The best advice I’ve received or I could ever give to any artist suffering from creative/productive blocks, is just to get to work, and work regularly. It doesn’t matter if what you are working on is what you NEED to be working on. Just get active and start producing anything and the ball will start rolling eventually. Stick with it even if you feel it’s just not working. As I’ve said dozens of times (I’m sure), I think it is the left brain/right brain struggle that often causes my blocks. My brain resists the switch and sometimes it can just be so frustrating and seem so laborious to work when I’m just not feeling the groove. I will have an idea or find inspiration and I want to sit down and just be able to pound something out in a flash, but it doesn’t work like that.
I’ve been working in my studio each evening. I find comfort in my rituals, working regularly, candle lit, pandora playing my favorite tunes on my laptop. These rituals help my brain realize “when I see these signals, it’s time to get in art-gear”. So far I have about 15 pieces of mailart in progress, 2 paintings on canvas in progress, and 3 mixed media paintings finished. The picture above is just a partial glimpse at my very messy work table. Instead of getting irritated at the disorder I’m taking the mess as a positive sign that at least work is being done. How is that for a positive attitude?
All this talk of blocks made me think of a book that every artist should own, Art & Fear. I just ran downstairs to grab my copy and see if something might pop out at me and the first page my book opened up to was pretty appropriate for this post: “Annihilation is an existential fear: the common-but sharply overdrawn- fear that some part of you dies when you stop making art. And it’s true. Non-artists may not understand that, but artists themselves (especially those who are stuck) understand it all too well. The depth of your need to make things establishes the level of risk in not making them.” The section also shares the example of “artists who avoid this self-imposed abyss by becoming stupendously productive”. Yeah, I wish I could become that artist.