This is not a cheery subject to approach as it causes so much turmoil in the mind and heart of creatives, but I promise you, this post has a happy ending…
I have only been painting for about a year or so, but I am quite familiar with the tortured artist scenario. We question ourselves so much when we should really just be painting, or drawing or at least doodling.
I woke up with the recently-moved-in voice of constant questioning ringing in my mind. The focus of its questioning is on the source of my creative happiness and fulfilment.
There is an indescribable feeling of connection to the creative energy of the universe when you make beautiful art together. But often when that artwork is finished, the genius leaves you and you are alone again. The withdrawal is often crippling. In this space, the monstrous, demanding inner voice comes to ask its questions: “And now? What are you going to create next?”
Sometimes, you search the kaleidoscope of inspiration in your mind and you find 10 new ideas which invite you to participate. At other times, no ideas spring forward as being more inspiring than others, and so you plummet into despair.
“What will I create? Nothing? I can’t even paint, who am I fooling?”
At times like these I ask one of the big voices in the sky (in this case, Google) what should I do with this creative block? Turns out, this is a massively popular question. The answer that came up the most frequently was this:
Just sit at your canvas or paper and pick up a pencil or paintbrush and start.
Just show up. The rest will flow.
You can’t be afraid to mess up and make mistakes. Just get up and put something on that paper. Get over being scared of ruining paper and make mud on your potentially amazing underdrawing.
A feeling of no purpose is what drives us into the depression. When the tap of purposefulness is not running, inspiration runs dry.
Sitting down at your paper or canvas doesn’t mean you have to create a masterpiece every time.
Getting yourself over the fear of making bad art is a masterpiece in itself.
When I’m in a good strong space I tend to create mood boards of inspiration. When I feel dry and purposeless, I return to this inspiration and even if nothing shouts at me, I just pick a subject and do it.
I never fail to enjoy it.
We also have a tendency to get depressed or suppressed because of being forced to create for our jobs. Sometimes it feels stifling when we have limits and boundaries from others, or we are expected to produce A when really we feel like creating Z.
This is why doodling can help. In a way it has no purpose, but it also could have the purpose of a warm-up exercise. Something to trigger you into the state of calm that allows the creative force to flow through you like it should. You never know, letting go and allowing the process to begin may lead to an artwork almost by accident.
Don’t despair when you feel uninspired. Just close your eyes and point to some options and do the work. The rest will flow…
A day in the life at La Tête, Cape Town