Smashing Artist’s Block in 2020!

How can we smash this thing called the artist’s block into a thousand pieces and then use those same pieces to create a masterpiece?

It’s highly likely that at some point you will find yourself at an absolute artistic standstill. Both your creativity and inspiration could be so dammed up you might even consider giving up. The good news is that a little crack is all that is needed to help start the momentum and before long, inspiration will carve its way through.
The great news is once your creativity gains momentum, bigger pieces of the wall fall away, and when you look again three days of your life are missing and you’re left staring in bewilderment at a masterpiece that you’ve just created!
Well ok, three days missing in one’s life might not be practical for most of us, but it’s something I seem to dream of when I’m feeling whimsical and artistically choked up.

Getting back to our topic, let’s discuss how we could crack the proverbial dam wall and in doing so I’d like to start by saying it’s very seldom that creativity and inspiration pop out of thin air to tap you on the shoulder. We need to do something on our part to start this momentum.
Sometimes the mere act of having a chat with a fellow creative soul and sharing ideas will lead to an inspired moment. Having the privilege of working for a leading art product supplier I have numerous conversations daily with clients and more often than not, one or both of us, walk away with a great new idea.

The challenge here is to practice being consistently on the lookout for these little moments and then most importantly, putting the idea into motion once you’ve captured one – A little side note here, write these ideas down otherwise you might just lose them in the rush of life!

Motion, the art of doing! This is the actual key here and should become the focus when chipping away at artist block.

Ashley Coetzee sketch

Now let’s address this “Doing” thing. Here are seven points to ponder and try.

  • Get back to basics – What was the medium or subject that started it all for you? Break them out and hash out a few rough sketches.
  • Just play with your medium – Try not to put too much thought into what you’re creating, just let the strokes dance childlike over the support you’ve chosen to create on.
  • Time limit challenge – Give yourself 10 minutes to complete a small painting using only one painting knife and a few colours or create quick, basic value sketches. If you’re a clay artist, extend the time to 30 minutes and use air-drying clay to slap a couple of rough pieces onto a quickly produced support.
  • Try mixing mediums – Recently I purchased a Copic Gasenfude Brush Pen for a little watercolour line-and- wash play and the brush concept threw a whole new spin on things.
  • Change the location you create in (If the current circumstances allow) – They say a change is as good as a holiday and a Plein-air session might just be what the doctor ordered or try the quietness of a friend’s wine cellar.
  • Read a book – Sometimes just reading a book to learn a new style or technique will set things alight again.
  • Just lose it! – If your medium allows it and you won’t damage your tools, just throw them at the workpiece, then use the result as a background or elaborate on the marks made. (Ps: I find this so much fun but my family seems to want to have me committed every time it happens…)
Copic Gasenfude Brush Pen sketch

The idea with these points is not to create an all-out professional OC Detailed production piece ready for sale, but merely to break away and let things happen. Who knows some of your best work might just surface as a happy little accident!
If we put our minds to it, there are so many things that we can do, to just shake things up. I’m hoping my humble little bag of tricks will help you get the ball rolling in the right direction again.
Have fun and always remember to make time for your passion!

Finished artwork

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