Stop Fighting Your Art and Your Art Won't Fight You! :) Wrestling With Your Art - Advice on Inspiration and Art Making Frustration

When we are searching for that one object to photograph, that one object that will give us a small slice of momentary joy upon it’s discovery, we often forget about the places most overlooked in our home, at the local store, or perhaps in our neighborhood. So it was when I stumbled upon this small object. I had photographed it several times before, but I never really felt that I truly captured it’s hidden beauty. Then, upon the upteenth examination, a watery aerial scene with small land masses emerged. Parts of the teal surface of the object shimmered, bubbled and folded like the ocean; it was at that moment that I knew I had to take a shot.
Inspiration, although welcomed with open arms, does not always come easily. I remember earlier in the week having a conversation with my mother about being frustrated with my paintings and how the constant problem solving and correcting of the images I was working on caused me so much stress that I almost didn’t want to paint. She gave me some very good advice. She told me that constant stressing about your work and project deadlines is a creativity killer. Before I had significantly reached the point of extreme exasperation, I should just put the work aside and start on something else I had planned to do earlier in the week that is either related to my art (composing a new post, working on another project, market research etc.), or non-related (mundane household chores, etc). In this way, I could come back to what I had previously been working on refreshed and mentally ready to approach and solve the problems that I had in my work. Wise woman. Sometimes, mothers really do know what is best! On a similar note, it is when we “sweat the small stuff” hem, haw and worry about what other’s think, that we lose the childlike joy we once had when we approached our art making. Art shouldn’t become a chore; it is one of many ways that we use to express ourselves and share our experiences and point of view with others. When art is a chore it becomes painful. However, this difficult experience has a beautiful lesson for us, because it helps us to reevaluate why we create art. What are your reasons for creating art? What inspires you? What causes you frustration and hampers creativity? What are some ways you might plan to resolve this issue? Please feel free to share thoughts, ideas and experiences! I’d love to hear from you.

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3 thoughts on “Stop Fighting Your Art and Your Art Won’t Fight You! :) Wrestling With Your Art – Advice on Inspiration and Art Making Frustration

  1. What causes me frustration, as a painter, is the trying to ensure continuity and an identifiable signature in a constantly evolving process of expression. This is partly the consequence of a gallery/collector system that prefers stability but is also brought about by the restrictions I place on myself. I am constrained by the fact that my exhibitions are thematic, and so the work that comprises them has to have a level of cohesion whilst allowing for stylistic development. In itself, this is a small hardship, as the result (the exhibition) is a whole that hopefully will be greater than its parts. At times the immediacy of constraint can get in the way of completing a piece, and sometimes this is because I have run too far for the resulting work to successfully cohere to its fellows. Sometimes also I end up feeling that whilst a painting may have individual elements that I love, as a whole it fails. My practice involves only working on one painting at a time, so the few that get abandoned on the way generally stay so, and are usually overpainted some months later. However, I never lose the positives from these,relying on a photographic record and notes to ensure that the elements that grab me remain accessible. What inspires me to work in this way is a desire to communicate the particular way in which I see the world and it’s people, to show the beauty I see regardless of my untraditional subject matter. I would add that I absolutely feel that to step away and come back reinvigorated however much later is preferable to forcing a piece by trying to resolve its problems from a ‘must get it done’ perspective. A work that is forced will always look it, and runs the risk of ending up as sad and tired, lacking freshness and spontaneity, and potentially turgid


  2. Your mother is so right. About a month ago, I got it in my head I would never again do a good painting. I was totally blocked. I paint on the computer, so I opened a folder called Play and started Playing with Painter X3. I had a blast. I just started a new painting and feel like a new person.



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