A Rut Or A Groove?

A rut and a groove have a lot in common: in one sense, they’re both related to repetitive movement or action; something you do over and over until a corresponding rut or groove develops, eventually defining and even becoming part of the action.

So which would you rather be in–a rut or a groove?

For most of us, ‘rut’ has a negative connotation: a rut feels dull, mindless, done by rote without thought.  You’re stuck in a rut.

A groove, however, has a more positive feeling: you’re moving easily, things are clicking along, you’re focused on possibilities rather than limits. You’re in the groove.

When I’m writing or painting, I want to be in the groove, because that makes the work flow much better and keeps it exciting. If I’m writing or painting in a rut, it can be hard to finish a project because I don’t really care about it any more.

Having taken up painting again recently, I’m enjoying a return to a creative groove that I’ve always liked, but stopped making time for several years ago. I don’t know why I stopped, other than the fact that I got busy with other things, or why this summer felt like a time to pick it up again. Doesn’t matter; I’m just grateful that the groove has helped lift me out of a rut!

My most recent painting is based on the book my mother and I just finished reading: In Search of King Solomon’s Mines by Tahir Shah. He met a salt merchant who used camels to transport salt along a desert route in Ethiopia, and I liked the photograph of the man with his camels, although I made him more of a bedouin than an Ethiopian. Here’s the process:

Sketch of bedouin and camels
Underpainting the sketch and roughing in the details
The finished painting...

One Comment

  1. Ella Sempreviva

    A very lovely painting in the Bedouin groove inspired by a rather romanticized story (and what would story telling be without romance, in all its myriad forms?) Thanks for sharing, Jean. I hope you will keep gomming and yowing for a long time to come.

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