I’ve tried to make a point of practicing art in some way every day this year. This is mostly comprised of figure drawing in my sketchbook each night before bed. But the past week, I’ve really felt the need to take a break, and after fighting through it for a few days, I decided to give myself some mental rest.
This was not an easy decision. I had built up a streak of daily practice that I don’t think I’ve ever had - even when I was in high school, and art was my life. But I felt burn-out coming, and more important than maintaining a streak was maintaining my passion for this.
So, I put the pencils down for a week with the intention of taking no more than a week off. I’m proud of myself, that I didn’t let that week turn into 2 weeks, and then into a month, then several months, as I have every other time I’ve tried to build this into a daily ritual.
When I came back to my studio after that short break, I was excited and motivated. This is the real value of rest. I probably could have powered through my burnout, but at what cost? This is a hobby for me, and it must remain enjoyable, even when it is difficult. If I take a few days off, nobody starves and nobody dies. But therein lies the danger, and I must never forget it.
About the painting
8x10 on homemade canvas panel
I’ve had a large work-in-progress of this image for years. I started it, got intimidated by the size of it, and put it away. I wondered if I could get past the intimidation by doing something much smaller, so I pulled out an 8x10 panel, and spent about 90 minutes just seeing what I could do.
I don’t love it, but I think there are some nice spots in it. And it looks OK when you walk by the studio and glance it from the hall. But it doesn’t hold up when you look at it closely.