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Creative Blocks

Posted by: Robert James Hacunda on 11/08/2013 - 3:18 PM

What are they and how and when do you experience them?


Oldest Reply

Posted by: Richard Rizzo on 11/08/2013 - 3:59 PM

I generally call them dry spells they been coming and going like storms lately.


Posted by: Mike Savad on 11/08/2013 - 4:32 PM

it's when your brain can't think of any new ideas. usually happens when you are forcing it to happen. i usually don't have them because i just switch gears to something else.

---Mike Savad


Posted by: Robert James Hacunda on 11/08/2013 - 5:02 PM

Mine is pretty intense these days... can't even write


Posted by: Richard Rizzo on 11/08/2013 - 6:45 PM

that works for me too Mike, I just switch from art to 3D modeling or to design, it seems like the best way for me to weather the storms.


Posted by: Gregory Scott on 11/08/2013 - 6:47 PM

Being bipolar, everything in my life waxes and wanes. So you learn to go with the flow, and not begrudge your body and your brain their natural rhythms. So long as something floats your boat, you don't drown. Sometimes stubbornness is all that keeps me going, but I have plenty of that.


Posted by: Patricia Strand on 11/08/2013 - 6:49 PM

I keep notebooks of ideas on projects to do, not necessarily photography. I've got about six of them now. Baking, art and craft-type stuff, sewing, museums to visit, gardening projects to try, etc., etc. That way, I never have any excuse not to be creative. My problem is that I'm just lazy.


Posted by: Mike Savad on 11/08/2013 - 6:55 PM

like a few months ago i started on a weird project. it's like 1/2 done. it's not that its a block, but it's not flowing either. from that idea though i spawned new ideas, and from those even more ideas. and maybe some day i'll get back to that thing i left hanging. if writing isn't working, try playing with something else. or sometimes i find explaining something to myself often works.

---Mike Savad


Posted by: Robert James Hacunda on 11/08/2013 - 6:57 PM

I'm bipolar also Gregory.. i think I have a virus that is blocking the effectiveness of my medication but I've been blocked for sometime now


Posted by: Tony Murray on 11/08/2013 - 7:50 PM

Constant and ubiquitous. There is an old Star Trek episode where Kirk, Spock, And McCoy are trapped in a force field and they soon realized the harder they pushed against it the stronger it became. Learn to relax.


Posted by: Isabella F Abbie Shores on 11/08/2013 - 7:57 PM

Just got through one. I took photos of everything and nothing whilst going through it. Suddenly I got an idea for a painting that I 'have to do now' yesterday and finished it today.

Not sure yet if I will go straight back into a blue period or be okay for another painting. Normally it hits me bad and I get ultra depressed when I finish one then go blank for a month or two

Fun isn't it LOL


Posted by: Marlene Burns on 11/08/2013 - 8:09 PM

I don't have them...assuming I am physcially well enough to get outta bed and attack the day.
I personally feel that whenever any artist takes breaks, they are faced with feelings of incompetence about returning...have I lost it? do I still have 'it'???
So therein lies the answer...DO NOT take breaks....have at it daily...never, ever, get out of the rhythm.
and STOP thinking only about the final product....get it through your heads that it is the PROCESS.....that way, you never have a bad day.
it isnt feasible or realistic to have wonderful outcomes daily....but it's very reasonable to do your art everyday.

And as far as mythical muses...bullsh*t.
You have it inside of depend on nobody or noting else...that's what makes YOU an artist.
Art is my profession. My only muse is my stack of unpaid bills.
Now, stop reading and go hone your craft!


Posted by: Robert James Hacunda on 11/08/2013 - 8:42 PM

I've failed, that is the broken record


Posted by: Brigitte Cadena on 11/08/2013 - 8:58 PM

Music helps me a lot. Plus some reflection helps too. I have a somewhat decent stack of projects that I am working on and I will just pick on another that matches what I am feeling and focus on that for a while. I call it brewing my brain. After a while, I go back to the piece I was stuck on and I can finish it like it has been simmering in my head for a while and needs a release.


Posted by: Shana Rowe on 11/08/2013 - 9:02 PM

I get them, but find when I do come back, I do some of my best work. Sometimes I think its just my minds way of revamping itself. It just sucks while its happening because I feel like I'm cheating myself if I'm not creating. Switching gears does help, like sometimes I will wood burn or make jewelry while I'm waiting for a painting idea to pop up. I do have lists of paintings I have planned, but when I'm blocked sometimes I'm not feeling any of the ideas I already have. Its like I just can't bring myself to do it. I did a blog post on how I get through my blocks, I will post a link for you tomorrow when I'm on my PC. ( on my phone now) It might help...


Posted by: Isabella F Abbie Shores on 11/08/2013 - 9:05 PM

Shana..that's what happens to me. Telling someone to make art daily is great if they can but for many it does not work like that. Living with artists all my life I can vouch for that.

But, after an episode of nothing normally comes a greater work


Posted by: Richard Rizzo on 11/08/2013 - 9:09 PM

I wonder if things such as depression or other illnesses also play a part in blocks ?


Posted by: Shana Rowe on 11/08/2013 - 9:16 PM

I try to do something creative everyday even if it doesn't mean painting. Sometimes just shopping for supplies helps get my gears going. But there are times when I simply don't have it in me. And I'm normally very prolific, I average around 100 paintings per year, even with the breaks, but the breaks suck. I always come back to it though, I have accepted the breaks as breathing time for the imagination. There are extreme highs where I just whip them out, and can't sleep because I'm so inspired. Then there's the lows. Richard, I think there is a connection but not sure which is the chicken and which is the egg lol


Posted by: Robert James Hacunda on 11/08/2013 - 9:28 PM

Richard I am fighting some depression ( not real bad) but also illness and pain


Posted by: Marlene Burns on 11/08/2013 - 9:29 PM

IF art is your profession, it has to be approached no differently than any other work you might choose to do for a living.
That said, if you forsake other jobs to be a full time artist, then no one should have to tell you to go to work daily.
If you undertook a different job, you'd be fired if you didn't go to work everyday.
Again, it isn't about producing great art is about disciplining yourself to engage in the process daily.

I'd venture a strong guess that this is why most artists starve and end up with a 'real' job.....sadly, they dont' consider art a real job when they are giving it a whirl.
Ask any professional on this site and they will tell you the same....


Posted by: Robert James Hacunda on 11/08/2013 - 9:35 PM

I don't need a job Marlene....


Posted by: Shana Rowe on 11/08/2013 - 9:40 PM

Oh, I definitely consider art my REAL job. It is my fulltime job. When I'm not creating, I am spending time promoting, when I'm not promoting I'm reading about art and learning. Even at my day job, which is part time I am writing down ideas, sketching on my breaks, handing out business cards and networking and have gotten quite a few commissions that way. Art is my life. I did 130 paintings last year alone, so there should be no question as to whether or not I'm serious about art just because breathing time is part of my creative process. I have bills and take care of my mother in law, that's why I'm a starving artist.


Posted by: Leah Saulnier The Painting Maniac on 11/08/2013 - 9:43 PM

I get it like twice a year, but they are short lived which I am thankful for, but very hard to go through when it happens since it Literally feels like I am totally out of ideas like I am just done and that's it finito, end of my art cycle lol then the next week a Miracle! A ton of ideas that I can't paint fast enough


Posted by: Shana Rowe on 11/08/2013 - 9:46 PM

Same with me Leah, thankfully they are short lived. Still drives me crazy when it happens though.


Posted by: Robert James Hacunda on 11/08/2013 - 9:47 PM

I'm not at a loss for ideas I'm at a loss for energy, it's a lot of hard work to be a good paint, I'm not feeling well...btw Leah we'll be back in Santa Fe nov 29th.. and Shana we will be going to Maine this coming summer


Posted by: Leah Saulnier The Painting Maniac on 11/08/2013 - 9:48 PM

Great to hear Robert, haven't heard from you and Penny in a while I actually thought you both were still here


Posted by: Shana Rowe on 11/08/2013 - 9:50 PM

I know the feeling RJ. Sometimes its like I can't get out of my own way to do it. Like I said before I have lists of ideas, but sometimes I just can't get myself revved up enough to do any of them. It will pass then you will be on top of things again!!


Posted by: Robert James Hacunda on 11/08/2013 - 9:50 PM

we just came east to visit family for a month


Posted by: Shana Rowe on 11/08/2013 - 9:52 PM

I was just going to ask you about coming to Maine RJ. I look forward to it! There is a perfect spot I'd like to show you that would be great for some plein air work!


Posted by: Leah Saulnier The Painting Maniac on 11/08/2013 - 9:53 PM

Exactly Shana, and I have those lists also, just have to be in the mood for the certain ideas written down


Posted by: Shana Rowe on 11/08/2013 - 9:54 PM

Exactly! I have to have the right mood for an idea for it to come out right. And sometimes its just not there.


Posted by: Robert James Hacunda on 11/08/2013 - 9:59 PM

look forward to it Shana. Seems like unless I'm feeling well and doing a lot of physical exercise I get very down..I also miss the big sky and desert light.. We did a 17 mile trek through the grand canyon over three days this fall and although my body was pushed to the max my emotions were very alive and well..


Posted by: Melissa Bittinger on 11/08/2013 - 10:05 PM

For me, sometimes it's having an idea but not being sure how to execute it. The other huge thing that blocks sometimes for me and I suspect many others are life stresses, whether real or not can affect the creative process. For some this might spawn a new art piece (usually dark), but more usual than not, nothing will happen. I personally do better with a little zen and a calm routine and no outside demands, which hasn't happened often this year. This may sound completely hokey, but I think there is alot to be said about the power of positive thinking. I think the energy you put forth in the world is the energy you receive back from the world. Now, physical pain or no energy for you Robert, I wish I had a magic wand to wave for you, because I sure would. I do think if you (anyone experiencing this) can get zoned in on a project, it will help to take your mind off physical discomfort. If loss of energy is a specific issue, maybe instead of the larger beautiful works you create, you might consider downsizing the canvases for a series of miniatures with all the great feel of your larger works. These you could possibly do sitting in a comfy chair, and hone in new skills with itty bitty brushes. I'm talking small, like 3 x 3 up to 12 x 12. Hone in on a micro world. Well, it's just a suggestion. Unfortunately I don't know you well enough to know if it's viable for you :o)

Love this work.

Art Prints


Posted by: Shana Rowe on 11/08/2013 - 10:06 PM

Fresh air has a way of making you feel alive doesn't it? Winter is around the corner here, means it will be darker and colder making it hard to get out, and making things very depressing. There are a lot of beautiful, inspiring things about winter too, but its hard when you are stuck inside a lot.


Posted by: Shana Rowe on 11/08/2013 - 10:09 PM

I'm with you on that positive thinking train Melissa! It really does help. I have actually been reading up on the studies about how changing the way you think can transform your life and have come across some very interesting findings!!


Posted by: Robert James Hacunda on 11/08/2013 - 10:17 PM

Thank you Melissa, sitting down is something I only recently allowed myself to do while painting after injuring my back.. it's all better but now my neck and head are in pain and I think sitting might just take some of the psychological pressure off me.I've abused my body.. I have been doing small works this year with all the restrictions of travel but it is hard to get the impact the larger works seem to channel .. I see you're from Greensboro NC, we were just in your area a few weeks ago visiting Penny's dad in Carboro NC


Posted by: Melissa Bittinger on 11/08/2013 - 10:26 PM

Yes, not too far, just about an hour -ish away! What size are you considering small? Have you seen or tried a rodeo saddle stool or something similar? It's designed to keep your back straight.


Posted by: Robert James Hacunda on 11/08/2013 - 10:45 PM

5x7 to 11x14 ...


Posted by: Roger Swezey on 11/08/2013 - 10:49 PM


You are an Artist that MUST Create!!!.........Think of yourself that way..........Not just a Painter that must Paint....or a Writer that must write.

Tackle a medium your not comfortable with....and make it your own......Who knows where that will lead?.....It may very well ,lead you back with new confidence to your completely outstanding, truly,truly fine paintings.

Works of Art, I was fortunate to Live, Breathe, Feel, Smell and Taste,... Up Close and Personal!!


Posted by: Robert James Hacunda on 11/08/2013 - 10:56 PM

We were just talking about you Roger... Where are you my friend ? your contact does so inspire


Posted by: Melissa Bittinger on 11/08/2013 - 10:59 PM

I suggested the saddle stool, because I use one for my nail business and have for years. Also, it allows for leaning forward some at a non- stressing angle which should help with painting. Rolls around great too. At least mine does! There are a few different kinds and models with varying height adjustments. This could be away to still work on larger canvases, you could split the time up between sitting and standing maybe.

Have you ever tried any works even smaller?!


Posted by: Roger Swezey on 11/08/2013 - 11:43 PM


I'm back ,after 3 months on the road, selling my stuff, at my new abode, Washingtonville NY.......Away, I thought, from the threat of floods... Until I was told that the lazy creek, about 100 yards from my back door, has been known, at times, to be a raging river.

I've been keeping myself constantly busy, going up and down stairs, from the workshop in the basement to this computer in the kitchen.

If you had remained in Kingston, we would now have been neighbors......

Give my love to Penny


Posted by: Robert James Hacunda on 11/09/2013 - 12:10 AM

Melissa. I haven't painted much smaller, my vision is impaired and seeing close up is not correctable with a lens , I find even a 8x10 a bit of a challenge and frustrating, my hand is also not very steady from medications so I work with larger motions and motor skills.. I also see slightly double..


Posted by: Shana Rowe on 11/09/2013 - 6:33 AM

Here is the link to my blog post I mentioned, there are few ideas-

Have a good Saturday all, I'm off to my day job, I work at a hospital, and the whole hospital is moving today, good chance I won't be back on tonight because I anticipate a looooong day at work!!


Posted by: Isabella F Abbie Shores on 11/09/2013 - 6:58 AM

Yeh, I have 100 ideas but just no umph to get up and paint them. It comes back Robert


Posted by: Robert James Hacunda on 11/09/2013 - 8:06 AM

I have a flu bug for sure. woke up with intense headache


Posted by: Shana Rowe on 11/09/2013 - 6:59 PM

Ugh that stinks RJ, it's that time of year again!! Hope you get better soon!!!


This discussion is closed.