Artist’s Block

I think the pressures of life have such a HUGE impact on your creativity and your creative practice and it’s been no secret that I’ve recently suffered from artists’ block.

For those that don’t know, artists block is HORRIBLE. It creeps up on you out of nowhere (for me, it’s when my head feels a little busy!), and it’s the most frustrating thing.

It’s dark, exasperating and annoying. Everything you create seems to be rubbish; all the marks seem completely wrong and quite frankly, ugly.

Colours come across as crude, bright, and for me, so obvious and literal.

I love mixing colours, and even this is a challenge when you’ve got an artist’s block. It’s like an inner rage that just creeps up on you and makes you want to throw a hissy fit at the canvas!

And then suddenly out of nowhere you’ll create something that you think is ok. And then you’ll carry on working on it, and then BAM, you’ve ruined it and the block that you thought had disappeared, returns, with force!

And this can go on for months…..

SO I’m no expert but I thought I’d share a few of the things that usually help me shift this horrible block.

Getting OUT of the studio. Usually a block is because I’ve got a lack of inspiration. Hopefully as things start opening up again, we can now go away, arrange trips to galleries, get out and about and get that inspiration flowing again.


A studio tidy up. My studio gets SO messy when I’m creating. However, when the block isn’t shifting, I like to shake things up and give the studio a big clean. I have been tempted to re-paint the walls but it’s such a big job that I’ve been putting it off, but it probably would help.

Ordering new materials. This is something I like to do at the start of every new body of work. I like to order new materials just to shift my mind-set slightly, to experiment with new surfaces and maybe new paints. I don’t spend a fortune; just one or two new things can sometimes help mix things up.

Paint to Music. This is just something that encourages me to stop thinking, and to just PLAY. And once you’ve taken away the pressure to paint seriously, painting to music and just painting for the fun of it can really push boundaries and you’d be surprised what can happen. I also like to add a little bit of dancing in there now and then, (because quite frankly why not?!


And finally, the one that works for me every time – Painting on canvas roll.

When the block comes knocking, I always order or get out my huge primed (or sometimes unprimed) canvas roll, usually about 1.4m wide, by a few metres or so.

I then cut out random canvas sizes, from HUGE to super tiny, in all sorts of shapes and scales. I then pin it to the studio wall and just paint. There is something so fantastic about it just being a cut out piece of canvas, No pressure, no stress. There is almost no end to the painting and the fact that the canvas isn’t stretched is so liberating. When a canvas is in front of you, a specific size, suddenly there’s pressure. But this way, it feels like sketchbook pages, but with even less pressure because they’re not all tied together. You can create what you want, and just enjoy it.


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