ARTIST BLOCK – HOW TO GET STARTED
We’ve all heard about writers block but ‘ artist block ‘ ? Not sure if there is such a term but there should be. This week as all my classes started up for the winter session I’ve never before heard so many students complain about having trouble finding their groove. If I had a nickel I’d be rich for every time I heard “I don’t know where to start”, ” I’m so confused” , “I can’t seem to find the right colours”, ” I don’t what image to paint”, ” I’ve not painted a thing since the end of the last class”, and on and on. You get the picture. No pun intended! I figure there must be a full moon and all this rain doesn’t help!
So, how does one motivate oneself? How does one get over this impasse / slump?
There is no simple answer but I think the following may help:
I think the first step is not force the issue. Accept the fact there are days you simply do not want to paint. Give yourself permission to put your brushes away, go for a walk, phone a friend, read a book, do something that will make you happy.
When you are ready, take it slow. Which means don’t take out your largest canvas and attempt to paint the most detailed image you can find.
I suggest you use an 8 x 10 or slightly larger. Find an image by your favorite painter, crop a section of one of his/her paintings and copy it. Get immersed in their style and brush strokes. Give yourself an hour or more to finish it. Relax and sit back and admire your accomplishment. Nothing is more inspirational than finishing something you like to motivate you to do another.
I also think for those of you who have been painting for awhile there are a few things you should consider.
1. It may be time to get some new brushes
2. Because you are choosing possibly more advanced images to paint you may have to consider you should also invest in some new colours . The basic colours I suggested you purchase for the first session are just not enough any more.
Think positive thoughts. Keep those images you completed last year that you loved near you, to remind yourself what you can do. Take a photo of it using your phone so you can look at it when you come to class. I am surrounded by own images in my studio. I love looking at them to remind myself of how and why I did certain things. Even the Cezanne I copied I keep close as it reminds me when I start to use too many brush stroke, to use the Rule of Three and to stack my colours, therefore letting the eye do the blending.
Hope this helps. Nothing is more frustrating than not knowing what to do next. Take heart the feeling passes.
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