copyright 2007 Stacy L. Rowan
I have found in my years of being an artist that two things can push me into an artist slump. One is finishing a breakthrough painting or drawing. By breakthrough I mean a work that is better than any I had created previously. The other cause is realizing that my vision outpaces my skill level. In other words, being able to "see" the fabulous piece of art I want to create, but not having the necessary skills to be successful in creating it.
I think the problem with both of these events is they inspire fear or create (self-imposed) pressure. The breakthrough piece surprises me with how good my work can be. That surprise is followed by the feeling of pressure, created by wanting to repeat the success, and fear that the success was somehow a fluke. When vision outpaces skill, of course, the fear is that the skill will never advance enough to allow me to create what I see in my mind's eye.
What I think is funny is that visible growth can sometimes stop me. (Although truthfully it is more of a pause, because I always come back to creating.) Producing a painting that shows growth in my technical skills or visualizing one that represents growth in my creative skills is more fearful than producing something which shows no growth? How counter-intuitive is that? Stagnation is more comfortable than growth?
Do you think that changing my point of view - celebrating the growth instead of focusing on the fear - would stop a slump in its tracks? It's an interesting theory and definitely worth a try. I'd love to hear opinions on this topic from other artists out there.