On Overcoming Artist Block

On Overcoming Artist Block

If your vision is blocked, decorate the patch.  

I personally do not believe in blocks. I think they are timeouts or rest periods giving us an opportunity to recharge. Yes, they are scary timeouts, and you think it will never end but it will.

You know what Chuck Close said:

Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself.

Have you heard of Zentangles? The Zentangle Method was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. You can read about it at this link: https://zentangle.com/pages/how-did-zentangle-begin I hadn’t heard of it until just recently. Little did I know, I have been doing this type of mark making for years — at least in theory. I was using these patterns as a way of releasing pent up energy, exploring shapes and rhythms, playing with composition, and really just keeping my hands busy. For me, the practice is similar to an actor going through voice exercises before a performance, like lip trills, flutters, and tongue twisters. It’s a way of revving up that engine. 

The point is, get busy. Don’t wait for that bolt of lightning. Put pen to paper and just begin. Throw a lump of clay on the wheel and start. Dip the brush into the paint and strike or splash or dab. And don’t be precious about it. So what if it doesn’t lead to your masterpiece? Sitting around and doing nothing isn’t going to get you there either. The “act of acting” has the power to unlock that block. Who knows where it will lead, but rest assured, it WILL lead you some place.

If you’re not prone to the above and in keeping with the “act of acting” idea, try this. Grab some art magazines or books, go to the library, or surf the internet. My personal favorite is going to a museum or gallery. When I see other people’s art it inspires me to create. Witnessing a brushstroke on a Renaissance painting brings me to tears or at least close to it. 

Another option is to phone a friend. Ask them over or meet for coffee or a libation of choice. Discuss a painting you saw or what you’re currently working on. But make sure it’s not a pity party. Have those alone or not at all. Intentionally keep the conversation on what inspires you. Listen to their perspective. It may prod you to consider something you never had before. But remember, ideas are easy. Execution is another matter. 

Just get busy.

blog by Roxanne Grooms



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