Dive in the stream of creation 1
I wanted to find a positive title to talk about the artist’s block, and how to overcome it. And in one of my favorite series, Dirk Gently, Dirk and Bart refer to themselves as leaves in the stream of creation. I fell in love with that image, and since then I like to think of creativity and creative thinking as to a stream. I see it as a sort of mix of light, thoughts, wind, sparkles and sounds. But sometimes, these things seem to just avoid you entirely, and you feel empty and purposeless. So let’s explore why it happens, and how you can unblock your magic. This is a vast subject, so I thought it would be better if I split it in 2 or 3 readable articles instead of killing you with one. So let’s dive in the stream of creation, and see where it takes us.
But before I talked about how to use this infinite source of ispiration, we need to explore everything that can block it, and how to deal with these blockages. And one the the most important thing is that your current state is affecting your creativity. So this means that if you feel stressed, anxious, if you need sleep, if you’re angry, sad … This may block entirely your ability of being imaginative or having any useful idea. A lot of people have the image of art being an excellent way of exorcising bad emotions, to create beauty out of it. But if you’re anything like me, bad emotion are definitely not a pool of ideas. It’s just a big huge blockage of all my senses.
So for these moments when your well being is the very reason you’re stuck, the thing that I found works best is just avoid
creativity. What ?? Yes. I do the most mechanical work possible. And more important, I tell my brain to shut up. So, you take whatever subject you need to improve on, you take the first reference photo you find in your phone or Pinterest board, and just start. Take a simple graphite pencil, or just one color on your paintbrush, and get started. It’s really really important that you train your brain to draw or paint when you don’t feel like it. Because really, anything can become an excuse to not feeling like it. And if you do that, you’ll tell your brain that “not felling like it” just … doesn’t exist. Plus, when you’ve finished, you’ll feel a little better than when you started.
And then sometimes you have no problem at all, you feel good and rested, but nothing seems to come to mind. You may even have purchased beautiful new supplies, some good paper. You may have set a nice desk or drawing table or even en entire studio. Because we have a tendancy to think that the thoughts and the preparation we make with great motivation are already doing the work. But … not really. The fact is, you can be the most prepared person in the world, you must throw youself in the actual work in the end. And that sometimes lowers a bit the energy we had before. It can be a bit destabilizing or downright scary. But don’t worry, everything will adjust when you’ll see what you are able to do.
So, for these moments when everything is alright, but you just can’t get started or have no ideas, first you can use the “avoid creativity” that I talked about previously. But since you’re more open than when you don’t feel good, you can actually find ways to reach out to creativity. And for that, there are an infinite number of possibilities. At home, the very simple first one tool is Pinterest. You can search for subjects that you like, look at beautiful photographies and create your own inspiration boards. You can look for original color combinations, landscapes, portraits … Still at home you can watch other artists on youtube. There are tons of very inspiring videos as well as incredible tutorials. You could also watch new movies or series and take it in a curiosity angle looking for something special (lighting, colors, accessories, faces, clothing…).
Then, there is the outside world. So you could (and should !) just go for a walk with your mind open, look at everything, let your thoughts
wander. You can also go to a museum or an art show. And a side note : don’t limit your searches to the subject of the art you already make. Look for other things, be aware of everything that you don’t personnaly do, that will nurture your creativity so much. You can also search for new art books, they have a different approach of things and so pleasing to read. In the same spirit, you can also look for new ideas in other form of art like dance, theatre, movies, … And then you can also just doodle random forms until something borns from it. Or nothing, but you still did something !
I will stop there for today because it’s already quite long to read. I hope this was interesting and helped you in any way. Next time I’ll talk about other art blocks like having to many ideas, or fear of judgement. And finally talk about why you definiltely have to dive in the stream of creation. What it is and why it’s a life changing breath of magic. And also I would love to hear if you have particular art blocks that you can’t overcome. That would also be awesome, if you recognise yourself in what I described, that you’d to share your story in the comments.