Every winter many artists in my area fall into a creative funk. The days are short so those with seasonal affective disorder feel the lack of sun first. Then there are those who feel “let down” after the hustle of shows and sales before the winter holidays. Some artists have pushed so hard to create lines and new work and once the shows are over, they are depleted. Starting over is sometimes hard. Others just fall into a creative funk seasonally.
Every February I’d beat myself up for not creating. Spring shows would be coming up and I’d look at empty shelves with no desire to make. One year I was talking to a local potter and he said he once charted his funky moods and found that if he didn’t give into them, he was even less productive. So when they came, he did what he felt like doing–if it was reading–he read. If it was the desire to take a dance class–he did. Eventually he learned that by giving into these “unproductive times” he was ultimately more productive. I think of him every February and wonder what crazy creative thing he is giving into and then I wonder why I’m fighting my own creative funk. This year I feel very, very far from my studio. I’m working a regular teaching gig. A painting teacher at the school invited me to sit in on his class…so I’ve dug out my paint brushes. I haven’t taken a painting class since 1993. It’s good. I’m starting to dream of colour combinations and to look at light and clouds creatively and not just with the sigh of an artist in a funk.
Ways to help restart your creative juices:
- Music–Play it, lots of it. Explore new music.
2. Bask in the Glow: look for letters and comments from customers–you’ve been meaning to collect those letters in one place. Do this in your creative funk–you are sure to be inspired by the letters.
3. Enjoy this unstructured time: Don’t fight it. Be like my potter friend and sign out a stack of books from the library or take a class in something unrelated to your work. I’m in a painting class right now and I’m really enjoying it. Making art not for profit is freeing. I’m obsessed with skies–I’ve got folders full of photos…so I’m enjoying digging into them and painting clouds.
4. Clean your studio space. Clear out old ideas and clutter. It can be very freeing to make room for new ideas!
5. Take stock: literally. You have to do it for taxes, so why not use this down time to look at your stock and reorder what you will be needing.
6. Get together with other local artists…join a group, start a group. Share some of your work, talk about it, see new art, meet new people!
7. And lastly, remember that “this too shall pass.” You will be creative again. Your creative soul is just rebooting and you will bounce back rejuvenated.
Jeannette Froese LeBlanc lives in a little red school-house on the edge of a woods in rural Ontario, Canada with her husband, children and a menagerie of pets. She holds a Master’s degree in education as well as several bachelor’s degree’s in history and arts. When she is not teaching, Jeannette makes jewellery in her home studio. She is inspired by nature and her life as a mother. To see more of her work follow on her Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sassyandstella/