In my various readings on the interwebs this week, I’ve found two recurring, related themes. The first: people have been asking about how to get over artist’s block. And second, when we try too hard, the end result is stale.
I’ve said it before: bless you if you have read all the way from the beginning of this blog. If you wandered this way with me, you would see that I started the blog smack in the middle of a block.
I didn’t say it.
In fact, I didn’t even know it (or at least, acknowledge it).
And, I can only see it now for what it was. But it was there. Big, dense, quiet, and a little panicky. I avoided art-making, even though I felt (often urgently) as though I needed to draw, or paint. And I did do the work, as much as I could force myself to.
I started this blog as part of that forcing. If I had to make a post, then I had to make something in a sketchbook or somewhere, to have something to talk about. The results, however, seemed lackluster and purposeless. And, I felt a lot of stress because of it, striving harder and harder to find a direction and meaning.
About a year ago, I discovered Zentangle. Suddenly, the making of art was effortless, and the results made sense. The key was that Zentangle helped me stop trying so hard. Zentangle breaks the complex down into very small and simple pieces (strokes of a pen), and yet the results are incredibly personal and beautiful.
I haven’t stopped my practice for longer than a day or two in that year, and I plan not to stop. In learning to create in the moment, a new sort of flow emerged. The block, so firmly entrenched and in place, was worn away. Rather quickly, in fact. And other elements of life began to flow along with my re-emerged art-self. I stopped expecting something with Great Artistic Meaning to be pushed into place. Instead, I just let things happen.
The diva challenge this week is to make a duo-tangle (use only two tangles) using cirquital and opus. Interesting that both tiles look so different, but come from the same hand and pen. That is another element of not forcing something to happen… you get to see the many sides of yourself (think kaleidoscope) as you go with the flow.