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Burn out...

Ughh....I just cant seem to pull myself into the studio lately. Painting is just the last thing I want to do right now. I dont know why either.... any advice on how to overcome? I dont have the luxury of just taking time off since I have to try to make $, but I also know I make sub-par work when I'm not "into it". Ugh. 


  • Ask your hubby to rearrange your furniture. All his reasons and excuses why you don't need to rearrange anything will drive you back to the easel. My wife was always inspired with that one.
  • edited November 2019
    Give yourself time, Jessica. True painters never burn out. They just need time to catch their breath  If it takes a few days away from the easel for the muse to return then you need to take that time. We all go through these periods. For example, I paint 10 hours a day seven days a week and I usually love it - it's exactly what I want to do. But for the last 5 days since finishing my last one I haven't painted at all. No subject excited me.  I spent day after day feeling guilty and going through my source material but nothing interested me - I felt like I was completely over landscapes. I have lots of pretty photos of hills, trees, rocks and skies but I felt nothing for them.  Then, just by chance, I zoomed in on a part of a photo of some wave-washed rocks and pebbles and suddenly I was  excited again. I couldn't wait to get back to the studio to prepare a very big canvas. 
    The thing is that, if I had forced myself to paint something that didn't excite me, I expect the result would not have excited any one else either.
    So, take the time. Subconciously, your brain will be ticking over about painting and suddenly you'll find something that will get you back at the easel. In the meantime, go through your potential source material, do some thumbnail sketches, and maybe prepare a few canvases. It will come. And don't feel bad about taking time out. I understand the financial imperative but even the bank clerk and the check-out chick at Walmart get to have days off and a vacation now and then.  It should be the same for us. We're not machines.  :)

  • edited November 2019
    I'm often inspired and replenished by walks outdoors, alone. I like nature a whole lot but don't get much of this here, so been slowly turning myself around to the cityscapes. Over the years I developed the artist's eye, so everywhere I go this eye is active within me, seeking possibilities for compositions and paintings, and just simple observations. Some days and sometimes longer periods without inspiration, but it always comes back to me at some point, often in a striking or remarkable, inspiring way. Sometimes having fun setting up still lifes until I arrive at something interesting enough for me, even if I am not painting them, the act of exploration sometimes does something for me. I will often use a camera to record what I see and review the photos later for possible paintings.

    Some of us just don't give ourselves enough credit for what we do, pamper and comfort ourselves and replenish our soul by it regularly. It's important and we are enough.
  • @JessicaArt
    Try not to stress or be harsh on yourself because that will get in the way of you getting back on it.

    Allow your self the lull and that will let the seeds of creativity grow for when you are ready.

  • @JessicaArt considering your recent painting marathon you most probably are a bit jaded and worn out by the whole process. Maybe ease your way back into it by trying a different medium like watercolours, pastels or simply sketching.
    I find a watch of some art documentaries helps too. I just type in 'art documentaries' into youtube and find myself getting inspired again.
  • Wow thanks everyone, your responses were both beautiful, comforting, and encouraging. I suspect part of my hesitance to get back in there is this commission I have that has me completely intimidated. A cloudscape (that I have to half imagine because the source photo is so poor) over mountains, with a river in the foreground. I routinely botch water scapes and my skies have always been a challenge as well. I've been doing some research, and looking at cloud paintings by Renato Muccillo as well as a free e-book on the underpainting portion by Layne Johnson- a fantastic cloudscape painter. I roughed in that underpainting today... and it looks just about that.... rough... haha but im trying to just have fun and kind of harken back to my glaze painting days and build this slowly.
    besides that another thing that I think was holding me back was my HORRIBLY messy unorganized studio full of dirty paint brushes, and messy dried pallet, etc. So today I cleaned and moved things around. Moving my painting space over near the window for these dark days of winter. Im sure I will eventually have to move back to the darker side of the room to avoid glare but for the time being I enjoy watching the squirrels and neighborhood cats go by. Besides that I was using OMS today so the cracked windows helped. 
    Thanks again everyone! Again, your responses were so poetic & put a smile in my heart! Love this group! 
    @tassieguy @Forgiveness @MichaelD @Intothevoid @BOB73 @PaulB
  • I dont know if I can add anything of value to what has already been said, but I will try. I find that when I resist getting into the studio it is because I ca not see how to do what I have ahead of me. Sometimes I have to just let the canvas sit on the easel until the answer dawns on me. Then it usually takes just one short session and its done. In a recent painting I let the canvas sit unfinished for a week. I know my mind was working subconsciously to solve whatever issue I am having with it. Then, when I least expected it, the solution dawned on me. It did not not take but a few minutes to finish the passage. So I have learned not to beat myself up, thinking I am lazy. I know i am waiting and need to be patient until I see the next step. 
  • make the water still and paint the sky and water at the same time but upside down.
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