Painters Block and How to Deal With It

Painters Block and Overcoming It

Listen in to a helpful discussion around painters block and get tips on some things artists and students can do to overcome it, and work through it.

Painter’s Block and How to Deal With It

Jackie:

Good to see you this morning.

Sherrie:

Yes.

Jackie:

Yes, I want to talk to you today about feeling, and what do you do when you feel that you have painters block. You’re in a creative standstill.

Sherrie:

Well, it’s an interesting question because other than a pull your hair out and throw a temper tantrum moment (and those actually are usually pretty good). screaming that kind of helps. I’m not kidding, actually. But what do I do when I have painters block?

When I lived in New York City and was in museums were actually open. Then I did go to a museum just to see paintings, just to look at what other people did.  If there was a special show on, I would go there and I know this being the time of COVID, it’s a little more challenging. But being able to view other people’s work, you know, I would sometimes go down the hall to my friend Greg’s place and see what he was doing.

And sometimes it would just stimulate something that would make you have an idea. And because basically what it has to happen is you have to somehow see what you’re doing in a different way. You have to do something different. I mean, usually I experienced it by noticing that I don’t like what I’m doing. And so that’s actually probably the way that most people would experience a creative block. It is that they would just feel that they don’t like what they’re doing anymore. And it’s actually a good sign. This is because it’s a sign that something is shifting and the only time you’ll make a change is if you’re not happy. So unfortunately, it’s a constant occurrence in the life of any artist that wants to continue to develop.

Painter’s Block and How to Deal With It

Jackie:

I knew that you would have a positive spin on this horrible, horrible circumstance of painters block. Most of us know how you feel.

Sherrie:

I know, but the, the interesting thing is that change won’t occur if you’re comfortable. And change won’t occur if you’re happy. And that’s actually the nature of I think depression. It is that it’s your body trying to tell you something’s got to change. And they think that in the world of painting, what that means is, do you need to do something differently?

It would make me just look at what I’m doing. Look at the painting longer than painting, look through art books to see how other people handle the problem you’re having. And then just, just trying to identify what the problem is, you know what is the problem in your work?

You know what aren’t you getting that you want to get? Because it really kind of always stems from that. And again, as I said, it’s a good thing because it means that you’re growing. So, all this being unhappy is actually a good sign, good sign something’s shifting. So, you know, otherwise you’ll just be happy, a happy go lucky artist and not develop.

Jackie:

I think you’ve just put 50,000 therapists out of business,

Sherrie:

There could be possibly, the big pharma companies.

Jackie:

 On a more serious note. I know that people in general go through this painters block. A situation where their families or outside influences get them in a kind of circumstance where they can’t be creative. Do you have any suggestions for that?

Sherrie:

Well, I mean obviously first you would have to define what creative means to each person, I think it’s a word that’s been overused and probably misused. You know, a creative state is, is essentially when you’re open, you’re in the moment and you’re open. And so, I think for a lot of people, maybe creativity means that they’re producing a lot, that they’re happy with what they do.

I mean, I think each person would have to answer what that actually means and what it is they actually want. And so, the thing is what you want will determine what you get. You know, so what you’re drawn to in other people’s work, paintings when you go to a museum. You know if there’s a certain quality that you’re after, I know for me, it had to do with looking to get a certain kind of understanding that I could see was apparent in certain artist’s work.

And so that’s the thing that will drive you to then try to figure out what you’re not seeing, what you’re not understanding. Because it’s really, it’s an increase in understanding that’s going to change your work.

Jackie:

Can you describe even one thing that you would look for in a work that you admire, that would be something that you want to attain?

Sherrie:

Well, yes. I mean quite often it’s much simpler solutions. So, it’s being able to come up with a very simple solution. It’s painting ideas, looking at their color ideas, their compositional ideas. It might be paint quality, and quite often for me, it was paint quality. So, I think that those were all things then, and it’s going to be different for each person and the thing that they’re trying to get into their work. So, it’s important to know the artists that do inspire you.

Jackie:

Well you certainly have inspired me today, and I’m going to go and paint. Thank you so much.

Sherrie:

Thanks Jackie.

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