Friday, February 08, 2008

Artist's Block

Brick walls can be built with artist's blocks. Did you know that? Well, I have been beating my head against this particular brick wall way too long. I've done three paintings that have hit the trash can since my last post. It was getting a little depressing. The more I forced myself to work through it, the worse it got. *ack* Finally I decided maybe I needed to head in a brand new direction for awhile in hopes I could come back with fresh eyes and renewed inspiration.

I was chatting last week with a friend and it got me thinking. Maybe it would be a good idea to really step out of my usual 'thing' and do something I've never done before....

#1 A self portrait

#2 Do it in charcoal, which I rarely work with.

#3 Work from life, which I never do. I always work from photos.

The results were mixed(it kinda looks like me)but it felt good to just be doing something. It turned out to be a real challenge. I was working without my specs(glasses)in low light. All I could see were just basic shapes, highlights and dark areas. When I finally called this one done I had added some 2B pencil, white charcoal and a little sanguine for a blush to make myself look a bit more healthy. Tada!


Anita said...

I would recognise it as you! Well done Billie! I'm proud of you for beating the block! Now all you have to do is maintain the momentum - that is the hard part! I know how you feel about throwing things away - three pastels in the trash in a week!

vivien said...

it was good result to getting yourself out of your block :D

they are horrible :( today's post on my blog is artists quotes and there are some there about this very subject.

I do what you did - have a slight break and then experiment with very different media or subject matter to refresh myself and bring back the freedom - because they are experiments there isn't the fear of failure but there is the buzz of not knowing how things will work out.

I hope this fixed the block.

Billie Crain said...

hi Anita.:) yea, i hate when failure happens. i also hate wasting paper but i realized i was wasting something more time.

Billie Crain said...

Vivien, i just browsed your blog and love the quotes! this one hit the nail on the head for me:

Eugene Delacroix: Artists who seek perfection in everything are those who cannot attain it in anything.

i think i need to get off my own back and start experimenting. also posting a few failures wouldn't kill me either. something was telling me to try new things at the beginning of the year but instead i kept to the same path with terrible results. live and learn and listen to my inner artist. *lol*

Anonymous said...

I am glad that the conversation made you think of other paths that have yet to be traveled. You did a fantastic job on this. Working under a time limit, this is great. You have inspired me to follow through on committing to one too. I am proud of you.

Billie Crain said...

Hey sure got the fire lit under me. thx! i'm just glad i took a photo of my portrait before i later tried to 'per-fect' it and ruined the whole thing in the process. it isn't perfect but it's me and i'm not perfect either.

Jeanette Jobson said...

I'm having my own little block right now, so I can identify with you Billie. I think you've done a great job on this SP and in a new medium to boot!

A break, something different to use (my blog post is about this too) and you get back on track again. It would be interesting to know just what causes slumps in creativity. Is it an internal mechanism wanting us to slow down and reassess? Or just a batch of good days/bad days.

Whichever the case, I'm glad you're back on paper.

Billie Crain said...

i read your blog last night, Jeanette and saw that you were in a bit of a creative funk, too. i've always blamed the weather for my slumps because they seem to strike most often in the dead of winter. i let endless cold, gloomy days just bring me down. that black, white and grey landscape drives me crazy.

i've been so restless since the New Year began but didn't know what to do with it so i figured i'd take a new direction. venture into unknown territory, so to speak.

i got the best quote from a friend and fellow gardener today...

[quote]You need to risk going out on a limb. That’s where the fruit is.[quote]

Tracey said...

i love it, you definitely got the likeness. I joined a life drawing group last year and really enjoy it as my life drawing skills have improved imensely but also it really gets the mojo going as you get to work from life on something that does not have to be perfect or 'seen' - a great release!

Billie Crain said...

thank you, Tracey! it was enjoyable. also i liked working without my glasses. it not only forced me to focus on the shapes but i couldn't see every line and wrinkle either! lol