I know I’m creatively stuck when I’ve painted over something again and again and start to get frustrated.
This is usually because I’m attached to what I think my art should look like rather than letting what I need to paint come out.
This happens a lot with eyes. I’ll have a specific expression or mood in mind that I want to create, and I just can’t get it. I paint and repaint my eyes until finally I realize, maybe what I’m painting is trying to tell me something. Maybe there’s a new story in there that I didn’t even know I needed to tell.
And I can only get to it by stopping my attachment to what things should look like and falling in love with (and maybe improving upon) what’s already there.
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Whenever I need to get creatively unstuck, I try these things:
*I step away from my studio and do something I really enjoy… taking a walk, baking, sipping tea outside, watching a favorite movie. Sometimes it just takes returning to a moment of joy and getting my mind off of it to lead to new inspiration.
*I start a background. Backgrounds are the layer for me when I get all of my emotion out. Sometimes, if I stop having fun with a painting, it’s because I care so much about it. Starting a new painting, especially a new background helps me take a step back and come back to it again with fresh eyes and looser hands.
*I often get creatively stuck because I’m trying something new. To get me back into my comfort zone and confident again, I go back to my fall back techniques and colors (those supplies and colors I love most). In those moments, I need to turn back to the art I have the most fun with. Maybe that’s paging through magazines and ripping out images to find inspiration (sometimes just the act of ripping and being fast about it kicks me out of a rut), sponging painting in blues or paper collage.
The most important thing for me is to return to having fun with my artwork again. Then whatever I create gets infused with that same joy and excitement and I can share that happiness with others.
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