Friday, July 3, 2015

Cue The Creativity

A common complaint when creatives get together is "I just can't get in the mood to paint/sculpt/etc'

Many of us lead a double life, especially when you have a job and family. Frequently the result of the constant stress of juggling is a creativity block.
Sometimes the block comes from inertia, for what ever reason we've taken a break from the creative side of ourselves and can't seem to get back in the groove.
Sometimes we've worked a particular idea, or medium till it no longer inspires us, but we don't know how to move on, or even that we need to.
I don't pretend to know all of the answers, I can only tell you what works for me.
I have a very tight schedule and have to be able to turn on the creative in me more or less on demand. Having a dedicated space for the creation of art helps a lot, and I've developed little rituals that help to set the mood.
First I make sure the space is cleared, note I didn't say cleaned, that would take too long lol, but I find it hard to concentrate when things are a jumbled mess. Since I teach both out of my studio and on site at area long term care facilities, the studio is jammed full of stuff for student projects and lesson plan experiments. Once the visual noise is reduced then I turn to the work in progress or W.I.P..
I usually work on two or three pieces at once because of drying time, having at lest one W.I.P. on hand means you're not starting off staring at a sheet of white paper, that's mocking you and your lack of inspiration.
When I am faced with a fresh sheet one of the first things I do is spatter it with paint, any colour, no pattern, then I spritz on some water to make it run. Usually this spatter almost completely disappears under subsequent layers, but having some initial colour on the sheet seems to help.
I work on terraskin sheets which are inexpensive compared to the mounted wooden panels finished work is affixed to  so I can afford to be playful, and experiment. If the piece doesn't work, I can crop out what does, and discard the rest. I've even cut out sections of otherwise good paintings and repainted the offending area. Having that kind of flexibility is very freeing.
An ever expanding collection of sketch books is an invaluable resource, they're chock full of ideas waiting to be explored. Some sketches are frame worthy works of art, but frankly most are scribbled visual notes to self. Sketch books are very personal, I hate anyone else looking at my sketch books, I think they would look at them and think 'what a no talent poser'. Seeing some pages from Vincent Van Gough's sketch books was a revelation though, they weren't so very different than mine, and no one would call him a poser!
The best advise I can give to get over a block though is to just get to work.
Pick up your brush, sling some paint, just do it!
So what if it's not a master work. Pitch it out and try again. We all have duds.
If you never fail you're not trying hard enough.
country road, painting, trees, southern Ontario, Robin Baratta
Just Down The Road- Mini, 6x6, Robin Baratta, Glazed Acrylic, $55.00 contact for info


  1. Thanks for your post today. It really hit the spot. I've been away from my creative self for so long it makes me wonder if I'll ever get back there. But like you said, just start. I have brushes and paint and paper. And paper can be tossed if I don't like it. Thanks for the encouragement.

    1. You're very welcome Barbara I think we've all been there many many times. As with any successful person, the ones that succeed are the ones that just keep working through the doldrums. It sounds a tad trite, but it's true.


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