Have you ever had a painter’s slump?

Or artist’s block?  Or whatever else you might like to call it.  It’s when you want to paint, you want to create, but you just can’t seem to get started.  You have a little idea which you start on but it just doesn’t feel right.  You try a different idea and then that doesn’t work, so you try a different size paper or canvas, or you try a different medium, and that doesn’t feel right either.  The artist’s slump is still there. What to do?  Here are a few tips to help you out:

  • Remember it’s just a painting.  The world won’t end if it doesn’t work out.  Rather than get upset about a failed painting, embrace some of the good points and celebrate those.
  • If you usually paint big, try something small for a change eg a postcard sized painting of a peanut!  Anything is better than nothing.
  • Paint with a small group.  If you’ve been painting alone, why not get a few artists together and spend a few hours painting together.  You’ll inspire one another and will be less likely to be so “slump-absorbed”.
  • Do a 2 or 3 day workshop.  Sometimes you just need new ideas.  Attending a workshop could be just what you need to kick start a new style or method.
  • Do something entirely different for a while – walk the dog, take up crochet, weed the garden.  Appreciate the world around you again (maybe you’ve been internalizing too much lately).
  • Visit a gallery for inspiration.  Take extra time viewing subjects that touch your soul.  It will give you new ideas and you’ll go home with a new outlook on art in general.
  • Clean up your studio – get rid of clutter.  This is my favourite.  Physical clutter is a recipe for a cluttered mind.  Un-cluttering your studio will free up space physically and mentally and that slump will go in no time.
  • Get outdoors and take some new photos for inspiration.  Try different subjects – if you usually photograph flowers, then try people, or trains or animals, or even a still life!
  • Write down anything and everything that comes to mind.  It will block any stagnant energy and you might surprise yourself with the new ideas you’ll come up with.

No matter what, don’t give up.  We all have our days, weeks or months where we are stuck in a slump and we wonder whether we should even bother with art.  But if you’re the creative type, it’s not as simple as that.  The need to create is deeper than your more practical side and invariably you’ll end up with withdrawal symptoms if you just stop.  Go on, you can do it!  Get those pencils, paints, brushes, cameras out and do something different with them.  You’ll never know what’s around the corner!

If you need more inspiration, here’s a great article that will also help.  I love point number 7 – “Establish Your Me Time” – https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/creative-block_n_4943997.html?section=australia.



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