Lately I've been going through a little period of artist's block. It feels as if all ability and desire to paint is gone, and I sit looking at a blank page (or in my case works in progress), feeling uninspired and directionless.
Usually I force myself to finish the artwork, but don't really enjoy the process when I'm all art blocky. It feels like I'm making guesses at what I should do next, or what colour I should use, rather than following the inspiration feeling that sort of gives me clues as I paint. There have been times where I just put art aside, and ignore it for weeks and sometimes months, and wait for the feeling of creativity to reignite.
Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately?), when you're trying to make art your career, you can't just drop off the map and suddenly stop producing artwork. People will forget you, and you won't have created as large a body of work as you could have, and your sales will diminish.
In my case, I have the added bonus of pressure to complete certain artworks by certain deadlines, and that pressure also contributes to the artist block, but in a way it forces me to have an allotted time where I have to work through the block and eventually resolve it.
Art often feels like a chore to me, especially lately. I remember when I was younger, and I created whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, and thoroughly enjoyed the whole process. But then I started to share the work online, and started creating for the feeling I would get when I finished a piece and got to show it off to the world. Then I decided that I wanted to try to make a living off of art, and then you find yourself looking at what is trendy and popular (what art is selling), and try to be inspired by it, and have it influence your own work.
These pressures really do put a halt on my creativity, to the point where I often don't know what I want to create.
I felt myself going into an artist block emotional space a few weeks ago, and decided that since I had some time before artwork was due, I would completely drop painting for those weeks/projects, and do other entirely different things.
I ended up spending six hours writing 9000 words of a story I made up off the top of my head. I have no idea where the creativity for that came from?! I think it may have been the feeling of freedom to just create and express whatever I wanted, even if it was drivel - because no one would see it except myself. I haven't even reread it or anything. I just typed it all out, and then saved and closed the doc. It was the process that really felt fulfilling.
I've often considered trying to publish stories, but you know what, I think you have to keep some things sacred - for your eyes only. If art is the part of my heart that I share and try to make a living off of, than writing will be my escape from all the pressures of the art world. Whenever I feel artist block coming on, I will write, and without pressure. And if I happen to write anything I consider good, I will share it (and who knows, possibly self publish!), but there will be no pressure on those projects. No living to make.
This blog post is kind of a stream of consciousness type thing, so I hope it doesn't sound too confusing and rambly. I find writing helps me sort things out, and who knows, it might help someone else too! :)
So, now that I feel the art block lifting, I am going to go back to my drawing and painting projects, and perhaps write a little more, tonight.