Are You In a Painting Slump?

Sometimes it happens…you want to, you have ideas, you have the materials, but for some reason, you just can’t get started. You go into the studio with all good intentions, clean a few things, and come back out, frustrated and angry with yourself. Is it like writer’s block for painters? Is it artist’s block? Is there a cure?

Yes, there is such a thing as Painter’s Block, but it doesn’t matter what it is, you can trick yourself back. You can find a nicer word if you like, but essentially, that’s what it is. You are getting your subconscious back on the painting track. Here are a few tips:

Find a non-creative paint chore to do. Maybe the window sills need touching up, or the birdhouse could use a fresh coat, or a little touch of black paint will help that really bad scuff on your favorite shoes not to show as much. The secret is to get that paintbrush in your hand and use it. Then you begin to notice how good it feels in your hand, and how your creative juices start to flow, and perhaps that birdhouse suddenly takes on a little extra flair. THAT is the momentum you can use to keep going right into the studio.

The small, manageable bite process also can be helpful. Always keep a few very small potential projects at the ready. It is instant gratification, and more easily discarded if you are totally unhappy with the results. If you keep these small projects inexpensive, you also have not wasted a whole lot of money. You can play without expectation, and it might lead to…wow, maybe your masterpiece!

Get the stress out. The stress of life’s intruding circumstances can leave one blocked in more areas than painting. Try to get adequate rest, meditate if you wish, eat properly. Take good care of yourself, and then just paint anything…splash, scribble, splotch! It will get out the excess tension, perhaps induce that sense of calm, and you may just find your painting spirit there with you.

Go totally out of your element. Try something entirely new for you. Maybe it’s hiking, or bowling, or bird watching, or baking. Whatever it is, if it is something entirely new to you, it will freshen your perspective, and quite possible freshen your painting attitude as well. New things, new perspective, new ideas, new painting!

The 15 minute trick! I like this one best of all and it works for me in a lot of different areas. Tell yourself you will only paint for 15 minutes, set a timer, and at the end of 15 minutes, allow yourself to quit without guilt. More often than not, you will be immersed in what you are doing and will want to keep going.

Try some of these techniques and let me know…and share your own tips and tricks!

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