Saturday, 29 December 2012
OVERCOMING THE BLANK CANVAS MOMENTS
I recently read an interesting article about “ideas to creativity” and how to overcome the blank canvas moment – that horrible, terrified paralysis - that hits many of us from time to time. Hopefully, the author will not mind if I repeat some of his words of wisdom, along with a few positive thoughts of my own.
1. "Being an artist takes courage. Art and creativity is an expression of the self and with that comes fear of rejection and fear of failure" Often, when embarking on a “project”, it can be quite scary because of the fear of failure. Try NOT to have a rigid aim. Of course, if you accept a commission, this IS pressure, and pressure often does not allow for failure – but the fact is, you need to allow for it, and be prepared to start again if need be. Allow it as part of the process. Fact is, the fear of failure will show in the work, in the form of too-careful or too-timid passages. If you have to start again, take a deep breath, and begin again with a glad heart, it will show in the work.
2. If something isn’t working too well – ask yourself “what if?”. What if I try a totally different colour just here? What if I cut off the bottom half, or top half? What if I spray the entire surface with water? There are loads of “what if’s” you could try. Some might be a bit of a disaster, but others just might rescue a piece. What if you take a risk…and it pays off? Just imagine how good you will feel.
3. Always worked within a rectangle? Try a tall thin support, or a wide narrow one, or a square. See what happens. It can be very liberating! This is part of No. 2 really but I offer it as a separate thought. It can make a HUGE difference to how we approach our work, particularly if we work on the flat two-dimensions of paper or canvas. If you always do what you've always done, you will always get what you've always had........
4. If really stuck and thoroughly fed up, put your work to one side, and then find loads of different bits of reference materials. Sketchbooks, magazines, objects, all sorts. Pin stuff up around your workspace. Look at the website “www.pinterest.com” for inspiration and print off favourite images – you can put in search terms relevant to whatever it is you are currently working on, this will bring up images in other people’s collections.. This can lead you to a new thought process in your current work…and can lead further to a whole body of new work, based on the new inspiration.
Here is a Pinterest "art" inspiration page:
5. .Again – a spin off from No. 4 – artists need to be magpies. They need to notice things, search for things, collect things. The more you do this, the more your imagination will be stimulated. It is the same as "feeding" your artistic soul. Looking at the world, noticing anew, with a sense of curiosity, awe and wonder, will usually refresh and reignite your creative spark.
6. Hold your work up to a mirror, and ask yourself very specifically what you like and what you do not like. Change what you do not like! Even if this means spoiling what you do like. Sometimes, it HAS to be done. Listen to the voice of integrity inside of yourself saing "come on, you know you have to change it..." and Be Brave.
7. Try out those new materials sitting in your drawer! I know artists who buy expensive paper, and then sit there looking at it, terrified to use it for fear of spoiling it. Well, if you do not overcome this fear, you will never experience the potential joy of discovering a wonderful new experience, the start of an exciting, fabulous relationship with a new product.
8. Give yourself proper credit. If you are negative, saying to yourself “oh, this is just awful”...... this is you judging yourself too harshly. Instead, say “well, I have done my best, and actually, I got this bit OK and that bit OK". Recognise that over time, you will, WILL, improve, it is inevitable. Artistic "talent"/technique is a muscle that has to be exercised regularly. Nobody is perfect from day 1 !
9. If you can get some help – for example, showing your work on www.wetcanvas.com, will bring you suggestions from other, really helpful artists – then go for it. Never be too proud to ask for the advice and help of other artists. It will help you to improve more quickly when other eyes point out things you may have missed. BRemember - you need to be patient. It takes time to improve. But improve YOU WILL.
1 10. Remember the three P’s. I have mentioned these above and in previous posts but here they are again. They are important to hold onto and work with. Patience, Perseverance and Practice.
Now having finished this little "lecture".............I just want to say thanks to all who have supported me, not by just reading this blog regularly throughout 2012, but also by buying the occasional offering from me, for which I am very grateful. I will have a busy 2013 - more paintings, more Open Studios, more art bowls and plates, also some jewellery, where I am combining all the new skills I learned this year - here are some of the pieces under construction (changes have been made but not photographed yet). Large pendants, with enamel on copper, silver and semi-precious stones - let me know if any appeal to you in general, I can give you more photos and prices. I am waiting for more of the black chokers right now and am experimenting with different beads and shapes - square ones are under construction too, they are rather cool. I have loved making these, combining "painting" with enamels, and shiny bits - magpie me!