to create?

10 comments:

  1. Laure I was meant to read your post because I have lost my way too. I just can't seem to find the desire to draw or paint of late. Maybe making a few cheerful cards for some who are in need of cheering may just be what I need to do as well. Thank you so much for sharing. Hugs!"

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    1. It happens, Deborah. I hope the desire to create reignites in you soon and I'm sure those cards will be much appreciated!

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  2. As for you, I usually get a lift from doing something out of the ordinary. When someone posts a pretty picture, or we go to a friends house for dinner I like to send a hand drawn card of thanks. It varies from episode to episode.

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    1. I think you've hit on two of the keys, Lisa, something out of the ordinary and variety. Doing the same thing all the time can wear pretty thin.

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  3. I think that is the key - a reason to do something out of the ordinary. It kicks our brains into gear especially when it is both a good reason for doing something AND a new way to do it!

    Being in a slump is something I do know a bit about. This year it lasted longer than usual; I don't know why. I am just now drawing some ornaments I'd left out after taking down the tree LAST Christmas!! I thought I'd better get with it since THIS Christmas is almost upon us!

    I hope and I think they will, like your letters. Pretty soon the girls will be over being homesick but for now illstrated letters ought to be a bright spot on a Norwegian day!

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    1. I know you've been struggling this last year. I figured it was because of all the changes that have come into your life since you moved to CA. I still have ornaments from two years ago (before kittens) that I haven't painted in my sketchbook so I'm right there with you!

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  4. What a lovely surprise they will receive! And a great way to recharge your own "mojo." I have several strategies for regaining my desire to create--sometimes I take a break from the struggle, sometimes I try a different form of creation (poetry or sketching instead of nonfiction articles and essays, for example), sometimes I try a writing exercise, change where I work, or read something that inspires me to get back to the page. (And sometimes I have coffee with you!) It helps to have a number of tricks in the bag.

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    1. I hope so, KJ. I like your strategies. I am going to have to remember these as I'm sure at some point, I've wander off my path again.

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  5. Glad you got your inspiration back Laure, and glad you've learned not to panic when it happens. The sketches on the cards are super cute.

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  6. What a charming response to the mother's request. I hope the girls soon find joy in their new surroundings.

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