Some artists, writers and photographers manage to make, write or shoot something every day (or at least claim that they do). I’ve never been able to pull that off. Part of that may be my nature, but mostly it’s the nature of my work.
I had a long stretch working on photo encaustic pieces this winter. But it is spring, and that means I’m out shooting gardens for clients while the roses and early blooming perennials are at their peak. When I’m not out shooting, I’m at the computer processing the images which, for me, takes considerably longer than the shoot itself. Plus, there are travel arrangements to be made, coordination with clients and homeowners, billing and the travel itself.
But I set Wednesday aside to spend on photo encaustic in the studio. I was so eager to dive back in and make something with my hands. I should have known better. I woke early up with a headache, took some aspirin, went back to bed and, yes, overslept. The printer was acting finicky after sitting idle for weeks. I was out of several key materials. Once I found something I could work on, nothing went quite right. I even managed to mangle a perfectly good piece. It wasn't the day I had planned and I was beginning to get frustrated. But then it hit me: It’s your first day back in the studio. You've lost your momentum and need to ease back in. Give yourself a break.
“Success requires first expending ten units of effort to produce one unit of results. Your momentum will then produce ten units of results with each unit of effort.” — Charles J. Givens
There is truly something to be said for momentum. You either use it to your advantage or you lose it. When you take a long break, you may take a step backward before moving forward again. I certainly did this week.
So you’ve got to be gentle on yourself. Take time to warm up, to get the feel of your tools and materials again. Priming panels with gesso probably would have been a smarter place for me to start, but experimenting with encaustic layering techniques worked out just fine as a warmup—even if I have little to show for it. Rather than marking the day off as unproductive, I now see that it was the kind of day I need to better plan for in the future.
I'll try again today. It's Friday, and another day in the studio.