19 February

Ebb and Flow

“Emerson, I am trying to live, as you said we must, the examined life. But there are days I wish there was less in my head to examine, not to speak of the busy heart.”

It's been a while since I completed a painting, and I'm trying to not be hard on myself about it. I'm just not in the right head space or heart space right now. I have plenty of crochet projects on the go, another exciting collaborative yarnbombing project with the Yarntopians, and an Etsy shop to look after, so I'm not short of things to put my creative energy into at the moment.

All of this creative busy-ness isn't enough to quiet my inner critic, though. She wants me to be painting, and she values new ideas over comfort zone projects.

I know many other over-thinking creative souls will relate to this: 

I am in my studio, hand-embellishing prints for Etsy orders. It's a task I love, so I'm feeling happy and relaxed. Music is playing, and I am enjoying the satisfaction of providing myself with some self-employment. I'm grateful that my customers still love and continue to buy my older pieces. I take a break for a minute to share this contented feeling on social media.

The inner critic interrupts. She rolls her eyes and points out that I've shared those pieces, that process, those thoughts or similar ones before. She asks me what I'm doing to challenge myself lately. What have I got that's new?

I turn the music up, and tell her to be quiet. I get back to my work, but the contentment has been interrupted and it's not quite the same. I make a few sketches and notes in my art journal, ideas that might turn into a painting on a day in the future.

Later, when I return to my social media, I read that I have just shared the same artwork that is hanging on a customer's wall, and that this particular piece always makes them happy. I get an email from a school teacher who is using a tutorial I created several years ago to help plan a class for her children. All is fine in my creative world again. For now.

How about you, my arty, crafty readers? I need some ideas. How do you quiet your inner critic, and allow the creative process to experience its natural ebb and flow?