Overcoming Artistic Blocks

Something about making art has to do with overcoming things, giving us a clear opportunity for doing things in ways we have always known we should do them.

-David Bayles, coauthor of Art & Fear

Frog Sketch

Good Morning, All!

Feeling Blocked

Sleeping late on a Friday is the biggest luxury on the planet, in my humble opinion. Woke up to some fresh Italian Roast coffee and opened my sketch book. I drew a blank. Had no idea where to begin. I have been so immersed in my Photography class this month that I feel like I forgot how to simply put a marker onto paper. I remember something my 2D design professor said about some artists feeling overwhelmed by the blank page or canvas. He mentioned how one artist would throw charcoal dust over his paper and then “draw” with an erasure in order to get started. So, I decided to not think about it too much and just draw a few lines. A half an hour later, a frog appeared.

The Importance of Scribbling and Unfinished Works

Every now and then though, I don’t have patience to sit for a half an hour to draw so I’ll end up with something like this…

Quick doodle

It’s basically scribbling but I encourage you to get it out of your system so you get used to just the process of just starting. Not every line needs to be perfectly rendered. I created that one at Megabites last Sunday and even attempted a new doodle but never finished it.

Unfinished Doodle

How to Handle the Unfinished

The act of simply doing means you are still actively engaged in creating but maybe you are simply brainstorming. I have a tendency to leave my doodles behind but it’s good practice to hold onto all sketches, even the ones that disappoint you because it might evolve into something else that you haven’t considered.

 To Keep or Not to Keep ‘Bad Art’

I remember sketching outside with an earnest attempt to capture the essence of a pigeon but I lacked some of the skills to really do it any justice. When I was younger, I would never dream of letting anyone see it but as I got older, I found a certain charm to it’s unique renderings. While I’m a fan of skill involved in realistic renderings of still lives (or in my case, not so still life), there’s something to be said about the “bad art”. The Dadists would have loved “bad art.” One of my older sisters has her Master’s in Fine Arts and she was a big believer in having Bad Art Days. We would try a new artistic medium without any expectation of knowing what we were doing. By calling it a Bad Art Day, we got rid of any fear or expectation of doing anything ingenious and sometimes our artwork would surprise us. So, in honor of all the “Bad Art” out there, here is my poorly drawn pigeon.

My version of a Pigeon
My version of a Pigeon

 

It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.

-Pablo Picasso

Books Dealing with Artist’s Block

  • If you ever feel like you’ve felt blocked as an artist and couldn’t create anything, there is a great book called Art and Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland which I can highly recommend. If you’d like to read a review on it, Click HERE!
  • The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron has always been my go to book to help me find my artistic direction, no matter how quirky. More on her HERE!

Now go get some art supplies you’ve been meaning to try and go play!

Cheers!

Mary

4 thoughts on “Overcoming Artistic Blocks

    1. I started doing the morning pages a year ago and I’m still doing it. I probably need to do the Artist’s Date thing more often though. Thanks for giving my frog some props! -Mary

      Liked by 1 person

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