How To Manage The Creative Process and Frustration

So you want to be an artist? You are perhaps partway down the path, a little or a long way into the journey. However, something that keeps cropping up for you is a road block that tends

Sometimes the road has unexpected obstructions.

to drive you crazy. These stumbles cause us to feel frustrated, which ends up being either directed at the object itself, ( the painting), yourself, your tools or perhaps it’s your partners fault because they forgot to get the milk that morning and your coffee doesn’t taste right.

As creatives, we love that feeling of being in the flow. Everything is going smoothly, the piece is progressing as we want and we are on a creative high. That’s how it should be all the time, but doesn't always happen, right?


Does it seem that you are more often in the struggle mode, than the flow mode? Let’s take a look at what might be causing the hiccup in our flow.

# Often it can be a sheer lack of skill. We just haven’t reached the level of mastery yet, in our craft, that is required for the next step to be taken.

# Another cause of stumbles, can be using the wrong tools. I don’t subscribe to that old saying about a poor workman blaming his tools. We all know that there is a right tool for the right job! And if you don’t have it, guess what, your job has just become twice as difficult.

# Then of course there is ourselves, which can be broken down into two categories, the body and your mindset.

Let’s Take The Body First

When you are painting, there is a best practice for how you work. Are you more comfortable sitting or standing? Even down to how you’re holding your brush or pencil. Some things cause stress on the body and others don’t. Cherish your body and make it comfortable. Don’t unnecessarily stress it. It will serve you for much longer. The question is, do you know these best practices as they relate to you?


Then There Is Mindset


Mindset is arguably the most difficult thing to conquer. Its easy to change a brush or adjust the height of your easel. It’s not so easy to control the harping of your mind, which in this case is especially good at bringing frustration to you. However once you accept that being in a space where you can choose frustration or mindfulness, that you have a choice, then it is easier to deal with the frustration.

Arriving at a place, where frustration can be our go to option is part of the creative process. Therefore what we need to do is recognise that we are in this space and STOP! Once you’ve stopped, you now have an opportunity to make a better choice about how you can go forward. You can certainly choose frustration if you enjoy it, however I find working from that place is usually pretty counter productive.

It may simply be that you need to take a break. Time out - put yourself in a totally different physical and head space for at least 10 minutes. Have a coffee or a green drink. I like to have a tea and read a book for fifteen minutes. I find a novel, something totally left field to painting puts me in a different workd for a short space of time. Whatever floats your boat. Then when you come back to the work, you’ve done two things. You have given your subconscious a chance to process and come up with new solutions and you can now look at the work with a fresh eye when you return to it.


NEXT WEEK: Look out for What to read this August!


Roadblock Photo by pasa47

Mind Photo by johnhain (Pixabay)

© 2018 Kadira Jennings​