How do I get over Artist’s Block?

I think artist’s block is something everyone experiences now and then, when you know you should be drawing but just can’t get yourself motivated to do it.  Nothing seems to inspire you when you look around the room, what can you do? I have a few suggestions that might help:

Take a break!

Sometimes you can’t force it so just take some time out to do something you enjoy other than drawing and painting.

Go  Somewhere 

Lots of my students forget that they can go out to draw and visit museums, parks or just somewhere new.  It is hard to be inspired when your surroundings are so familiar.  There are lots of places to go to see interesting things, if you like animals go to the zoo, if you like observing people go into the city, if you like boats go to a boatyard and so on.

Change the Lighting 

A more dramatic lighting setting might inspire you, try drawing with just one lamp on the subject.  Try drawing in very bright light, early spring mornings are good for this, you may capture a different mood in your art.

Changing the lighting for drawing
Changing the lighting for drawing

Try a New Way of Working 

Maybe you have got yourself into a rut in the way that you work, it could be time to try out new media.  If you have never tried pastels maybe give them a go or branch into printmaking, it could give you inspiration for a new way of working.

Give different media a try!
Give different media a try!

Take a Class

You might think you don’t need a class because you already know how to draw and paint but even if this is you a class can get you out of your art rut.  Meeting with other like-minded people and looking at others work is often inspiring because you are being introduced to new ways of working that you may have not considered.  Learning new skills is always a way of getting out of a comfort zone that you may have got stuck in.

Go to an Art Gallery 

Most can’t fail to be inspired when they visit an art gallery, it is a great way to get you itching to get the paints out once again.  If you can’t get to a major exhibition in a city then even something small and local to you could be interesting and a stimulus for new work.

The Barbican, London
Visit an art gallery for inspiration

Visit the Library 

I have always found a trip to the library to be inspiring, if you don’t want to join a class you can find books on how to do a new technique.  You can also take a look at books on artists and read art magazines.

Create a Space for Your Art

It could be that you are not happy where you are working.  I know I like my art space to feel just right if I am to sit there for long periods, is there enough light and is it warm enough?  The nicer the space the more likely you are to want to go and do art there.  You may not have an art space in your home, if not why not create an area just for you.  Not all of us are lucky enough to have a spare room or out-building to hand, so maybe a corner of a room could be set up for this purpose.  You will feel more relaxed and inspired if you have your own space to create art.

Also see Where do Complete Beginners Start? and When I get Stuck What Can I Do?

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