Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Breaking Through the Blocks

There is this thing that happens to all artists when creative periods ebb and flow. We  get a bit panicky, we want to rush to create a huge body of work and we lose the focus of the experience for the perception of success in having a quantity. Art is one of those things, like wine, craft beer, catching fish that can not be rushed. And forget the hand painted mass production. If one painting takes 40 hours and you need one hundred to make a profit that is 100 weeks of the same painting. No one has the werewithall for that!

The problem of ebb and flow doesn't just affect the quantity of works. It affect each individual piece. That is some thing that I had not thought possible since I love to paint as much as I do. I know that there is the period between works when the energy has ebbed and starting again is hard. But to have the excitement dissipate mid-work.... that is newer to me. With moving and taking on a new position at work I thought that my dry spell was just because I needed some inspiration. Which I did. I thought it was because all of my creative wells had been neglected... which they were. So I did what I always do. I stuck my head in some books and got myself motivated again.

Or so I thought. I had a stack of periodicals to help me jump start some ideas over at the geeks blog. And then I found a travel magazine that hit on almost all of my interests. And I thought.... I have to paint that. So I started.

And got stuck. It is a new technique. I have paints that I haven't worked with as often as I would have liked since my preferred blend was accidentally left behind in the move. And I was breaking open a pad of watercolor paper that I had not really used a lot. It pills, sadly and that has cause a bit of frustration as I am unsure how to correct for it or incorporate the pilled area into the texture that I am looking for. So I have set it aside so that I can let my subconscious brain have a go at the problem solving.

And I stepped away from the work to do something entirely different. It is a glorious season for photography as you have seen. And anywhere the boyfriend and I go I have my camera with me. There are day trips almost once a week where we explore his old haunts and I am able to go back and take pictures of places that mean something to the family. But I still can't figure out this piece. I am stuck somewhere that I don't know how to navigate.

So I painted something else in a different style from one of our day trips.

And one day while waiting for schedules to gel and deadlines to happen I popped into the library for some instruction and inspiration.

I found a few volumes of Splash. And in volume 2 I found a few answers to the dilemma at hand.

  • Step away from the work and get outside
  • paint something else and let your subconscious work on the problems. 
  • seek advice
And that is just a bit of the advice from artists who have been featured in the yearly anthology have offered for encouraging breakthroughs. But the biggest help is knowing that the kind of struggle that I am going through in this piece means that there is a breakthrough waiting for me on the other side, perhaps a quantum leap in understanding or skill if I will only be patient with the process. 


is the confounding bit of art taken from a NatGeo travel mag with a new technique for me.

With some distance I can see a lot of places where this is working. And still a few places where I am terrified to continue for fear of losing the strength of the line in the underpainting, which was all done in Prussian Blue. The book called for Cobalt but I don't have any in my stash. Indanthrene might have been better but it stains too so I don't know about that anymore.

In a few days I'll be able to sit and paint again.... waiting for the rain to go away and the road tripping to be done for a bit. 

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