I have this quote in my email signature because I love it so much. It’s a reminder to me that my art isn’t just about selling or displaying. It’s about the state I’m in when I’m painting.
Most of the time it’s a mindless state of bliss, but sometimes when the colors mix in a way I wasn’t expecting or when I put a streak of turquoise across the white and it reveals all the nuisances the world loves about watercolor, I can't help but feel an unexplainable depth of contentment. I am transported from all my failures, losses and regrets into turquoise mixing with the violet. When I paint a cat in orange and purple stripes, I feel liberated from the rules demanded from life and defiant about needing to meet anyone's expectations.
One of the challenges that come up for my clients in creativity coaching is that they’ve lost that pleasure. They feel like everything they do needs to be something of value, something that can be sold, something to be framed. They want the joy back. Although I love having a finished product too, art is worlds more than that to me and I want my clients to experience those worlds too.
One of the foundations of creative blocks is the epidemic of unrealistic expectations we have in our society. These aren’t unrealistic in terms of people never being able to achieve the level of excellence they want. They're unrealistic in how quickly or how much can happen at one time. The same applies to enjoying the process.
You may have gotten into the habit of missing the bliss the process provides because you’re putting pressure on yourself to produce. It would be unrealistic for you to decide from now on you’re going to enjoy the process. That’s too big of a leap. Habits don’t change that quickly and then people assume the change can’t occur at all.
The first place to start is by changing the question your subconscious has been working on from, “Why can’t I enjoy painting (or writing, photography, music, etc) anymore?" to “What would it feel like to enjoy the process?”
Your subconscious will answer both questions but the second answer will serve you much more than the first.
There's no need to have an answer in the moment. Just ask the question and notice how it feels. Gradually you will be in that wonderful state that makes art inevitable.