I enjoy talking with the many artists that visit my studio at the Quarry Arts Center here in Whangarei. Today I was chatting with someone about Inspiration. Actually the topic of artist blocks came up but I prefer to couch this phenomenon in the positive context of Inspiration vs the negative attribute of "artists block".
There are many causes of artists block. Here's list off the top of my head:
- Not enough work being created
- Not enough time spent doing art
- Too much comparison with past work or the work of others
- Lack of desire to create art
- A bad attitude about one's art or abilities
|California Hills (6x9) by M Francis McCarthy|
Now lets start reworking the bad attitude by rewording "artists block" to "seeking inspiration". One simple change like that can completely re-frame the issue. There is a lot more positive changes that can and will eliminate any artists block.
Here's some great ways to find inspiration:
- Work more, talk less. Inspiration shows up for those who are working and avoids those who prefer talking about working or work they've done in the past.
- Pick a style and master it before moving on. This is all about focus which I'll talk more about in a future post.
- Emulate the work of artists you admire. By this I mean teach yourself whats good about their work that touches you as an artist. I am not saying that you should ever try to assume the style and working methods of another artist as your own. What I am saying is that the best way to learn how to do something is to try to recreate that which moves you.
- Give yourself a break. If you're truly working hard at your art, your stuff cannot stay bad for long. Hard work always pays off. Always. So don't be too self critical while you're developing as an artist. That's not to say you shouldn't be critical of your work. You should be creating enough of a flow of art that no one piece is all that important anyway.
- Destroy you worst work. You don't need it around if it sucks. If you are really working as hard as you should be, you'd have so much art sitting around that you won't mind getting rid of the crap.
- Do more pieces that take less time. If you have to, work smaller. Smaller works take less time generally speaking and this allows you to cover more ground while mastering your craft.
A bit about today's painting California Hills. I painted this back in 2009. It's maybe my third or forth painting in a Tonalist vein.
I was working on textured panels at the time and I still do my 5x7s oil sketches on textured boards. These days I prefer to do my final paintings on a regular wood surface. The type of wood does matter and I really like hard woods. Here in New Zealand I use kauri which has a nice tight even wood grain.