How Drawing on Vacation led to a Vacation from Drawing

Hi there. How are you? 

I just arrived home from vacation again. (It's been a pretty awesome spring!) This time, we were in South Carolina, staying just steps from the beach.

The beach for me, is inspiring and relaxing. There's a sense of calm that I feel there like no where else. And usually, spending time at the beach leads to some good art making.

The beach for me, is inspiring and relaxing. There's a sense of calm that I feel there like no where else. And usually, spending time at the beach leads to some good art making.

The beach for me, is inspiring and relaxing.

There's a sense of calm that I feel there like no where else. And usually, spending time at the beach leads to some good art making.

Drawings made in spring 2016 while vacationing at the beach.

Drawings made in spring 2016 while vacationing at the beach.

I was prolific at the beach last year.

Last year, while staying at this very same place, I woke up every morning and went right to my sketchbook. I made a drawing a day. They just seemed to flow out of me. I was relaxed and in the zone, and it showed in my work.

As our beach trip approached this year, I was looking forward to some serious sketchbook time.  I'd been in sort of a slump in the past few weeks, so I was hoping some beach time would get me out of it.

This year, vacation drawing felt like work.

My attempts at drawing while at the beach this year were less successful than last year. 

My attempts at drawing while at the beach this year were less successful than last year. 

I started the top half of this drawing before I left for the beach.

I was excited about where it was headed and thought I was on the path to something cool. I continued work on it while on vacation, and ugh. The part I added didn't really match what was going on at the top. I thought about trudging on, but I didn't see anything good coming from it.

So, I decided to start over.

Instead of continuing on with my first drawing, I decided to start over. Again the results were lackluster.

Instead of continuing on with my first drawing, I decided to start over. Again the results were lackluster.

I really wanted to make this color scheme work (it's one of my faves) so started a new drawing with a similar motif. Again, I just couldn't make myself finish it. As I look at this now, I could probably salvage this one, but I'm not sure I want to.

vacation-sketchbook-drawing-blue.jpg

I started over yet again.

This time, I gave up on the green/pink color scheme and just started drawing. As I've said time and time again, I do my best work when I'm relaxed and just go with the flow. I tried to do that here, until the drawing started to look like a face and I couldn't look at it any more.

A drawing I made while on vacation. This one was going somewhere...To bad my darn pen ran out of ink.

A drawing I made while on vacation. This one was going somewhere...To bad my darn pen ran out of ink.

Using my trusty blue Bic, I attempted one more drawing.

This one was going smoothly. I was feeling confident and drawing felt easy. I was on my way to regaining my drawing mojo.

Then, my pen ran out of ink.

I wanted to keep going, so I switched to the maroon. The Pentel maroon didn't go on as smoothly or feel as good in my hand as the Bic did. On top of that, it kept "throwing up" blobs of ink. Of course, that got me frustrated and I started to lose my mojo. In my eyes, this one started to look overworked, so I decided to leave it as is.

Just like the Cubs at the moment, I'm off my game.

I'm not enjoying the process and it all seems forced. I've got no confidence. I feel so much pressure.

That pressure is killing the work.

I put a ton of pressure on myself to succeed. I feel pressure to keep up this blog, to regularly post on social media, to make new products that people will want to buy, and to sell the ones I already have. I feel a constant need to perform, and for what? Likes, comments, and follows? There certainly hasn't been much financial gain in the work I've poured myself into this year. 

How am I going to make this artist business thing work?

I have no solid direction, I don't know what to do next, and I don't see a clear path to success. I'm frustrated and sad. I feel like I'm spinning my wheels and wasting my time. I feel guilty for not pulling my weight in this family financially.

I share this all with you not because I want your pity, but because it feels good to me to get it all out. I know you're supposed to "fake it till you make it" and maybe I'll regret this post in the future, but for now, I just wanted to let you into how I am feeling.

I've been here before.

It must be a spring thing. (I wrote about my spring frustrations in both 2016 and 2015.) I know I can get myself out of this hole. I'll just take some time and some thought.

Instead of letting this need to succeed eat me alive, I'm going to take a step back and access.

Don't worry, I'll keep you in the loop.

Ciao.