Are you an artist or writer and you’re stuck with a project or maybe just not in the mood to work on it? Don’t beat yourself up over it. It happens to all of us. The thing about creativity is, I can’t force it. I guess there are writers or visual artists that can push through a block but I’m the type to put the project down until a better time.
It can help creativity if you simplify your life. It takes a certain mental state like alpha brain waves or something for an artist to be in the groove, in the zone. If you have a job, family to care for, responsibilities etc. that’s enough to block the right brain waves. Time spent alone can help reset your brain to be creative.
Your art is for your enjoyment. If you’re not enjoying it you should take a break and do something else. Just because you are creative doesn’t mean you owe the world your creativity. Unless you think the world owes you. In that case maybe you do owe the world. But as for me, I don’t owe the world. I wouldn’t like to feel “driven” like some artists feel. For me that would be an unbalanced mental state. And when I think about the meaning of “driven” I can’t relate metaphorically. I’m in control of my car. I’m the driver. I leave when I’m ready to go.
It doesn’t have to be something difficult, if you’re experiencing a creative block. You can goof around and amuse yourself like I do with these mono prints. There are tons of fun projects for writers too. I’ve seen things like black out poetry and some kind of games that writers can do for fun if the novel isn’t happening today. If you’re a writer you probably know more fun writing projects than I do. I know fun paint projects.
This advice is for artists that are not professional. If the art doesn’t pay the bills, who cares if it happens on any given week. If art does pay the bills, you probably know how to push through a block. If you’re an amateur like me then you’re doing art because you love it. That’s the true meaning of amateur. It’s good for me because it’s no stress. If it was a real job it would only be a short time before I want to quit. Give me a week to make someone mad by saying something stupid or someone making me mad and I’m outta there. Taking it easy on yourself leads to longevity in your art.
This is modern art. I don’t feel like standing in front of a mirror and trying to get a likeness. What if it comes out looking cartoonish? That’s ok. It could even come out looking grotesque and that’s fine too.
Do I need to “labor” over this? nah. Do I need to mix natural skin colors? Just use what’s left from the previous painting and is drying up on the palette.
It can be for fun on a rainy day when you just want to goof around. I taped my paint brush to a yard stick like one of my favorite artists, Matisse. In fact, it was so much fun I might do more.
Since I’ve been trying to do modern art when I’m stuck at home because of bad weather, I can’t tell if it’s improving my skill or not. I did get the feeling it’s affecting me in some way I can’t describe exactly. It’s a mental thing. I’ll probably go back to traditional style when the weather improves. I’m tired of the cold rain, almost drove to FL. but 95 is probably a mess.
This was a fun project. I looked at the lichens close up and then refocused onto my black paper which was a yard away to paint. I had my brushes taped to yardsticks like my favorite artist, Matisse did. It’s a challenge to keep the brush under control from that distance and I think I’m getting better at that.
If you tape your brushes to yardsticks you have to give up some control though. Smears happen, or blips that you might not see ordinarily when painting. That’s part of it so if you give the yardstick paintbrush extenders a try don’t worry about making blobs, smears or blips where you don’t want them. It’s kind of liberating. That’s why it’s fun.
Lichens have some tiny holes in the center of cone shapes. They also have a leafy texture and a more flat texture.
I didn’t sketch them first with charcoal, I just tried to observe then it was almost like doing calligraphy from far away. It’s not easy to find your place in a clump of lichens focusing close up then looking away to paint. A couple times I got lost and faked it a little. I said to myself, “wherethehell am I?” But that’s a normal feeling for me. hahahahah not scary.
I made the bark texture with my modified fan brush. I tried to keep it neat but the paint that went in the wrong place and the different textures give the art viewer’s eye something to focus on.
The colors aren’t green enough in my photos. I tried taking the pix outside in natural light and the greens looked too gray. These shots are from indoor light and the greens are too warm. But you get the idea.
We’re in a winter weather cycle around here. Either it’s cloudy rainy or snowy or else it’s cold and windy if the sun does come out. The good days for painting in plein air are few and far between.
The reds in the photo aren’t the same as real life, but you get the idea.
I was having some fun painting like Matisse by taping my brushes onto yard sticks and standing back from the painting. You have to give up some control over the brush because it goes where you don’t want it to go but that’s ok. It gives the painting a loose modern look. Fast, loose, unfinished, spontaneous, that look is what the modern art world prizes the most. A finished painting is looked at as being “labored over” which is ungood. I’m not really feeling pressure to paint modern. I’ll go back to doing finished paintings. I got so modern painting this yesterday, I didn’t even sketch it first, just started slapping paint on paper.
This is a close up of the flower’s center features, I’m not sure what you call the little parts, and a stem.
I painted it on the back of a figure drawing that was on black paper. I’m enjoying painting on paper and I like to use both sides. You can see the black paper showing through here. Then I wanted to tone down the black a little so I went into the background with gray trying not to mess up my edges and smears of the reds. In traditional painting you paint the background first but in modern art you can do it last if you want to.
I might give this another try on another piece of paper. Look, Ma, I’m a fauve!
A couple weeks ago I illustrated a song for Halloween and thought it was a lot of fun so I decided to do another one and this time it was even more fun! I picked Wordless Chorus because I didn’t want to illustrate lyrics. I wanted to see if I could let the music move my hand. I tried to paint with no plan in mind and be fast and spontaneous.
The part of the song I’m illustrating starts at 3.18.
I listened to it a couple times and thought it sounds uplifting and exciting. I’t’s wild and free spirited.
First I mixed some yellow and orange and waited for the fun vocals to start. Then I quickly loaded up my palette knife with yellow and went to town! Then I waited for the part of the song I like again and repeated the process with orange.
I stopped to have a look and decided it needed some pink so I mixed up more paint, turned my paper 180* and slapped in some pink while listening to the vocals.
Then I looked closer at the texture and it reminds me of the veins on a leaf. I said, I guess it’s fall leaves in the wind.
The black background makes it look dramatic but after thinking it was a leaf abstract I wanted to see it on a blue sky, so I added the blue but tried to keep from messing up the edges and smears I made with the bright colors.
The unexpected palette knife textures are fun to look at. I’m not sure how this kind of art rates in real life, I mean is it a big waste of paint, is it worth anything, but it was fun to go wild with it and I might do another illustration of a song.
There’s a funny vein in the paint. I don’t know how I did that.
I can’t tell if this expresses the song very well or not.
I tried to make mental notes of the colors I needed when I sketched this in plein air then painted it at home. The color looks good in the photo for the sea oats but the background isn’t showing up green enough and there’s a lighter area showing on the right because of a glare.
For the background I wanted to give a color and texture of pine needles. For the sea oats I wanted to make a fuzzy texture .
It seemed like the painting went fast on this project. I worked on it for around 5 hours, which isn’t really that fast, just fast for me, because I often have 30 or 40 hours in a painting. So I like the palette knife for that. It’s not easier than painting with a brush, just different. This was a simple experiment.
The palette knife makes the project faster because I painted right on top of my sketch. Usually I redraw my sketch and then redraw it again on the canvas. This way I saved a lot of time because I didn’t prime a canvas which is a multi step process with sanding the canvas, painting gesso on it and sanding it again then tinting the canvas. That part needs to be spread out over two days or more. This way I could jump right into painting.
It’s nice not to have to clean the brushes. That is a job.
Paper is working out to be more conservative than canvases, So the palette knife is practical on a lot of different levels.
I am using more paint than I use normally. That’s one drawback to the palette knife.
The palette knife is fun, though, so I’ll do more.
This is my self portrait done with a palette knife on pastel paper.
The forecast is for a whole week of cloudy rainy days. Bummer. If I had a week of nice sunny weather I could finish my painting of the battery. I’m going to keep my fingers crossed they change the forecast.
Meanwhile, guess I’ll have some fun at home. I can use paints that might never get used before they dry up in the tube. I don’t have to mix colors or clean brushes. I’ll do more.