I will be honest: There are weeks when I don’t paint. At all. And once off the painting-train, it can be hard to get back on. I tell myself things like, “okay, this week is crazy, but I will have some extra time on Saturday and I’ll paint then.” Saturday comes, and I think, “holy Christ I am freaking exhausted and have nothing to give. I need to rest, otherwise work is just gonna be miserable this week.”
The weird thing is, these sound like excuses. I feel guilty when the oil paint on my palette slowly atrophies into hard clumps. But you know what? It’s freakin okay to not paint for a bit. When the job or family or business or *whatever* get overwhelming, painting doesn’t happen. When I have to choose between enough sleep and paint, guess what. Painting doesn’t happen. Instead of becoming a big ball of stress that my favorite hobby is missing from my life, I try to take a deep breath and realize this: it is okay. It’s not gone forever. I can control this and come back to it when my body and energy let me.
My motto is: Take a break from the easel when you need it, and don’t be hard on yourself when it happens. Life is complex, and we need to make things work. Of vital importance is to recognize when to get *back* on the painting horse. A part of you will probably be resistant…that happens for me anyway. Fears arise: what if I paint terribly? What the hell do I put on the canvas after so much time off? So understand what this resistance is: nothing but unfounded fears. And then take 30 minutes out of your day to push past it and be at the easel. Maybe you’ll stay longer than 30 minutes, maybe not. But just commit to that half hour. And do it again. And again. In this way, you keep your craft going at the times that you can, and it will not drop out from under you. It will always be with you.