What is the biggest obstacle to painting freely and joyfully? One would think that painting is a fun activity and we should feel relaxed and happy while creating. You would think this to be self evident. Sadly not. I see too many artists sweating the small stuff. Often this leads to them giving up. They are not being true to themselves. Here's why:
Yesterday's Hero: Accept and Move On
One category of artists who are creatively blocked face a massive hurdle. Their past. There are few people more stubborn than those who painted years ago and come back to painting believing that they can simply pick up a brush and paint a masterpiece. Only to discover that it does not turn out this way.
Pride and ego step in and the artist refuses to accept she needs to relearn the basics. Often this is a "pack leader" who feels that she cannot show weakness. Not give an inch. Sadly her new and expensive painting kit will be packed away. She will rest on her laurels.
Comfortably Numb: I Cannot Paint a Thing!
On the other end we see the artist who gamely tries to paint convinced that she will never get it. To prove this mantra she only need point to her work to convince onlookers. It's no good, she says, I cannot even paint a stick figure!
She takes part more for social reasons at the weekly art meet-up. It is a pity that she holds herself back because she could be quite good. Fear lurks below and it is safer to keep her talent buried. She will most likely remain in this comfort zone never daring to put her talent out there.
The Quietly Determined Painter
In the middle we have the artist who keeps working steadily. She loves to create. Deep within her is a creative fire that yearns to come out and make stunning art. Unfortunately life got in the way since school days. She was told that art is a hobby. Not something to take seriously. Everyone she looked up to said so. Get a job. Start a family. Whatever. Follow the script. Art is for Saturday afternoon amusement.
This artist needs the self belief to stand apart and claim her right to be good, perhaps great. Better than anyone would ever have given her credit for. She has the talent to be an excellent artist. But does she have the support? Is there anyone to help her seize the moment? What if ...
The Self-Imposed Prison
Your mind can keep you imprisoned more securely than any wall. What makes this so insidious is that freedom beckons with only a change of mindset. The difference between a pauper and a rich man is often a decision and attitude. How many great entrepreneurs succeeded with a basic education and no capital. Simply guts and will. The same approach applies to creative arts. To make something out of nothing begins with the mind.
Your Creative Freedom
How do you take back your creative soul? It begins with a decision. Starting now you are going to begin creating something. Forget about holding onto past glories from another lifetime. Forget about putting yourself down to remain in your safe place. Forget about living within the confines of other people's limited world view.
Instead you are going to create with a free spirit. Boldly and simply. The painting demonstration below is an example of what I mean. I painted this quickly. In one session. It simply manifested itself during a moment of flow state. I think I had music playing too, which always seem to help. I painted as if nobody was watching me. No judgment.
Take Your Cue from Nature
Nature is not timid. Should I start a new season? Maybe it will be best to stay in Winter. Safer that way. Heck no - nature gets to work on time all the time. It's Spring and the birds and bees are doing their thing. Flat out.
We are also part of nature and your talents are what nature demands you put to use. Creativity is nature's way. Why resist it?
What next steps can you take?
Remember that momentum is key. As you complete one task it is important to begin the next. Never let more than two days pass between projects. Big or small. Start something.
Learn as much as you can.
There is a ton of good advice and help online. Ditch the TV and fire up the internet. I suggest Pinterest as a source of good quality learning materials and inspiration. YouTube has excellent resources, documentaries and how-to videos on whatever topic you need. Yes there is junk too, but the website learns your habits. Avoid the junk and you will get suggestions for the good stuff.
Then take action first chance you get. Keep notes of ideas. I prefer written in a notebook. Digital notes are out of sight out of mind. That is no good. You want tactile hands-on-get-work materials. There is no need to take this too seriously. After all we are here to enjoy our life. This should feel like play.
There are premium courses to consider too. Take a free trial on Skillshare and find something fun to learn. You may enjoy an occasional course or book to scale up you skills. You will never regret the expense provided you are prudent. Start with one course and complete it. Then put what you have learned into action. A course that is simply forgotten is a waste unless you take action.
Are You Up For It?
I have been blunt. If this has offended you then perhaps it is because I have touched on the truth. My intentions are open and simple. Encourage more artists. Defy the cynics and naysayers. Take up your brush and make your mark. No more waiting and procrastination. Begin what you are meant to do. Create.
Take a step today:
Below is a sign up for a FREE tutorial on how to start a powerful painting. No obligations and no hard sell coming up. Just a painting lesson from yours truly. Try it and then put it into practice. I have made it practical and you can begin right away.
Malcolm Dewey: Artist. Country: South Africa