Creativity Information

Overcoming Artists Block (Part 1)

How many times does an artist stare down at that blank piece of paper thinking "What on earth do I paint - Where do I put my first mark?" More often than you would imagine! It happens to all creative people actually, from visual artists, designers, poets, through to musicians and writers.

When this situation arises, you are in the grip of creative block. When you wrack your brains to come up with ideas but just can't seem to. There may be contributing factors to this state, such as tiredness, depression, environmental, physiological or psychological issues. On the other hand you could just be experiencing a period of simple low creativity.

When this happens there are a few things you can do to restore your creativity levels at will, however what you must not do is worry or fret about it. If the worst comes to the worse and you don't seem to be able to produce any work, simply regard the period as a 'holiday' or a rest. Your creativity level WILL rise again. In the meantime, utilise the time spent not creating to do positive things anyway.

Research other artists' work. Visit galleries or surf the net and see what other people are doing. Join artists' chat rooms or visit message boards or forums where you can exchange ideas and views with other artists. Just talking to other creative people can give you a real buzz! You might even make some new friends in the process.

Spend the time you are not actually producing art, by increasing your marketing efforts. Send postcards to galleries, research upcoming local art fairs or events where you could possibly take a booth to sell your art. Have some leaflets or brochures printed up all about yourself and your work. Take a couple of days out of your schedule and do a local neighbourhood leaflet drop.

Update your website or online portfolio. You may think it's already perfect but it's not often that things can't be improved or sharpened in some way. Update your artist's statement; put new 'zing' into your descriptions.

If you really can't face doing anything concerning your own artwork, visit the theatre, go to a pop concert, browse local museums. Go to a restaurant or coffee bar with friends and have a (non art related) natter.

Use the time to take a complete break, if this is what works best for you. You will instinctively know when the time is right to 'go back' to your art. When this happens there are lots of techniques you can use to get back into the swing of high creativity. These I explore in my article 'Overcoming Artist's Block (part 2)'.

Gail Miller is a professional artist whose artwork is a visual feast of colour and fun. Her fascination with bold colours and fluid, expressive shapes and line are evident in funky abstracts, sinuous nudes, vibrant still life paintings and lively townscapes. Visit her website at

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