I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.
There is no word of a lie; the struggle was real last week. I allowed myself to get stuck in some rather muddy waters…I have no idea what happened; I was not ready for it. I took three weeks off, I was refreshed, ready to go, inspired and full of ideas, I was boosted up! I entered the studio with bravo and self confidence. And then Boom…..the FEAR…the dreaded self inflicted blockage showed his nasty big Meany face. I swear, I became the worse ‘wallower’ ever…blaming everything, ready to throw the towel and call it quit. I seriously needed to sit myself down and give myself a good talk to.
A familiar emotion?
Then stick with me…
People who know me or people who come to my workshops see me as a confident person. The fearless fiery French woman…blimey that is some reputation to live up to! I somehow give the impression that my creative process is smooth and effortless and that the daily studio activities are humming along in a peaceful and calm way…well don’t be fooled people, I have some news for you, I am not immune to the funk. Just like ALL the artists I know, there are times when everything feels frustrating, blocked and in a tangle. The voices of my limitating beliefs are screaming louder than I wish them to be and I come to a standstill, feeling really sorry for myself. Poor me.
But the truth is creative blocks happen all the time. We stop, we start, we get excited, we feel frustrated, we love, we fear, we despair, we win, we feel like giving up, we throw laptop on walls ( not that I am confessing this ever happened…) BUT most importantly we keep going .
This is just the huge messy business called the creative experience. It is a necessary part of the process…so my advice is: instead of fighting it, embrace it…easier said than done, I hear you say, so here are a few tips I am applying to my daily creative practise to get of the funk, they will hopefully help you along the way.
Keep going, whatever happens
It is important to realise that, when you are feeling stuck, disheartened or on the brink of giving up, just to stay put. Keep going.
KNOW it is a transitory feeling.
Learning to work your way out of the unexpected will be a great way to empower you and built your self confidence over time. These are just ‘birthing’ pain, it is messy, frustrating, scary and frustrating…but you will make it through.
Remain in the NOW
More than likely, a blockage is a sign that we have lost touch with ourself. We may have wandered a bit too far in the big wide world of what is supposed to happen instead of being in the now. When we start to fret about the future, the ‘what if’, we lose connection to our endless supply of creative potential. The next time you sit down to create, try not to think about where you’re going. Focus on where you are right now and enjoy it!
Whatever’s next will come.
Take away all expectations.
“I am under no obligation to make sense to you.”
Neil DeGrasse Tyson
For the time being, separate the process from the finished product. Try not to dwell on what people, galleries, viewers, fellow artists would think about the work you do. No wonder we feel uninspired and blocked in this age of social media when we are bombarded each day with images of those who seem to ‘do better ‘ than us !This can be most difficult if we try to make a living of our work or are used to receive praise on social media, a double edge sword indeed!
As Dr. Seuss has taught us, “No one is youer than you.” Not everybody will like you or your art.
Stay true to who you are and the rest will take care of itself.
Give your inner critic the boot
Conventional opinion is the ruin of our souls.
Self-criticism, fear and judgment from others and more importantly from ourself is one of the major block from expressing ourselves creatively. We need to make the commitment to quieten our mind and detach ourselves from these voices. Paint like no one is watching! Paint like no one will ever see your work. Paint for yourself.
Know this is playtime. Try not over-think or evaluate anything about your work or your thought process.
Shake loose of the “worry monkey”
Do anything that frees up your body and your mind. Some people do meditate or breathe deep before starting. Try singing or humming a favorite song while you move around your work space.
I have this daily ritual of playing music loudly, dance like no one is watching and sing on the top of my head before I start painting. I am no soprano, but the good news is, I have no neighbours. My dogs are my audience and they are very tolerant.
I do this for me.
I do this to release myself from myself.
Make art everyday
People exercise regularly to stay fit and keep their body supple and flexible…the creative muscles are no exceptions!
Someone told me once that I was ‘lucky’ to be paint every day. This statement got my French temper raised up no end! Luck has nothing to do with it. I have learnt over the years that discipline and a scheduled studio time works for me. Make something artistic art every day. When being creative becomes part of your daily routine it really takes the pressure off. The aim is to keep that creative muscle going, not making Art. Do not put pressure on yourself. Experiment, make mistake, and keep busy.
Carve Time and show up.
You have to make the conscious decision that your creativity is important to you and that you need to set boundaries around your creative time. Write down why you create and how it is essential to you and fix it on your studio wall where you can see it daily. In my situation, I needed to set up a firm schedule based around school drop hours and figure out the minimum time I needed each day and more importantly ….stick to it. Ruthlessly.
It is a firm non-negotiable agreement with myself.
A priority. My creativity is worth it.
When you have allowed the time for your creativity, in time, you will be building a rhythm, a focus, space and attention for your work. Things will start to happen.
This also includes setting boundaries regarding interruptions from others and from ourselves (we can be so good at sabotaging ourselves).
- When my studio door is closed, it stays closed.
- Get rid of all outside distractions. Remove yourself from the phone, T.V., the computer, the dogs, and the dishes.
- Emails, phone calls or social calls will take place outside my studio time.
- Show up, whatever happens or not .
Give yourself a break.
Accept your mistakes. Become surprised by them. Keeps the brush, the blowtorch moving.
Remember, this is fun, this is creative, this is nurturing. Do not allow guilt to permeate and be the driving force. Make it fun, allow it to give you energy and nourish your soul. If painting is not something you feel like doing today, go for a walk, bake a cake, play with your food, make swirls in the lake and take a picture of it …break the pattern.
I hope that these will help you in your creative endeavors! Next month I will share with you practical tips to get the creative juices flowing while painting.
So what’s been happening?
My workshops are filling up nicely and I have a little blitz early bird celebration starting today 1rst February ( until Sunday 3rd), type SPRING2019 at the checkout
and get 20% off selected workshops !
Do you want to share your thoughts or experiences with me?
I will be delighted hearing your thoughts! You can contact me here.
Do you want to be part of the journey and find your flow? Are you curious about encaustic painting? Are you looking for something new to spark up your creativity this spring? Then I would love sharing with you my passion for encaustic painting!
Have a wondrous and creative week!
Don’t forget to share the encaustic love to anyone you would think may be interested into trying their hands at this amazing process and do not hesitate to drop me a line if you wish to know more!
Thank you all for your wonderful support and looking forward sharing this amazing process with you in the near future!
PS: I post regularly my artist process, free encaustic demonstrations and what fires me up along the way on my blog. If you wish to be notified by email, please subscribe to my mailing list, thank you!