Generally though, our personal creativity is channelled into making our own lives more comfortable and pleasant. Drawing is only one key to unlocking our creative potential and helping it to flow into our lives. When we begin to think in new and different ways this affects all other areas of our life. Once the synapses in our brains make new connections they seem to look for new connections in other ways too.We can display obvious inventiveness in our cooking, home decoration, even making our guests welcome; we need not be ‘artists’ to be creative.
It will also shift our minds to a peaceful, almost meditative state, away from our day-to-day worries and cares. If we judge our efforts too harshly afterwards we may become demoralised, of course. If possible draw for pleasure and practice and not for the individual end product.
Using the same skills of line, form, shape, tone etc, we can explore how we are feeling inside, literally drawing out our inner feelings. Deep inside, we are all creative beings; created to be creative and to express our own unique voice in the world. Sadly, many people have never found that voice, and have had it squashed down inside them until it can hardly see the light of day. We all know that there’s a glimmer inside us though. Nobody makes bad decisions on purpose; we all think we’re doing the ‘right thing’, however misguided it may be. We may have huge regrets afterwards. Atoning for our misdeeds and learning from our mistakes is what gives us hope for the future.
Great works of art are created by people expressing their deepest feelings of being human and alive. They are able to use their depressions, revelations, despairs and frustrations to inspire and touch the rest of us. Seeing, hearing, reading another human being’s outpouring of emotion can spark our own inspired creativity too, and help us live richer, enhanced lives.
This is so common among artists that it has a name – Artist’s Block. It happens to us all, and it’s almost physically painful, like having your arm cut off. No matter how much you want to, you just can’t paint, your seeing is all off, your lines, colours, and materials just won’t do anything you want them to. Inspiration dries up and the more you try to create something, the worse things get. Just when you really NEED your art to help get some crisis out of your system, it packs its bags and goes on holiday. You wallow like a beached whale and it feels as though you’ll NEVER paint again.
A massive life lessons hit me when my marriage broke down many years ago; my art, instead of being a vehicle to help me process my emotions, dried up and left me completely. I knew that art therapy could be helpful for making problems visual and therefore shifting our viewpoint, but drawing was the very last thing I felt like doing. Another of my personal theories is that art therapy can be less helpful for those who have been trained to draw academically. It didn’t help me, anyway.
I began to collect driftwood and found objects during my walks on the beach. As they piled up I saw how some pieces could be put together to create interesting shapes and textures. I had inherited my ex’s toolbox, complete with drill and electric saw, and soon I was hammering, chopping and gluing the heartbreak and fury out of my system. I called my creations great names like “I Can Never Forgive You” and “How Could You?”
I think this is the key – whether the block is big or small, long or short, try using materials you have not used before. Instead of watercolours, try pastels, if you use oils, try inks. Instead of pencils and brushes, see what happens with lollipop sticks, twigs, sponges, feathers. Use powdered graphite and your hands. Experiment with oil pastels and turps (or Zest-It, it smells better) to thin them.
Treat all this as a huge experiment – you can’t get an experiment wrong, can you? Make messes, see what happens. Mix different things together. Forget about making pictures that other people might like. Try not to judge yourself or what you are doing – enjoy the fact that it doesn’t matter what you produce, because you’re not even trying to make Art anyway. You’ll probably be very surprised at what happens.
Different people have different ways of working and that’s just the way it should be. When you are blocked though, the only way out is through, so blast paper with paint, throw inks, drop oil into watercolour........ Remember that this is a creative process, not a left brained logical one and it’s up to you to take an idea and run with it. Take it somewhere new.
I have also found that a really helpful way to look at an Artist’s Block is that art and creativity are like breathing – you take in experiences and information from the world around you, hold them a little, and then pour them out through your personal filters of ability, feelings and emotions. When you feel blocked and nothing much is coming out, think of it as a good time to take more IN. Nurture all your senses, read, sing, dance, go to talks and exhibitions..... Stop trying to make art and feed your soul instead.
Some people pour raw emotion into their art every time, others create perfectly acceptable pictures that express very little that’s personal. Finding a new way of working, or expanding your creative boundaries can be a beautiful gift that arrives out of an Artist’s Block if you are ready to receive it.
And here's a new feature of my blogs - my Picture of The Week!
This gouache drawing on paper measures 36 x 27 cms and is 65 euro.
P&P depends on where you are; Malta is free delivery.
Contact me HERE
The world around us is filled to overflowing with interesting looking people and places; you don’t need to be an artist to try drawing them. You don’t even need to be good at sketching to enjoy trying. A few simple lines, even if they are more like doodles or cartoons, will help you notice and remember the interesting things around you.
By keeping a small book with blank pages in your bag or back pocket at all times, plus a pencil, pen or biro, you have everything you need to add adventure to your life. Every time the bus is late, or the waiting room is full, or you have 10 spare minutes, get your book out and draw something in it. Keep your book private – you don’t have to show it to anyone, ever, if you don’t want to.
There are so many ways that you can enjoy drawing and sketching. We are constantly bombarded with things flooding our senses that we are rarely able to notice them, let alone stop and look at them. It’s quite frightening to realise how little attention we pay to anything. Our busy left-brained lives dismiss anything that isn’t strictly necessary or relevant to what we need to know or where we want to go. If you notice the light hitting your coffee cup in an unusual way, draw it! Usually, we see a cup, and that’s it. Cup. Drink the coffee and go.
Your right brain would love to notice the colour reflecting up from the table, the sunlight hitting it at an angle, making blue-toned shadows. The shining spoon making spirals in the hot liquid...... This doesn’t take any more time, but cultivating and encouraging our visual senses makes life so much richer and endlessly fascinating.
You may or may not become an ‘Artist’ (whatever that is) but the ability to tap into and express your natural creative resources is hugely beneficial. Meditation has been scientifically proven to enhance our lives on many levels. Drawing and sketching is a quick and simple way to access a similar state of mind; a deeper sense of being alive and connected to the world. It helps you to engage with the precious passing moments of life. It freezes Time and keeps your memories safe until you need them again. It’s surprising how many things you will remember when you look back at your drawings, whether or not they are any ‘good’, and by studying things around you, your drawing will become more realistic as your skills improve.
Add words if you like; things that cross your mind, overheard conversations, draw instead of write your shopping list! Stick in tickets and receipts, odd scraps, photos and inspiring quotes. This is more in the region of journalling, or posh scrapbooking, which is very popular in America now. See Google or Pinterest for ideas. The point is to relax and enjoy yourself, and to have fun with a free way of adding sparkle to your life.
I love to paint - and draw - and help others to discover their creative side too.....
Be the first to see my latest work and hear of new classes by adding your email address below. Thank you!