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Maybe this introspection is not easy to consider. And...maybe not a great discussion starter. I'm sorry for that. I was just thinking...I wonder how other artists feel about themselves in this kind of stage.
I know some people hit it...and just feel like quitting. I have felt like that too. I am past that, I know I can't ever stop.
I know some people stress over the missing muse. I have done that too. I realized, worrying about it does not bring back my creativity.
well when its not there its not there. I don't feel any pleasure and it feels like going through the motions, or maybe a job. It affects quality so I just walk away and return when I feel like it. Life already has so many obligations and chores - my photography shouldn't be one of them.
I was wondering where you are.
Have not seen you active on discussion lately.
Now I know.
We usually encounter that "Burn Out" feeling, specially on us artist.
When we say "Been there,Done that, What else is new!"
Or just plainly BORED! STUMPED! UNINSPIRED! or simply not in the MOOD.
You know what I do Angel when I feel as if my mind is just totally BLANK,I go to my quite place and just let my mind relax, listen to music.
Or go to a church, and just sit there. Letting your body, mind and spirit be revived. By the forces unseen.
Or go to a spa. Let those aches be gone, so when you go back to work your energized.
Thats what i do Angel when I feel as if my creative mood is low. It works for me. Hope it works for you too Angel.
Now Get that Creative Mode of yours Back ANGELINA VICK! Happy creating my friend. GodBless
It happens to all of us and it will happen more than once. I told some friends the other day I was considering selling all my camera gear and buying a point and shoot camera and be done with it. I had just bought a new expensive lens! Life takes a toll on our creativity at times. I feel like crap when I can't find my mojo when out shooting but I find that I can't force myself to be creative when I feel like that. I question my abilities then too. I have to wait for it to pass and not push it. What helps me is to go off shooting at a favoritie place alone since most of the time I'm with one or more persons. For me it's the 150 mile drive at 5:00 a.m. (if not an overnight trip) to the Smoky Mountains to be away and on my own to do my thing for myself. I've not been able to do any really productive shooting for a couple of months and it's killing me. BUT I've been there before, I know it will pass, so I give it time and do what I need to do to take care of me and just wait it out. Hang in there and keep the door open for the muse. She will return!
As a bipolar, I know I just have to ride through the bad times, and persevere for the better times. I think that this applies to everyone, sometimes. It helps for me that with my disability, I can drop any expectations for any period of time. Offload all the routine junk you can, and give yourself permission to take a vacation, but preserve time for relationships and anything that gives you a spark. (Don't be a hermit.) Sometimes doing something completely different helps.
The muse never has to leave the building if you don't want it to.
When times get down, don't focus on the negatives. Focus on your blessings.
Take a moment, stand still, and notice and dwell upon the breeze that blows into your face when you step outside. The chirp of a bird or the rustling of leaves in the wind. Every breath of air you take. The taste of each bite of food. The music of the voice of someone you love.
The smallest things, normally taken for granted, can bring great joy when properly noticed and appreciated. Giving blessings to the small things can make the problematic large thing insignificant in comparison.
This year in February a fire burned down my studio and all my work.
Naturally, for a while after that I had no desire to create anything. Going back to what I was making before seemed redundant and stupid. I no longer felt connected to the subject matter I had been working with, and felt pretty cynical about my work in general.
My eventual solution? Doodling. I bought a really small sketchbook that I could carry around, since I had 0 motivation to go into my actual studio and paint. At the bar or wherever I was, I would sketch what I saw/things that come automatically to me... Ugly things, stupid things, anything. Eventually, one of my doodles led me into my newest series of work.
Forcing yourself to do anything, even doodling, at a time when you feel completely creatively hopeless, can cause you to stumble upon something you'd never thought of before. When you are "inspired" and things come easily, you may actually just be doing the things that are the most obvious or predictable in terms of your creative flow. But when you're put in a situation where you're unmotivated or uncomfortable, then there's way more room to surprise yourself!
generally you do something else. like as soon as this upload issue is fixed, i'm sending up newly revamped images that probably wouldn't print. it takes far to long to get an answer to see if your work will print or not when it's on hold. so i'm biting the bullet and digging out my old work to see if i can clean it up. while i do that, i'm updating colors and so on to hopefully make it more sellable.
Well, I have been dealing with depression/anxiety for the past 55 years (I am now 70). My depression did stop me from writing short stories. When I was about 25, I wrote 12 short stories and had one published and then my mind went blank in creating "word" stories. To this day, some 45 years later I still can't write creatively.
So, I eventually picked up a camera (around age 30) and became a photographer even while (at times) very depressed and on meds. My craving to "see" the world around me was so great that not even mental illness could stop this.
Each artistic person reacts differently to mental/physical/personal problems. My shrink told me that when she is depressed (she went thru a bad divorce) she put even more time into her artistic creations and felt that the images she created were some of her best.
Some folks just give it up for a while and come back to it a year later, 5 years later...Just depends....
But do remember that millions of folks are having the exact same problems you are...tens of millions the world over have depression/physical problems/personal problems, the works.
You might want to read the first page of MOBY DICK...
"Call me Ishmael..........Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off--then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship. There is nothing surprising in this. If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me....."
Me again....OK, so find out what your ocean is....
You start to realize after going through hundreds of these over the years in the craft that it is just a cycle
and is completely normal. Take a rest, do something else for a while and the creativity will return. Just
remember it is just a cycle and you will be back to doing your art work in no time.
I guess I just call it being a wife ,mother & grandmother. There are times ( & now is one of them for me lately ) where the artist self - just does not fit in the schedule of responsibilities.
& I hate that. I can't feel my own self when I can't submerge in my art, or get a chance to spend some time with the horses. I just have "no special", I am a performing functioning object.
But that's just a large part of who we are, & the relationships we have chosen to be responsible in.
I can't just do art a little bit. 5 mins. or a 1/2 hour here & there. I have to dive in - or just stay away. I'm glad the muse leaves then, or I would be foaming at the mouth.
I feel a bit guilty or "non professional" that I can't force participation. That is just not how I express myself.
As far as the stress, be as good to yourself as you would give to others. Listen to Dan & take a walk, listen to soothing music or take 15 mins to call a best friend just to hear them laugh.
Don't push it. Take some time off and read a book, or look through new art topics online or research new techniques and think about how you may be able to use them in your own art process. Or maybe just spend time with your kids...
Angel, i thought i hadn't seen you on here for awhile...i have been through many of those moods of not having any interest in the work, once so depressed i left it off for a few years..when it's time to come back it will though...you can't force it, it will just suddenly reappear and you'll be going hell leather at it. lol..
I to have had a rough month as my partner Rosie was diagnosed with Breast Cancer so i have had no interest in my work what so ever. Feeling quite drained and the slow sales this last month or so makes you wonder sometimes if it's worth it. But knowing me i'll keep on as i love painting and drawing so much.
Stay well Angel, here for you if you need a chat.
Angelina....listen to your body and mind. Give yourself a much-needed break. You need to rejuvenate...sleep, exercise...get outdoors. Pick up another craft and try something different until inspiration returns.
Unfortunately it happens to all artists...regularly...I used to stress about it, but save my energy now, I just decide I'm going to take a week or two off....it does come back but you just have to be kind to yourself really....hope you feel a bit better soon...its normal.
Angel, I suffer with this constantly, and then all of a sudden I have a creative spurt, and I have worked out that it's the mad creative spurts that can tire me out - a sort of brain tired feeling.
I used to feel exactly as you do, and still do to an extent, but have become a wee bit smarter with my head.
I deliberately keep a few works unfinished - not a lot unfinished, but some. When the muse sleeps, I get to work completing them and upload them. I go through FAA and comment, vote,tweet etc, and in general wait for it to pass. It always does, but I sure dislike the feeling.
Take a break and just do whatever you want. With all the marketing, creating, promoting - I think we all burn out to some extent.
Hi Angel...I feel your pain. I get into this "funk" several times a year, usually in the winter months following Christmas. They don't last very long but they do infuriate me. I tend to get really angry with myself. I don't try to force myself to create, as I learned early on that it's pointless. Usually what I do is go in the opposite direction and take on some of the boring editing jobs I've been pushing to the side.
I think that all the marketing and promoting that I have to do with each picture I post has a lot to do with it. It sometime seems like it takes the fun out of it all.
Hi Angel.. I know the feeling well... When my husband died all my motivation died with him .. He used to be so thrilled when ever I created a new piece or won an award, He was my inspiration .. He built my studio for me did all my art shows and exhibition with me . He was such a tower of strength . When he was gone I stopped painting I dismantled my studio sold the house and moved in with my son.. . I never picked up a brush for over a year .. since March 2012. There was no reason to, no one to please. But here I am now I have searched myself , I have learned that everything I do is important to me. I have learned to live on my own . I am back painting again .. of course My Larry is still with me , maybe in a different form but I do still feel his presence looking over my shoulder at what I am doing. You will get your joy and zest back , I am sure of it You are such a wonderful artist You can not stay down for long.. Don't push the creative part of your life It will come back on it's own .. relax , just enjoy being you, with your family ..
Sorry you are struggling, Angelina. I think what you wrote is exactly what you need, a break. Sometimes it seems difficult but when things start to get me down, I start focusing on gratitude.. there is always so much to be thankful for and just doing that can really shift your perspective. Be well!
Sorry to hear you've lost your groove, Angelina. :-( It's, almost certainly, a temporary thing.
Luckily, my art, my music, my writing, is where I go when I'm feeling overwhelmed or beat up on by the universe. They're my buffer against reality. The various muses can usually be counted on to take turns poking at my mind. If I'm feeling a bit out of sorts with one, I turn to the other.
I also make a deliberate effort to devote chunks of time to 'the real world': friends, family, socializing, gardening, home improvement, downtime, etc. Even though I, sometimes, have to force the downtime, it's all part of my Big System for keeping the gears turning, long-term. :-)
Hang in there, Angelina -- inspiration will come knocking, It's like a boomerang! :-)
If you are feeling overwhelmed, you have to take care of yourself first. But if you have the time maybe you can do prep work, whether that means organizing or surfing around. You've done a lot of work since the last time I checked. I especially like these:
I've been in a bit rut as well, Angelina. I find the creativity comes in spurts most of the time for me. I might get 2-5 photos I'm really pleased with and then not much for a little while. When it's happening, it's happening and when it's not, it's not. I find the more "life" stuff I have going on the less I can focus on photography. Whether it be my mind or just the amount of time I have or whatever. Just bought my first home and that has been diverting a lot of my time with moving, fixing, and adjusting to everything. Will be an ongoing kind of adjustment.
I also find that editing stuff and going out and taking photos can be two different animals, moods, creative drives. Sometimes I don't want to shoot but feel like editing and sometimes the opposite. Sometimes I don't really have anything I'm excited about or feel like working on. Sometimes that drives me to grab the sling back pack and the camera and take a walk or a drive locally or even a few hours away to start looking at things in a photographic sense again. Sometimes a hike to a beautiful spot is good medicine.
Good luck... you will get it back... take a breather :)
You have really struck a chord with this brave thread, sharing where you are safe among equals, and I just know you will see the beauty of each amazing, personal, helpful responses. And just know, you're not alone and are valued here, and that your downer will pass....take it from me, an old-timer whose energy waned many a time, and listen to the wisdom here. Your creativity can't be denied.....and will return, and maybe from another place within you.....how exciting is that! (It doesn't hurt to acknowledge the dark side, either. You might want to let it show in new, deep work, as a catharsis.....we won't look unless you want to share, promise. It worked for me recently..."Both Sides of the Coin")
Wishing you peace. I've had 10 notes recently from others as troubled....it is a natural process to burn out.....don't worry too much.
Been down so long it look like up. Those of you who know me understand that I am always on the wrong side of positve about my work and my mantra is life sucks and then you die,. Ok it's not really that bad but anyone who believes being a creative person is easy needs to get off their meds!
Angelina, take a well earned break, for as long as You feel adequate and I assure that on your return your strength and vigour will be magnified 10 fold. Having a major 'purge' too on your downtime of anything impeding your flow also helps to free up space to allow your creative juices to spout forth. It really is all up to You. All the Best! PS. I see you Have been busy!
Inspiration comes when you least expect it and in the form of just about anything. I have about 20 unfinished pieces sitting in my studio, sometimes I walk by one or two and I can't even fathom working on them again. I even have some that are years old, sitting against others collecting dust. Once in awhile I'll pick one up and in a few days it will be completed.
I had that happen last year and lasted for months. No painting or drawing! If I uploaded any art here it was older stuff. Then an outside project came along and I had to explore a whole new art method and application and whew, put me back into the incentive and creative mind. So maybe the "time off" was not all that bad. However, I believe we should be the artist we are most of the time. So think positive and creatively and good luck.
is it depression? all i know is that one of the signs of depression is losing the enjoyment in things you usually like to do. i believe that there is a huge swing from one end of depression to the other and that everyone ca get a touch of it on occasion to some degree. the thing to do is not let yourself go under - find something else to get involved in for a while - someone said read a book - i'd say go for a bike ride or study something you don'g know anything about. the key is change - branch out, do something different. make your gray cells make new pathways in your brain.
Going for a nice walk to a completely different place I have never been in the outdoors. Spend the whole day away; bring a lunch; camera; and relax with the sounds and sights of the natural world around you.
Hmm...that sounds handy Mike, I am going to look for that. Thanks.
I just don't have it in me to retype the huge message I wrote early. To summarize, thank you all for your personal responses. I have listened to all your ideas and I am going to keep working until my muse comes back. I decided to focus on completing series that I started and quit. It's surprising how many of those exist. ;)
I think...if I am trying to build my career, I really don't have the luxury of large down periods. One day or two maybe...but long breaks make me feel lazy, even if my muse left the building.
Just started to work when I wasn't motivated has gotten me back in the saddle again. I have so many ideas...I have a hard time focusing on one, especially very long. Picking up on projects I forgot about got my juices going again.
When I find artistic inspiration lacking (isn't it funny how when you "have it" you think it will never leave?) I've learned not to fight it. My calling is to paint things on canvas with oils...when that desire isn't there I try to find other outlets. And if there are no artistic ones that will suffice, then I'll build something for the garden or make a cool frame from scrap wood or paint a bench for my mom's new cool farm table...next thing you know a canvas gets started!