Thursday, December 2, 2010

Winter Blahs

Winter may not officially be here, but it sure does feel like it. It's darker earlier in the day, and it's been pretty cold. I am finding that because of this, it's been hard for me to get a full 5 hours of painting a day in.

I've always had a hard time painting once it got dark outside. Something about the darkness has always made me shut down and it signaled it was time to go home. Never have I pulled an all-nighter painting, no matter what deadline I had looming. It's just not in me to be able to paint at night. Now that day light savings has kicked in and it's dark by 5pm, I am finding the my energy to paint has diminished greatly. Throw in a cold warehouse for a studio and we have an unproductive artist.

This painting seems to be taking me forever to finish.
I blame the cold weather and darkness.
Someday she will be finished...
Once I figured out what was going on, and realized that my unproductiveness had to do with the season, I started to wonder about what I did last year (I have only been at this studio space for a year and a half and I have only been inspired enough to paint daily for almost two years). Did I have this problem then too? Did I get any work done? Then I remembered that I was still teaching last winter. I want to say that I was good and came in after work to do some painting, but I'm not sure if that is the truth. I distinctly remember feeling down about the lack of painting I did during winter break, almost two weeks of free time that would have been perfect for painting all day. I can recall justifying not going in to the studio the entire time and telling myself I deserved a FULL vacation, from everything, and that I wasn't a horrible artist for not using the time to paint. I didn't know why I didn't want to paint, I just knew that I couldn't seem to get myself into the studio.

I'm sure if we were to make a graph of productivity throughout the year we'd see that I am most productive during all the months that are generally considered "sunny" months. Months that are warmer seem to be my friends and I can easily get a large amount of work done. Months that are dark and cold, not so much. Maybe this need to stay home, where it's warm, is an innate instinct, like the bear hibernating for the winter. It's a need to slow down and "conserve energy" in order to survive, an instinct left over from my ancestors who had less options of food and shelter during the winter months. Sounds pretty good, and if these weren't modern times, I could probably make a case.

I think for me it may be just an old fashioned case of the winter blahs. Back in the days when I had a day job this wouldn't have been to big of a problem, I still had a paycheck I could rely on. But now that I am painting full-time, I know that I can't succumb to the need to hibernate. I need to stay focused ALL YEAR in order to support myself financially. I do have to be realistic though. I know the winter months are going to be less productive. Less paintings will be finished. More time will be spent on warmer activities, like marketing FROM HOME. Fortunately for me, I am normally a "fast" painter so less productive may mean a painting a week or two versus a painting every two days.

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