There comes a time for all artists when they are challenged to even begin a project. With or without incentives like money are fame, sometimes it is downright difficult to start work on a new project. Instead, the artist will find themselves sitting idly, thinking about each step of the process and how much work it will take, or perhaps contemplating that they would rather not begin the same process over again. This malady takes on many names. Gamers will be familiar with the term “burnout”, internet people will call it “demotivated", parents would perhaps lean toward “lazy”. Today we learn to accept the fact that a lack of motivation is part of a natural cycle that can be applied to other aspects of our lives.
The cycle begins anew...
The cycle that I am about to explain can be applied to many things from our hobbies to our friendships and even romantic relationships (*ahem* Especially romantic relationships). We'll put the context of this particular explanation with painting.
The first step is romance. This is the stage in which we first aquaint ourselves with an idea, or inspiration. This generally occurs when you begin brainstorming and have a great idea for that next great work of art. This is the best idea ever, nothing could possibly go wrong...until the second step, reality. In the reality step, we have put a little more thought and time into our idea, and have found one or two slight obstacles. The obstacles may be easily overcome, or may be difficult, either way we have noticed that a once perfect idea has fallen from grace.
This takes us to our third step, reaction. In this step we take action to overcome whatever obstacles are in our way. Sometimes this is researching certain techniques, other times it is simply putting brush to canvas. By confronting these obstacles, we find that we are better than them and able to overcome them, or that we are not up to the task. Oddly enough, both outcomes lead to the same fourth step which is resistance. Overcoming enough obstacles, or failing to do so, will result in a resistance to try again. We will either not feel up to attempting more challenges as the process is getting wearisome and dull, or we will shy away from more failure. This is the stage in which burnout will occur. Luckily, resistance is only stage four of six, and herein lies our hope.
The time at which we think about stage four is when stage five, reflection, begins. We look back and attempt to make sense of our decisions to begin and complete whatever project we have attempted. We rationalize these actions by trying to remember the motivation that begot the idea in the first place. We now begin to remember the excitement of having a fresh new idea, and cant wait for the next one to occur, which naturally starts us brainstorming it. This is the last stage, renewal. In this fever of excitement grows a brilliant new inspiration, the best idea ever, nothing could possibly go wrong...
The cycle begins anew...
As I said, this is a natural cycle in almost everything in our lives. It is helpful to remember this when we are in the resistance stage. It helps us to think more rationally and perhaps remind us to take some time off instead of quitting completely. There is no shame in taking time off of a hobby. In the end, this should be something fun, not work. Just make sure that you are responsible with any commission you may have taken on, and finish them before taking a break. Thanks for reading!
-The Painters' Servant