Creative Challenge

landslide photo

Well a creative challenge is one phrase for last week, ‘complete road block’, might be another. There comes a time in every artist’s life when you question your everything. Your work; competency, subject matter, style, value, worth in both a monetary and emotional context, even your ‘raison d’être. Well it’s been one of those weeks for me.

Some call it ‘the dark night of the soul’ and keep digging, while others rush off to the doctor and get something to make the mental and emotional pain go away. Others check them selves into a psychiatric facility and still others hit their drug of choice. The Moon – Tarot card is symbolic of this journey.

the moon

When you hit this pit or mountain in your road, what will you do? Cry a lot, soul search, write, walk, pace the floor at night – I’ve done all of the above this week.  It seems that from time to time, in my experience, this is what the creative journey requires.  We have to stop and reassess. sometimes our core foundations have been undermined.  My big question word this week was all about Value.

landslide photo

 Something I learnt this week is that when you are working through a creative challenge of this magnitude,  it is impossible to gain clarity when your life is cluttered with your past perceptions.  Yes we are at this point today built on our past, however we can choose something different.  What is needed is perspective and distance.  It’s not all about putting brush to canvas or pen to paper.


Why am I telling you all this.  Because part of my conclusions this week are that I have to make more time somehow for my creative process.  Something has to go. Here are the decisions I made.  I am sharing with you so that if you  find yourself in this place one day, my experience and insights may help you in your journey.


  1. To cut back my blog posts to 1 day a week again and change the nature of the blog to some extent.  I am going to only post on Thursdays from now on and all posts will be about the creative journey of the artist – my self or others as information comes to hand.  I may miss some weeks – or not.  For 5 years now I have blogged every week and I thank those of you who are regular readers for coming to listen to my words. I trust there have been some insights for you along the way.
  2. I have totally cleared my studio of all works – wow what a different energy there is in there now – it’s literally a blank canvas, ready for when I am ready to begin again.
  3. I need to take some time out to really work through on an emotional and mental level, exactly where I’m going.  Meditate, breathe, walk, do artist dates and morning pages.  To help me with this I’m walking with Julia Cameron using her creative recovery books to help me.  She has so much insight – the mentor every artist needs, whether you are in a block or not.  I highly recommend her work.

Photo by Seattle Municipal Archives

Photo by Seattle Municipal Archives


Photo by Joelk75

Frosty glasses

Frosty glasses

Summer is here with a vengeance.  It was 45 C  here last week in the shade on my veranda and today’s looking like heading for the high thirties and maybe 40’s again.

Maybe I should take up water colours and paint in the shower LOL.  The question is – how does one continue to creatively produce in the face of uncooperative weather – lacking  air conditioning and other modern conveniences?  This is definitely a creative challenge for the best of us.

Well here are  some ideas

  • Head to the nearest shopping centre, and have an iced coffee while sitting in an air conditioned cafe and writing my next blog post.
  • Set up a fan next to my easel and throw on a wet shirt – you’d be surprised how cool this actually keeps you until the shirt dries out.
  • Head for the beach with sketching gear, beach tent, cossies (swimmers, togs or what ever you call them), and a thermos of iced tea. If you’re into figure work – the beach is an ideal place to find people who actually sit still, often for extended periods of time.  A perfect time to brush up on your life drawing and cool off  in the ocean in between.
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