My surefire cure for getting unstuck:
It happens to all of us. That wall we hit when it’s not working. We’re dry. Scared. Frustrated and empty. The artist asks: When will inspiration come? Is there a chance it’s left for good? And if it has, how then do we define ourselves? At least that’s the rabbit hole I start sliding down, and maybe you do too.
Get to the nearest art supply store – it’s seriously therapeutic.
For me, just walking into an art store gives me a jolt of, “Let’s get started” or “Damn, I just have to work with those colors.” There’s something about seeing a row of Seafoam pastels juxtaposed with hot magenta… or a sweet shade of violet that reminds me of the miniature crocuses scattered in our front yard when I was a kid.
My eyes dart around as if I’m peaking on a sugar rush. The paintbrushes call out to be touched. I give in – stroking the red sables and the super-soft $75 brushes I’ll never allow myself to buy. But they are doing their job: they are getting me excited about making art.
I start “testing” colors in the French pastel section – checking their compatibility with each other. I remembered a woman in my art critique group pairing a pale dusty pink with an olive green. Those colors reminded me of the striped Danskin tops I wore when I was 10. That thought reminds me that (also) when I was 10 — I never got stuck. Give me a periwinkle Crayola and some free time, and I was good to go.
And now, walking out of Art Essentials in Santa Barbara with my new aquamarine oil stick and a receipt that shows I indulged myself to the tune of $3.89 — I’m good to go again.