Been feeling pretty unproductive lately. I dunno what it is. Maybe it’s the weather. Maybe it’s work/life commitments… Regardless of the cause, this is a cycle I’ve found myself in for as long as I’ve been making art.

I’m just not one of those people who can endlessly churn out inspired paintings. I can usually still turn it on for work, but when left to my own devices, a twist on the creative faucet yields nothing.

I used to panic about it. Was that it? Have I reached the bottom of the well and there’s nothing left? WHAT THE HELL AM I GOING TO DO NOW???

It’s hard making art while raising small kids. I struggle with it for sure. One child requires an insane amount of time and commitment. But four? What the hell were we thinking??? I mean, I wouldn’t trade it for anything, but damn. it’s hard balancing art and kids.  I know eventually they’ll be teenagers and will want nothing to do with me,  and I’ll be able to get back to it. But it makes me feel awful sometimes secretly pining for them to get a little older so I can have some me-time back.

I feel guilty. And I feel like a sham. I’m not cut out for this gig. I’ve been faking it this while time,  hobbling along producing “passable” work because maybe this was never what I was truly meant to do.  I’ve been stinking up the field of illustration with my stench when someone else likely could have done it with panache. I’ve fooled everyone and lied to myself, and now the jig is up.

This feeling sucks.

It’ll come back at some point. I’ll catch that wave and regain my confidence. Find myself out here at 4 am all excited with some new breakthrough and all those months of floundering will seem like a long distant memory. I hope?

In the meantime,  I try to keep little things going so as not to completely lose steam. Going through the motions, Adjusting old paintings, priming panels, and squeezing in small studies that don’t require a huge commitment. This pumpkin is a good example of one of these.  We went to the local pumpkin patch recently and this gray pumpkin jumped out to me. Brought it home and it kept staring at me, so I decided to make a little portrait of it.

Painted it in 3 sittings over the course of about a week. Started with a simple direct block in.

Used transparent paint on the stem and opaque paint on the flesh. When I got the values laid in, I splattered it with a toothbrush to get the spotted texture. Once it was dry to the touch, I glazed some shadows here and there to push the depth and pronounce the texture a bit.

Boring? Yes, it is! But sometimes I think it’s therapeutic to paint something simple like this.

Also posting the rest of the album art from the cover I posted last month.

With the subject matter being random items of trash, I thought it would be fun to play up the collage aesthetic as much as possible, so while there’s still perspective in my scene,  I intentionally omitted any shadows so the objects kind of feel pasted in. I borrowed inspiration from the Led Zeppelin III album art. My mom had it in her vinyl collection and I remember being fascinated with it as a kid. it’s a very distinctive cover with the white background and collaged elements.

One of the stranger tasks with this art was to create labels for the trash items. I didn’t want to make them too clean or perfect, so I roughly hand drew everything flat and transformed them onto the objects. Can’t lie, I had too much fun doing these.