I'm sure you've heard of writer's block - the thing that causes writers to stop in their tracks, to freeze at their keyboard, to pace up and down their office continuously until they cancel their efforts for the day and make a cup of tea instead. Visual artists get the very same thing. I call it a creativity block - it's much more inclusive, isn't it! Like all creative people, I get these blocks on occasion too and over the years have learnt a few nifty tricks for pushing that block aside. Here I spill the beans.
When you face a block, are you telling yourself you're not in the right headspace? You don't have enough time? You don't have any ideas? You don't know where to start? You aren't any good at drawing or painting and whatever medium you usually use? Does the old imposter syndrome sneak in? Do you tell yourself that you have so much else to do?
Here are my favourite creativity hacks:
When you face a block, remind yourself why you began creating art in the first place. Do you create art because it is your calling? Do you create art because it keeps you grounded and feeds your soul? Do you create art because it is good for your mental health and wellbeing overall? Whatever your reasons, remind yourself of them and set out on your art session with that in mind.
My number one tip... and just take a breath here and be open to this... My number one tip is to JUST GET STARTED. Cast all your excuses and self-criticism aside, pull out some art materials and put a brush to paper. Lower your expectations. Have NO expectations even. Begin your art session will the intention to create... something... anything... but nothing in particular. This is a winning, tried and tested approach.
If it's easier to get started, use more economical materials when you're faced with a creativity block. I usually create works on canvas, but when I am up against a block or my mind is making all sorts of excuses, I swap canvas for paper. Keeping the costs lower, lowers the pressure.
Grab your favourite art materials and dive in. Just play and see what your materials can do. How do they combine with other materials? You can also do this with your favourite colours. If you begin from a base of love and passion (the materials you adore), you'll break the spell of a block and enjoy your creativity session.
Look at an artwork by an artist you love and borrow their colour palette to create your own creative exploration. I do this often! A handful of artists out there are constantly inspiring my own colour choices. This is a great way again to relieve the pressure.
Experiment with mark-making in your journal or sketch book! You can build your library of marks that you love to make and at the same time experiment with your materials, how they combine and build a bank of resources to draw on in a future artmaking session.
After your art sessions, don't throw anything out. Give it some time to breathe, and review your work the next day or week. Who knows, what you thought was a mess or a jumble, could turn out to be a beautiful piece according to your fresh eyes.
Now go get creative!
P.S. If you're looking for a relaxed painting activity, try my FREE watercolour lesson. Click here to grab it.