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Have You Recently Lost The Way?

As artists, when we are beginning to work on a new piece, we may sometimes find ourselves lost along the way….

We might begin to doubt our abilities, and start worrying about the things that we that point we may actually feel like giving up, comparing our talents to everyone else, expecting our art to be like others or at least better than it is

It’s at times like these that we have to look deep inside ourselves for the courage to wait patiently, for that fresh inspiration, that new dimension to the work to appear. This is the time to step back and to take a long hard look at priorities…berating ourselves for the things we don’t have keeps us stuck in a mode that may actually stifle creativity….

It is important for us to realize that our gifts are exactly right for us, to be willing to trust that while we were waiting, a better plan for that difficult piece will emerge, and at the same time we may learn new lessons about who we are

In time we are all given what we need to express uniquely who we are…we grow through pain to a new reality
Inspired by the Artists’ Soul

What question are you grappling with right now?


  • Jan Clarke
    Jan Clarkeover 3 years ago

    The lack, or total loss of all inspiration and imagination. It feels like it has gone forever this time.

  • It will come back…it always does…maybe in another form, but it will….this happens to all artists after a time….it means we have to exercise a little patience…in the meantime try a new medium, new subject matter, new style, anything to get yourself out of the rut….

    – ©Janis Zroback

  • karentillotson
    karentillotsonover 3 years ago

    Thanks wo much for writing this Janis……..and like Jan, sometimes I feel like “it” has completely left for good. Lately it’s been such a struggle….feeling like my eyes are dead in their sockets, the brain’s in a fog, my heart & soul feeling flat and cold…as if turning to stone. I know in my heart, that’s not exactly true…it’s only my perception, which lately, is twisted and skewed much of the time. Many things will affect our level of creativity and imagination…like great stress or chaos in our personal day-to-day living, and in my case, coping with chronic debilitating illness. (That infuriating aspect of my life restricts my ability to get out and about in the world and creates tremendous fatigue while doing the simplest tasks.)

    • “Our gifts are exactly right for us”….your profound comment REALLY struck me!!! You’re so right! As well as accepting completely where we are in our individual journeys, we must always be *patient with ourselves …so difficult but so necessary…that’s the key to allowing growth to happen and the creative energy to flow freely….
  • I know whereof you speak…don’t let it get you down….being restricted means you have to be more creative with what you have around you, and it is indeed true that our gifts are exactly right for us….no point in looking at others and wishing….we need to do what is in our power to do….

    – ©Janis Zroback

  • Pixie-Atelier
    Pixie-Atelierover 3 years ago

    Ohhhhh – I know that feeling. My approach is this: “Reculer pour mieux sauter” which is French for “to back up in order to jump forwards better.” Useful re-approach for all aspects of life. Jan Clarke – hug the loss, give it room to breathe, and connect with that shred of hope in your heart where you know it’s not forever. The world awaits your ability to make a difference.

  • That is a great saying….it is good to take step backward sometimes…we need it for the brain cells to regenerate…

    – ©Janis Zroback

  • eoconnor
    eoconnorover 3 years ago

    I am an inpatient person with my art I want it to be betterand better faster and faster as I feel by not honeing my skills years ago and only being an artist growing for almost four years , almost 3 here ,I am so far behind what I want for myself .I do do art everyday something and I believe this is key to improveing,and it does take time.slow and steady wins out . Liz

  • It takes a long time to become a good artist and a lifetime to be great and most of us can only hope to be good…we’re all in the struggle together and I sympathize with your feeling that it’s taking too long….but it is what it is, and we have to take it one day at a time…

    – ©Janis Zroback

  • Cindy Schnackel
    Cindy Schnackelover 3 years ago

    This part of it really speaks to me: “to wait patiently, for that fresh inspiration.”_ The waiting is sometimes agony, as the light at the end of the tunnel can’t come soon enough when you’re in that slump.

    Like Jan Clarke (above), there was a time I thought I’d lost all inspiration for art and wondered if I could return to it, if my skills would’ve rusted too badly anyway. But it did come back once I decided to make art a priority again. There were stressful things in my life I had to identify and eliminate or put lower on the priority list before my mind was ready to make art again. This was not an overnight process. Now, the slumps are much shorter, lasting days instead of years, but there is always a nagging fear of what if…what if it goes away for good sometime?

    It helps me to get out a sketchbook and just draw, without thinking. Soon shapes emerge and I’m absorbed in the shading and details, whether it’s a creature, a sketch of some object, or just abstract shapes. That lets me know I am not just rusting away. The inspiration to do finished paintings usually comes like a bolt out of the blue and lasts for a long time. It is no wonder we occasionally need breaks, but they are scary.

  • Although I always have ideas, too many sometimes, there are times when I just stop painting….I do everything else but paint…I pass the studio and never go in…suddenly one day the motivation comes back, and I am back again, wondering what the fuss was all about….I guess it’s par for the course…

    – ©Janis Zroback

  • jadeast
    jadeastover 3 years ago

    You can’t prejudge inpiration, where it might come from or where it might lead. You just have to be open to the recognition. perhaps another medium or another approach to the current one.

  • I think that’s sound advice….maybe it’s time to experiment with something new or different…..

    – ©Janis Zroback

  • AndyReeve
    AndyReeveover 3 years ago

    How very true. I am aiming the camera and the thought occurs ‘hang on, you were in the same spot two weeks ago’. Choices – go home. Go somewhere else or !!!! look at that, one single flower struggling up out of a gorse bush – clickity click.

  • And that one single flower might be just the masterpiece that gets the prestigious gallery calling you for a solo show….you never know…. :))

    – ©Janis Zroback

  • izzybeth
    izzybethover 3 years ago

    Thank you Janis for your journal entry. The wheels are spinning and you have me thinking. I will try to give you a thoughtful answer. I hope you do not mind I will link you journal to a journal I am about to create in response. I wish you well.
    I think I suffer from what I call “too much of something” syndrome. I tend to allow myself to get over stimulated by ideas and inspiration and then shut down and stop. Some people are energized by the stimulus, I am not. I freeze. When starting a new project I find myself lost along the way, and stuck in my own perfectionism. I have to keep reminding myself that I have an artist’s fingerprint and no matter how hard I try to make my work go in a different direction, my art will be mine. Not Waterhouse, not Engelbreit, not Hopper.
    Even though I do not post every day I create every day. I am intimidated by my inadequacies. I want my work to be just so. And yet at the same time I believe success as an artist (or as human being for that matter) comes from one step at a time, from building from where I am… right now and going forward, this minute.
    One of the things I currently grapple with is seeking to do the right thing. I know what my right thing is: it is to create art, but I have responsibilities. I have to earn money to pay the bills. Unfortunately for the artist in me, I have to do the things have to do, and maybe this is what keeps me grounded. I mean to say I have to work by the sweat of my brow for an entity that views me as an expendable good. I believe I am valued as a human being. I believe I have a unique voice as an artist, and so desire to enjoy a living out of my creative energies. But I have to place food on the table. (I guess it just boils down to the balance of work (food on the table) and leisure (exploring creative avenues.) Maybe the curse of the hard work is what keeps me connected to the physical world. As an artist I am such a dreamer and I have my head in the air. Perhaps I have to redirect my energies to this physical realm. Maybe this is why I have ash for dinner.

  • I feel for your agony Izzybeth, but think you are too hard on yourself….even though you have to work it need not prevent you from making art….like I said above, “Our gifts are exactly right for us” and yours is right for you…the more you spend time trying to be someone else, the more your gift will escape from you..when you are creating art, just do it….if there is very little time on a given day, do just a little, when there is more time do more…that is the only way…
    There are no special secret ways that other artists have, it’s just work, work, work….when you’re at your job, do that, when you’re creating art, do it…
    Artists are part of the physical world…they have to be to be able to create good work….I am very practical, I have to be as my life is very demanding, but I try to turn those experiences into something creative, and I think I have been making a success of it..
    I think that you do have a unique voice….. you should explore it as much as you can and forget about everything else….

    – ©Janis Zroback

  • izzybeth
    izzybethover 3 years ago

    Janis, I am tearful and thankful. Thankful for your encouraging response. I do not mean to sound pessimistic either. It is just that after reading your journal, I just had to answer it. And I wanted to be honest.
    The question was. What question are you grappling with right now? Yes I am always sketching something and find great satisfaction in the process.
    I do so agree that our gifts are exactly right for us. I guess it is time for me to plug ahead, not worry and go forward… I feel most fulfilled while I am doing art. Your words are encouraging.
    Ah fiddlesticks. I am just gona keep plugging along.
    Thank you Janis, thank you! xoxoxox Beth

  • I always say paint every day regardless….do what makes you happy and don’t worry…glad it resonated with you…

    – ©Janis Zroback

  • Jim Phillips
    Jim Phillipsover 3 years ago

    Not sure if I feel all the things you mentioned, but I always feel better about a work at the point that I think it’s finished. So yeah, I would tend to agree with you on this one.

  • Thanks so much for the feedback Jim…always nice to read your comments…

    – ©Janis Zroback