Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Beating Artist Block

10x8 Coloured Pencil
Private commission

Hard to believe it’s April already. By this point in the year I had planned on having a lot more finished drawings/paintings than I have currently managed to do and consequently am running behind on my goals for the year - not good. Granted, life has a habit of throwing things at you unexpectedly that can change plans somewhat, but if these ‘obstacles’ are then added to having a bad bout of Artist Block, as in my case, things are that bit tougher.

Without going for the sympathy vote, I’ve found myself really struggling these past two months with my own work, or should I say lack off. You know the feeling, when you’re in a rut and sit and sit (and sit and sit) and can’t come up with anything - your creative juices have basically come to a halt and won’t budge. It happens, but becomes really frustrating (and worrying) if it goes on and on.

Normally taking a break from the studio to clear my head, usually with a long walk involved, is enough for me. But what do you do if several walks, and days, later things haven’t changed? There are a number of things you can do to help get back the artist in you and I have personally found one or more of the following has helped me in the past ….

  • Visit galleries and the Internet – there are so many wonderful artists sites and forums on the Internet that can be really inspiring. A note of caution here – if your confidence is at an all time low you could find yourself spending time comparing your art to others and end up convincing yourself you’re not good enough, making matters worse.
  • Go out and about with your camera – always a good one to do.
  • Start a sketchbook and paint/draw in it every day – there is no pressure for your work to be ‘perfect’ and you can experiment to your hearts content. This is something I definitely need to start doing again.
  • Speak to other artists and bounce ideas of each other – great for your motivation too if this is affected, which is often the case.
  • Have a brainstorming session where you come up with titles for your paintings and then put an image to it.

I have to add a final one here and that is to read other artists blogs. As well as many being a great source of information and inspiration they can be really helpful and may just give you the push that you need. If you aren’t already doing so I highly recommend you read Maggie Stiefvater’s ‘Greywaren Art’ – if anyone can tell you how it is and point you in the right direction, she can.

I’m sure there are many more ways to help with Artist Block that I’ve not covered – let me know what works for you.


Totally Timmy said...

I love your work and enjoy reading your blog. Looking forward to seeing what is next!

Unknown said...

If this what you produce when having artist block...you have nothing to worry about. It is stunning. Sheona

Anonymous said...

Great post Laura...I generally find going out with the camera and just sketching/doodling works for me.

Laura said...

Thanks everyone:-D

Sheona, this one wasn't too bad as it was a commission - I'm having problems more with my work which hopefully will get better:-D

Victoria, normally this too works for me - I love going on a long walk with my camera to hand:-D