How to overcome creative blocks?





The fear of the blank canvas, or page, is a well known one. That fear that attacks many who stand in front of a brand-new white canvas.

I don’t suffer from this. I enjoy going wild with a line or a stain on that new white surface.

But then I get stuck!


It's this kind of a foretold process, normally has 6 stages:

1. It's gonna be awesome! That is the excitement stage of pre-painting, when one gets to the studio (or wherever it’s gonna be), stands in front of the canvas (or whatever it's gonna be) while all paints and brushes are ready to go, and is full of joy before the creation begins.

2. This is tricky. After a few lines or stains one gets it that the elements should talk to each other and somehow, it is not that simple…

3. It sucks!! Every try to make something right only makes it worse and it seems it is going downhill.

4. This is not for me. And indeed, nothing goes in the right direction. It looks awful and one "understands" it is not for him/her. After all, it is not meant for everybody.

Now, if you give in at that point – too bad, cause that’s where it gets interesting. If you insist on that artwork (and on the process as a whole) you will get to the fifth stage:

5. It might be all right. This is the stage in which, all of a sudden, there is a light (it can be out of a dark mark as well). Suddenly there is a connection to something there. It could have been a line that was missing, a stain that made the composition right… We don’t always know exactly what it was, but it happened. And we go on and then –

6. It is awesome! We love the outcome. All of a sudden, we are happy. That is a good time to take a break 😊


It is important to know those stages, to get friendly with them. To accept them with love and understanding. You can not only get the good. It simply doesn’t work that way.

But if you insist and reach those next levels – it is addictive!!


And there is also a different situation, known as stagnation. It occurs at those times when one likes what he/she made, although it is not done yet. That situation might be even worse than the other.

I have quite a few canvases in my studio at this stage of waiting. What I do in these situations is allow them to be. I see them, sometimes I hang them on my studio's wall and wait. Just live with them for a while. Sometimes, I understand they are actually done, and other times I keep on working on them or even use them as a "starter" for a brand-new thing.


As I said: painting is a process. Sometimes it appears also at the creation of a single painting.


* In the picture: Rescue cards I use in my studio in those blocked moments.