that block thing

This is one of those posts where you get to see behind the curtain a bit.  It’s not pretty.  Or inspiring.  In fact, I’ll probably wind up sounding… well… ‘certifiable’ to some of you, but I’m going to write it anyway.

Please understand that I’m not complaining, whining or looking for sympathy.  I know that it’s one of those things that happens to everyone involved in creative work at some time or other.  It’s normal, and it will pass.  Eventually.  But it’s part of the “creative life”, so here goes.

I seem to be having a crisis of sorts.  Not that this is new for me, but what *is* new is how dry the ol’ creative well has been for an extended period now.  I’m experiencing an utter lack of inspiration: a truly epic case of creative block.

Case in point:

I enjoy the flower drawings I’ve been doing.  I really do.  Flowers are beautiful and fascinating… sadly, not really inspiring though.  To me, the results seem very stilted.  Perfectly contrived.  Rather soul-less, if you will.  Can I draw accurately?  Yes.  But the results seem to lack that…spark.  That something that separates a rendering from a piece of art… that energy that connects with the viewer.  Perhaps drawing from photos has something to do with it.  Who knows?  Bottom, line: lack of inspiration = lack of spark (for me at least).

Because of this scarcity of inspiration, I very seldom anymore allow myself to just pick up a pen and start drawing.  Nothing in particular.  No agenda.  No plan.  Just draw.  I simply don’t do it.  I don’t know why.  It’s definitely not a good thing… because the longer it goes on, I begin to think I *can’t*. (See, I told you it would sound crazy.)

I even distracted myself by doing a bit of needlework designing, but after completing that project, I quickly realized the block issue had not gone away.  Apparently, success in another creative discipline doesn’t translate back.  Who knew?

ANYWAY.  In an effort to force myself to look at things differently, to try something new… or at least, whilst waiting for the creative juices to start flowing again, to work on the basics of drawing and just ‘do the work’ of putting pen to paper and staying put at the drawing table…

…I dug through the mountain of unfinished/barely begun drawings stacked on the shelves, and grabbed one of the many unsuccessful incarnations of the dreaded horse drawings that have been haunting me for years. (Perhaps I had the subconscious impulse to finally just mess it up so badly I could finally pitch the darn thing?  Works for me.)  So, I started to draw.  No plan, no thoughts, no nothing… just pen to paper:

It’s weird.  It’s bizarre.  It makes no sense to me, and I guess it doesn’t *have* to.  I  might finish it, just out of curiosity.  But at least I’m drawing again, and that alone is relief enough for now. 🙂

Yep.  Certifiable.

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6 Responses to that block thing

  1. Thanks for commenting, everyone. I apologize for my absence… I’m now working full-time which leaves me very little time for creative pursuits. The work is seasonal, so I hope to be able to do more art-y things after Christmas. I appreciate the suggestions for dealing with creative block; perhaps simply the forced time away will help un-block things!

  2. Cindy Veal says:

    I think it’s beautiful. Hauntingly so, even. The horse is perfect and the background is just spooky enough. Maybe change the flowers to small pumpkins and gourds to give it a more fallish look. With fall officially started, why not try finding someplace local with lots of color and let the sights move you as they will.

  3. Oh, I feel your creative block pain! I was almost 10 months not in my studio. Just walked past it going from here to there. Once I stopped and turn the light on, looked around and again darkened the space.
    As fate would have it I came across a post here on WP and in an instant that all changed. Here is the post I wrote about that if you care to read it.
    http://mountaingypsy.wordpress.com/2012/07/28/7-days-of-crazy/

    The result was pretty cool and I can’t say as I’m fired up and ready to spend every spare second in my studio again, I putter in there more now, I see things in there more now, I have projects and ideas whirling in my brain. I stop in to turn the lights on and stay a little longer…..
    I hope you find your way through because you really are a great artist.

  4. Jo says:

    Well it looks wonderful to me. But I’m not an artist. But I DO know what you mean about the lack of spark and crisis of confidence. And how hard it is to get past it, and also how hard it is hear ‘you’ll get past it’. I had a rough time at work and couldn’t do anything – total lack of confidence in my abilities. It took 5 weeks away from work (completely away), then some good news, to get me back into the groove. I just hope it is far less drawn out and painful for you.

  5. Debbie Nolan says:

    You will get past it – I think it is a sign that you are growing and seeking a new challenge. Sometimes creativity comes in the back door when we least expect it. Glad you are still drawing. Take care and have a great week-end.

  6. Jan Jones says:

    Why not try a little experiment. Instead of sitting inside and drawing from a photograph. Grab your art supplies and a chair or spread a blanket – pick a spot out in the back yard in a shady patch and start doodling. 🙂

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