Some years ago I heard the amazing portrait painter, Howard Sanden, talk about his work. He said the most difficult thing for an artist to overcome is inertia…

At the time I thought that was a rather cute way to say “just do it.” But now that I am older, I realize that he was right. It is tough to get started on anything. Especially a painting. Inertia is defined as the tendency of an object to stay at rest or preserve its state of motion. Newton’s first Law of Physics. Such a smart guy. He must have been too tired to get out of bed some winter mornings too. He just had a nice way of phrasing it.

Lately, I have been bouncing around on so many ideas. Oil paintings. A still life. Finishing a commission. Starting a new one. And I have great intentions. “Gonna paint today!”  “Gonna get  X done!” But boy, it can be hard to get started. So much to distract. Laundry… gonna make some tea…. ooh! forgot to pay this bill… and so actually getting started, really getting started and physically standing in front of the easel and putting thoughts into reality is tough.

This winter weather doesn’t help either. Here in western PA it can stay pretty grey for weeks on end. So inertia sets in. I don’t want to get up and get moving. And recently I bought a new “marshmallow” bed. Great for my back, but very tough to overcome inertia to start my day.

I guess in this blog I don’t have much advice. It is tough for all of us. The only thing that has worked is this little piece of advice I stuck on my mirror that is across from my easel that a good friend recently told me…

And sometimes, when I look at this little phrase I feel ok… just get one little thing done… don’t beat myself up for not doing more, but don’t accept not doing anything either.

Just take a step.

Once I get moving and start actually painting I am ok. Pastel dust flies and I get into a groove… so both Newton and Sanden were right. The initial energy required to start is the toughest part. But once those initial steps are taken, the walk is worth it. Just know you are not alone. And hopefully spring is coming soon.

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