Monday, May 22, 2006

Artists Block.

Here we go again. I've been looking at so much art recently, I think I have been suffering from art overload. I haven't been able to do a great deal in the way of painting because I get to a stage where my imagination seems to let me down. It's either my imagination letting me down or my motivation, I'm not sure which.

I don't know how others cope with this condition, but I tend to just go over my old work and try to re-ignite a spark of inspiration. I don't ever recall reading whether any of the old masters had artistic blocks. I wonder if it's a modern condition caused by being exposed to so much art.

It must have been a wonderful experience for the early artists of 40,000 years ago. Whatever they created would have been totally new and not seen before. They would have been true creators, creating images and symbols for the very first time ever without having absolutely no terms of reference except for that which they were able to hold in their visual memory. Back then, only very small advances in artistic technique were made. 10, 20, 30,000 years and the only advance may have been from making irregular lines on a damp cave wall with the finger tips, to, drawing an animal outline with some charcoal. Fascinating.

An exciting colour combination or style of drawing or painting can be seen on the internet today, and tomorrow thousands of idea hungry artists all over the world are copying and modifying that idea to introduce into their own work. I think this is why it is so difficult to be original today, we are exposed to so much and virtually everything has been done before.

That's my theory anyway. For now, that is. It'll be something else tomorrow. I guess I'll just have to make do with not being totally original every time.


  1. Art block ! We all get it, the reason being tired or not going out enough from the studio. Try a couple of days or more without painting, go and view a couple of exhibitions and I bet you anything that it will come back with a vengeance !!!
    As for the great many artists out there taking ideas from others...... yes it happens too often.
    I have discovered that the composition of one of my paintings had been used, almost same size, different bottle, different flower, different direction, almost the same title. What is very annoying is that I have discored it on the website of an artist that I most admired, till now....
    But not all has been said, your art is so very distinct, keep going I want to see more of it !

  2. Yes, I second that remark about your distinct art. You do not have to worry about your art being very original; indeed, it is. Others will probably be envying you that originality.

    As for copying others' works (as beatric mentions)--it is disgusting that anyone would get satisfaction from straight copying unless it is to learn a technique that they then apply to their own work. I always work from my own photos or I go out and paint what I see. I prefer the latter.

    I get a block when I think my work just stinks. Or is repetitive. Or is just dreary. But I keep painting and, lo, and behold, things change, sometimes for the better!

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  4. I agree with everyone,well I think for that reason I dont like to post too much hehehehe,is my first time to post online and yes you rigth about it :).
    And yes is fascinating see the art from the old masters :) they are totally my inspiration for push me more myself to find original ideas :).John your art is distinct too keep going!!!

  5. Virtually impossible to do anything that hasn't been done before. I personally think too much importance is put on doing something new, but I'm a Luddite at heart. Everything will be a bit different though, it's the nuances that make it all interesting. But your stuff is very original looking, there must be something out there similar but I haven't seen it. As for the blockage, well, sometimes a percieved problem can be just that, all in the head. A break, a change of subject or medium...Of course, encouragement is a great help, and you seem to be getting some; here's a bit more...paint some more of that nice stuff...

  6. Well, thank you beatrice, joyce, virginiajoe and clive. Than you so much for your positive thoughts and encouragement. I've been here so many times before, you'd think I'd be used to it by now. I was thinking about things again today and the thought struck me, how would I recognise something so new that I hadn't seen before?

    Clive was right with the little nuances making the difference.

    I got a bike a while back, and now that the weather is improving here in the UK, I'm going to get out and about a bit and try to blow away the cobwebs.

    Once again thanks all. Your thoughts are much appreciated.

  7. Let us know what happen next

  8. Your "title" illustration is sooooo beautiful! I love your colors.


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