Overcoming Mental Blocks When Creating Art

Art and painting are very interesting creative endeavors because they’re so subjective, and there is no paint-by-numbers approach. Every artist paints or creates something different and has a unique approach.

That’s why it can be tough when you start to experience an art block. This is when you can’t determine the next step in your art project or get frustrated when a project isn’t coming to fruition as you’d like. If you continue struggling, the block will just get worse, so you need to know how to stop it in its tracks.

Overcoming Mental Blocks When Starting Out

There are many reasons why you might experience art block. It could be that your project is so complex that you don’t know where to go once you pick up your brush. It could also be that you’re lonely or upset and lack the inspiration to create due to your mental health. Another reason may be that you’re new on the job. Many artists start out and immediately get an art block because they expect too much from themselves. One way to remove that block may be to get your expectations in check and understand what truly makes a successful artist.

For instance, you have to remember that success won’t happen overnight and that this process can take years, but what’s important is that you continue to create. A successful artist also has a support group in place of friends and fellow artists who support them, so if you don’t have that, it may be the reason for your block. Finally, remember that most artists are never satisfied with their careers or where they are at the moment because they’re always trying to improve their art skills, so it’s only natural to be frustrated occasionally.

If you’re a newer artist, you may also simply need to learn how to channel your thoughts and be more creative. There are many ways to get your creative juices flowing, including getting out of your comfort zone and saying “yes” when friends ask you to do something new, and see if you become inspired. Also, don’t worry about trying to create every minute of the day. Instead, allow yourself just to sit, daydream, and let your mind wander, and you could come up with the next detail in your art.

Work On Your Mental Health

When you cannot break through your creative block, you must look at your life and thoughts and determine if poor mental health may be the culprit. If you’ve recently gone through a traumatic experience like a death in the family or substance abuse issues, then those bad experiences can resonate with you and create that mental block. If positive thinking and talking with family won’t work, then you may want to speak to a therapist who can help you sort through your problem and see if your block evaporates.

Sometimes, you may feel fine when you start your project. However, it just takes one roadblock and you begin to become upset and depressed. The longer you struggle, the more mentally unhealthy you may become. It can be hard to escape the cycle, and not only will you be stuck in an art block, but that depression could affect your health and family.

So, you need to find ways to improve your mental health. One way to do so can be as simple as journaling every night. Get those negative feelings out on paper so you can start fresh in the morning.

You can also try grounding exercises, which are methods of looking inside yourself and returning to a natural place so that you can build yourself back up. A simple grounding exercise can include unplugging from technology so you can disconnect from the noise, reconnect with your environment, and see if the creative juices flow. Meditation is another great idea because when you sit in a quiet place, and it’s just you and your thoughts, you can work through your problems, and you may lift your creative block.

Take It Back to Square One

The reason you’re experiencing art block may be because you’re trying to do too much at once, or your project is so lofty that you’re getting lost in the details. If either is true, you may have to return to square one and try something simple.

Bring up a new canvas and draw an item or a subject that comes easy to you, like a landscape you’ve created before or a pet you’ve drawn a million times. Once you remind yourself that you’re got the talent to succeed, you may be able to erase the block. If you’re still drawing a blank, you can also try to draw something from a reference photo, like a bowl of fruit, and see if that triggers your creativity again.

If you still need help, consider going to an art gallery where your favorite artist has work on display that may have inspired you in the past and see if you can regain that flame. When all else fails, turn to the experts and read some of the recommended books about being the best artist you can be. Find a book or artist that matches your style of artwork and read through it or look at the pictures and see if that does the trick.

There are no written directions that dictate how you must produce art, so it’s no surprise that even the best artists can get lost from time to time. Consider the tactics discussed here and ask what some of your artist friends do to defeat the art block, and you’ll be back to work in no time.

Katie Brenneman is a passionate writer specializing in content for a variety of genres. When she isn’t writing, you can find her with her nose buried in a book or hiking with her dog, Charlie. You can follow her on Twitter.

Read more helpful art marketing and career articles in our Blog.

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