Defeating “Da Funk” by Mike Rooney
Ever been in a “funk” and can’t paint? If you’re very serious about your painting (vs. doing it once in a while for fun) you know that “da funk” can really rattle you. Sometimes it hits you out of nowhere and sometimes it comes at other more predictable times.
Lets look at what causes it, and i’ll give you some tips to get you going again.
First lets look at some things that cause “da funk.”Â One is sheer burnout. Lets say you’ve been working on a series of paintings or an event (like a show) that either took a long time to complete or took alot out of you (creatively and/or physically). For this symptom the remedy is to take a few days off. Sounds crazy but nothing but rest will get you jazzed again. You just dont have any steam left. Those few days off will give your Muse time to recover and when it does, it will begin to let you know by stirring those desires to paint again. Trust me, this happens to me all the time, and i think it happens to every artist (including me) just after delivering a show. There’s such a feeling of let down and it can put the kabosh on your creative energy.
The second thing that can zap your Muse is a personal crisis or anything else that you’re thinking about as much as you used to think about finding a painting. You just have to realize that sometimes life just gets in the way. Let’s say you just got a bad diagnosis from the doctor, or you’re spending night and day taking care of an elderly parent. The mind doesn’t have time or desire to be creative. That makes sense, right? But why are we so frustrated when it happens? We have to let these things run their course and when they do, you’ll find yourself wanting to sling that paint again.
Now, for a few ideas on getting that creativity jumpstarted… I’ve heard of still life painters going out to buy new still life props at the thrift stores, and i can see that working. Theyre getting interested in some new things to paint. As a plein air landscape painter, when i get bored i like to travel to a different city or region of the country to paint and this gets me going again. i usually do this at least four or five times a year to keep things interesting.
So the next time youre not feeling it, do one of two things:Â 1. rest and really dont worry about it (the urge to paint will return) or 2. get up and find something that really makes your motor run, and then go paint it.
And then like Jack Nicholson, you’ll be saying, ” I’m Baaaaccckkk!”