With this time of the year, it’s often challenging to find time and even when I do, it is limited. I have always managed to art journal, but I’m finding it hard to work on anything besides that! I have times when I’m creatively blocked and this looks like one of those times. For a professional artist, a creative block is not just frustrating; it’s potentially career-damaging. When you rely on your creativity to pay the bills and build your reputation, you can’t afford to be short of ideas or the energy to put them into action!
A “creative block” is the inability to access one’s flowing stream of inspiration and creativity. What was once an overflowing well of ideas may now feel like an endless drought. It can last for days, months, or even years at a time. Creative block may affect many individuals, but those most affected tend to be people in creative professions such as writers, musicians, artists, and performers.
Here are some of the creative blocks that have gripped me in the past:
Death of a loved ones,
Something going on that’s stressful in my children’s lives,
Lack of financial support,
Depletion of all my creative energy after a period of creating,
Doubtful of my ability and talent,
Anxious about the expectations of a project,
Need for perfection,
Anxiety or Depression,
A sudden loss of meaning and purpose in my work,
Negative self-talk or criticism and last but not least, exhaustion.
The one thing I’ve noticed about my creative blocks is that once I’ve resolved it, it comes at me again from another angle. Yes, the mind is a powerful force!
Even with the best regiments/rituals, we all fall off the creative wagon, when time and commitments weigh us down. The best thing I’ve found is that as soon as I realize it. I go back to where I was when I was balanced. For me that means, yoga, meditation, deep breathing and therapy! Yes, talking to someone, who is qualified and has worked with creatives is like a shot in the arm for me
I’ve learned that often, just showing up is the most basic thing I can do. I mean showing up for all the things that I know work for me.
So I began by cleaning my studio, de-cluttering, repositioning and finally setting up the supplies in front of me. I felt great after doing this! Will this always work? No, but it’s working now. I don’t question what works, in times like this. I just go with the flow of unblocking. During my cleaning, I noticed that I had some 4″x 4″mini canvases in a corner. I decided that I would work with them; they were small enough for me not to put more pressure on myself, if I created something with them.
I worked on each of them as time allowed, sometimes, 15 minutes, sometimes 30 minutes some days, it was all I could manage. I had no expectations and allowed myself to be fine with that. Was it easy? …No!
But, I kept showing up…that’s what I committed myself to; showing up and letting the process take over. By no means am I suggesting that this is a quick or easy process! It will take time as with anything else; what I do know is that you have to start.
I’m slowly and surely coming out of this creative block and I have something tangible to show myself. Even in my most blocked state, I can do something! I’m never at a loss for creativity, I just need to continue with my regiment/rituals, trust myself, trust the process and always show up!
I’ve decided to continue creating my 4″x 4″ x 1.5″. I’ve entitled them “Creative Blocks” These are the first four in this continuing series, since I know I’ll be added to this. They are mixed media on canvas, (the above pictures are selected side views, since each side is decorated). I will continue them on 4″x4″ wooden blocks (find a stash of them in de-cluttering my studio) and I will add them to my Etsy Shop soon! I’m looking at them with lots of gratitude and joy, because out of something so challenging, my art making prevails!
From my wildly passionate creative soul to yours in peace.
HAPPY WINTER SOLSTICE!
claudia moody jones said
Love your blog! Everything you said I can relate to :death, family, finances, depression ect. These things come crashing into our lives and as women we manage to find the strength to deal with them but we tend to let go of our creative selves. Don't know why, but we do. However, like you said it sure helps to talk to someone and what you are doing right now with this blog is like free therapy. I thank for this post and by the way I love your little 4X4 masterpieces! What a great way to get back into the creative groove!
Thanks so much for your continued support, Claudia! It does mean the world to me. Keep on keeping on is a challenge within itself and creativity continues to be the balm that heals.
Catherine Meyers said
Oh oh you've been reading my journal 😉 Seriously though I certainly relate to everything you've said in this blog post. For me the worst thing is the stress I feel due to financial insecurity. I've been creatively dry for a few months now. Driving me ape shit! I did manage to make some sock puppets for my friends little ones which was so much fun.
Things will lighten up soon financially in the next few months having finally paid off my 19 year mortgage! I know it will pass, it always does. Your post is very timely for me Indigene. Thank you! Helps a lot!
Thanks Catherine! Being an artist pulls so much on our inner life, that when the outer life falters, too; that puts incredible strain on an already challenging lifestyle! I believe you can do whatever you set your mind to. Look at how much you’ve accomplished already. You’re amazing!
Catherine Meyers said
Awww thank you so much Indigene you are such a beautiful soul and so grateful for your friendship. Not feeling so amazing right now but, maybe after another the coffee pot is empty with some egg nog added I'll be incredible! LOL
That is such a good point you make about an artist's inner life. Hey best Christmas present ever this year. Paid my mortgage off after twenty years of blood sweat and tears. Well, that's pretty amazing, I must say 🙂
Christmas and Solstice Blessings to you and yours. <3
Catherine, hugs and love to you, dear one; with heartfelt thanks!
Great post. i love your "creative blocks". A good idea and a great end result.
Thanks so much, Fran! I’m filled with gratitude for them helping me through this time.
jennifer barrile said
Creative blocks turned into creative block art, love it! yes mixing things up and doing something else during a creative down time can help. Thanks for sharing. Have a wonderful Christmas!
Indigene Art Forms said
Hey Jenn, mixing things up, is what I seem to do best! 🙂 Have a great holiday, too!
You are the best!!! Loved this post and as always you Art is amazing 😉 Thank you for sharing these tips/processes and rituals 😉
Thanks so much, Jill! You’re pretty amazing, too! I appreciate you taking the time to stop by.