By Melissa Fusco
At one time or another in every artist’s life, including myself, we have all experienced some type of artist block. There are many levels of creative block, from just the annoyance of interrupted flow that is short-lived or even deeper resulting in depression, lack of self-worth, loss of self-esteem and unfortunately self-destruction. An artist block or otherwise known as “creative block” is the inability to access one’s flowing stream of inspiration and creativity. What was once an overflowing well of ideas may now feel like an endless drought. It can last for days, weeks, months or even years. A feeling of loss in self may arise, and with every forward gaze stands fear, fear of not creating a worthy piece because of all the emotional strain that has occurred…
I know with myself that heartache and change of environment really take a toll on me. In the past I worked on channeling my creative energy and feel at one time it would flow uninterrupted; what I envisioned, I produced. I went through a rough creative block due to many situations happening at once, and at times it got the best of me. Creating is a huge part of my life, and I am sure you feel the same.
To be at battle with yourself, takes a bit longer to iron out than if you are at battle with someone else. We are our own worst enemy, but we can’t forget we know ourselves the best! Burying fear and self-doubt to just keep swimming through without judgment is not easy, but necessary if working through artist block. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and moving forward is the only way to see and reach it. There are tons of ways to keep moving forward through artist block. From handling a totally different medium, experimenting, working on a much smaller scale and most importantly to keep working through fear and not give up.
It is an emotional journey, and to sit along side yourself hearing the coach and being able to battle it out is the confusing part and the most important inner workings of an artist. This battle is the foundation of what we are; nonconforming, expressive individuals with emotions that flare from light to dark just like the array of colors on our palettes. Accept yourself even at the darkest moments and keep swimming through. I have read an assortment of books over the last few years, some have sparked neat painting ideas that I followed through with. As I flip through these pages to find some quotes to share with you all today, I see sketches that were the seeds to finished paintings. Such as “Shadows Emerging With The Light, A Self-Portrait Study.”
These books I want to share with you I have found along the way or they have been recommended reads by close friends whom I have confided in when I needed a little strength. Those dear to me I take everything they say to heart, and give everything an opportunity. If someone confided in me, and I gave them the energy to help guide them along, I would hope that they would take something away from this that could help them in any way. So saying that, be open to what your peers, friends or loved ones suggest if you are reaching out to help make sense of it all. Here is each book and a quote I picked to share with you:
The Creative Soul, by Lawrence H. Staples PH.D. “We create great relationships only when we fully reveal ourselves; we create great art only when we truly reveal ourselves. Art and relationships require the same nutrients to grow. If we want our art and our relationships to be strong and beautiful, we must feed them intimacy, which is what makes both of them thrive. Thus, the quality of our art and the quality of our relationships depend on the degree to which we accomplish this feat of intimate self-revelation, the more that they reflect ourselves the better they are. This is why we stimulate both fear and fall in love within our relationships and our art. We see ourselves in both of them.”
The Soul of Creativity, by multiple authors in multiple mediums. “Ironically creative behavior exists because of uncertainty. It is the means to solving a problem, whether artistic, aesthetic, economic, political, physical, or emotional. Creative behavior orders chaos and structures change. Wishing to live a creative vibrant life, a woman must come to terms with the uncertainty inherent in creative behavior. She must take risks, be patient, be acknowledged, and act upon her need to express that which is unique about herself. She must be able to disregard what others may think about her desire and persevere through disappointment. These are qualities that make creative behavior possible.”
Art & Fear, by David Bayles & Ted Orland “Cowboy wisdom: When your horse dies, get off. Cowboy wisdom notwithstanding, the Weston’ Adams vision continues to support a sizable cottage industry of artists and teachers even today. But this security carries a price: risk taking is discouraged, artistic development stunted, and personal style sublimated to fit a pre-existing mold. Only those who commit to following their own artistic path can look back and see this issue in clear perspective: the real question about acceptance is not whether your work will be viewed as art but whether it will be viewed as your art.”
The Art of Non-Conformity, by Chris Guillebeau. “All things equal, we generally resist change until the pain of making a switch becomes less the pain of remaining in our current situation. To break the cycle, the fear of the unknown has to become less than the stale acceptance of the current situation. There are two ways to make this happen: Increase the pain of the current situation. Decrease the fear of the desired situation.”
No Storm Lasts Forever, by Dr. Terry A. Gordon. This book or better yet, a man’s journal takes you through his life experiences during a very challenging time in his life. He’s observations during the ups and downs have a profound spiritual influence that help understand such hardships in life. Transforming life’s disappointments, heartache, and suffering into understanding, insight and resolve. Such a great book!
Melissa Fusco can be found at http://missmelis.com/.
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