Friday, April 1, 2022

Creative Blocks - the March Survey Questions

The March survey asked you about creative blocks: how often you get them and whether you have rituals or practices that get you out of them. The majority of respondents (over 53%) reported experiencing creative blocks more than once per year. I am definitely in that group. Many reported having them about once a year, and less, and some (around 10%) reported never.

It was interesting to see the answers to the next question, in which respondents share their rituals or practices (if any) for getting out of a creative slump.

Here are the results of the survey.  See if you can find any correlation between the first question (how often you have creative blocks) and the second (what you do about them). 

Here are a few of the answers to the second question, though you can see all of them here

  • Schedule time that I MUST show up in my art studio, put on my apron. then set a timer. 
  • Like practicing piano scales, I work on color mixing… try to match paint chips from the store fast.  
  • I work in another discipline. I move back and forth between wring poetry and flash fiction to working in mixed media..sometimes textile figures. I open up my space to others and watch their joy creating. 
  • Take a break, take a walk
  • Clean up and organize the studio
  • A lot of you suggest doing SOMETHING, every day, or frequently, with no expectations.
  • Drawing with my non-dominant hand Reading books about my favorite artist's process Painting over old canvases so there's less risk

Here is a quote that some of you might relate to (I do): "I make paintings that I think are worthy of showing but they don't sell very often. That's when the meltdowns happen -- when I think why am I spending my precious time on something that isn't making any money?" This speaks to what can trigger a meltdown, and I totally get it. 

Many of you report that taking a workshop or exploring a new technique or new material, which entails putting yourself in the beginner's seat.

Seems like the key for many is to do something creative with low stakes. Doodle, make marks in a journal, try something new (where you can feel like a legitimate beginner), paint or print collage papers. Even cleaning the studio is a creative act. For others the key is taking a break, whether it's a walk in nature to get inspired, or a break from even thinking about art. 

I hope you find this helpful to either your art practice or your feeling of connection. Most of us have creative blocks and meltdowns at some point, and I find it comforting to know I am not alone in that. For me it is part of the process, albeit and unpleasant part. I'm among those who push through it by engaging in some kind of low-stakes creative activity - I show up in the studio and do something. Below I've embedded a Facebook post about my response to a recent meltdown, if you haven't seen it already.


THANKS for showing up to my blog. 

You can find April Survey Questions here, in which I ask you about workshop topics. Would love to hear what you want to learn.


  1. Just joined your website etc. I have been into abstract since COVID. I had some realistic painting lessons in the past as well as drawing charcoal and pastels. I was exposed to abstract in one class and then COVID hit. I have taken Louise Fletcher's and Nick Wilton's free courses. My goal is to simplify and keep growing. I have always loved your work. My goal is to do your exercises this month!

  2. I was quite amazed at an "assignment" a while back to create an ugly piece. Short of just dashing black paint everywhere, I found everything I did actually had something interesting, even intriguing, about it, and none really warranted the term ugly.


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