I deeply want to create and I also don’t want to create…
Can you relate to this?
“With this time off I figured I would be creating non stop. But when I get to my studio I feel blocked. It feels like a chore and I end up doing anything else. I deeply want to create and I also don’t want to create.”
Hi my name is Carrie and here on Artist Strong I help artists like you build your skill and develop your unique artist voice. Today we are talking about creative block.
Every time I take a step back and break from my art (whether by choice or circumstance) each and every time I return to my art I feel this way. So what can we do about it? Leanne (thanks Leanne!) posted this great question to the community and you guys replied in spades.
Here’s what you had to say:
- “Let go of any expectations! !! It’s so hard to go through that, so go out, throw some paint and let go! Use mixed media paper that is not expensive so you don’t need to worry too much about cost and enjoy!!”
- “I’m going to start planning before I go into my art room and have an idea what I want to create. That way, there’s a beginning already and I’m not scattered all over the place. Limit your choices maybe.”
- “Copy something that you liked the look of. Give yourself permission to copy. I find that I do my own take on it anyway. I also find it takes away the stress of facing a blank piece of paper.”
- “Start doing something not too precious for example on a paper. Choose a topic for example your happy place, choose the music and the colours fits to the feeling, push your fingers into the paint and start expressing your feeling.
- It’s only for yourself, you don’t need to judge yourself. If you still do, just listen with curiosity saying “Aha!!! ” and let go.”
What I notice the most in all of this advice are two things:
What is your goal when you show up in the studio? Do you have an idea in place, ready to execute or are you hoping by showing up the inspiration spirits will show up and guide you? My inspiration knocks when I show up and create, even when I feel uninspired.
Have a concrete action you plan to take in the studio upon your return so you don’t have to think about anything you can show up and start getting those hands dirty.
Our inner critics can be SO loud that we are scared to show up. And after a break I find mine particularly pesky. “You forgot everything” is a common inner critic message for me.
I love the advice to lose expectations of what the art should be and to encourage play. We don’t need to create something worthy of hanging on a gallery wall every time we put paint to paper.
Get scrap paper to play on. Collage. Play with a new medium.
The takeaway here: let your inner child out to play again!
My personal experience with creative block is something I spoke about with Sandra Busby and Tara Roskell of Kick in the Creatives, I’ll be sure that interview is linked below. I find the more I take a break from a specific medium or making art, the louder that questioning inner gremlin of mine becomes.
He starts to say things like, “Maybe you aren’t any good anymore.” Or, “What if you’ve forgotten how to paint?” And the longer I wait to make between works, the louder he becomes.
So I try to have multiple artworks going, always in different stages of completion, so I rarely have gaps of nothing to make in between artworks.
It’s important to understand HOW your inner critic operates so you know how to work with them to overcome those fears and get back into the studio.
This post from Artist Strong is brought to you by The Artist Strong Studio, our community of patrons who believe and wish to support this community. You can become part of the Artist Strong Studio for a small monthly commitment as low as 1 dollar a month. To learn more visit https://www.patreon.com/ArtistStrong.
A special thank you to current patrons, I couldn’t do this work without your support.
Now, let’s start that conversation: What other ideas or strategies do you use to help get drop that inner critic and dig back into those art supplies? Comment below and tell me more.
Thanks for watching and I’ll see you next time here on Artist Strong.
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