Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Be Careful What You Wish For

"Grand County Sunset"
Oil on Panel

So, you know how my last post had to do with needing a break? Well, shortly after arriving home from our weekend in Aspen I came down with a really nasty stomach bug that kept me in bed for two days and prevented me from eating anything other than toast for about five days. Not fun at all, but I suppose it forced me to rest for a few days. I said I needed a break and I got one, right? Apparently God has a sense of humor!

Before we left for Aspen I was having a really bad week in the studio. Nothing was coming together the way I intended, and I was really struggling to do anything decent. I thought taking a break would help, but when I finally stepped back up to the easel at the end of last week, I had another rough day, and started to get really frustrated.

Luckily, I was able to get outside and hike a bit this weekend, and the time outside restored a bit of my landscape painting mojo. I started five paintings today, and almost finished two of them. With a few touch ups, they should both be decent, thus ending my streak of unsuccessful paintings. Thank goodness!!

It's funny how I forget time and time again what I can do to recharge my creative batteries, so to speak. For me, spending time outdoors is a must. If I'm not outside enough, I get grumpy and stressed out and since I paint landscapes, my painting suffers. Nate's been married to me long enough to know to send me out for a run or hike if I'm being completely intolerable. You would think I would know this too by now, but I never learn.

So, that's the point of this post - to remind me at some time in the future when I'm frustrated and cranky and struggling that I need to get my butt outside. After all, that's why I live in the mountains.

How do you recharge? I'd love to hear what others need to stay productive and keep the flow going in the studio!


  1. Sitting and working in the garden in the early morning usually does it for me. We have a new garden - finished new landscaping last month - with fountain and loads of flowers.

    If that doesn't work, then hard physical labor of any kind does.

    Also, reading your blogs inspires me. Not meant to be flattery, just the truth.

    Stacey - please note the new blog/Wed site address - MichaelLynnAdams.com

    Take care of yourself, the world needs your art.

  2. Awesome paintings and great insight....For me working in the garden, yard or just being outside or playing the piano....sometimes something dumb like cleaning the whole house while new information is digested and internalized!! I find music to suit my mood also. We need the time off to assimilate and move up a notch hopefully!!

  3. I've done some really bad paintings lately. I'm also getting burned out. I always do in August... and can never figure out how to get it back together. Today after reading your blog I (mostly) blew off all of my work and spent the morning splitting and stacking firewood, and then went on a surf trip this afternoon, all depite the fact that it was a perfect painting day. I figured I would spare the canvas and just see if I came back recharged a bit tomorrow.

    By the way, "A View From the Top" on the previous post took my breath away. I keep going back to look at it and getting jealous! Thank you for your paintings.

  4. Greg - thanks, I'm glad you like them!

    Michael - I can see how gardening would be a good way to recharge. Just enough to keep your mind a bit busy, and surrounded by beauty while you work. I'll be sure to mark the new address.

    Theresa - your mention of playing the piano is making me wish I still had a piano in the house - I bet that would be great!

    Colin - I hope your day off helps and you have a productive day tomorrow. I hate periods when I do bad painting after bad painting - I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one. Glad you like "A View from the Top" - that means a lot coming from you - I always love your work!

  5. Stacy--obviously you're not alone, but if this is the result the break is worth it. Gruppe books, Kevin MacPherson's, Carlson's etc. often get me going again.

  6. I hope you're feeling MUCH better now.
    Oddly enough, painting juices me up. Lying in bed at the end of the day with a bowl of popcorn on my belly, watching Tivo-ed Saving Grace episodes works, too. A great conversation- The best.
    I love coming here to see what you've painted. You put good things into the world, Stacey.

  7. Yes, be careful what you wish for. I am always very mindful of that when I think of complaining.

    A good walk in the fresh air gets me charged and I'm with Susan. Nothing like a good painting session to get me inspired to keep going.
    Playing with Erin charges me up spiritually, but leaves me to drained to paint.

    Hope you guys are feeling better. Nothing worse than being sick at the same time as the kid.

  8. OOPS! well, I forgot to tell you how much I like this painting and the last one. The sky and clouds in this one are super.
    "A View from the Top" is a stunner.

  9. Jack - thanks for the encouragement. This is one of the paintings I struggled with - I think I repainted the foreground and mountains three times each!

    Susan - I agree that keeping with the painting is the best way the keep things well-oiled! Sometimes I just get in a funk and what comes out isn't the best work...

    Frank - I totally agree with your comment about being a parent. I love spending time laughing and playing with Aspen, but I'm often emotionally drained after a day of being "Mom" and have a hard time painting. That's why I make sure I have two days a week devoted to painting from early in the morning!

  10. I just found your blog and just so love the beautiful paintings. I also enjoy your comments. They are so informative and inspiring.
    I will keep looking.