I think I have discovered the source of my painting block.

Each painting I have completed so far this season has been different, exploring new images, shapes, techniques, and each has been an upward progression in my skill.

I have explored foreshortening, different effects with paint and brushes and drying times. suddenly, I am feeling that I need a new challenge. And with the subjects I have nothing is quite gripping enough. Don’t get me wrong, I have some beautiful things in the wings, but I feel that if I’m not pushing the envelope with each new painting then I am betraying something in myself. Like I am not being all i can be.

I realize this is a stupid attitude. Each piece will be inherently different and its own animal in itself. But even more than this, I guess I need to remember that I don’t even know what a piece will be like until I am halfway through it.

I start with a basic concept. a figure, a pose, lighting. From there something takes over and I watch it develop. Sometimes I don’t even know what I am trying to achieve until it happens, and it gets that spark of life, of art.

I don’t know what is happening this time. The concept is there, inside my brain, but I guess I am expecting the full concept to arise before I start. I need to let go and lose myself in the moment and the pure joy of seeing it arise.

I should explain that before the accident I was a project manager. I am used to planning every tiny detail obsessively. That is both why I find letting go so hard and so pleasurable at the same time. It is an interesting psychological exercise if you think about it.

2 thoughts on “Block

  1. The best advice I can give to anyone suffering “painters block” or drawers block or etchers block for that matter, it to buy a bottle of ink and get a pile of sticks from the garden.
    There is something raw and primal about taking the tools to the basest level that I find extremely helpful when I’m having trouble working.

  2. I used to be frustrated when the end product did not match my original concept, as I felt that my ideas were better than my product. This bothered me more until I learned to enjoy the accidental product of technical/medium experiments, though, and found it helped to switch from one to another if I found myself ‘languishing in the void of dis-inspiration’. The commercial work I do at the moment is, at best, exploring technique. I illustrate. It is not expression or self-actualising work, but it is not meant to be, so I am not finding my soul being destroyed by turning out truckloads of almost identical souvenir drawings. I have found a market niche and I am satisfying a need. People appreciate that my offerings are accurate, detailed attractive, locally produced and original – in the sense that they are not prints. Though I do prints, too. These days, I can’t get stuck for inspiration because there is a bottomless market for my wrens, and, like singing scales, they keep me in form. Magically, after a few dozen of the little blue wretches, I usually have wild and mad inspiration to paint or make other, more peculiar, things. I suppose there’s nothing like repetition to make you imagine original and unique works. Say, Jennie, is there any dull-but-popular craft project you could have lying around that you could force yourself to do as pennance for not being inspired? It might help prevent you from going into creative brain-lock. 🙂 It works for me, so – just a thought?–>

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