10.20.2010

Painter's Block

As with any creative field it inevitably happens at least once: you get "stuck". As my friend, DR, says: The muse has left the house. In my case, the muse left the zip code. I'd pick up a doll, paint her eye whites, realize I had no direction and no inspiration and pack her back up. If I did get partially through a doll, the colors would be off or the layers were stacking up, everything was a struggle and I'd have to wipe her down and restart. The fantasy of watching saran whip around in the wind as you are throwing dolls out the window is only dulled by the reality that you need them intact. After a few weeks like this the panic sets in. How long is this going to last? I'm supposed to be in full Haloween mode! What if it's 2 months or longer? I've got pre-orders to pay for! Of course this makes it worse. Well I was finally able to break through this week and am sharing some tips that might work for you too.

1. Put the doll down. Accept that you're not going to accomplish anything by pushing the paint around and walk away. With your extra stressed out energy now is the perfect time to tackle some light housecleaning. Don't get into projects that will be too time consuming but dishes, laundry or vacuuming are productive ways to release your frustration.

2. Relax. Stressing about a dry spell is only going to make it worse. Take a shower, breathe in dryer sheets (hey, whatever works!), do your toe nails. Who knows, maybe going through the colors will inspire you?

3. We've all got tear sheets saved. I've got file cases full and so much more on the computer. Go through some of your files and look at pictures to get your juices flowing. Sometimes all it takes it seeing that perfect lip shape to make things click.

4. Look at pictures of your past work. See? You've successfully painted before so it can be done again! I know it sounds silly but sometimes I have to remind myself that I've conquered a sculpt before to make it happen again.

5. Get out of the house. Sometimes it's as simple as just needing new air to breathe. Go for a walk. If you usually walk, take this time to drive to a different part of town and check out a new park. New flowers are always inspirational. The mall is a good place to get relevant trends if that's what you're seeking. If you have the day to yourself think about a short day trip. Go somewhere that requires some drive time: the beach, the mountains, a museum.

6. When you are finally ready to sit and paint, try thinking outside your comfort level. I finally broke through my own block this week by choosing colors and looks that I don't usually do. It might work, it might not but chances are you'll surprise yourself in a good way.

7. When the panic is too much and you are watching the unproductive days tick by remember: you have the same amount of time this month as you did last month and the month before that. Look to some of your most productive months and realize there is nothing different about the amount of time you had. Sure some months will be plagued with "life stuff" but you've been here before, conquered the crunch before. You can do it again.

8. Most importantly, always remember the fun :) Hey, it's dolls! 

4 comments:

k. said...

I have been having a similar problem with sewing. Thanks for your great advice. Wishing I could go to a convention and see your smiling face! k.

Sam said...

Hey Lady! You, uninspired? No! You're so talented though I imagine you're spoiled for choice which sometimes makes it hard to decide :)

No convention for me this time around but maybe we'll hook up next year? Next time I promise to get more sleep and not be a walking zombie LOL. Love seeing my doll friends :)

Laurie Leigh said...

After over ten years of doing this I totally get painter's block. I think for me the panic is the worst part. Being that it is my only means of support I can literally freak out. I have been freaking out this week as a matter of fact and these tips are very helpful. Hugs Sam!

Sam said...

Hi Laurie Leigh :) It had never happened this severely before so I was totally questioning myself! And if it's your source of income and you have kids to support then the stress just compounds. It's the easiest thing for people to say, "Relax!", but it doesn't usually help lol. In fact you reminded me to add one more step! Thanks!!

If you lived closer we could go for lunch and a bead shop trip lol but I'm glad you can at least use these tips. Good luck, I'm sure you'll discover your next beauty soon :) Hugs :)