Why Artists Need Rest and to Experience Life First-Hand
So at the end of March/beginning of April of this year, I visited Kyoto and Tokyo with my boyfriend Matt. It was my first time travelling to Japan, and I was super excited because I’ve always wanted to go there ever since I was introduced to Studio Ghibli when I was 11 or 12.
I took my video camera and filmed a few sights, but since I was new to filming at the time, and I was still working full time, I never did anything with the videos afterwards.
So today I thought I’d make use of some of the shots and get creative with them! I thought I’d share some sights I filmed and then use it as inspiration for a drawing, and have a chat about some important personal realisations I’ve made recently.
Skip to the end of the post to watch the video.
WORKING IN A WAY THAT WORKS FOR YOU
Something I’ve always known about myself, is I can be stubborn and impatient when it comes to learning. If you put me in a class and force me to learn something I’m either not interested in learning yet, or when I’d much rather spend my energy learning something else, then I find it’s hard to hold my attention on it. On the flip side, if I’m in a class learning something I’m seriously interested in, then I can get impatient if we’re learning things at a slow speed. I can become very impatient if I feel like I’m not improving or learning enough.
This is one reason I’m not keen on doing art classes, because I feel like I work best when I can learn or work at my own pace. I definitely act off of feelings and emotions more so than logic. If it doesn’t FEEL right at the time, then I’d rather spend my energy on something that did. It’s also a big reason I quit my full-time job, because I felt I wasn’t improving or learning enough during the time I spent there, and it made me very restless and anxious, and a little frustrated and irritable.
When I’m learning for my own enjoyment, I’ve been surprised at the things I’ve wanted to learn. For example, I’m actually quite interested in business, finance, and investing, but if I studied it in class I would likely have found it very dull.
I’ve always preferred drawing animals or figures over environments, and the idea of HAVING to go outside and draw real life environments - say, during a class - makes me groan inwardly. BUT, I’m perfectly willing to do it when it’s of my own accord, and I’m inspired or in the mood to do it.
Whilst classes are great for teaching practical knowledge, and teaching things you wouldn’t have actively learnt yourself, or even to bring about new-found love for things you would have never experienced otherwise (which is actually something that happened to me during uni, and I am so thankful for, because it’s influenced something I’m doing right now which I don’t think I would have started otherwise - which is YouTube!). Whilst classes are great, I think it’s much more practical to learn from LIFE. If you go outside and experience things first-hand, its influence on you can feel much more personal. When you create art inspired by that personal influence, you can connect it to your memories of that time, and gain a much deeper connection and meaning to your art.
This is why I believe it’s so important for artists of all forms to go out and experience life first-hand. You can’t experience everything out of a textbook, or from inside a classroom. You learn so much more by experiencing it for yourself. Even seeing artworks in person in a museum or gallery, rather than in a textbook or on the internet, can bring a much deeper personal connection to it.
WHY REST IS IMPORTANT
Rest is extremely important for artists, as they need to rest and recuperate in order to continue to be creative. Going out and experiencing things first-hand is also a way of mental rest for an artist.
When I’ve been sitting in the same spot, working for hours on end, I eventually find my brain going around in circles and I can no longer think up new or creative ideas. But if I step outside, even just go for a walk, the cogs in my mind start whirring again, and I can think of superb ideas seemingly out of thin air.
When we do things to relax, like go for a walk, our subconscious mind keeps working on problems. Having this relaxed mind allows it to explore different ideas, and it’s common during these times to arrive on promising ideas and have those “Aha!” moments. I hated working full time in an office, because I lacked that freedom to leave my desk and go find inspiration elsewhere when I really needed it.
I think going out and experiencing LIFE is one of the most beneficial ways to rest, because it lends you a break from lateral thinking, but also provides inspiration for future work.
Going out to galleries, museums, surrounding yourself in nature, or going on a holiday, are all great ways for artists to explore new ideas and inspirations.
This is something I myself am wanting to actively pursue more, because I’ve always been a bit too much of a recluse, and spend too much of my free time at home.
Watch some videos I took whilst away in Japan, and hear me talk about the above over some cherry blossom tree studies!