Creative block can kill your drive to keep going with your artwork, and when you're trying to do this art thing full time, that's simply not an option - you have to keep going! So, I'm sharing these two ways that I deal with creative block, and I would love to hear yours!
FREEDOM TO DESTROY
One day, after many frustrating hours in the studio, with nothing to show but several paintings that I felt no connection to, I was spiraling into that feeling of despair: "I am not an artist. All of my ideas are terrible. Why am I doing this." I was so fed up with brushes, and so fed up with my paintings, that I took my plastic 99 cent paint palette and started laying down color with it all over the work I just did. It was a pure "fuck it" moment. And it was awesome.
The palette made these really nice solid but flowing blocks of color. Then I was looking around for other new ways to add paint to the canvas - business cards, paper towel rolls, an old vibrating toothbrush (because the painting looked like crap, so why not try it!). It was exciting and it got my ideas flowing, and I tried out the palette on a blank canvas to see what I could do.
Now, I can see this carry over into my recent work - I have big swaths of color with finer details in ink overtop, and it all stemmed from that one day where I was so stuck I just destroyed everything. Give yourself the freedom to destroy your precious, frustrating work. If it's going nowhere, let it go & use it as a time to experiment and loosen up.
DON'T FEAR WASTE
Supplies are expensive, and there were times when I first started where I was afraid to use up paper when the pad costs $50, and I was terrified to open my paints because one tube cost me $24. Then, I would end up sitting there with all of these supplies, waiting for some genius idea to flow perfectly into my brain, to my hand, and onto the page. Too bad it just doesn't happen that way.
Good ideas come from many many many many many MANY drafts of worse ideas. I've never sat down and finished a painting in one sitting on the first try and felt like "yes, this is good." Here's how it actually happens - this is an actual account of what I did yesterday - long story short, after about 15 sheets of drafts and messing everything up, I finally got to something good:
I have a new pad of Yupo translucent paper - it's awesome! And expensive. Better be careful with it. Take out one sheet and try out some watercolor - oh wow I hate it. All the color runs together and it splooged out onto the back. Ugh.Take out another sheet and pour watercolor on top to see if I can control the flow - dribbles everywhere, hate it.
Take out another sheet and try it with a spray bottle, maybe I'll have more control? Nope, hate it. Okay. Okay. Move on to bristol paper, because I've had it with the freaking Yupo.
Add some acrylics with a squeegee, and think it looks like something I did last week. Feeling derivative. lame. habit. Question my life. Get out another sheet, add some thinned out acrylics and get this awesome marbled affect! I really like this. (instagram that, because it's really. really awesome, and procrastinating is fun)
Set it aside and return to the Yupo. Can I recreate this marbled effect? Nope. not yet. And oh look, that cool painting I just made dried all warped and weird, because bristol CANNOT HANDLE this much water. ugh. so much fail. FUSDFKJNSNFBSJHBjhb!*@#(*$@#($@#(!!!!!
Okay. Let's try it with less water. Looks cool! Add some more colors, looks even better! YES. Let it dry, and add some texture overtop.
Did I waste a lot of paper, yes. But, I finally got to somewhere that was new and exciting. It's easy to become a creature of habit and do the same thing over and over again in different colors but why? New territory is scary and it's frustrating, and you'll maybe use up a lot of materials while you spin your wheels, but it's worth it to get over the slump and make something new.
I would love to her how you deal with creative block, so let me know in the comments!