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Overcoming Creative Block and Self-Doubt

As artists, we all embark on a unique journey fueled by diverse motivations, backgrounds, and life circumstances. However, our shared goal is to create remarkable art, leaving a lasting mark on the world. Whether we seek to produce magical artwork or embark on a journey of self-discovery through our projects, one thing is certain: our path is paved with challenges.

In the face of external obstacles and internal doubts, we have the power to control our beliefs, reactions, and emotions. We can choose to take action even when circumstances are less than ideal. Instead of making excuses or placing blame, we can rise to the occasion and work through even the toughest days.

Serenity Now!


One of the most memorable moments from the iconic Seinfeld series is the "Serenity Now!" episode, featuring the quirky character Kramer. In this hilarious segment, Kramer adopts the "Serenity Now!" positive affirmation as his go-to mantra, employing it whenever he finds himself facing life's numerous challenges. This comedic skit cleverly lampoons the idea that one can choose to confront any unfavorable situation with an upbeat phrase.



Imagine this: Your car unexpectedly breaks down on the way to work, and to make matters worse, it's pouring rain. In a Seinfeld-esque moment, you channel your inner Kramer and exclaim, "Oh my, how lucky I am!" You're now blessed with some unexpected free time, an opportunity for self-reflection, and a reason to embrace the unpredictability of life with a smile. This humorous take on positivity reminds us that even in the most trying circumstances, we can choose to find a silver lining and approach life's challenges with a playful, "Serenity Now!" attitude.

OMG that's an ugly shirt!


In the realm of psychology, it's fascinating to explore how our brains function, often with a tendency to hyper-focus on the negative, treating it as a potential threat. This innate survival mechanism has helped our species navigate dangers throughout evolution. However, in our modern lives, this bias can sometimes lead us to overlook the positives and magnify the negatives. The good news is that, with practice and a mindful approach, we can override this natural inclination.

Let's consider a scenario: You confidently wear a brand new shirt to work, and the first nine people you encounter shower you with compliments, praising your snazzy choice. It feels like a day filled with positivity until, just as you're about to leave, that one person sees your shirt and exclaims, "Oh my gad, that is the absolute ugliest shirt ever!" In many cases, this single negative comment might become the centerpiece of your thoughts, overshadowing the nine previous compliments.




But, what if we could choose to acknowledge that one negative comment without letting it define our experience? This is where the power of choice comes into play. It's a conscious decision to remember that we have control over how we react and what we focus on in life. The practice of recognizing this choice is a significant step towards embracing a more positive outlook and a healthier mindset. In the face of negativity, we can learn to balance our perspective and not let one unfavorable comment overshadow the many positive ones.



Simply show up on those really hard days...


As an artist, I often grapple with those inevitable days when my motivation seems to have taken a vacation, and the weight of fatigue or stress bears down on me. It's during these moments that the siren call of excuses becomes incredibly tempting. I find myself busying with what I consider "productive tasks," even though they may not be urgent or essential at that moment.

In those instances, I stand at a crossroads. I can choose to indulge in writing long journal entries that catalog my struggles, dwell on perceived problems, and cultivate a narrative that the world conspires against my creative pursuits. I can get lost in this self-imposed limbo of excuses and avoidance, spiraling into a mindset where my belief systems color my reality. These thoughts and reactions can occur almost automatically, like being on "autopilot," making it challenging to recognize, let alone gain clarity on, my own issues and challenges.




In the face of these moments, I remind myself of a fundamental truth: I have the power of choice. I can opt for a different path, one that entails confronting the blockages head-on, even when motivation is elusive. I can choose to take action, acknowledge the hurdles, and push forward. It's in making this choice that I regain control over my creative journey, transforming obstacles into stepping stones to artistic growth.


At times, I catch myself spending an entire hour in the elaborate setup phase before I even dip my brush in paint. I meticulously arrange the perfect playlist, ensure I have uninterrupted free time, and deliberate over which painting to tackle – whether it's continuing with an existing piece or embarking on something entirely new.




Then, the moment of truth arrives. I take a deep breath, envisioning myself as that artist living the dream. But, all of a sudden, I freeze. Doubt creeps in, and I start second-guessing my choice. Maybe I should redirect my attention to organizing my art inventory or consider varnishing finished pieces, tasks that have been lingering on my to-do list. These moments of hesitation can feel like quicksand, pulling me away from the creative flow I so eagerly anticipated.

Don't Flinch!


Often, I find myself caught in a loop of hesitation and analysis paralysis, akin to a dog chasing its own tail. It's a frustrating state of being where I might convince myself that I'm working diligently and juggling a substantial workload. However, when I step back and assess the situation honestly, I see that I've been merely engrossed in busywork or preparing to work without actually moving forward - a classic case of "punt is junk." This can lead to a cycle of guilt, demotivation, and a profound sense of unproductivity, effectively sucking the joy out of my creative process.




Over time, I've come to realize that the simplest and most effective antidote to this situation is to take action. While I may believe that meticulously mapping out my problems is a form of productivity, in reality, this behavior tends to hold me back. The silver lining is that I can pivot my mindset with a single deep breath and a healthy dose of self-awareness. By revisiting the core motivations driving my artistry and embracing the power of patience, I can escape the clutches of analysis paralysis and regain the joy in my creative journey.

Eye of the Tiger!


In the grand tapestry of life, the "eye of the tiger" is that unwavering, intense look in the eyes of those who are wholeheartedly committed to their journey. It's a visual testament to their unrelenting dedication and the embodiment of their hard-earned progress. When I think about this, I'm reminded of the legendary Rocky Balboa. He could rouse himself from slumber at the ungodly hour of 4:00 am, down three raw eggs with unwavering determination, and set off for a chilly, predawn jog. It's a testament to the indomitable human spirit. If Rocky can do it, maybe I can muster the strength to pull myself together and follow suit.

And let's not forget the ever-inspiring "Eye of the Tiger" song, a melody that ignites motivation and catches like wildfire. Whenever I need that extra push, a spark of determination, I invoke this phrase to light my creative fire. When fatigue threatens to shroud my artistic endeavors, I remind myself that there's always something to be done. As an artist, the to-do list is endless, spanning the realms of painting, embracing failure as a teacher, and uncovering new techniques while meticulously documenting the journey, just as I've shared in this blog.

Conclusion


In conclusion, it's vital to recognize that I have the power of choice in my life's narrative. I can dictate my reactions and seize control of the wheel when life throws its curveballs. In those moments when I need an extra jolt of energy and focus, I turn to "Eye of the Tiger." But most importantly, I am deeply grateful for the time and space that allows me to immerse myself in the world of art, exploring and evolving with each stroke of the brush. So, speaking of art, here are a few sketches and painted backgrounds that I've been diligently working on over the past few days. They represent not just my creations but also the tangible evidence of the choices I've made to propel my creative journey forward.

Recent Sketches:




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