Growing up, it was always a close call between art or literature. I even looked up joint degrees that allowed you to study art AND literature at university, before deciding on literature in the end, knowing that it would be better to get to the core of one which might be ‘better in the long run’. Still, art and literature are not two completely opposite crafts, but very interlinked (William Blake, anyone?) but I guess that’s common knowledge. So since then, a part of me always wanted to set aside time and materials to paint, to draw, to create. To return to the raw smell of paint, the way it layers, moulds, hardens and leaves its marks and scent for days after. To me, colours are fascinating. Even digital art is; playing with textures and brushes on photoshop, manipulating images to make them completely unrecognisable. Yet I prefer the former; the physical, ‘traditional’ form of art. The watercolours, the pencils, the brushes. In a technological world, it feels good to return to something that you know came from the earth, the plants. It feels good to switch off.
And that is one of the things that I do when words fail me. When I have something to say but I can’t put it into words. When I know that I should write, with thoughts and feelings that only ever linger on the brink and never form into a whole, I paint instead. It is tiring but in that therapeutic, draining-it-out-of-you way. And I am definitely no pro. I can’t paint true to life landscapes or still lifes. Hell, I even struggle to create a decent abstract, but that is besides the point. We spend too much of our lives wanting to be the master of things. It is good to strive for perfection as long as we don’t let it become a critical voice that limits us. Sometimes, it is okay not to be perfect at things that are fun.
Another thing that seems to help me is exercise or any form of physical activity. Be it going for long nature walks or doing 2 hours of yoga. Yesterday, I went rock climbing after which I spent the whole evening setting up and organising another website I co-edit. A website that I had been avoiding up until now. Yet even through my aching arms, I could feel a surge of productivity, motivation and self belief running through me. Pushing yourself to new limits and strains physically definitely has a psychologically unlocking effect.
What are some of the things that you do when you’re stuck?