Unearthing creative possibilities: Trish Roque's website, personal blog, & portfolio

Posts Tagged ‘creativity’

How the creative person can overcome those days of doubt.

Tree portrait - Im learning to expand beyond my trusty ball point pen and am practicing drawing with carbon pencil. Trees are tough but with enough practice, I hope to understand the essence of trees.

I'm learning to expand beyond my trusty ball point pen and am practicing drawing with carbon pencil. Trees are tough but with enough practice, I hope to understand the essence of trees. Whether or not this tree succeeds is not the question - I'm just drawing and if it takes me 10,000 drawings of trees to get it right - then 10,000 drawings of trees it shall be!

I’m a member of Danny Gregory‘s Everyday Matters Yahoo Group and recently, Louise, one of the members posted an email regarding doubt. More specifically, she asked how members of the group overcome those days when the creativity doesn’t seem to flow and the insecurity is at an all time high.

How does one continue to promote one’s art without the self-consciousness and the fear of being labeled pretentious?

I am very familiar with these feelings so I shared with her some of the ways that I get through those days.

Being confident isn’t everything but it helps.

Having confidence is certainly key to a creative person’s success – whether it’s believing that you’ll eventually be able to paint the way you want to or be able to make a good living from your own creative work. After all, if you don’t believe in yourself, why should others?

Having written that, I also believe that it’s not as essential as some other traits. Because like the ability to draw and paint, I believe confidence can be acquired and strengthened with practice. It’s like a muscle – without the daily exercise, the daily practice, the daily doing – your confidence muscle can atrophy.

So, how to overcome the insecurities and gain confidence?

Being unafraid to fail is more important than confidence.

Drawings and doodles. One of my creative goals is to be able to illustrate the ideas I have floating around in my head so Ive taken to doodling in my journal to find my style. I dont know if I suck or am perceived as pretentious but it ultimately doesn't matter. I am in the process of finding my own style.  The Locks of Love illustration is an idea for an upcoming charity event. I shall post more when I get more details.

One of my creative goals is to be able to illustrate the ideas I have floating around in my head so I've taken to doodling in my journal to find my style. I don't know if I suck or am perceived as pretentious but it ultimately doesn't matter. I am sharing my process of finding my own style. For instance, The Locks of Love illustration is an idea for an upcoming charity event, and the devil-child & cat was Halloween inspiration.

Gain more confidence by doing, painting, drawing, getting yourself out there, participating in conversations, blogging about it, then failing, then learning, and keeping on going.

Learn not to be afraid to make the mistakes. And if there is fear, acknowledge the fear but don’t let your actions be controlled by it. That is at the heart of confidence.

Here are a couple of quotes that I absolutely love and keep close to my heart:

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.

~Ambrose Redmoon

And my all-time favorite Thomas Edison quote:

I have not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.

~Thomas Edison

Ack! But what if I suck? What if my work is seen as pretentious?

Recent mark-makings in my sketchbook.

Recent mark-makings in my sketchbook & playing with color.

Yes, I’ve heard those words in my own head many times. Here’s my take on it:

So what if I suck? Yes, I am going to suck, I am going to fail, I am going to make mistakes. See the above paragraph on how to overcome the suckiness and failures.

But eventually, I will figure it out by continuing to draw and create and practice. In the drawing and creating and practicing, my work might come off as pretentious, but that is all a part of figuring out who I am as an artist. The same thing applies to you.

And on the subject of pretentiousness – I think that comes through when a person isn’t being authentically themselves, pretending to be someone they are not. But that is a judgment call and is so subjective.  You can’t control what others think about you anyway so go ahead and just be yourself and have fun doing it!

Maybe you just need a break from the creativity.

So when the doubts hit, and the anxiety, stress and worries start to kick in, maybe you just need to go for a nice long walk. Just like with physical exercise and rest, your creativity muscles also need to relax.

For me, the external world can sometimes get so loud that I can’t hear myself think, let alone be creative. Those are the days when I shut off my computer, I throw the dogs in the car, and take a nice long hike up in the hills. I will come back feeling rejuvenated, and more ready to face that blank piece of paper or canvas.

What have you done that’s worked for you?

Other members of the EDM group suggested switching from one’s media of choice to another that one doesn’t always work with. And others suggested just doodling and making marks in one’s sketchbook (another one of my personal favorites).

What do you do to overcome doubt?

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Creative block? Call a friend!

One item I neglected to put on my list of ways to overcome a creative block is to call a good friend.  I did just that last night. I have known my good friend Theresa since college and she is one of the most clear-minded people I know. We gabbed for over two hours about creativity, meditation, structuring our days to best meet our own unique needs, and how important it is to be compassionate and kind towards ourselves.

One of our discussions involved the need to shut the computer off after a certain hour. Personally, I get too easily sucked in to this machine to the point where hours will go by and I would not notice the time. Part of this of course has to do with my love for web, design, and technology. When I’m in the middle of a project, I am in essence problem-solving, and I cannot shut off (literally and metaphorically) until the problem is solved.

Theresa helped me to see that this tendency of mine to not shut off leads me to a hyperactive mind, which usually lasts til the wee hours of the night, and has often caused sleeplessness. Shutting off the computer after a certain hour (& not turning it back on!) is part of the solution.

It was wonderful to catch up with her, and after we said our good-nights (it was past midnight on the east coast where she lives), I found myself heading towards the computer.  I checked my Facebook account, some emails, and did the deed.

Then I found myself in the studio looking at some of the projects I started. I picked up a few items, started to play with them and before I knew it, I found myself moving things around, making marks, and just playing.  When I next looked at the clock, it was 2 AM.

Here’s the work in progress that caused the hours to fly by so quickly:

3D collage work in progress

3D collage work in progress

Detail of 3D collage work in progress

Detail of 3D collage work in progress

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A creative block on the creative path.

Arghh!! I’m in the midst of it right now and one can make the argument that I’ve been on it for a while.  I am of course, referring to the non-digital/non-computer creative activities of making marks on paper/canvas/objects. I’ve started several works on canvas and gessoed board in the hopes of getting myself out of this rut.

The good news is that the studio is a mess with the attempts that I have made.  I make note of this only because the studio was inactive for the the last several years while I focused on my foray into the digital world.  So, any mess is a good mess.

While I have thoroughly enjoyed myself (& continue to) with web development and design, there is still a part of me that continues to tug at the core. It says to me, no, screams at me that I have to work again with my hands, that I need to physically make objects, create tangible, 3-dimensional things that one can hold and pass on to friends, family, and whomever happens upon these pieces.

So, the question remains: what am I doing to get out of this rut?

  • I am making a mess in the studio – attempting anything to feel the spark again
  • I have started Zazen practice (also something I haven’t done in a very long time – almost a decade. I feel another topic coming on.)
  • I have made marks in my journal – random doodles, void of criticism (or at least, I try not to criticize)
  • I have also written quite a bit in my journal – random thoughts and streams of consciousness just to empty out the clutter in my head.
  • I have tried to stay away from the computer, but you see how well that’s working (geez…) The computer has this tendency to SUCK me in.

The process feels incredibly slow right now, and the impatient part of me just wants to smack me around, while yelling: Snap out of it! But I know THAT won’t help.

So, if you have any ideas, I’d love to hear what you’ve done or are doing…

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