Alyson Stanfield discusses artist slumps her newletter this week. I can certainly relate as I’ve been in an on-again/off-again slump for the past few months. I’ve noticed this happens each winter, typically in February or March or both. I first became aware of my artist slump about 3 years ago when I was part of an art salon group that included Judy Dunn and two members of the Bolton Artisans Guild.
That first one was pretty deep and lasted several weeks. It was a little scary in fact; scary in the sense that I couldn’t believe how much it affected me. Boy was that little inner voice active and making its presence known. However, as my awareness of the slump increases, the shorter the slump seems to last and the better I am at accepting it. The little voice doesn’t have much of an opportunity to say things because I accept the moment as it happens. I now refer to this as my “rebirthing” time; a time of regeneration and of gathering new ideas.
Here is what Alyson recommends to emerge from a slump.
- Wallow; it is okay to wallow a little bit. Honor your emotions. I know this can be hard because we feel we’re supposed to always be producing art. But sometimes you don’t want to or you don’t want to do the art you think you’re “supposed” to do. Acceptance of the slump is key. When you accept it, you don’t resist it, and then you can move through it.
- Plan something with a deadline to get the juices flowing. Creating a “brain drain list” (thank you, Christine Kane) and having a “check-in buddy” to help me meet those deadlines has been very helpful.
- Get out of the studio; walk, run, go to a museum.
- Talk to other people; meet friends, visit a gallery; goes hand in hand with #3. As artists we often work in isolation. There is nothing like meeting a friend for food & conversation or an art date to reset your muse.
- Create an escape path; continue to make your art even if it isn’t great. During this season’s artist slump, I played around with other mediums as a break from polymer clay. Great fun!
- Write; journal about your emotions, your dreams, whatever is inside your head.
- Read inspirational books or biographies about other artists.
- Listen to CDs or audio downloads that motivate you.
- Watch movies or documentaries to remind you of your connection to art and the art world. (Don’t watch stuff that will depress you, make you sad, angry, etc.) As my awareness of my artist slump increases I find I don’t want to watch the news or read the newspaper as much as I did before. I’d rather do something pleasant or watch something pleasant. The external negative energy does not help.
- Purge and clear out stuff that you don’t need. Lots of clutter = negative energy. I’m a strong believer in this one. When I have too much clutter in the studio, my muse practically disappears. When I clear things out, the energy flow is much better.