What’s the Matter with Being Blocked?
Updated: May 5
So, I’ve been artistically blocked for a while. True confession. But, so what? Art is what I do, so if I’m blocked does that mean I don’t do art? Unfortunately no. Art, for a professional, isn’t inspirational. I know, hard to believe and also a little bit of a let down, but honestly, if I waited to be inspired I wouldn’t ever create.
I learned as a writer (before I became a painter) that inspiration was something that couldn’t be depended on. All the best writers just write! So, as I emerged as a painter I put that discipline into practice and began to paint even if I didn’t feel inspired. I usually paint two hours every work day and whatever comes, comes.
I have always painted, written, or whatever, from my imagination. Trouble is, my imagination has been empty for about a year, hence I’ve been blocked. I worried if I had any imagination left. I’m sixty seven and maybe I’ve used up all my imagination. I mean I started at three years old with my first drawing and began writing poetry at ten years old and maybe it’s all done.
This last year of painting has been grueling. Painting past ideas and even reinventing good ideas and re-does of past good stuff, keyword past. UGH! Taking tutorials and painting from learned techniques of skin tones, perspective, Impressionistic ideas and plein air painting. SHIT… OMG! I hate being outside.
But then, “Voila!” I found a series that was touted as a clearing of creative block. I bought the book and started, without much faith in the process, but with a will to try.
Day one, write ‘free association’ (also sometimes thought of as ‘stream of consciousness’) in a notebook. Just write, don’t read what you wrote, just stream of consciousness, free flow, all the things that are bugging you, all the things you’re thinking of now.
Okay, I got this!
I tried to write honestly. Here’s what I started with: I don’t know what to write…I don’t know what to write….I don’t know what to write. And then, suddenly, I began to write. Several pages of you don’t get to know what and then… I wasn’t blocked.
The next day I started a painting, from my imagination and I don’t know if it’ll be good but I know I feel like it will be, and maybe that’s good enough. I’ll keep ya posted.
Here’s a poem I wrote, a while back, that speaks to this dilemma.
Oh My Soul
Oh My soul, That third of me that sometimes takes control; Must we always be at odds? Two parts mine, one part God’s.
Oh my soul, That part of me that makes me who I am; Must you be my driving force? One part better, two parts worse.
Oh my soul, That triune part that will not take a rest; Must we always have this fight? Two parts wrong, one part right.
Dear old soul, That part of me I cannot do without; Might we this time pass the test? One part struggle, two parts rest.
Written by Esa Everroad