Thursday, October 25, 2012

Overcoming blocks

Today is Thursday, 9:17 am and I lay in my cozy bed while writing this blog post.  I love to lay in bed, it's my haven.  I especially love it when it's cold and drizzly outside, which it is right now.  So week one has started of The Artist Way, I have been doing my morning pages, have you?  I just did my artist date last night, I went to REI and took a class on bird drawing.  It was fun, free and really informative.  I didn't even know REI had classes, but I looked on an email they sent and decided to try something new.  I am glad I did, it was really enjoyable, and the teacher had great charisma.  He is going to form a group that meets once a month in different locations to gather, draw birds, and encourage people to share their drawings.  All for free.  How great is that?
I am glad I tried something new, thanks to doing The Artist Way, I exposed myself to another outlet.  That's what it's all about.  What did you do for your artist date?  I know the week isn't over yet but I would love to hear from those of you who are joining the party.
The topic of this post is overcoming blocks, the reason I choose this as my title is I have had a big artistic block for sometime and I thought I would share it with you.  I tend to surf the net and take online classes a lot.  Too much I think.  I think it's inspiring and helpful to learn new techniques and see other aritsts work to help inspire my own art.  But it doesn't.  It actually does the opposite.  I feel like everyone else is knocking it out of the ball park, that I have no style of my own and that if only I could paint like so and so...then I would be happy.
One of my favorite artists to date is Robert Burridge, I love his energy and passion for painting and his paintings just resonate with me, here is his website for those who are interested...  He is a fun, charismatic painter and I bought his workbook and DVD which are full of amazing tips on how to be a good painter.   Here is one example of his work.  I simply love his palette and use of color and shape.
He talks a lot about working on a series.  So I decided to work on a series.  Except it was creating some angst because I couldn't think of what the heck to do a series on.  Should I paint horses, trucks, landscapes, the ocean, people, what?  On top of it I was trying to paint abstract for the first time in my life, while also implementing his color wheel.  It was all very frustrating, and yet good on some level that I was trying something new.  Well, a funny thing happened in this process, I figured out what to do for my series, and it's been right in front on me all along.  Tutus.  Of course.  Why WOULDN'T I think of tutu's is the better question right?  I will tell you why I didn't want to paint tutu's.  I thought how cliche.  I was afraid of being cheesy, of being too cute.  This prevented me from trying.  Then my friend Darlana came by the shop last week, I was going to give her all my tutu fabric because I was just done with it.  She said, "are you sure.  don't you just want to keep some of it? ", and we talked and played with the tutu fabric and created a tutu on canvas in like 15 mins.  I had to admit it was kind of cute.  Almost too cute for me, but not ridiculous.  It got me thinking, I am the tutu lady, these tutu's have  come to me and have something to say, why not listen?  I realized the tutu's need to go on canvas.  I need to put all the things I love together: Tutu's, canvas, paint, collage. I boldly dipped a tutu in paint then glued it on collaged canvas, adding shellac, and more paint and kept going until I liked it.  I added a paper towel that had beautiful ink from another project as a bow and "VOILA", I had my first tutu painting!  Here it is.
The first of my series.  Yay!  I have overcome my block and I am going with this, I don't know how many  to do, or what they are all going to be,  but I am inspired.  I want to see how many different ways I can manipulate a tutu on canvas, and I am sure this will keep me busy for quite awhile.  I also set a goal to get my tutu pictures compiled into a book, this is another big goal I have avoided due to the tediousness of the project.  It requires patience and time.  YUCK, I am all about a quick fix so this has been on the to do list for YEARS.  No more.  I am breaking it into manageable chunks, one photo at a time, one page at a time, and eventually I will get there.  It feel so much better to be in action around these things that had me stuck then to avoid them.  This is my lesson.  I am better when I am structured, when I implement goals.  I was floundering for a while there, absorbing everyone else's process instead of working on my own.  It's so much easier to watch others create, to take a class, read a book, look on pintrest and facebook , then it is to do the work.  I also bought the book, "Do The Work" by Stephen Pressfield, it's a must have for the art studio because he nails the demon resistance big time. "Our enemy is not lack of preparation: it's not the difficulty of the project, or the state of the marketplace or the emptiness of the bank account.  The enemy is RESISTANCE.  The enemy is our chattering brain, which, if we give it so much as a nanosecond, will start producing excuses, alibis, transparent self-justifications and a million reasons why she can't/shouldn't/ won't do what we know we need to do."  This is just the front inside cover to his book, there is a lot of meat inside.  I need to refer to this book whenever I feel resistance rear it's ugly head.
I best be getting to the studio, it's Bob day, I pick up my studio mate Bob every other Thursday and bring him to the studio so he can paint.  Thank you for taking time to read my post, please share any experiences or insight you care to, I love hearing how we are all in this together.  Have a great week, I will be writing again soon.


  1. What do I do to stay actively searching for my writing break? I try and send something out into the internet stratosphere once a day. I submit a completed piece to an online contest, or pitch an idea for a column to a magazine, or email a figure in the writing community. I ussually aim really high with no expectations. I send emails of praise to people I admire thanking them for the impact they have had on me and asking for advice on how to break through. I tell them I don't really expect a response and 9 times of 10 I get one. David Pogue, elizabeth Gilbert, eric Davis have all sent wonderful personal responses (I'm still waiting for David carr) these responses are more than enough fuel for my fire but they also contain great advice. You keep doing what your doing hip chick and blog it out!

  2. It was both inspiring and encouraging to be there as you transformed this canvas into the first piece in your tutu series! So happy to be sharing this journey with you...and sharing my journey with you! I find surrounding myself with positive, proactive, interesting, and encouraging people to be the best inspiration!

  3. All I can say is the "Tutu Series" is brilliant! I can/could even see a bit of text/words included.

  4. I'm a little late on responding to this post but here goes. Your words caught me square between the eyes! I too have had a serious creative block for some time now. Your statement about absorbing everyone's process instead of working on my own. I love Robert's work and have been floundering with trying to incorporate some of his processes into something that would make sense for me. I haven't done The Artist's Way in YEARS so perhaps I should start that again and find my creative focus once more. Thank you for your words. :)

  5. OMG love, I too Love Burridge! I've painted with him before too.! Love your enthusiasum woman!

  6. Oh I so liked to fall into your blog and this post. I think the tutu idea is great and the idea about series is allso great. I'm gonna consider that to!! I feel so much like you when you wrote: "I thought how cliche. I was afraid of being cheesy, of being too cute. This prevented me from trying." Why so afraid? Well that's what we artists are from time to time.
    Thank you for sharing!
    Jenny Dahlkar