Watercolors By Deborah Ann Dawson
Natural Impressions

Down the Artist's Path

(posted on 15 Oct 2022)


Outside the leaves are turning Cadmium Yellow, Scarlet Lake, and Quinacradone Gold. Native Big Leaf Maples, Vine Maple, Dogwood and of course Poison Oak popping amongst the various hues of fir and pine. Fall has always been my favorite time of year. Even the excitement of spring and its promise of summer brilliance doesn't stir my blood the way a blazing October or November will. Great poets write about the seasons and according to Kahlil Gibran, I have begun the Autumn stage of life. I live in Southern Oregon where we have been hit with a twenty-year drought. Wildfires have devasted vast acres of forest, creeks have dried up, rivers are a fraction of their usual volume.

In my sixth decade as an artist, I find myself sympathizing with the land. I was so sure I would never find myself in a creative desert. Hah! Always so sure my creativity would be a driving force until my dying breath, leaving me replete and satisfied in fulfilling my purpose. Unfortunately, this has proven to not be the case. Like all things earthly, I am not immortal and change . . . inevitable. I find myself wanting to slow down, desiring too just be and rest. I have to ask myself is this a gift or curse. It depends as all things do--- on one's perspective. 

I can remember saying twenty-years ago, somewhat arrogantly to my students, I will never not make art. It seems my life lesson is t learning to never say never. Humbly, I am realizing energy can and does decline. There are a lot of factors contributing to slowing down as we age. Health, family circumstances and of course finances. Even elves diminish and go into the west according to Tolkien. Deep breath . . .

So here I am, in my sixty-seventh Fall trying to find a source of new inspiration, frustrated because my art seems rote. I am left trying to deal with my lack of creative energy. I know I am not alone. It is likely quite a few artists will at some point in their careers face this phenomenon. I decide to not go down without a fight. What can I do to motivate myself? As I write this blog, I am going to explore ways to cope, ways to utilize this for personal and artistic growth and if successful my readers might find I offer something useful in renewing creativity.