Today I've realized that I have a painting to mail on monday and I haven't started to work on it, not even sketches, not drafting of ideas, no nothing, and it's not the only project I have on hold, I'm in the middle of a creative block, it's gotten me thinking.
Have you ever been through a creative block? I bet you have, I'm almost sure every artist - in fact every person who creates at some kind of level - goes through blocks, not only that, I'm sure creative blocks happen to every artist AND in cycles, and when they come back home the routine is always the same, a little bit of anguish, some frustration, self-doubt... sounds familiar?
Also soon after the block has made itself comfortable in your mind there comes Procrastination taking advantage of your weakness and adding to the burden. In fact yesterday I was listening to an interesting speech by John Cleese where he stated the importance of setting boundaries of space and time when you are creating, I thought that would be the key, but sadly procrastination seems to sneak beyond those boundaries easily.
Procrastination is such a peculiar beast, you can't paint, you can't draw, in fact you can't even think of any interesting ideas, and suddenly you are creating a mental list of things that you need to do at that very moment, like deciding the kind of shelves you should get to stock those cluttered supplies that are distracting you right now, or merging that image in photoshop, and now that photoshop comes to mind you realize that what you should be doing is putting up that jpg for the rollover menu of your web's sidebar, which reminds you the web page... you should be working on it which means you probably should be studying some more chapters of that php and mysql course, or finishing the design of some buttons and since you're already on the computer you should catch up on emails, write a blog post about creative blocks, check your social networks and... You see the pattern, the list soon becomes endless, not that you are gonna do any of those things anyway, procrastination brings them to mind just to get you in a loop of a big pile of NOTHING.
Another funny thing about this kind of situation is relying on the Mood, I'm sure that you're familiar with this too, the mood is a trickster, I know I can get a good enough painting to mail on monday, one I can be proud of, IF I'm in the right mood, that amazing state of mind where you pick the brush and time no longer exists, it's just you and the images and your own world, but hey, what if I can't get in the right mood??? gosh, I could not make the dead line, and there it comes again, a panic attack in the rising!
Since we all go through this once in a while we all have painter friends who go through it too and we all have shared with them some tips to get over a creative block. Sure you all have some tricks that you use and that you recommend to other painters who are going through a block, I do, what I usually recommend to my friends when they go through a creative block is:
1) Search for inspiration on your favorite art books, music, nature etc. More than "search" is a "enjoy" them so eventually ideas start to flow.
2) Doodle, no matter what it is, it doesn't have to be anything, just pick up paper and pencil and throw lines around, on a daily basis, because what looks like inspiration is really the result of habit.
Now, it's easier to say it than to do it, since I have 6 days to have a finished painting I've taken my sketchbook with me today and have forced myself to try some rough sketches, nothing has worked, the little ideas I've gotten seem poor and unoriginal, then I've decided to simplify it even more and just try thumbs, really rough masses of white, gray and black just to see if something worthed to be developed further, the result has been a pile of failures, my own advices are totally logical and still doesn't seem to work at all when I try them!!! Does this happen to you too? I really hope it's not only me, does everybody have troubles attempting to use their own advices? in fact, does everybody follow their own advices? I'm really curious about this, 'cos some little devilish side of me thinks not everyone does, I mean I don't always do and I'm the person I trust more! I'm really really curious about your thoughts on this.
After thinking about all this situation during half of the day I'd say that when everything seems to fail... it's not really failing, those failed doodles and unoriginal thumbs are really just another step of the trip towards the final piece. Next time I'll approach them, with fresh eyes, I'm sure one or maybe some of those bad thumbs will be the base that - after moving things around, quitting an element, adding some other or puling a concept - will lead me to a good first stage of the painting. And maybe if I can force myself to repeat these 2 tips for overcoming a creative block I'll be able to get in another kind of recurring cycle all artists go through too, the one where all kind of ideas for amazing paintings comes to your mind one after another :).
What are your tips for overcoming a creative block? even the craziest ones would be of help. Do you always follow your own advices or find yourselves using advices from others instead the ones that you think of? Procrastination anyone? Also when you're on a super creative state do you just make as many paintings as you can or you record all the ideas you get in some way? sketches? notes? just trust that if you won't remember the idea it wasn't good enough? Food for thinking...
7 hours ago