Something I have wrestled with for many years has been artist's block, triggered by critical teachers and college traumas. Over the years I have learned to play around with various unblocking techniques until I found a recipe that works for me.
The blocking feels like a massive full stop on my ability to paint or write. I avoid doing creative work even though everything within me says I want to. I'll even do things I actively hate instead of that which gives me the greatest pleasure in life.
Thankfully I now only tend to block in terms of putting paint or pen to paper for a final piece of work. I still have ideas, so I let myself ride the storm of this difficult place by scribbling on the back of envelopes. I sidestep the block by not being precious about where the ideas are recorded, no special paper or materials just backs of envelopes and a ball point pen.
|Moon Hare Cape sketches (c) Amber Caspian, 2012
I guess it's actually a question of what we regard as being blocked, reading that last paragraph back it sounds very much like an engagement with creativity. However it is the feeling of disconnection with a part of ones creative self that can be painful, as past woundings often resurface. It used to be that I shut off completely from the creative process. No ideas, no connection to that inner self that knows and creates except a deep yearning and desperate sense of loss.
Today I recognise the triggers that cause me to close down almost immediately and feel that the key to unblocking is to sit with what has caused this response. I have to get to a place where I can accept was is happening and stop beating myself up so I stop fighting the process. Even though the word 'block' and the feeling of a 'full stop' sound like immovable barriers, all they are really saying is - stop a moment, be still and listen to what is happening within. It always boils down to not feeling good enough and the need for self acceptance. Something that can be hard to hold onto when you are struggling to find time to paint and then spend your one day off cleaning the house.