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Ending the dreaded "Artists' Block"

With all the distractions and upheavals since the beginning of 2020 I found that my usual creative flow just wasn’t there. The pandemic, civil unrest, and bad news everywhere crowded my head with persistent haunting visuals. This was the first time in years that I felt totally stuck. Creating is not just epiphanies and glittery sparks of wonder… the other 90% is hard work. However, that 10% seems to drive the bus, and it is so difficult to keep going when you are blocked.

So I thought I would share my tips and tricks on how I get in the artsy groove again.

I attack the creative doldrums two ways:

1) Allow time to seek visuals

I may take a walk, hike or drive just for the purpose of opening myself up to the world around me. No agenda, nothing forced. Just one day of wander with a camera will give me over a years’ worth of new material. Just get out and observe. My recent mixed media paintings “Spirit on Main Street” was from a drive down North Main in Wake Forest, NC. I had set aside the afternoon to go to the park to walk and take nature photos. I had cleared my day of duties and responsibilities and took the time just to go “seeing”. I ended up being inspired by my drive there…. not the park itself. I fell in love with the row of historical homes that had luscious ferns and summer decor on their porches. I ended up doing a series of six American flag porch paintings. I think I would have missed them if I had just been going on a mundane errand to the grocery store. It was because I had allowed myself the space and time to be open to visuals I noticed something quite lovely.

Here is photo of the six “Spirit on Main Street” each is a 5x7 mixed media on art panel in a silver /black float frame.

Side note: Here is a link to learn more about these homes and their architectural history

2) Revisit Old Work

A great way for me to get productive again in the studio is for me to revisit and re-do past works. This has been a really great way for me to end “artists block” for several reasons.

· I dig around in the closet and corners of my studio. EEE GADS! THE MESS! Just the physical act of moving, touching, trashing or restocking supplies can spark my imagination. An odd size canvas, imported paper, left over paint….it all seems so new and interesting again!

· The act of cleaning my work space sometimes magically clears my head as well. I am no clean freak, but I have to admit that getting rid of clutter definitely can free the mind.

· I am a self-taught artist and my own worst critic! However, taking an old painting and putting it back on the easel allows me a fresh start. If a painting has been stashed in a closet for a year or more, I have no emotional attachment to it. An objective look at old paintings have led to many “AHA!” moments. Often it is easier to see something we “don’t” like than something we do… and believe me… when I look at my old work, I am never short of material! This gets my momentum going and before I know it I am tapping into fresh creative ideas.

Two examples here: My magnolia painting was just a few small technical changes and my BrookGreen Gardens piece had a complete overhaul with a total style change. With each correction I had a sense of accomplishment and after working on these two paintings I have ventured on to new works without a hint of block.

News and Events: Thank you to all who attended the Wake Forest Spring Artisans Market at the end of April. It was a great success for all the local artists. I plan to attend the Wake Forest Holiday Artisans Market on December 4th, 2021.

Special announcement coming beginning of August! Stay tuned!

Thank you!

Living Artfully,

- delphine

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Debra Horton
Debra Horton
28 jul. 2021

Thank you for sharing your artistic journey with us.

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