Montana Fowler Art

exploring through a dip

01 July 2022

After my show finished and some traveling in early June, I experienced a dip in my creativity. Normally, I am a person that has a well to pull from. When I got back to the studio after our trip, I stood there and thought… what do I do now? It felt so rare for me since I’ve developed a habit of painting every day.

I decided I needed some time to refill my creative energy. I took deep breaths and did things that made me feel good. I cleaned my space. I brought a small table to my home space. If you’ve been following a while, you might remember when I got my concussion back in March, I started making art on the floor because I had taken my easel and cart to the studio. I can’t believe I worked on the floor for 3.5 months. Having a table makes working at home so much more comfortable.

I did exercises. At the top of the email you’ll see the exercise I did from Louise Fletcher’s Find Your Joy taster course where I taped off a few sheets of paper into small squares and set a timer for 30 minutes. I had to keep painting for the whole thirty minutes. I discovered that I love to make marks and let them dry. It felt so uncomfortable to keep painting and make the colors muddy, but I forced myself to keep going. Exercises like this are great for a slump, like a shock to the system.

I also looked back. I looked through my sketchbooks and photos of old work. I took this space to examine how my work has changed over the years. I looked back to before I used masking tape to tape off the edges in my sketchbook. Back then I thought I didn’t care about straight edges because I liked loose work. Then I discovered that taped edges actually emphasize the looseness because marks are cut off by the tape. The fact that they extend beyond the edge adds movement to my pieces.

I took time off of social media. Whenever I’m feeling off mentally, the most healthy thing for me to do is to step back. I love sharing my work and my process, but when there is so much bad news in the world, I struggle to do it. Showing up to share my work, write newsletters, and put myself out there requires a comfort with that vulnerability. Sometimes I am not strong enough to deal with it. When I do feel good, I get so much out of connecting with others on my newsletter or Instagram about art or life. However, with everything that has been going on, it can be hard to feel like making art. Given everything, I will donate all profits from any sales this weekend (July 1-3, 2022) to (which values intersectionality, autonomy, collective power & compassion), or a charity of your choice. You can check out my shop, my Fresh Air Series, or the few pieces left in my more affordable work on paper (Unprocessed).

This is an early sketchbook spread from 2021 before I regularly used masking tape.

Here is a more recent spread that shows how the masking tape provides the space to the piece and allows the movement of strokes to be cut off.

my new table at home! It’s so nice to no longer be working on the floor.

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Not ready to pick a painting today? Curious about an inside look inside my process? I share the best updates in my newsletter, while giving casual updates on my Instagram (@montanafowler_cs_art). I love connecting with others over a love of art.