My Cure for Winter Blues

Wild and garish? Sure, but I can always paint over it (or parts of it) later. For now, it has the same effect on me as opening a brand-new box of 64 Crayolas. Just what I needed to get me past the "winter blues"!

We’re only a couple of weeks away from the winter solstice now. It’s dark when I start work in the morning. It’s dark before I end work in the afternoon. On rainy days, I need a light on in my studio just to read a book.

It feels like there’s never quite enough light in the studio to really see what I’m doing, which can’t be true, because I have about a zillion LEDs of lighting.

I should be painting my little heart out right now, in this gap between fall and winter classes, but I don’t seem to have much creative juice this year. I’ve been hearing that from a lot of you, too.

I’m painting, anyway, because I know that momentum is a big piece of inspiration.

The idea for the next piece comes when I have the brush moving. Even when the brush is just making more fodder for the Big Pile of Nope. Sometimes especially when things aren’t working, because that’s when I get fed up and decide to try something crazy. I’m a big proponent of digging deep to figure out what you’re trying to say with a painting, but for me, that comes after I’ve gotten excited about saying something in the first place.

And a sure way to get myself excited again is some high-wattage COLOR!

Sometimes, I pull out an existing painting and re-interpret it with bold, even crazy, color.

I often use those inexpensive “decorator” paints for this, like Apple Barrel, FolkArt or Americana, from JoAnn or Michaels, so I feel completely free to use plenty of paint in whatever wild colors appeal to me. (Using acrylics means I can also easily paint right on top of a failed watercolor, if I want.)

Project 2 from Watercolor Skies and Clouds
Re-envisioned with crazy colors (and a texture effect I’m playing with). It’s not a success, as a painting, but it generated a lot of ideas and got me excited again.

If I don’t have enough energy even for that, I start decorating my sketchbook covers. Again, I usually use acrylics, partly because they help protect the cover against water.

This is the boring sketchbook I bought to prepare for my Journey Through the Rainbow class starting in January (there’s a reason I put that class in January!).

I coated the front cover with white acrylic gesso and then went crazy!

I had a lot of paint left over, so I did the inside of the front cover, too.

Pretty garish, but right now, just looking at little bits of it is giving me ideas for paintings I want to try. Paintings I’m really excited to try!

Look at all these yummy color combinations!

Sometimes, the point of painting is not to “make a painting”. What started out as mostly idle play has sparked ideas for several paintings. But the most important part is that it’s re-ignited my enthusiasm!

And, that sketchbook is going to make me feel like a kid with a new 64-color box of Crayolas every time I pull it out, too!

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