Breaking Creative Block – Overcoming The White Canvas:

We’ve all been there. Standing in front of the canvas, or our sketch book, or a blank page, trying to figure out how to start. Feeling uninspired or just even afraid to start. Or sometimes it’s maybe not that obvious. We feel a little stuck, or want to be creative, more creative or get back in touch with how much fun art and writing us to be, but isn’t any more. Well, here are some ideas on how to jump start your creativity.

It’s “time to be creative.” Only you are sitting there facing a big white canvas or paper. Ugh….

That’s OK. This happens to all of us at some point. Instead of rearranging your paintbrushes, colored pencils and the rest of your studio for the 100th time, try something different:

* Grab a sketch book, and allow yourself to SUCK. I’m serious – allow yourself to just totally, just 100% be terrible. I know this sounds counter productive, but has always worked for me.

* Do some sketches in on smaller gesso covered paper or in your sketchbook. And again – don’t worry if they aren’t perfect. The idea is just to start.

* If you are writing, and feel you “can’t” just start anyway. It’s ok if it doesn’t make perfect sense – just start with some free flowing thought. Or grab a quote off the internet that is around your topic – now your page isn’t blank anymore.

* This one might sound like cheating. But if the white of your canvas or paper is really too much to take. And a part of you is scared you will ruin it when you start – go ahead and give it a light wash of color. Obviously a color that will work with the art you are going to create. It doesn’t have to be a really deep wash, it can be very transparent. But sometimes this helps me. Of course there are times, like when I’m doing skin tones that this will not work for me. So chose this option, or play with this options at first, when you are not under the gun to create a commissioned piece.

* I like to play music to get me in the mood, and to keep me company. Because let’s face it creating art can be a lonely occupation at times. I even crank up the music and dance once in a while, just to keep my blood pumping and my energy up.

*Or, if you really haven’t even made it into your studio, because you just aren’t feeling it. Here’s a few other things I do to get in the mood. Let’s say I have a commission due, and I don’t want to start on it. I head to the beach. I realize this may sound like an excuse to play hooky. And it would be if I was brining my swim suit and a towel. But I go the beach, sit on a bench for a while and just watch the waves. This always works for me. Other creatives I know go for a walk, or go exercise, or listen to some great music.

* This list idea is going to depend more on you than anything else. Was there something you use to do, right before art class in school or whenever you went to take a group class or seminar? Some habit that inadvertently helped put your mind in the right mindset? I discovered that if I can’t get my brain to click over to the right side, I grab coffee or a latte. This works for me every time. I don’t even have to really drink it, I just have to smell it and – boom – I’m ready to get started doing the work. So see if there is anything like that, that you do unconsciously that gets you in the mood to work. And then do this intentionally going forward, to help set your mind in the right state.

Let me know if what you found most helpful, or if there is another trick you use that others might find helpful when dealing with the dreaded creative block.


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