I look forward to when my children will start making art of their own. Child-created art has always been among my favorites.
There is an innocence and clarity found in their work; a refreshing sense of endless possibilities and adventure inspired by not knowing or needing to know.
For a few years, I organized and ran a nonprofit organization that offered free supplies and encouragement to anyone that was interested in creating art, and many of the participants were children under 12 years old.
They have a bravery when it comes to making art that many people lose once they get into the fifth or sixth grade. (Public education tends to strip children of their creative confidence, but that is another post entirely.)
Many artists have commented on and been quoted about art in reference to children, one of the most famous being Pablo Picasso. I would agree with his sentiment.
Creating Art is the purest form of creation, in my mind. The act of creating is one of the, if not The, most noble of pursuits, and children accomplish this with little to no pretense.
The world and the act of “growing up” batters individuals and strips them of their sense of wonder and excitement. Too often people talk of cynicism with pride, bragging about how much more they know now than before.
Artists aim for the opposite!
As an artist, even as an unacknowledged goal, one focuses on discovery and exploration. Within that context, they must be willing to Not Know, to search and create- outcomes be damned! That is why you will often hear artists talk about the Process being their main focus, rather than the end goal, the product.
The same goes for children! The point is using the materials and discovering the possibilities for both groups.
I remember as a child, around 10 or 11 years old, I was coloring with a younger cousin. She must have been around 5 or 6 and we were at her house, filling up pages in her coloring books. Her parents had obviously been working with her about staying in the lines and using the “correct” colors; she was timid and second guessing herself. I told her the lines were just suggestions and that she could use as many colors as she wanted, and in any combination she could think of!
Her parents overheard me and quickly corrected my sentiment. They told me that I was wrong and that I needed to focus on my own pages. The lines were not a suggestion and skies should only be colored blue, and grass green.
The event changed my view of them, and made me self conscious of my own drawing…
It took me a while of coloring privately to get over the initial shock of the reprimand.
But, thankfully, I was a stubborn young thing and didn't let their scolding deter me for long.
I knew I was right, even at age 10.
And now, as I am about to become a mother, I am so glad I did.
It was, without a doubt, the coloring book event that inspired me many years later to start offering a safespace for children and adults to create without judgement or instructions.
The point of creation is Possibility.
Getting past |STUCK|
\nRight before I found out I was pregnant with our first child, I hit a major wall- artistically speaking.
\nI had been on such a roll with a new series! I was exploring ideas in ways I had never done before; I hadn't seen anyone else produce work like I was making, and that bolstered my confidence greatly.
\nSo, when the road block hit, I felt devastated.
\nLooking back, now I can see how some of the emotional rollercoastering might have had to do with pregnancy hormones.
\nAt the time, however, I was just confused and trying to find a source to lay the blame.
\nWe were living in a much smaller space, and I had been aching to take my work in a larger direction. I was beginning to feel I was reaching the limit of the series on such small grounds...
\nMy supplies were packed up- even more now than when we were living with family. Keeping my art supplies "put away" always seems to affect my productivity; it makes it seem like such a huge task to pull everything you need to work out of the closet, when you've grown accustomed to having a studio set up and left in progress for the next session.
\nThere were other reasons I could justify my lack of motivation and production, but after all these years as an artist, there was the one truth I knew.
\nThis Happens. To every artist.
\nThere are several steps you can take if you face a block.
\nRemember, this is not the end.
\nThe trick is to remember that it will pass and to (somehow) enjoy the time in between bursts of creative force. Perhaps this is the beginning of something new about to blossom. Perhaps you need to process what has just flowed from you creatively, and once given some time & space, you will be able to return with renewed vigor and clarity.
\n2. Don't beat yourself up.
\nThis one is hard. Especially if the block lasts longer than you think necessary. But, this time is vital for your mental health and overall quality of work. Often times the Best work follows periods of self reflection and calm.
\n3. a) Just show up.
\nJust pulling out supplies and putting something down is a Huge step in the right direction. Progress isn't always the most important part: Persistence is.
\n3. b) Have fun.
\nDon't put too many rules on what you do. Try to get back to the truth of it- the reason you started doing all this in the first place. Relax into your media and remember why you do what you do!
\n4. Look for inspiration.
\nIt can happen anywhere and any time. The key is to Allow yourself to be inspired. Read books, the ones you've been meaning to get to and ones you'd never have given a second glance before. Look for pictures of things that interest you. Watch movies. Meditate/ pray and Journal. Surf the web and willingly follow the rabbit trail on interesting ideas. Anything can turn into a lead!
\nRecently, I tried to follow my own advice and low and behold, my rut is in the past! I have discovered a whole new subject to explore and I am more excited now than I have been in months. (Aside from the growing baby, of course.)
\nBut, I shall save that for another time.
\nGood luck in your endeavors.
\nIf you have any Unsticking tips or advice, I would love to hear! Feel free to comment below.
Many creatives have faced the dreaded BLOCK in the flow of progress with their work. How does one get past this?
While there are many solutions to this common dilema, I feel Shane Eide brings to light some seemingly obvious points that can be easily overlooked while in the grasp midst of uninspiration.
Are you stuck on a creative work because you no longer feel passionate about it? It happens to many creative people. I'm not going to tell you to ‘never give up.' You have to ask yourself a question, if this happens to you. What were your motives for starting it in the first place?
An Artist & Adventurer