When I can’t…

When life goes on full tilt, and I feel like I can’t do anything creative, I try to come up with ways to make a small creative step.  Here are some ways I do that:

*When I can’t seem to find any empty space in my life, I make a little drawing leaving a large amount of unfilled, white space on the paper.  Somehow just looking at it helps me breathe a little more freely and feel just a bit more expansive even when the to-do list threatens to choke me.

*When I can’t find the energy to create a larger-scale piece of work based on a busy photo reference, I ZOOM IN and choose a much smaller element to concentrate on.  The above example is of just looking at the one tree in a sea of trees in my photograph.  The same is true for drawing from life…I just choose something small in my immediate surroundings and forego trying to render all the stuff in the background, foreground, etc.  (Can you tell where I zoomed in on the photo above?)

*When I can’t even imagine having the time to set out my watercolor palette, bucket of water, brushes, etc. I choose just paper and pen (my favorite bic!) and simply draw, following the lines of contour.

*When I can’t fathom being able to knit that sweater I’m longing to finish…I start a very small, easy something.  I work just a couple of rows, maybe 3 or 4, each day.

These things make me feel like I’ve not actually drowned in the musts of my life.  They give a sense of forward movement, however small.  They allow a mindset that is still open and not constricted.

They transform the “I can’t…” to “I can…”  And that makes all the difference!

0 thoughts on “When I can’t…

  1. Dr Cornelius Snorter says:

    Hello Jennifer,
    Gosh, I’m glad I read that. I seem to be going through a lot of ‘I can’t’s at the moment. And of course you are right, work smaller – Great idea.
    By the way, I really love that tree drawing, it is really beautiful. I would be so pleased if I had drawn that.
    You have a fantastic blog Jennifer.

  2. Charlotte says:

    I love this drawing too- the line of the bottom twig and the way it creeps out into the white space. And a good piece of advice with it, thankyou!

  3. Rebecca J Stahr says:

    First of all, I love the simplicity of your tree drawing. I haven’t done that with photos, but I have done that with an ordinary object that is around me and my sketchbook. Yours is much more beautiful and zen like…mind a scrawly drawn rendition of a cup or cat etc.

    I had to laugh about the knitting, I do the same thing there too. I have a washcloth started for that exact same reason.

  4. Barbara B says:

    Such wise advice…just what I needed to hear. The single tree is more striking in its simplicity than drawing the whole forest would have been. It’s lovely in its quietness.

  5. icemoosey says:

    This was a very helpful viewpoint. Our backyard looks like you photo and I can’t even begin to draw it. There is one tree where the sun shines just so – I can do that one tree.
    Thank you! And I really love your drawing.

  6. jenpedwards says:

    Thank you all for your comments! I’m crazy busy this week and next…it’s a welcome sight to read your comments at the end of very long days!

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