Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Artist's Block


As most of you know, I lost the love of my life, my best friend/husband at the end of March of this year. It was understandable when I had artist's block then. Through the encouragement of my online friends from Drawspace.com, and Yahoo group EveryDay Matters, I eventually got back to drawing and painting. But it is back....ARTIST'S BLOCK! What do I do now? Has this ever happened to anyone here? You know that feeling, "I had it once, but I lost it" ?

17 comments:

Alex said...

I think I've had it so many times I lost count of it. But it does happen, and usually what I'd do is I'd look in to a lot of art work by other artists, that gets me motivated pretty quickly and I'll be back on track in no time. :) I hope it helps, and that you'll get back on track in no time too.

ujwala said...

i usually go through a bunch of photos i've kept aside to jump start me at such times. find something i like and sketch on newspaper or an envelope so that there's no pressure about how it turns out and i can just enjoy myself. i pick my most fave subject - a face - the subject itself also acts like a carrot :P

I'm following Julia Cameron's book the artists way and journalling for the second time. this has helped me too in the past.

Hope you get over this sooon.

nanke's stuff said...

I think every artist has had it (or is in it now) at some time or another .... from what I can tell, usually more then once. Sometimes I find doodling very helpful - Zentangles are fun and since they usually have no subject at all, they're pretty non-threatening. I also find making collages can help. Another thing that can help me is copying the drawings of the Masters or drawing sculpture. It's handy to have an art book or two around that has photos of things like that so you don't have to go anywhere to do it..... it's right there at your fingertips. If you're feeling up to it, you can go to a museum or botanical garden and just sit and sketch something that doesn't move (it's so much easier for me than trying to draw people or animals that just won't cooperate with being a model). HTH. nancy

Jonathan Manning said...

That is where the Every Day Matters list is the most effective for me. For that 10 minutes a day, I don't have to think about what I'm going to draw because today I'm supposed to draw a lamp. That very often leads me to stage a still life or gather photo references for an inspiration. Just 10 minutes a day focusing on the everyday items.

Spinneretta said...

These are all so true :)
Sometimes I find I need a break, and I concentrate my creative skills on another craft- and suddenly it comes back.
Other times, reading art books helps.
My number one favourite motivation though, is other artist's sketchbooks and blogs.
I'll trawl through Flickr and my google reader and blogger friends. Invariably I will feel inspired.
Perhaps all you need to feel inspired is the RIGHT thing to draw... maybe your late husband, or something of his that reminds you of him can help both inspire and yet allow you to mourn his loss.
I do hope you find your inspiration- if you want more blogs I have lists on mine and a huge list of blogger friends you can trawl through!

Kellys Art Journaling/ Sharing The Journey said...

Loosing someone you love is so hard... it's hard on your spirit and especially your creative spirit. As an artist I lost my motivation to create. I went through some inner healing, the grieving process, getting closer with the Lord... and then when I was finally ready to come back... I first did mind numbing things with my hands such as crocheting... then I moved to creating cards, then gift tags... then I started healing art journaling... and that's when my creativity really began to flow. I recorded my healing in an artistic way. Then when I got stuck again I read "THe Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron. THat helped alot. Now I am beginning to create again... I hope this helps.

Martine said...

What helped me go through this experience was to draw something very simple: a key, a cellphone, a pen,a ruler, a sketchbook... even if you don't put shading on it.Keep these little sketches and when you are ready, add colour and shades.
They'll keep you company and may help you gain confidence. I'm sure you'll be fine !

Anonymous said...

hello,
artist's block is something ive suffered with, i joined http://garyreef.ning.com/
'art from the heart' and it really cheered me up, and inspired me to draw or at least try
thanks
sandra

bendelachanal said...

Hello Trish,
like many others I did go through mental blocks. And when it comes back I use different techniques to get me drawing, most inspired by Julia Cameron's book, the artist way.
But it works only if I have the need to draw. When the need to draw is buried by too many other things, then I start back with regular and short sessions of drawing, drawing what ever. A bit like going to the gym!
After a while, it comes back and I don't need these scheduled sessions.
I hope to see more of your art.

Ann said...

You have already received such great advice, everything that I might say as well. Sometimes I think I need to allow for the down times, let the ideas percolate a bit, that it's all part of a larger cycle of growth. Hope you are feeling better soon :-)

raena said...

Most of the great ideas have already been covered, but I'll add that when I am in my funk, I do mountains of contour drawings. Usually from photos on morguefile.com, but sometimes from things around the house. Contour drawings allow me to be less analytical. Plus, if they turn out bad, I can laugh because they are usually funny looking! I am truly sorry for your loss and for your sadness. For me the only things that help are art and puppies!

Alissa said...

Trish, I also get inspired by EDM challenges. They are a way to interpret a challenge in a very personal way and draw a subject that means something special. and that in turn can inspire.

But sometimes it is easier to draw something that you do not have an emotional attachment to and that when I go to other drawing challenges like Virtual Paintout.
I hope that just reading this discussion motivates you

freebird said...

When I just can't draw or do anything else I pile up different types of art books by my bathtub so I can slowly read them while I soak in fragrant bubbles spoiling myself. Your husband hasn't even been gone a year so allow yourself time to seesaw back and forth and realize it's okay. No one heals from a loss such as yours in a few months! If you really want to put pencil to paper do the EDMs as others have said but maybe try a different color of pen or pencil each time. Color helps me when I am down. I gather pretty balls of yarn and put them out to ponder on or put your colored pencils in a clear jar where you can see the colors all the time. But heck, you are still grieving and I think the best thing might be to go take a walk and talk to your husband. Share your block with him and ask him to help you through it. Frankly, I would just try to FEEL the block and your grief - feel it as much as possible like how does your body feel, what is your appetite like, how gray is your blue sky - that sort of thing until you get sick of it and then pick up on your art. I've rather run on but I hoped to offer something different to think about. Good luck.

Revelle said...

I lost a son and the grief was unbearable. It's almost 8 years since that happened and the sorrow still comes in floods. I went to grief counseling where I could talk to others that had gone through the same thing and that helped for a while. It comes and goes like a roller coaster and you want to curl up in a ball and not do anything. That's when I would have a really god cry, and then do an affirmation, repeating "All is well" about 10 times ...sometimes ten times a day! It helps tremendously to get through. Your grief is still so fresh. Give it a voice. Draw or paint how you feel. Hope that helps. My prayers are with you.

Dan Kent said...

I suggested a book on the EDM post, but had another thought: You lost Merle in March. That is a very short time ago. To echo Revelle, when I lost my daughter it took about a year for the heavy grief to subside, and we are still dealing with the loss in some form 15 years later. We will never be over it. That does not mean that life does not go on, it does. So give yourself time to heal and don't expect too much too soon. This process is very normal and everything in your life is affected one way or another - your art is not excluded from that. But this too shall pass. The memories, however, will stay with you forever.

Art is for the Making said...

I don't think of myself as an artist, but as a writer. And, YES!!! I've had writer's block. I know the feeling.

My suggestion is to take tiny steps until the artistic urge kicks in. Maybe sharpen your pencils one day, buy new paper another, look at inspiring blogs, listen to music that reaches your creative soul...just set the stage for the artist in you to return. She could just need a rest for awhile, but she would love it if you were ready for her return.

Hang in there.

Colour Blob said...

Im sorry for your loss, I too lost someone very near and dear to me not very long ago (my father)... And I had a really bad painters block and it felt like I never would get out of it... when it gets bad, I think about something dad always said "life is like a towel on the hook" (dont ask what it means, I have no idea but it made him feel good... and it made us always laugh when he said it. Silly, yet it always worked.
And I find inspiration with looking at other artists work and read their stories, just like yours, you have inspiried me.
All the best, Mari