To take a break or not…

I’ve been away from sketching and drawing and painting for almost 4 weeks. Our Flying Pictures Project got me back into it. And I struggled. My hand felt dumb, my mind was foggy, my imagination was glum and even my committment and desire were flimsy. And that brought the question to my mind: “Is it good to take a break?”

…digging deep…

Watercolour, pencil and rotring pen on Fabriano artistico  HP, 23×30,5 cm.

It will probably be different for everybody.

As for myself and some people I’ve spoken to lately: ….to take a break, is fine. To take a long break, is disasterous. Whether it is a break from art, or work, or excercise or singing, design, or studies, or whatever. Routine sounds like a dull, boring, unartistic word. But it is in fact routine that gets us to be committed and effective, creative and original, inspired and determined. To break the routine for a definite period, is good for the body and soul. It is replenishing. But taking a break for an indefintite period can be dangerous.

Being away from art for 4 weeks, had me shying away more and more from the paper and brush. It felt too hard find the committment, the inspiration and the creativity. My excuses showed up more frequently and they got more creative in fact! I would promise myself that I would sit down for some painting an afternoon, just to quickly find that my afternoon was taken up by “a-lot-of-other-things-that-need-to-be-done-first”. Or I would blame lack of inspiration. Or even the weather.

It got easier to replace the joy of painting with other things I do enjoy. Photography and cooking. And writing. I also love gardening and designing.  But then there is my conscience. I have a terrible conscience. One that keeps me from sleeping and drives me to eating. My conscience stirred my guilt. For neglecting something that I truly love and enjoy. 

I’ve come to the conclusion that to take a break is almost like planning a vaction:

  • There is a beginning and an end in taking a break, which has to be decided on in your planning beforehand.
  • There is a “destination”; where is this break taking me? Do I want to spend more time on excercising or do I want to spend time with my loved ones..
  • “Not feeling inspired” is one of the most futile reasons for taking a break, which was part of my reason.
  • There is also a “budget” that must be adhered to. What will this break cost me? Will I not lose the new techniques that I’ve just starting working with?
  • And then there is the decision to fully enjoy the short break, knowing well when you’ll be back so as to not have your conscience breathing down your neck the whole time.

I now have to work on reestablishing my commitment,(which needs time to settle in) digging deep for my creativity(which must be excercised to surface), practice the new techniques I left hanging loose, and just start doing again without thinking…art wise that is!