Artist’s Block

     I read a lot of blogs. I call it my art education-watching , reading, seeing what others are up to and sometimes just being nosy.  And I see a common thread in those artists who have just completed a big event: applying for Quilt National, applying for other important exhibits/competitions or having a solo exhibition. And there is a common event after the big event in that they are just not “doing” the work and have a hard time getting back to the studio for their normal routine. Some are panicked by this, some are depressed, and some are just bothered by this.

     In the world without blogs, facebook and the internet this time period would have gone unnoticed by all -except the artist. I felt a little out of sorts after Artprize so could relate to their feelings. But part of me says-well isn’t this time period normal? Doesn’t the brain need time to re-coup ? The adrenaline high is gone and life returns to a sometimes boringly normal day.  Or just  a day making art which is sometimes hard and lots work and sometimes amazingly fun?

      Me thinks- in my infancy of an artist’s career, that this is just part of it. The time after is normal…to get ready for the next time. And that there is nothing wrong with it.  Just do work-any work and start simple.  I am not minimizing what they are feeling, but instead am wondering if this is your body’s healthy way of responding to all that adrenaline. Slowing down. Settling down and then moving on.

     What do you think? Do you have a crash after a big event? Or do you think it’s an normal response to a busy time?




7 thoughts on “Artist’s Block

  1. mad elena

    You’re right on all counts.
    When we’re no longer on a timeline, when we’re no longer so very focused on achieving an end, life just moves more slowly. We need that post-event time to address all those things we’ve shoved aside, to reconnect, to rest and recover, and to re-establish a sensible routine.
    Remember those school days when you’ve power-wrote a term paper or crammed for an exam? Afterwards, we opened the relief valve. We just no longer celebrate with such joyous abandon. But maybe we should if it shortens that blasé period.

  2. Colleen Kole

    Terri- nice to know what you need! You always keep going and keep a steady pace up.

    Ellen- The timeline is much better for me. I like the comparison to writing a term paper or taking an exam as it is the same feeling of relief.

  3. Nellie's Needles

    I’ve not thought to put that “down period” of time after a BIG project into words. You’ve done so beautifully. I’m glad that fear of never living up to or topping a success during one of those times no longer happens.

  4. Patty Ashworth

    Mmmm? After a big project, there is the clearing up of the table and trying to put things away and they don’t go back anywheres. I usually take a short break and my mind starts to go into the next few things that have to be done. And there are several lists around here that need to be added and subtracted to. Putting your feet up and getting your energy back is not a bad thing. I don’t think it’s done enough anymore. I think you are more creative then. You need to build up the ideas and how to’s, again and again. Whether it’s a cup of tea, a walk, or a glass of wine, take the break and breath.

  5. MulticoloredPieces

    I see my two pals, Nellie and Patty (I see them when I visit Knoxville, TN) have weighed in here so I’ll toss in my 2 cents worth. I think you said it well about the slump. For me, it comes after just finishing a big piece. I don’t get blocked, I just need to clean up, put in order, finish off mundane tasks, etc. for two or three days. Oh yeah, I do mosaics every day as meditation (plant containers mostly). Maybe for half an hour. Always refreshing.
    best, nadia


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