“What are you doing this summer?” I’ve heard this question all over town from friends and acquaintances. As school comes to a close, my teacher friends tell each other their plans. “Sleeping!” “Relaxing!” “Reading!” We teachers nod knowingly.  Recharging. It’s how we continue teaching year after year, giving ourselves time to recover after a challenging ten months.

Like any other profession, creativity comes with its own stresses. Writer’s block, lack of energy, the blank white canvas, the notes that don’t make a song…stuck. What do you do when you encounter these kinds of situations?  How do you feed the parts of you that need sustenance?

A friend of mine who has just moved her studio, created a new studio, and come off a busy and difficult spring of art shows and sales, says she feels zapped, her energy is low, and she feels like she has lost some of her passion. I think what her body is telling her is that she’s tired. Sometimes we have to listen to our bodies, not the voices in our heads. Are you the kind that just tries to muscle through those tough times (that would be me)? Perhaps a different tack, a gentler one, some time for self-care. Where’s that book you’ve wanted to read for the past year? Lunch and a museum visit with friends may soothe the rough patches that are irritating you. And there’s always a massage to loosen those tight, tense shoulders. Exercise in any form is an option. Maybe you can start a new yoga class or Zumba dance that will reawaken you from the doldrums. Maybe it’s just good old sleep that you need.

Why not take a class in something related to your creative avenue - something which tiptoes from behind that will jumpstart your imagination and catch that stuck blob inside of you by surprise. That type of action can light a new fire, or blow your creative embers into a beautiful flame again. An instructor whose work you admire can often do the same; sometimes we just need to see more possibilities and out-of-the-box work. There are so many online classes available, even online delving into the spirituality of art is out there. For example, Soul Collage comes to mind with its path to dig deeper into the images we create to find out what they mean to us. The podcast Magic Lessons by Elizabeth Gilbert may give you some ideas for setting specific goals for yourself. It helps its participants move into something new – whether the courage to write and send it out, or even how to get into podcasting with one’s photography.

Try something in a completely new genre – dance, new music, poetry readings, writing if you are a visual artist, painting if you are a literary artist. Visual journaling is an interesting way to dig deeper into feelings and find out what is behind the images that you use. I can’t say enough about cross-fertilization. After all, that’s how we feed our collaborations. In a recent issue of Art Houston, p. 38-39, there is an article entitled “Cross Pollination” by Jill Boyles, with the highlighted subtitle of  “Photography Energized My Writing.”

Speaking of cross-pollination, do you have your collaboration partner yet? If not, you can join us on Saturday, June 16, 2:00 – 3:45 pm at Mendenhall Community Center for a smaller version of speed- dating similar to the activity at the May meeting. Or, think of someone you might have met at a WiVLA meeting lately and send her an email. info@wivla.org or membership@wivla.org can share members’ emails with each other.

Cori Austin

"An ekphrastic poem is like a jolt of electricity surging through a work of art."
- Patricia Smith, ARTLines2

GoodSearch: You Search...We Give!