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The Dreaded Artist’s Block – and How I Karate-Chop that B%tch

Sometimes I just get stuck, cemented to one spot on my creative road, lost in the craziness of my mind, and I can’t pull one creative thought out of that hot mess of a scrambled brain to save my life. I can tell you that I am thinking about all the things I should be doing, what bill I got to pay, what money I don’t have to pay said bill, what the neighbors are doing, but I cannot lay down one creative stroke of a pencil on paper for a billion buckeroos. I just hit a huge, towering black block – my next creative expression is hiding on the other side of that fugly block, I just know it!

.So, how the heck am I supposed to reach the other side and reunite with my creative ideas?

I am still on that self-taught artist learning curve, but I have finally learned a few little tricks to help me master and annihilate that b%tch of a block.


Basket of Pansies in My Yard

Most recently, you know I recently joined a urban sketchers group (check out my last blog post for m

ore info!). I basically had an epiphany my very first outing, sitting at our local arboretum, sketching what was directly in front of me – getting the heck out of my closed up studio, sitting in the sun with fellow creators, just loosely drawing what my eyes saw there, helped refill my artistic mojo tank. I was like, ‘Huh, so many ideas now!’ SO, if you are stuck on something in your studio, staring at a black canvas or sheet of paper, get out of your studio, and just draw bits of the world outside around you! It can be something bigger, such as your entire street, or just the hanging basket in your yard. Even more so fun, (and challenging, ha) if you have a pet, try to capture them in action and various poses. Doing all this will just help you get your mind off that road block, help you loosen up, and will help you get ready to jump into that bubble of creativity just beyond that block.

Onto the next block killing move – I have recently begun reading an oldie, but goodie book – The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. I am in the beginning stages of it, but one thing I have learned is that we have do have to keep our ‘creative wells’ full. When we have an empty well, we can come across problems birthing our creative ideas. So, how can we refill our creative wells? By engaging in a ‘regular, repetitive action’. “What is that”, you ask. Things like cooking, riding a bike, listening to the beats of music, driving down a long, country road. And for me – crocheting! My grandma taught me at around 11 years old how to crochet, its her legacy I proudly carry now, and it is something I mindlessly like to do while watching TV or listening to an audible book. I don’t know, there is something almost mesmerizing and comforting about that repetitive activity. So, my advice – walk away from your easel, and find your happy, repetitive activity that can refill your creative well.

Next maneuver –  Visit the library. Seriously. Check out some books on art techniques, the art masters or even books on local art/artists. Which is exactly what I recently did – I checked out books on Claude Howell and Minnie Evans – two of Wilmington’s well-known artists. If Minnie can create these lively, colorful works of art in crayon, by God I can crawl over this road block and create some lovelies of my own!

Finally –  Look at other artist’s work! Go to the local museum, and if you don’t wanna get out, look online! Get inspired by looking at sites like Fine Art America, Deviantart, or even, gasps – Pinterest. Get inspired by studying the works of the greats like Monet, Degas, or Cezanne. Zoom in, really look at what makes their work ‘masterpieces’. Breathe in the inspiration from Monet’s use of colors, and other characteristics of their pieces that make them special – their ‘signature’. Feel that inspiration pulsing in your veins and chop that block in half! Hiii-yahhh!!!

On the real – sometimes, I have to just push through it. I am proud to say, I a full-time, working artist. I have deadlines, commissions, markets. There are days I don’t wanna ‘work’ – but I push through it because that’s what my life is. I am a creative being, and I must always keep reaching for those creative ideas, jumping over hurdles and blocks, struggling, finally reaching the mountain top, then pushing through this process all over again.

Til next time.


The Many Sides of The Duke, My Boston Terrier

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