Unblocking Creative Block

I have had artist block at various times in my life/art career. The only way to unblock is to work through it. You cannot leap past it or ignore it. However, you might be able to work around it by exploring other materials and media.



In the process of working through it or around it you will make art you are unhappy with. The unblocking process can feel frustrating. Sometimes, you have no idea why you have a block, and you have to do the work of figuring it out and then the art work too.


I know why I am feeling blocked in my art process right now. I am grieving a death. I have spent February making work and digging through the discomfort and frustration of unblocking the creative flow. I have had the great support network of amazing woman artists to hold me accountable to my goals this past month. 


Here are some of my tips for Unblocking:


  1. Set an art making schedule that you will stick to. It might be a couple hours of uninterrupted studio time a week or a day.
  2. Plan that studio time- Exploring materials, techniques, and tools; or finishing old, or starting new work.
  3. Explore frustration- Take note of when you reach a frustration point with the work- where you want to get up and leave- then set a timer for 10 minutes. Keep working for 10 minutes then see how you feel. If you are still frustrated work on a different piece but keep making.
  4. Timed Work- set a timer for 45 minutes and work on an art piece only for that time. When the timer goes off- brushes down. How did you feel about the work? Do you want to keep working on it or is that timer a relief- permission to stop working?
  5. Upside down and backwards- If you are making work that you are not sure about set it aside upside down or view it in a mirror. Looking at work upside down or backwards is a great way to break your feelings of preciousness about the work.
  6. Journal it- At the end of the week journal. Did you stick to your art making schedule? Did you achieve your goal for the week? Are you feeling better or worse than last week about making art and what your art looks like?
  7. Repeat- Keep going for as long as it takes to unblock. It will feel like work until it doesn’t. 

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