Being inspired, being creative, being able to produce art - where do your emotions need to be to be those things?
What are we talking about when referring to Artist’s Blocks?
First of all everyone experiences blocks of some kind, some time.
Perhaps the first thing to realize is that feeling blocked is common, it happens to everyone in every profession or hobby or endeavor of any kind. You are not alone. This fact doesn't make it any more pleasant, and, of course, you don’t want to spend time feeling blocked.
The simple answer is that a block is the inability to move forward. You are blocked.
Here are some words that describe a Block:
*obstruction *barrier *hurdle
*clogged *choked *congested
*inhibited *restricted *limited
*hindered *unable *handicapped *stopped
And the feelings associated with a Block:
*dull *bored *stuck *disengaged
*unaware *fatigued *tired *sad
*confused *frustrated *at-a-loss *bogged down
*defeated *disappointed *exasperated
*annoyed *angry *discouraged *aggravated *vexed
Just reading that list is enough to make your shoulders slump.
Now here are some words that describe being un-blocked:
*moving *circulating *streaming *smooth
*emanating *surging *gliding *flowing
*active *taking action *accomplishment *working
*productive *progressing *making headway *advancing
*developing *changing *going *playing *free *easy
And the feeling words associated with being un-blocked:
*in the flow *inspired *engaged *stimulated
*passionate *energized *knowing *enthusiastic
*playful *joyful *eager *committed
*devoted *can-do *gung-ho *brilliant *happy
*imaginative *motivated *excited *animated *awakened
Doesn’t that feel better?
Now that we know what being blocked is and what it feels like, what can we do to get un-blocked?
The simple formula to being inspired, being creative, and being able to produce art is to get above the Creativity Line, which basically looks like this -
Above the Creativity Line = Yes!
Below the Creativity Line = No
All those words I just gave you can be inserted in the Yes blanks or the No blanks, thus:
Yes means: I am ____, I can ____, I will ___, I dream ___, I like ____, I love ____, I want to ____, I do _____
No means: I’m not ____, I can’t ____, I won’t ____, I fail ___, I give up ___, I hate ____, I don’t ____
In the middle would be I try ____
Try is a tricky work. It really means to struggle. Yoda said, “Do or not do, there is no try,” which is true. If you feel inclined to say I’ll try, stop yourself and reconsider. Will you pick up that sketchpad and pencil, or canvas and brush, and do something or not.
When you are feeling blocked take a deep breath, or two or three. Then feel what you are feeling. Give it a name, acknowledge that it is what you feel. Use the list I’ve given you for clues. How are you saying no to yourself?
Next read the unblocked list, and pick a word that feels do-able. You cannot expect yourself to go from frustration to jubilation in an instant. However, you could be able to go from frustration to playing. Once you get into playing the frustration will dissolve all by itself. It will simply disappear.
Frustration is a super common Artist Block. So, if you are working on a specific painting or drawing and you start to feel frustrated, stop and play. Have some play paper handy for doodling, or finger painting, or ugly painting, or tearing up, or whatever form of play comes to you.
This idea is a great place to start, and it certainly isn’t the last word on this subject. I have more ideas for getting out of Artist’s Block and back into a creative flow. But, for now, I hope this gives you a tool you can use to get in touch with what’s going on inside to move forward and out of an Artist's Block.
In other words, a compendium of art terms, language and philosophy gathered together for your illumination and enjoyment.
Visual artists speak a Visual Language. This is, I believe, the one universal language in the world, crossing all borders of every kind. When you know this language, and are able to apply it to your art, most everyone who sees your creation will feel your intention. This is the reason the greatest works of art speak to us across hundreds of years (while others fade into obscurity).
This collection is from my own study, research and experience. It may not always match what you have read or been taught elsewhere, and that is the beauty of art - there are no rules. You are free to interpret things as you desire. I share this information to generate conversation and expansion of ideas. Please join the conversation on my Facebook Page: Kim Victoria Artist
This is a work in progress, meant to grow and grow over time. I will post on Facebook and in the Newsletter as new items are added.
May you experience joy in all your art.