Creative cycles: Understanding artist block and how to overcome it

What is an artist block and how to overcome artists block

“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”
– Stephen King

In today’s episode, we’ll talk about creative cycles and how to deal with a lack of creative mojo. I share experiences from my most recent artist block, discuss some of the reasons why we get blocked, and give you some of my top tips and suggestions for how to break out of an artist’s block. You’ll also find the shownotes + highlights from the episode below.

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On being compared to Frida Kahlo

On being compared to Frida Kahlo

I’ve just unwrapped one of the large canvasses I bought at the start of this year and put it up on the easel. A vast 28×28 inch sea of blank canvas faces me. And as always, staring that huge expanse down is a little bit scary.

Does that fear ever go away, I wonder?

I think not. Because painting is no longer just a hobby, something I do to fill the hours or just for fun. It’s much more than that. Much deeper.

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On becoming: musings on the intersection between chaos and liminal time

On my art table - intuitive art journal process - on becoming

Sometimes, things come together almost effortlessly – like this art journal spread. I started this spread in my art journal with swatches of paint, randomly painted on, to cover the entire page.

I then sketched in the figure, blocked it out with some dark blue paint, and softened the colors on the rest of the page with some white and titanium buff paint. I added in some paint to the figure’s hair, added a spiral symbol, a touch of shading, a little bit of etching, and before I knew it, the art journal spread just felt done!

I think this is one of the quickest art journal pages that I’ve ever created. And it all came from being in a state of complete openness and flow.

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On my art table: Angel’s Wings + dreaming an impossible dream

On my art table Angel's wings and how to make an impossible dream come true

Are you afraid of your dreams? Those big dreams and desires that seem to come out of nowhere and spill into your journal. The ones that seem to come from an expanded state, but that make ‘little you’ want to retreat into your shell because it seems TOO BIG and TOO IMPOSSIBLE a dream to achieve?

Yes, those ones.

The ones you won’t tell anyone because it makes you uncomfortable to even hold the dream, and you’re convinced that you will be laughed out of the room if you state it aloud.

I had one of those impossible dreams…it sneaked into my morning pages a few months ago…and it made me gasp aloud. I felt that beautiful expansive energy of the dream for a fleeting second before Prissy Missy, my inner critic, jumped in and said NO!Continue reading

The ultimate planning system for creative rebels

ultimate productivity and planning system for creative rebels

I have a secret to share: I have tried – and failed – at almost all the productivity and planning systems out there.

I am in awe of people who can schedule their time and plan out their days almost to the last minute. All the BuJo mavens, Pomodoro ninjas, Getting Things Done (GTD) warriors. The ones who make SMART goals – or any goals! – and ace them.

In fact, I’m pretty sure that when the productivity gene was being handed out, I was fast asleep.

Or maybe, like my father would say, I’m simply the rebel without a cause. Show me discipline and routine and I’ll show you anarchy and chaos!Continue reading

How to bloom where you are planted + an intuitive painting demo

how to bloom where you are planted

As motivational quotes go, bloom where you are planted is one of the most ubiquitous phrases. But what does it mean? And more importantly, how does one know that they have it in them to bloom where they are planted?

The phrase stems from the natural world, where you can find plants, flowers, and trees blooming wild and free, often times in areas where you would least expect them. Like the Ginko trees in Hiroshima, Japan, which survived the nuclear blasts. Or the deodar trees that grow at the Tarkeshwar Mahadev temple near Lancedown, but are not found anywhere else in the area, because they actually grow at higher altitudes.

What this seems to symbolize is that with the right attitude and resilience of spirit, we can find within us the  strength to survive almost any adversity.Continue reading

On my art table: Finding beauty in the darkness

finding beauty in the darkness art journal page

There is beauty in the darkness, if only we are brave enough to find it!

But how often are we willing to even acknowledge our bad habits; our insecurities and fears; our anxieties. How often do we stop and reflect on our inner voice, and on how mean it can be sometimes…oftentimes? How often do we justify our bad behavior by blaming someone else for the way we may have acted out? We have a choice in every moment: we can choose anger or acceptance; irritation or flow.

This does not mean we have to put up with bad behavior – it simply is about how we choose to react to it. We can respond to situations by ranting and raving; acting out in anger or irritation…and often, that is our default. Or we can calmly address the problem at hand, or assert our boundaries and simply walk away from someone else’s drama.Continue reading

On my art table: Constellation of Hope

art journal techniques abstract art constellation of hope

I’ve been experimenting with abstract art recently, and it has been fun – challenging too, but fun. I find that I tend to slip back into slightly familiar territory when I am painting abstracts – adding in leaves, plants, flowers, or figures as a focal point and to try and bring everything together.

In this latest piece that I did, I was determined to keep it completely abstract, using only lines and shapes and color to tell a story. And what a story it turned out to be!Continue reading

On my art table: Find peace in the chaos

how to find peace in the chaos

“That’s your solution? Have a cookie?’ Astrid asked. ‘No, my solution is to run down to the beach and hide out until this is all over,’ Sam said. ‘But a cookie never hurts.” ― Michael Grant, Gone

It is no secret that most of us are suffering from information overload these days. From constant social media updates, the latest science and history lessons courtesy the University of What’s App, 24×7 news channels, to thought leadership articles and even humble blogs – content has exploded, and we are bombarded with opinions and views no matter which way we turn.

As with most things in life, this content explosion can be both good and bad. Continue reading