Thursday, 13 March 2014

Fighting through creative blocks

At the present moment, I am struggling with what feels like a huge creative painting block.  I decided to admit this to you, dear readers, because I believe we all sometimes go through times in our lives when it is difficult to concentrate, feel relaxed, and be creative - for all sorts of different reasons.

At the moment, as I said in my last blog post, I am struggling with some family issues, which involve hospitals and treatments which are not going smoothly.  My mind is very preoccupied with worry and upset, so it becomes more and more difficult to concentrate on my work...........and yet, I do recognise the need to work because without it, I would have no other focus other than my current problems and difficulties, problems over which I have little or no control.

So - when it happens to you......and it might ....what to do?

Of course, coping strategies vary from person to person and I can only tell you about mine.  I find it helpful to do "practical" things, which do not require a lot of creative energy and input. Yesterday, I tidied my workspace.   Today, I spent time with a plasma cutter and some copper bowls, terrifying myself with a new bit of kit, bought before Christmas but I have been too nervous to use it;  Today I bit the bullet and spent time cutting interesting shapes in the metal while at the same time, trying not to cut interesting shapes out of my fingers!  THAT took my mind off my worries, I can tell you!     Then, I had to spend time filing off all the rough edges - pretty mindless work, but time-consuming.  Here is one I made earlier!

At other times, I have worked on creating some enamel panels, allowing myself to "freewheel", responding purely to the pieces as they developed and came out of the kiln with unexpected results. I have wrecked a few - but that's ok, we all create duds sometimes.  I like some of them but I suspect that they may not sell well at my forthcoming "Open Studio"- abstract works are not popular with my particular audience  -however selling stuff is something I cannot focus on too much or the stress levels will shoot right up - it has to be "Que sera, sera".  What will be, will be.
"Stormscape"  Enamel on copper, 6"x6"

"Summer Heat"  Enamel on copper  6"x6"
"Silent Path"  Enamel on copper 6"x6"
"Skydrift"  Enamel on copper 6"x6"

I recognise that agonising over NOT painting, NOT feeling inspired, NOT being creative "enough" will simply deplete what little energy I have right now.  I have to trust that gradually, as things in my life change, so too will my creative life-force.  In the meantime...........I will work on my craft items, they occupy me gently, in a quite different way to painting, somehow. I will do things which do not "matter" too much.    It is important, I feel, to take  lots of deep breaths, when the going is tough.  And to spend time doing other things..... tidying up in the studio - very rewarding - fiddling, doodling, experimenting,  having few expectations and allowing that to be OK.   


  1. Jackie, not much I can add to your beautifully understood and articulated response to the creative block that you're experiencing, other than to encourage you in your accepting approach. When your muse is ready, she will be raring to go with some big breakthroughs, I suspect. I tend to think of these creative droughts as incubation for the various discoveries that we can only ruminate on when the time for painting is just not yet. Best wishes to you as you deal with the stresses in your life. And thank you for your blog and your generous spirit.

  2. Hi Jackie, I can so relate to your issues. I think you are taking just the right approach. It will be and come when it is right! Love your enamel work, also .... you bring all your art background to that and it shows!

  3. Hi Jackie, I really would like to thank you so very much for your time, your generous sharing of knowledge and encouragement you give us through your blog (I do look forward to your posts) and your interesting links. You spur me into trying something different especially after your examples. I love your work Jackie. I wish you all the best.

  4. Your enamels are wonderful! I wouldn't call them abstract, as I can see pictures in all of them--more impressionistic to my eye. I particularly like the Stormscape. I admire your persistence and resolution--I tend to give up and read a book.

  5. Wow, the Creative Blocks have been sweeping the world, I think! What strange times these are! Makes me think we are on a threshold, truly, of a Renaissance! Like the tidal wave drags out all the moisture from a shore just before it slams the landscape, we are SO in a dry zone, worldwide, right now. Like you are doing, if we can all just keep working at some small creativity, even if it doesn't work well... but I do love your enamel work! It's gorgeous!


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