If you have been following me the last 2 months, I have been dealing with artist block. Or maybe not. It may just be that I am not comfortable spreading out with a kid right there riding his big wheel over my art. Or asking the significant other to deal with it when he is cranky. Or I may have true blue certified artist block. So I did some research and here is what I have learned.
Gail Miller’s article, from 2005, focuses on overcoming artist block rather than how it happens, and what causes. it.
So let’s start with the typical five questions.
Who? Me, you, the artist.
What? Can’t work. Can’t even get the canvas on the floor or easel or the materials out of the box. Brushes, still in the container. Paints, still in their tubes. when I do begin to over come my blocks, I usually have to go shopping. That is enough to stop me once I am ready to start again.
Where? Not in my studio, because I don’t have one. And that may be part of the problem for me. It’s not just emotional for me, it is very physical. Not having the space or time. I have touched on this in my previous posts. I hope you will take time to read them.
When? That quote I mentioned, kind of haunts me, although I am trying to deal with the ramifications of exactly how easy it is to brush my teeth and how hard it is to weave 3 inch strips onto a 54 inch canvas.
How? Not while he is running around.
Maybe I don’t have artist block after all. Maybe I have time and space block. I bet a lot of artists with artist block actually have time, space, and lack of support blocks.
Back to Gail Miller’s article: she has some good advice in terms of shaking an emotional block. I like the idea of visiting a library, and creating smaller pieces. I actually started a small piece this week.
I read Art and Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland a while ago. It is currently in storage. I want to re-read it and I am tempted to go into storage and try to locate it. Again, not as easy as it sounds. I have a small storage unit in the basement of my building packed with boxes of paintings and books, all piled up behind a filing cabinet that takes up the width of the doorway. So getting in is like climbing Everest. Having to overcome that hurdle, of getting around stuff, is enough to make me sigh and try to think of something else. I am in my 40’s. I know things can be difficult, but life always feels like such a project.
Here is the website of another great write a who focuses on artist block. ericmaisel.com. What I love about Dr. Meisel is that he looks at the psychological. The why behind it rather than just suggestions for getting past the problem.
Here is a great article by the doctor.
I came across this website in a search, ans like the idea of 101 things to do. I may combine this with the idea of my son’s job jar (a coffee can with small projects he can do around the house each day when I try to do something and he gets in the way) and make a list to be pulled out when I need something to do. Although I never seem to get a moment when I don’t have something else to do.
Although I love all the websites that give lists of things to get past artist block, I also wonder why. What stops me from painting most days? What stops me from telling my family about art shows and sales? What keeps me not telling some friends that I am an artist? What keeps me from marketing to people who probably would support me by buying work? Why do I want strangers to buy my work instead of friends? Why do I think my non-artist friends won’t like it or don’t get it? Those last 2 questions are really important I think. I believe this may have a a lot to do with my lack of success. Or my lack of perceived success. I never wanted to project onto people. I never appreciated it from them. It also has something to do with a mother with a very strong personality. That may be why I compartmentalize and do not wish to project onto people. This is therapy type stuff.
I don’t know how to end this blog post as there really is so much more to it. I have hit on something really personal that keeps me from being more productive and keeps me from the success I wish for.
I found this link and have purchased it. I will do the lessons and see what happens.
I want to know what you, my readers, have to say. I want to know what you do to overcome artist block. Where do you work? Why do you think you get artist block and has it affected your success? This is a pretty powerful topic for me that I would not have explored in depth without a blog and without your support. So please do comment. I can use all the help I can get.