Saturday, September 25, 2021

On Creative Block - Too Many Ideas

What is the opposite of feeling stuck because of having a lack of ideas and direction?  For me, it's having TOO MANY ideas.  This is how I was feeling this morning.  

I probably spend about half an hour a day, maybe a little more, perusing social media.  I LOVE looking at other artist's artwork. Most times it inspires, but sometimes, I get way overwhelmed.  

From years of being a creative person, I know when I am feeling inspired.  It's like this bright spark or sense of glee that I feel inside, and it let's me know, I want to go play.  But sometimes too many creative practices inspire me and I get overwhelmed.  I want to try them all!  And then I just feel stuck, not sure what direction to move forward towards.  Have you ever felt this way?  

Currently, I am making linocut prints and mono prints of foilage with a gelli press, and collaging artwork incorporating both of these printing methods, as well as creating collage fodder with different methods of using acrylic paint.  I love all of these creative mediums, but I am also attracted to painting, mainly loose, flowing, colorful, abstract painting, AND other types of printing such as silk screening and cyanotype.  I also like beaded jewelry and macrame, and... the list goes on and on. 

For me the answer to dealing with this stuck feeling, first off, is to get off social media.  It is a great tool in many ways.  It helps me stay in touch with people like you, my followers and fans, and I love that.  I have met so many wonderful people from across the globe that I couldn't have otherwise.  But when I start feeling that uncomfortable feeling of overwhelm, it is time to put the ipad down, and do something else. 

Getting outside is quite often the remedy for me, being in nature, taking a walk.  Even better is taking a walk with a friend.  And if your friend is also an artist, talking about the overwhelm and getting another perspective is always helpful.  Or write about how you are feeling.  Writing is a good way to move stuck, blocked energy.  Why, that is what I am doing right now.  I love to write and share ideas.  One last idea is to just start creating something.  It doesn't have to be perfect.  Make it something small.  Make something loose and free.  Just start something.  Play with a new medium.  Draw, sculpt, play music.  Just get the energy moving.


So that's what I am off to do right now.  I'm going to take my own advice and take some time to play.  

See you on the other side :)


Monday, September 6, 2021

On Creative Block

Since launching my last body of artwork, my print collages, I have been feeling tired and creatively blocked.  I wasn't sure if I wanted to share about this, but I've been feeling a strong urge to write lately, so I thought I would come clean.  

When I released my collages I felt like I had given birth, and in a sense, I had.  All together there were 13 pieces, all new work in a new direction.  And they were very well received.  So far 11 out of the 13 have sold.  That is both rewarding and encouraging.  And humbling.  I really enjoyed making them, and I can feel more are on the way.  But I also felt empty afterward.  Not in a bad way.  But as if I had released a big part of myself into the Universe, and then I needed to step back, and refill my creative well.  And that is what I am up to now.  


Another block to my creativity lately is my mental/ emotional state.  I am someone who has dealt with depression on and off my WHOLE life, or what feels like my whole life.  As far as I can remember, since childhood, it has been my norm.  It runs in my family.  I'm not sure if it is biological or a learned way of looking at life, or a combination of both.  I just know it has impacted my life, and I am dealing with it now.  A second year of living through Covid with no end in sight, the state of the world, politics, it can all be overwhelming at times.  I am Covid weary.  As many of us are.  

I think a lot of time what gets in the way of creativity is fear.  Fear of making the first mark.  Fear of needing and wanting the artwork to be perfect, even before we start it.  I am a perfectionist.  I know this one well.  I feel like I am in a grey area right now.   And there is a bit of this fear getting in my way.  I'm not exactly sure where I want to go with the next piece I want to create.  I have a vague idea.  But my vision is foggy.  

What I have been doing and what I am going to continue to do for now is make fodder for collages.  I would describe "fodder" as mixed media patterned papers that are used as bits of a collage.  They help create visual texture and interest in a collage.  I get a great amount of pleasure from making fodder because I get to use different mediums like acrylic paints, markers, metallics, etc., and the process is free form.  I am not creating a recognizable image, just creating random color and patterns on paper.  The freedom of the process is very fun.  Just loose and creative. 

So as I move myself through my creative block, I thought I would share some of my ideas that may be helpful for you too. 

Tools to move through creative blocks:

1. Take a break from social media.  It's so easy to get into feeling not good enough when you scroll past other's images of their creative expressions and get caught up in comparisons. 

2. Do some journaling.  I love to creative write.  But sometimes I just need to spill out what is bothering me on paper, not to share with anyone.  A way of releasing what is emotionally blocking me.

3. Get out in nature.

4. Read or listen to inspirational books, videos, podcasts.

5. Meditate. Pray.  Give yourself some quiet time to explore your internal world.

6. The book, The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron, is all about moving past creative blocks.


7. Julia Cameron suggests taking yourself out on an "Artist's Date", a time when you take yourself out, on your own, to do something you consider to be fun.  Go to a movie, a museum or gallery, to an art supply store, etc.   This is a way of filling your creative well.

7. Just make a mark.  Just start drawing, painting, whatever you like. 

8. Try a new medium.

9. Listen to music and get your body moving.

10.  Talk to friends, family, other artists for support. 

These are just a few ideas that I can think of right now.  I will add more as I think about them.  If you have any you would like to share, I'd love it if you would leave your ideas in the comments.