Stuck in a Rut? Tips on How To Get You Going

“Stuck” by Jean Pederson

Have you ever been stuck in a rut? I mean so stuck that when you pull out the paints for a few days, weeks or, heaven forbid, months, inspiration is lacking? Well I sure have experienced these times throughout my painting career! It’s funny how you can be going a hundred miles a minute and then … nothing.

Was I just lucky for a few years? Am I a fraud? Did I lose my muse? After you get over the self-doubt, you realize that it is a normal part of the creative process. And the more times you experience this phase, the easier it is to get over the hump.

Mixed Media Abstract art by Jean Pederson

Corporate Farming (mixed media on paper, 11×11) by Jean Pederson. Private collection.

I think there are several reasons for these lapses in an artist’s career. I’ve seen friends and colleagues experience creative stalling due to busy family life, lack of clarity of artistic direction, and health issues. Whatever the catalyst, I have a few ideas that could help you to get back on track and flourish as an artist.

It begins with you.

Think about who you are and what you are interested in communicating. Authenticity is inspiring!

• Know your materials and your subjects so that they become second nature when creating. Just as you would if you were learning a second language or a musical instrument, you want to strive for communication without struggling for the correct words or notes. Understanding your tools will give your artwork strength.

• Reading books or articles about your favorite artists can give you a kick start. Seeing other people’s passion is infectious!

• Go to galleries and observe what elements and styles you connect with. Think about how these ideas fit into your practice.

• Take a workshop and learn something new. Simply being in a room with other creatives is exciting and often enough to get you going again.

• Take your dog for a walk. Exercise gets our energy up and readies the brain for action.

• Learn to play! Lighten up and allow your inner child out. The journey is often more important than the product. Play is the place where we learn, let go of inhibitions, and meditate. Of course there will be time to go back to your traditional practice once you get your creative groove going, but always remember to take time to play.

• Recognize that you have to continue to practice your skills. Through practice comes inspiration.

• Don’t give up; move forward with tenacity and conviction. What you have to say is important and needs to be shared visually.

How will you choose to move forward leaving “stuck” in the past?

Learn more from Mixed Media Artist Jean Pederson
Mixed Media Painting Workshop: Explore Mediums, Techniques, and the Personal Artistic Journey (book or download)
• Expressive Portraits: Watercolor and Mixed Media Techniques (paperback)
Wet Glazing Watercolor Portrait (DVD)
Watercolor Artist, August 2011: Create the illusion of depth in your paintings with these simple tips and helpful illustrations of linear and aerial perspective. (article)
• See her work at www.jeanpederson.com

You may also like these articles:

COMMENT