on boredom

An art student wrote to me today, and described how she was started to get bored with a project she was working on, and lacked the motivation to continue with it.

Yeah, boredom can be a part of being an artist. We’re often told that being an artist is all about moments of genius, and flashes of inspiration. It all sounds so glamorous and exciting. But the truth is, a lot of the work of being an artist is… work. Just grinding your way through. I often find that when I am my most bored, when I am frustrated and annoyed with my work, that that is actually a sign I am on the edge of something big. The boredom is my brain glimpsing the finish line, and wanting to get there already. The secret is to push through that boredom. Too many people give up at that stage, when all they really needed to do was push through just a bit more.

Boredom can be something you need to work through, or it could be a sign you need to look elsewhere for something to work on. I guess we all need to learn that difference for ourselves! I’ve been working with leaves and sticks and bark for 18 years now (wow). Honestly, I get bored all the time. Then, one day, I see something new and get into it again. I did not think I’d be working with this subject for so long, but there it is. When you are just starting out as an artist, that is a great time to experiment, try different techniques, subjects, etc. Eventually you find a couple you stick with more and more, and the next thing you realize, 18 years have gone by…

Any thoughts? I love to hear from you! email instagram twitter