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  • Writer's pictureMattie V.

Floating and a Pause

Week 9's prompt was Floating.

I don't know what it is about floating islands, but they are one of my favorite imagined landscapes so I just had to paint them for week 9's prompt. The original painting is 5x7" and as I was painting, I realized that it may have been too small for everything I wanted to capture in this work and I don't want to force myself to work tiny if I don't have to. I also need to work on pushing the amount of layered details that I put into scenes and environments. That said, I am very pleased with how Floating turned out!


Now it's time for real talk. Week 9 was the last full week that I managed to finish. Leading up to this point, I can't believe the amount of creative energy I had going into each week. Finally giving myself the space to slow down and go through the entire process of planning, sketching for composition and color scheme, and finally drawing out the final pieces slowly - a part of the process I tend to really rush - contributed to me making it this far and creating quite a few paintings that I absolutely love. I'll be honest, I can't stand the flowers on the tree in Searching for Flowers and guess what? I didn't sketch them or the tree out fully. Lesson (hopefully...finally) learned!

But then I burnt out. I was starting to rush - trying to finish larger pieces from previous weeks while churning out the current week's sketch and my planning practice that I was building was crumpled and thrown out the window. Finally, I reached a point where I had no new ideas and even if I did, I had no motivation to work on them at all. I struggled with the decision to "quit" my challenge, but ultimately reminded myself that I was the one in charge and making the rules and if I needed to pause, I could and it had 0 impact on anyone else but me. I was stressing and getting anxious about something that I controlled completely, so I had to call an end to it.

And that, my friends, is totally fine. It's fine to realize you have reached your burnout point. It's fine to take a break and let yourself evaluate where you are.

As I write this in mid-August, I know I want to go back to the prompts and create works for them. They are still inspiring words and phrases and I do have ideas for most of them rattling around in my brain - I just haven't had the time or motivation to work on them. Part of the reason? I've moved! Again! More on that in the next post. For now, August is the month that I catch up on on Artist Trading Cards for swaps that I have signed up for, work on my two temperature blankets I've been making, and slowly working my way through my backpacking and adventure art journal (more on that in a future post, too!).

I can already feel a creative wave coming this fall and winter. I can't wait to bunker down and get all of the ideas and feelings out on paper and work on building skills in areas that I lack (*cough* humanoids and faces *cough*). For now, I'll enjoy the last burst of sunny summer and flow into my first real fall in a decade. I hope to spend a good amount of weekends in the woods watching the leaves change and fall and experiencing the landscape move through the autumn season and prepare for a winter's hibernation.


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