After returning from an amazing 2 weeks in Europe (Germany, Italy and France) I was worried I’d lose the creative momentum. The last time I was in Europe (and the first time as well) was when I was visiting my boyfriend, now fiancée, in Germany. He was there for work, and I got to benefit from the free hotel ;). The experience was magical to say the least. I know that this feeling is normal, for those of us who aren’t experienced in travel. I visited so many galleries, and became incredibly inspired. I was soaked in art by the I had only ever read about in my art history books.
I came back to Montreal determined to paint. I prepared over a dozen canvas’ of various sizes. I planned my pieces, took photos of friends, buildings, animals. I had a huge series worked out. I started with pencil sketches, I starting 3-4 drawings at once so I could paint in an inspired whirlwind till the wee hours of the morning. I was so motivated. That motivation lasted approximately 5 mins. I don’t know what happened, but I let the motivation die. Time passed and I made lots of lists, lots of plans about what I would create. But I didn’t create anything. I somehow I still thought I was a painter, even though I wasn’t painting.
A lot has happened in 4 years. I’ve learned a lot about creating art, and giving myself unrealistic expectations. When I give myself an unachievable goal I fail and get depressed. I stop working all together. It has taken 4 years (more if you count the time before that when I was in the same unmotivated cycle) but this time, upon returning from an inspiring trip, I have not dropped the creative ball.
How did I do this? First, I gave myself small goals. I didn’t expect to paint 5 paintings a day like my old self. Even if I only did one sketch I gave myself a pat on the back. Achieving these small goals was so motivating I achieved more than I ever had before. Not just on my paintings, but illustrations, comics and writing. Of course the process is a lot more complicated than this, but I wanted to share a few insights into my creative routine as well as sharing some of my recent work. Here are some sketches from my trip.
I don’t usually draw architecture, I’m not very skilled at perspective and sharp lines and angles. I enjoyed looking art featuring well rendered cityscapes and buildings, but I would always rather draw humans or animals. I’m infatuated with the soft shapes of the human form, and if I do draw backgrounds they tend to be landscapes. But after sketching countless buildings from different European cities, I can honestly say that I’m now a fan of architectural drawing. I have found joy in drawing buildings when I approach them with my soft and sketchy style. If I have to draw them perfectly I’ll get too frustrated and quit. I want to get even better at drawing architecture, I want my drawings to be more precise and realistic. But for now I’m allowing myself to approach it with a softer hand, I’m really enjoying the process.