Artist Block


HOW TO: Solve an Artist’s Block


Ever had an artist block?

Felt like you can’t find that artistic energy that once came so freely and seems to effortlessly ooze from everyone else?

Well, welcome to my life.

For me this happens at least once a week. When I’m running with an idea and everything is coming together. The sun is shining, the birds are tweeting and the look of the piece is progressing exactly the way I want it to… The colours are exciting, the brushstrokes are a flowing and that urge and excitement of wanting to frame it and get it on the wall as quickly as possible is overwhelming.

Then BOOM!!!! Its gone!

I’ve forgotten what exactly it was that was motivating me in the first place. Doubt kicks in. Endless non-helpful voices fill my head. I won’t go into detail as we all know what they are.

This happened on a major scale earlier this year. Couldn’t figure out why.

Thanks to the powers that be (or more commonly known as, my friends and family) that I managed to figure out what it was. Thus started my research into the dreaded, ‘artist block’.

There is a lot out there if you look. I will list a few links below too. But here’s my summary…

  • BREATHE - Seriously breathe. In and out. Simple as that. (learnt that at a meditation class) Sometimes we forget the basics.

    Life and all that comes with it can sap us of our energy. Without it it’s not surprising that sometimes the focus and the importance on our art can seem to dwindle in priority.

    So give yourself a break, we are only human after all. Put the paintbrush down and walk away. Take some time, and breathe. Don’t worry, you will eventually find your way back.

  • GET OUT AND STAND UP STRAIGHT - Go take a walk. A run. Clear your head and more importantly, hold your head up high. When our mood shifts our shoulders get hunched. Standing up straight will not only help your aching shoulders but will eventually effect your mood and turn it into a more positive one without you even realising it.

  • CONVERSE - Find someone, anyone to talk to. Or if no one is around, write it down. Start a diary.

  • CLEAN - Organise and sort your art area. Clean your brushes. Make it inviting.

  • RESEARCH - Remind yourself what got you into art in the first place. Make a list or make your own Pinterest board with art you like. Remind yourself what it is that draws you in.

  • EXERCISE - Not physically, lol. Go back to the basics of your chosen medium. Play with new mediums and see how they mix or sit together. Hopefully new accidents will happen and will recapture your attention. Try different surfaces. As a painter I use three types depending on what subject I’m painting, or what mood I’m in.

    Portraits, canvas panel. Landscapes, canvas. Any painting that I want a sheen, wooden panels. Plus its a great way to mix it up. Prevents me getting stale.

  • JOIN A CLASS - Can be an art class, exercise class. In my case, a meditation class is what helped me. Being around people who are similar will recharge your batteries. It will make you realise that you are perfectly normal (so to speak) and that you are not alone.

  • START A NEW PIECE - Put your current work (that is annoying you) off to the side so that you can just look at it occasionally. And start another one.

    It will hit you one day, when you least expect it. You will walk past it and will know exactly what it needs.

    Its why many professional artists have more than one piece on the go. I love those ‘eureka’ moments. I’ve had work up on a wall for months knowing something is wrong but can’t quite put my finger on it. Then I get it.

    I have been known to repaint an entire painting in a few days that I’ve previously spent months on. But then I’m finally happy with it. Freaks my family out!

Of course, I am not a professional. These are just my own steps that I have picked up along the way. That I have learnt from others.

My hope to anyone who reading this is, is that some or one of the steps might hit a chord and help direct you in a more motivational direction.

Also please feel free to contact me. If you need to talk or just the need to vent. Or think I have missed something off the list that works for you.

We arty types need to stick together ;)