Focus Point Shape

International Online Art Gallery – juried online art competititons

Artist Block

Artist Block – The blank paper stares back at you and laughs so loud – your head hurts.

Stick Figures – so simple yet – so powerful in breaking past artist block. The lowly stick figure – the refuge of those who claim they cannot draw… is the artist’s best friend. Overcoming the anxiety of what to paint is what the stick figure is for. No need to concern yourself with a full blown picture. Just drop some stick people or two on a blank page… and your subconscious mind will take it from there… running, jumping, sitting, standing, walking, talking… pictures will flood your mind and off you go.

Stress – your best friend – your worst enemy. Your best friend in the sense of urgency it brings to your work. Your worst enemy if you lose your perspective. On the other hand… it could lead to some wondrous abstract or non representational work. Why force yourself to focus when it is not happening. Just grab some color and see what happens. No need to concern your self with subject, perspective, light or shadow… just let the colors do the talking. Ie. – start with red and just let it rip.

Frustration – either your painting went fine until you dropped that bolt of color into the mix… and your painting sagged… or that image in your mind… is not happening on your canvas. But who cares? If the painting is not a commission and nine times out of ten… it is not… who cares. No one has seen it yet. If it is a commission… most times your work file has already solved the image problem. So mostly this happens when you are painting for yourself. So turn the painting up-side down… and just maybe… from that angle… you have something.

Beating artist block is a state of mind. In short… sometimes you feel as if you have painted everything there is to paint. It is only a feeling. And the only reason you feel uneasy… is because you want to paint something. One way to work through this is… basic composition. Take a look at any of your prior work. Pick one. Then use the paint s-o-m-e-t-h-i-n-g composition paradigm. In other words… take your old picture and use the ‘s’ as a composition path in the picture. See what happens as you twist and turn your image through the letter ‘s.’ And so forth… until you reach the ‘g.’

Stick Figure Family … if drawing is your strong suit you already have an edge in beating artist block. Review some great multi-people compositions… from Childe Hassam, Norman Rockwell, Winslow Homer or Fredrick Remington. Put a time-warp sci-fi twist and pull one character from the 17th-18th century and drop them into a composition from the 20th century. See where it goes.

Anxiety… in short… anxiety usually hits when your mind is cluttered. That is the time to pull out a yellow pad… and prioritize… what to do first. Does not matter how many items you put on your list. You will probably only get the first 3 done anyway. And… it may take the whole day to get item #1 done. Some days… that is the way it goes. But at the end of the day… you will have the satisfaction of getting something done.

In short… Artist Block… is like getting stuck in the movie Ground Hog Day. In the real world… just shift your focus. Salesmen are advised to find a new route home every once in a while … just to keep them from falling victim to highway hypnosis. We advise our artists to always have 3 paintings going at the same time. Because it is to easy to get tunnel vision when you are wrapped up in one painting. 3 paintings… forces your mind to continually shift focus and keep artist block where it belongs… in the toy box.