Martha's Blog


I'm working on a show right now and find that sometimes I get stuck, and that is not a comfortable feeling when you have a show deadline ahead.  So I started thinking about methods I use for getting "unstuck".

I always work on multiple pieces at once, so sometimes leaving the piece aside that I am stuck on and working on others can give me a new perspective when I return.


Making a bold move on a piece can open it up and get it moving again.  I often do this when I have been trying to "save" a part of a painting by working around that precious spot.  Frequently trying to save a spot while changing areas around it causes the painting to no longer feel coherent.  It's difficult, but if you can make a bold move, even at the risk of destroying the part you are trying to save, it can get a piece moving again.  Once I painted a large red swatch right aross the center of the piece, covering over the part I was gingerly painting around, but improving the piece a hundred fold, and getting me further along in resolving it.


Conversely, another approach when I have no idea where to go on a painting is to do SOMETHING, ANYTHING, even a small thing.  This can work when you have a piece at a point where it needs work but you have no idea which way to go with it.  Getting "unstuck" is the goal here and baby steps work as well as the big bold move at times.

If all else fails sometimes it is best to take a break, leave the studio, go for a walk, read a book, or whatever it is that will take you mentally away from your studio.  Sometimes getting completely away from the piece and thinking about something else, or enjoyng another activity is just what you need to get you back on track.


Remember though that the answer comes from DOING, so if you take a break don't make it too long, although sometimes a few days or even a few weeks can be needed.  The most important thing when resolving a piece of your art is to show up, be present and keep at it!

What do you do when you are stuck?