Imagine this: you've worked for months on a new series of paintings, you've done all the prep work for marketing it, and now it's out there in the world. Your job is done, and you're feeling proud! But now you don't know what to do with yourself. Have you been there? I sure have. But what do you do about it? Today I'm sharing some ideas for what you can do after completing a series of artwork.
First things first, celebrate all of your hard work! No one else is going to do it for you, so take some time to enjoy your success. Marvel at your dedication and perseverance in creating this new and wonderful piece or series! Maybe buy yourself that one paint color you've been ogling for the past few months. Or snag a cake from your favorite local bakery! It doesn't matter how you celebrate, just make sure you press pause on work and consciously recognize all the hard work you've done. This world encourages us to move from one thing to the next, so rebel against that and honor what you created. You and your work deserve it.
Make sure you promote the thing you just made. I cannot stand how quickly social media demands we move on from one topic to the next. Think about the amount of time it took you to create your latest piece or series. Why on Earth would you only talk about it once and move on? Respect and honor the amount of work and time you put into your work and promote the heck out of it! Don't just make one post on social media and move on. Talk about it for a while and promote your latest work to those that follow you. And don't relegate your promotion to just one place. Mention it in your blog, newsletter, and your social media platform of choice. And tell people in real life about what you made! I'm so on board for getting art back into an analog space, and word of mouth is a great way to do that. So talk yourself up. Your paintings deserve it.
Take a Break
Put on your favorite comfy sweater, brew some chamomile tea, and turn off your brain. I know society tells us we always have to be working, but that's the fastest way to burnout. We are human, and we need breaks. Stefan Sagmeister, one of the most famous designers in the world, takes a year long creative sabbatical every seven years. During this time, he reflects, experiments, and plays around with unfamiliar ideas and materials. Now, most of us don't have the luxury of taking a year long break. But let's just get to the spirit of what he's doing; he's giving his creative brain time to rest and refuel. If you're constantly emptying your tank, you're going to run out of fuel. So take a week or two away from your studio and any serious projects and give yourself a chance to recuperate. When you get back to work, you're going to be far more productive than if you just powered through.
Try Something New
During your studio vacation, get out and do something new. This could be an activity you've always wanted to try or a spontaneous choice drawn from a hat, but the point is to get your brain involved and thinking about something new. Now, this new activity doesn't have to be devoid of creativity. For instance, maybe you normally create hyper-realistic colored pencil drawings; you could try abstract painting to encourage your brain to think in a different way. You can also try a new recipe, take up quilting, watch a new movie, listen to a new musician, pick up a book outside your normal genre - the list truly goes on and on. Whatever you choose to do, going beyond your normal creative space will give you so much to work with once you get back to your studio.
Journal and Reflect
Another great thing to do is to give yourself room to reflect on what you just created. If you don't know already, I love journaling and introspection. Taking time to think deeply and analyze my work is such a crucial part of my artistic practice. I use this time to think about what I enjoyed about making my latest piece or series, what I want to improve on, and what I'm going to take from that series with me for my next stint in the studio. If you're not doing this already, I highly encourage you to incorporate regular reflection into your artistic practice. It will give you the space and perspective you need for your next series of paintings.
Have Some Fun
Just have some fun! I understand that this can make us feel weird or guilty, but regular playtime is part of a healthy human experience. So let yourself unwind and let loose. Do something that feels fun for you. Maybe you love playing video games or getting your hands dirty in the garden. It truly doesn't matter, just make sure it doesn't feel or resemble work in any way. This might sounds crazy, but these moments are part of the creative process. We pull inspiration from life, and we live life while we're having fun. So stop making excuses and go have some fun already.
Making and presenting an entire series of paintings is a lot of work. And, as someone who just finished a series, these steps have been incredibly helpful in refreshing my brain and preventing artist burnout. I hope you find these tips helpful too! Remember, you can subscribe for blog and newsletter updates with the form at the bottom of the page. I post blogs weekly and send newsletters out once a month!
Thanks for reading and happy creating!