I do this simple exercise for 20 minutes each day, before picking up a brush. Yes, it seems a little nuts, but it calms the mind, steadies the hand, and gets you into the zone.
Let any vexing thoughts you have flow in, then flow out as you ease into the work. Don’t try to suppress them and don’t berate yourself for having them to begin with. That’s just another energy drain on top of the first one.
Saying something to yourself like, “Duly noted”, will help those thoughts subside. But forget tunnel vision. It’s overrated.
Know What Working Really Is
Working doesn’t just mean smearing paint onto canvas and hoping it looks like something.
When you’re alone in your studio and connecting with your subject—you’re working.
When you’re searching for awkward passages in your art—you’re working.
When you’re awestruck by the greatness surrounding you in your favorite museum— you’re working.
All valuable stuff that makes you a better artist.
Painting sessions don’t have to feel like Nirvana. You don’t need profound and souls to be productive. A bad day is actually better than no day.
Work When You’re Uninspired
On a bad day, you’re engaged.
On a bad day, you’re involved in your art and you’re learning, whether it shows or not. The observations you make today will manifest tomorrow.
It’s called artwork for one simple reason–it’s work.
Rewarding, meaningful, satisfying work that also happens to suck every now and then.
Kind of like life itself.
To repeat, art is a part of life and a reflection of it, including the good, the bad, and the horrific.
So don’t overanalyze and don’t overestimate the impact of your mood. It’s not as important as it seems.
In the words of late New England artist and professor George Nick, Just Paint.
Sound wisdom, especially now.