Creative Block – What to do when the ‘Creative Well’ Runs Dry?

by Neadeen Masters on July 31, 2013

A serious bout of creative block can be disheartening and troublesome for an artist. The ‘creative well‘ can run dry at anytime.  This has been something I have struggled with from time to time, so I am well aware of the frustration and sometimes sadness it can cause. Forcing me to paint does nothing to help me move forward or shake it off.  When it hits, everything seems to suck! Can you relate? That less than ho-hum look seems to show up on the canvas…almost daily!  In fact the ho-hum causes more frustrated and it seems the cycle continues to feed on itself. It’s like everything in life keeps getting in the way of  inspiration. Do you feel that way too? What to do?

 Creative Block

How do we get re-motivated when this happens?

How do we push past this kind of experience? Do we cry? Pound the canvas? Throw the brushes? Yup, sheepishly I must admit I have done all three, but it doesn’t help…what I do is completely step away and take a break from the easel. Some people will tell you not to give in,  some will say you are burnt out…some who know you well will just give you the space and time to figure it out.  Take comfort in knowing that it too will pass. Stepping away is good from the ‘rest’ perspective, but it isn’t productive in the usual way…producing paintings that is. When you think of yourself as a creative being… misplacing that creativity makes you feel a part of you is missing. It does for me.

After several months, it was time to evaluate my creative block and figure out a way to get past it.  Perhaps doing a few small paintings would get the fire lit?  O.K.  I tried painting little studies, at first it was an effort, but slowly it started coming together again. Reading inspiring books and visiting the websites of artists I admire helped me find my ‘sweet spot’. Just by looking at beautiful art, I felt the inclination to pick up the brush. One thing I learned…forget about doing anything on a grand scale. Baby steps each day helped with moving forward…one day at a time.

Try to refocus on things you love!

Colorful visuals helped me refocus on the things I love to paint.  I visited several online museums and believe it or not…Pinterest was a big help…LOL! Gardening, refinishing furniture, artwork, fashion, and fabulous food…seeing these brilliant visuals had a huge reward for me personally. It was inspiring! After pinning and pinning…And a little paint dabbling in between…creativity brought forth the desire to get serious. Soon the flame began flickering brightly and I heard the easel calling my name.

Pinterest - Art Apprentice Online - Creative Block

Art Apprentice Online on Pinterest

Color has always inspired me…to see how another artist or interior designer uses color, and creates color relationships helped me visualize with a different perspective. Soon my creative mojo started to visit and eventually I could feel my muse tugging at my heart once again.  Paint! Paint! Though making extra time is still a bit of an issue, the lack of inspiration and creativity is not. The desire to paint is stronger than ever. Creative inspiration is all around, we just need to know where to look for it and sometimes it’s in the strangest places! I began gathering my thoughts on my computer. I created several folders with fresh and fun ideas, and started collected the reference materials for future paintings. Today, it’s all good, I am inspired on a daily basis.

Sometimes we need to step away…

I have learned not to take  creativity or inspiration for granted…the creative well can run dry when we least expect it…fatigue,  sickness, stress can play a major role in this scenario. But when it does happen… use the time to rest and reflect. Most of all, and let ourselves off the hook. I had to, and it helped me move forward with a greater love, passion and respect for what I do…Paint! Paint! Paint! …and pin your heart out! LOL!

Follow our Art Apprentice Online creative boards on Pinterest…here we try to share what inspired each of us artists. There’s a little of everything and we’ll be adding more as time permits!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Nola Jones July 31, 2013 at 10:35 am

Dear Neadeen, It is wonderful to hear that the desire to paint, has called you once again. You are such an inspiration to us all and have given so much of yourself, we sometimes greedily expect it never to falter.
I have found taking baby steps eg. often painting cards or using another’s pattern, where strenuous thinking and planning is minimal, pressure is limited. This allows one to gently ease into the creative world again.
your AAO friend,
Nola x


Neadeen Masters August 1, 2013 at 11:15 pm

Thanks Nola, trying to stay focused.Always nice to know you guys care.


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