7 Ways To Break Through Artist Block

Picture this-

It’s been a hectic work week. Now that it’s your last workday before your day off. You’ve been itching to sit down with your sketchbook or laptop to work on a creative idea you have had kicking around in your head all week. You’ve settled down with a drink, some music, you’ve turned your phone off, you are ready to get busy. You flip open a fresh page in your sketchbook or open up a blank document on your laptop, and nothing. You draw a complete blank.

No matter how much you try, nothing comes out. The idea you once dreamed of working on, has gone. Poof! Completely out of your head! What happened? Simple answer, artist block! Nothing kills creativity like a block. Whether you are an artist or a writer, you have dealt with that pesky block.

I’ve faced that block myself many times. Especially as an artist who has to manage my productive time around managing my business, creating new art, keeping house, cooking and raising kids.  Luckily, I have a few tasks in my vast toolbox I use to try to work through a block.

  1. Art journal. Just dump whatever is on your mind into a sketchbook or journal. Most times if I’m finding a particular block stubborn to break, I’ll scribble and just create general shapes, just to let my mind wander and keep my hand moving. Contour line drawings are great! Just stare at something straight ahead or close your eyes and just draw without lifting your hand from the page. It’s something I remember doing back in grade school as a warm up in art class. To this day I still use it from time to time to loosen my brain and blocks to get the creativity pumping again. And if you can only manage a stick figure (hey they can be art too!), just writing down any thought that comes to you helps a lot too!
  2. Walks. Fresh air. Yoga. Opening a window. If it’s nice outside, I’ll get me and the daughter out whether to the playground or just a walk to catch Pokemon (yes I have a bit of nerd in me). Moving just helps break up the stagnation that happens with blocks.
  3. http://www.duirwaigh.com One of my favorite sites to visit to just browse through the beautiful artwork. Their first mini inspirational video called Knock on the Door (you can find it here on YouTube ) merges beautiful images with music and it has released a lot of blocks in my day.
  4. Grounding. I just close my eyes, breath deep and send those blocks to the earth.
  5. Flip through my art books. Sometimes just slowly browsing through other art work helps get the creative juices flowing again.
  6. Watch a favorite movie or favorite show on Netflix. Netflix to me is an artist staple! I can watch my favorite movies or shows on my tablet or phone while sculpting or painting. And if a particular block is large, I’ll curl up on the couch and bing watch a whole season or movie series.
  7. Music. I will turn my favorite Pandora station on and just dance! Jump around the room or break out my best air guitar and jam away.

Those are just a few ways I work through blocks. What are some of your ways? I’d love to hear them, leave a comment below!

balance

Finding Balance Between Raising Family and Running an Art Business

Finding balance can be tricky. I’ve been called super woman at times when it comes to being a stay at home mom, raising a family and running an art business. I call it having a system and support team in place to help with the work/life balance. Without having those systems in place will break you and your business. And you don’t have to be running your own business to benefit from having systems in place.

 

One system I have in place is my planner. I find I need to plan everything or it just doesn’t get done. Or worse, forgotten! I don’t plan my day down to the last second. But I do plan out the major tasks that need to be addressed daily or appointments for the day. I also make sure I have enough pages for brain dumps or the various lists that I create, whether it’s to do lists, or project lists. For me, I needed to create my perfect planner. And it’s just as simple as a dot grid journal.

I usually have my phone on me at all times. And because I also work from my computer and tablet, it’s important that these sync as well. So important tasks and appointments are also on my tech. Because there are times if I’m outside with the kids, I just don’t want to carry my paper planner. That’s just not practical.

Another system I have in place is my support system. Without those who support me and are willing to help me out with either watching the kids while I work on a pressing order or give me a chance to slip away to work on something creative for my own sanity.

Most important is listening to my own system. If I’m tired or can’t focus because of one reason or another, I’m not going to be very productive when it comes to art. If I’m stressed, I know I need to let go before I can settle down to work. Without my systems in place, or if I slack off and skip setting up my planner for the week, it throws me and my day off balance.

What are some ways you balance the different areas of your life? I’d love to hear! Leave a comment below.

The Process Behind Creating One of My Goddesses

Every piece of art has a process. The same set of steps completed in the same order. With my statues, they all start out with the same number of strips of clay that forms their bodies. No matter who is being sculpted, male or female, they all start out with the same body shape. I extrude their arms with my clay extruder. No matter how many statues I’m working on, all their arms get cut at the same time and shaped the same way, one end gets pinched and shaped into a hand, then gently rolled narrow to thicker where the shoulders would be, this gives an overall hand, wrist, arm shape. Once the arms are shaped, before they are attached, I shape and flesh out the bodies. This is where they usually are made either male or female.

    

As I sculpt, I begin to get a good clear idea of what they are going to look like in my head. And if I need to sculpt additional embellishments like horns, buckets, vases, etc. These will be sculpted and pre-baked a bit before assembling it onto the actual sculpture.

    

If I am working on multiple pieces at the same time, I will quickly sketch my ideas down in a small notebook so I don’t forget what is going on. This is also the point where I work on any small details that I need, whether it’s adding a skirt, or texture. These sort of details are easier to apply without a pair of arms dangling in the way. That’s not to say that there aren’t times I just attach the arms because there really isn’t a clear direction yet. At that point, I just work around the arms.

                        Goddess in progress

As the details are added, the statue’s persona is fleshed out. I also decide what sort of extra elements I’m adding, whether sea shells, rhinestones or mica powders until it’s time to bake. After it’s baked and cooled, the extra details are added with paint. I use acrylic paint for this step and once it’s dried, I’ll seal it.

That is a quick over view of my process. It is much more involved though. A single piece can take well over 8 hours to sculpt alone.

What do you think? I’d love to hear your comments below!

 

 

divine art

Why Is Your Divine Art Faceless?

I get that question a lot. And I enjoy hearing the different theories as to why my statues are faceless. Some theories include my lack of ability to draw faces or eyes. But I often wonder if people really understand why they are in fact faceless. There is a reason behind that choice to leave them faceless.

Have you taken the time to really looked at the different spiritual pieces out there? I mean truly look at them?

How many versions of art pieces that are out there all have Jesus looking similar no matter who painted or sculpted them? Think about it. If you compare The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci to Christ Falling on the Way to Calvary by Raphael and even Pieta by Giovanni Bellini, they all have similar characteristics. How about Zeus? Or Odin? Aphrodite? Athena? The same thing. Each painting or sculpture is similar in characteristics to the next. Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way saying that it’s wrong. But it is one reason why my Divine art is faceless.

When you personally ask a group of 20 people the same question. How many of them give the same answer? 2? 5? 15? Chances are you will get 20 different answers. Especially if you ask a question that people have an opinion for. But that artwork has been around for thousands of years, you’ll tell me. Yeah I know. I get it. But do you really think a guy like Jesus sat still long enough for someone to draw his picture? I doubt Zeus or Odin dropped everything they were doing and posed while someone sculpted them. But there are stories! Yes. There are stories. Stories that have been told and retold and rewritten thousands and thousands of times. And each time the story was retold and rewritten, it was changed to make a better story (Paul Bunion and his blue ox comes to mind).

The point comes down to this. Everyone sees the Divine different. How I see a particular Divine being isn’t the same as the guy next to me or even the guy across the room. And this is why I am drawn to create my statues faceless. It leaves the connection you make to the Divine a purely personal one. I’m just honored to create the bridge for that connection.

I’d love to hear your thoughts! Leave a comment below!

What is a Spiritual Artist? A Definition

Hello, my name is Karen and I am a Spiritual Artist. Sounds like something you would hear in a support group meeting. But what exactly is a Spiritual Artist? Is there such a thing? The answer, depends on how you think about art and spirituality. If you Google spirituality, it’s defined as being a broad idea with a lot of different perspectives. In general, spirituality is a sense of connection to something higher than ourselves, whatever name you choose to call it.spiritual

As an artist, the greatest pleasure to me is when people connect deeply with my art. Art is often the result of inspiration. Inspiration can be spiritual in nature from conception to execution. When I create a sculpture or paint and sketch, the act of creation is meditative and therapeutic to me. It grounds me on many different levels.

So who is a Spiritual Artist? My definition is an artist who creates artwork that helps connect individuals to their Divine Spirit on a higher conscious level.  No matter the medium, I consider a piece spiritual in nature when it connects an individual with their own spirituality.

And that is what I strive for when I create my art. I want my art to bridge the physical and spiritual realms. I want to help spiritual artcreate a physical connection to the Divine.

What are you thoughts? I’d love to hear about them. Leave a comment below!

 

Mystic Sage Art Studio Tour- A peek into My Art Studio

On Instagram, I’m taking part in a Meet the Maker challenge created by Joanne Hawker, where we share behind the scenes peek into our world as we create. As an artist, we don’t typically let anyone into the creation process. I love this challenge because it allows our followers to experience our art first hand. And it just happens that the challenge aligns with my blog posts of late. Today I am bringing you on a studio tour of where the creativity happens.

When we were living with my parents, my studio was the corner of our very large bedroom. Okay, corner is an understatement. It was really half the closet, the corner, and one full wall with 2 cabinets and a shelf. Not to mention totes stored under the bed. It was definitely the space of a creative.

 

Primary work space

My current art studio is a bit different. I’ll be honest, A LOT different. When we first moved into our apartment I was really unsure of how I would fit all my passions into 1 little space that measured 5 foot by 4 1/2 foot. And that’s when I had to be creative with storage. My computer and business administration happens in one of 2 places. Either on my tablet on the dining room table so I can work here and there while playing with my daughter. Or on my desktop which is housed in a cabinet wardrobe that used to be my son’s closet. Most of the art making happens in the closet with storage from floor to ceiling that I had converted into my art studio. The larger pieces happen on my pretty H frame easel or on my table top easel.

Computer Wardrobe

I never used to be 100% organized. It’s actually something that I have to work at on a daily basis. But I am finding that it is actually easier for me at least, in a smaller space and everything in it’s rightful place. I’m a huge fans of labeled drawers and bins. How many times have you heard that organization is key to success? Or someone say that they have a system? I can tell you from experience. Organization in small spaces is a must! Especially when you are an artist with a small art studio.

         

It is not by far perfect.  But as art goes, it’s ever evolving and changing. I’ll tweak as I continue to grow as an artist.

I’m a sucker for creative organizational solutions for my studio. Do you have a creative organization tip for me? I’d love to hear it! Leave a comment below!

 

3 Steps to Combat Your Artist Self Doubt and Perfection Monster

Facing the Perfection Monster? Worse yet, the artist self doubt? Who hasn’t faced those at one point or another. I’ve been struggling a bit on the idea of blogging as an artist. Heck, with blogging in general. When I sit down to plan topics and articles, my mind completely blanks. I personally think it is because of my need for perfection. I struggle with perfection a lot. Even as an artist, I struggle with perfection and self criticism. Especially in areas that I’m not comfortable in, like blogging or finances. I am human after all. And my own artist self doubt is my worse enemy.

But I’m learning that if you strive for perfection, you will never put anything out there and always be faced with self doubt. Especially as an introvert. I constantly am under the idea that everything needs to be perfect if I am to be liked. Or that my artwork needs to be perfectly like someone else’s in order for it to be considered art. Even good enough to be art. See? Self doubt and the perfection monster go hand in hand. They tag team quite frequently.

Perfection is a state of mind. A personal one for that matter. But what happens when you are face to face with self doubt as an artist and the perfection monster in a duel to the end? Who wins? Who walks away?

I have some tips to combat that perfection monster and self doubt as an artist. They may not be perfect nor will they be for everyone. That’s your choice.

  1. When faced with the decision if something is done or not. Walk away. Let it marinate a few days and then come back to it. You may find that the additions you were thinking about adding are no longer relevant nor feel right. If you still feel it needs that one detail, add it and then be done.
  2.  Share your work! If you are unsure or looking for perfection. Show it. Post it on Facebook or on Instagram. Get it out there. Chances are that you may think it needs more, but everyone else thinks it’s perfect as is. Go with it!
  3.  Set it aside for a while. If you still have a feeling in the pit of your stomach that it just isn’t right. Set it aside. Just put it away and don’t think about it. Do something else! I guarantee when you stumble upon it again after a while, you will see it with new eyes. You may find that it’s been perfect all along.

There you have it. This is what I do when I am face to face with the Perfection Monster in a duel to the end. The big thing to remember is, perfection is a state of mind. What may be perfect to one, may not be to another.

 

I’d like to know how you deal with self doubt and the Perfection Monster. Leave your tips in the comments!

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Welcome to our experience, my journey

First off, welcome to our new home on the web! As you may or may not be aware, there has been a lot of changes happening behind the scenes. Name change here, name change there, switch here switch there. All in hopes to grow Mystic Sage, not just as a store, but as an experience!

An experience! Wow. That just makes us sound like a vacation or something. But you know, when anyone places a custom order with a crafter or an artist, it is an experience. I like to call the experience I offer my clients a journey. A journey to bring the vision they have of their Divine Spirit into the physical realm. With a touch of whimsy of course! Each piece created is a unique, vibrant expression of love and an individual personal vision.

Just as with my art and the journey taken to create a piece, getting to this point has been a journey. A journey of self discovery and growth. There was a disconnect for a while. Loss of connection with myself and who I was as a person and artist. Because of that disconnect, I pushed everything aside and walked away. Just as with my art, when something doesn’t work, I walk away and let it marinate for a while, especially when I’m not feeling it.

First go at a feathered cloak
Feather cloak first sculpt
Feather cloak take 2
Second attempt at feather cloak after a few weeks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And just as with my art, I wasn’t feeling Mystic Sage. It felt like a piece was missing. That it didn’t feel true to me and my art. This was more than just a shop. It was about the experience people had when viewing my art. It was about the art itself. And just like with  my art, when the time is right, the desire to return is strong. And I step forward once again to embrace myself, my art, and everything that is Mystic Sage Art.