How does it feel to be stuck?
You know that you are creative and capable and can achieve and make beautiful things, but you have lost your mojo. It seems like you’ve created the same piece before, or that someone else has. Your creativity has become re-creativity. Along the way you have lost your flow – this can be because we have received negative voices around our work or were once told that being creative was time wasting, or we were told that we weren’t good enough. Sometimes we are so exhausted by life and responsibilities we can’t find a way back to ourselves. Our own time ends up at the bottom of a never-ending to-do list.
That is how it feels when I have times of creative block.
We can often feel like this at the end of the winter and may be even more prone after this past year of fear and added responsibilities. There have been times in the past year I have found my flow and felt creative, and other times when although I have had a project on the go, I haven’t been able to proceed. Getting back into a flow state can be tricky!
I know in my heart that I never feel better than when I am making. It doesn’t have to be a grand finished project it can be anything. But making physical space and finding mental space for trying new things can be challenging but we have to do it if we want our art and creativity to move deeper towards a place where we can create with integrity and authenticity.
Being a grown-up is most often about ticking things off our to-do list – the outcome is what we are judged on – but as a child we didn’t aim for an endpoint, we just enjoyed the squish of paint, the feel of it on our fingers. We have to rekindle the idea of playing – trying new approaches so that you can decide what works for you – do you like line, or shape or colour? Does collage bring you joy?
Following on from my sketchbook play over the winter break, I am taking part in #the100dayproject. Experimenting, playing, seeking and combining different ways of committing to 100 acts of creativity allows you to build your confidence (be that drawing, painting, collaging, stitching, knitting). Through this process we go within, we learn to trust what it is we are drawn to, what and how we want to represent the world around us.
Through working in a sketchbook, away from the focus on an end work of art or textiles, I am able to put one foot in front of the other, breaking down the processes I use in my art making. Doing this regularly, I get past the fear of getting it wrong and just show up at the page. You can follow my progress on #the100dayproject by searching #100helenhallows2021 on Instagram.
At the moment we are all seeking freedom, looking forward to the end of Lockdown 3 and to re-establishing relationships with people and places. I live in a suburban area and though I am fortunate to have access to green spaces, I feel the constraints of the edges of where I live. Walks are halted by bumping up against canals, rivers, railway lines, motorways. I long for somewhere to roam alone, and yet in these constraints of place I have started a dialogue with what is on my doorstep and new ways of looking at the landscape here. In the same way, choosing constraints for our creativity can funnel us into achieving more as we restrict the choices. These could be a restricted colour palette, doing a set of 20 20cm x 20cm sketches, stopping at 11am every day and drawing what is in front of you.
Other ways to tackle creative block:
Switch off – nourish yourself, sleep well, eat well, go for walks
Create some constraints – freedom can be overwhelming. Limit yourself, maybe work on one size, or with one colour palette.
Create a timetable – set a time for you to be creative and stick to it. No interruptions.
Enjoy the process – perfectionism is overrated. Stay curious – give yourself permission to get it wrong.
I’ve been working hard on my new website www.thenurturedartist a sister site to www.helenhallows.com It’s a home for creative souls to find out more about my courses, it’s where you can log in to my virtual classroom and find extra resources to support your creativity.
On Thursday February 25th I will be speaking about the ethos behind my courses, my creative process and how to be more connected and develop your authentic creative voice. If you’d like to book a ticket you can do so here. Your £5 ticket price will be refunded as a discount against any 2021 course booking.