Prismacolor pencils on Canson pastel Board
Finalist, 2014 Bay of Fires Art Prize.
Do you ever suffer from Artist’s Block, that moment in your creative journey where you run out of ideas, inspiration and motivation? I think I’ve found the cure!
AB comes in two forms; no idea on what to create next (creatus nilus) and so many ideas in one’s head that a single choice seems impossible (creatus overloadus). I’ve experienced both and in fact the latter for me has been the worst.
In 2014 I was a finalist in the Bay of Fires Art Prize in Tasmania with “Conara Landscape”, a drawing that could be described as an abstract landscape. I didn’t win but it was the first one to be sold on opening night. I was chuffed! What became a bonus for me was that this drawing became my ‘go – to’ artwork when I was stuck for ideas. To date 19 drawings have been the result of returning to my 2014 entry and re-examining its composition and coming up with a new approach. Of those 19, 2 have been National Art Prize finalists and one was published in CP Treasures 5 (USA)last year.
In other words, when you’re stuck for ideas look at some of your previous work, even those you deemed to be ‘failures’ and examine them with fresh eyes. Re-arranging a particular composition or combining parts of 2 or more artworks may trigger an idea. Have you ever tried cutting up a photo of one of your artworks and re-arranging it? I have, with very pleasing results. I’ve created several ‘jigsaw’ compositions and they in turn have given birth to ideas for additional drawings.
‘Idea Overload’ can be so frustrating! The harder you try to decide what to do, the more confused one gets! The solution is quite easy. I recommend the ‘step away from the studio approach’. Don’t attempt any art whatsoever, take a break, a clean break, even leave your residence and do something unrelated for the rest of the day. Take a walk, a long walk, or go and socialize. Give your art some space. You need to relax. Try it. It works!
Over the years I have created a series of resource folders that contain photos of subjects that I may someday wish to paint. As I usually work in themes, this approach has been very beneficial. I also have created another series of folders that contain ‘possible’ subjects for drawing. As with the resource material these folders contain resolved images that are waiting to be drawn. When I add a new folder it often results in at least 6 photos that I intend to draw. I have found to my dismay the more photos I have, the more confused I get when it comes to deciding which one to draw. The answer? Don’t think too far ahead and plan your next artwork towards the end of what you’re currently working on.
Always ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?” When you know the answer then you’re ready to create a new artwork.