One of the biggest lessons I have learned to enable myself to keep going and progressing is …to ‘Think Positive’.
It can turn into a major problem for me having a lack of motivation and artists block. This can come at a bad time for example if I have a commission to do it can make me want to turn it down which I really resist doing. I like to give every challenge ago otherwise I will feel like a failure.
The way I work, I have come to the conclusion I need to be content in life to be able to paint or draw. If I’m in a bad mood or upset forget it, its not going to happen because my mind is too distracted. Negativity drags me down into a void of depression so I have to work really hard to avoid it.
I know there are millions of tips and creative exercises online to get rid of artists block. The problem stems in the mind before you even get back to sitting in front of the easel.
Banish all negative thoughts
Phases such as,
“I can’t do it”
“What if I ruin it”’
“It’s too hard”
“I have never done it before”’
and my personal favourite …”It was a fluke” (I pretty much say this about most of my work)
Refer Back To Your Successful Pieces
When in the depths of despair, looking back over what you have done is proof that you have done it and can do it. You have over come challenges and learned from what you did probably without realising it.
May be you have done commissions or simply had loads of ‘likes’ on social media for your work. These are little ego boosts that keep us going and give us a feeling of pride. Other successful things to think about maybe you have had artwork in a gallery, maybe you have entered art competitions and had success.
I always think to myself if it turns out bad I don’t have to show anyone. I often do time-lapse videos which can sometimes make me a bit nervous. It is daft because its not like I’m going live on Facebook (that would freak me out). With a time-lapse video if I don’t like the end result then I don’t share it. I can probably learn where I went wrong by watching it back.
It’s difficult to persevere with something when you are under no pressure to finish it. I recently took on a project from SAA Paint magazine where a photograph is given and the challenge is to use it for reference. It took me 3 paintings to get a result I was happy with.
This painting (with this blog ‘Bar Bar’) was my 3rd attempt at the photograph challenge. It is evidence that didn’t give up easily when faced with a difficult challenge. My first hurdle was that I used watercolours which I have only just started using again and I’m still getting to grips with the medium. My first two attempt I had made the paint to thick. I rushed them and didn’t allow time for paint to dry. So they both ended up as a big bright mess. I learned from them and for this painting (3rd attempt) I worked slowly and thought carefully about where I placed the paint. I allowed drying time and used the time to plan my next move.
Another thing I struggled with was the subject matter. I live in the city and have no connection to farm yard animals what-so-ever. I usually paint cityscapes and draw people, so this subject wasn’t giving me much excitement or inspiration. Again I was determined to over come this and connect with it somehow.
I am happy with the overall feel and glad I have learned several lessons as a result. This painting now signifies my perseverance and determination not to let anything get the better of me.
So my attitude for ‘Thinking Positively’ is just to go for it and see what happens, don’t worry about the outcome. If you don’t do it you will never know what you can achieve. Erase the worry and doubt and enjoy the process.
SAA ‘Winter Woolies’ photographic challenge – Photograph reference by Annette Standing