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How long does it take to overcome being stuck?

December 20, 2011
painting of pastoral landscape in Illinois

Sketch of two triangles in spaceClick here to go to the full GETTING UNSTUCK blog site

I am inert. I have ideas for art pieces—collages, paintings, books. But I don’t do them. Instead I do laundry. I go to Starbuck’s. I peer into my studio every once in awhile to see if there is anything that absolutely pulls me in without hesitation…something so compelling that I have to get over myself and go make an art thing. I can do it if I have a deadline for a show. Because then my panic and fear of abject failure (not having any work ready) overcomes my inertia. But mostly I detour away from the studio.

And I don’t think I’m talking about artist’s block—the inability to think of something to work on. I have lots of ideas for work—I’m just stymied when it comes to actually getting in my studio and working.

So my first step in getting unstuck is to approach this methodically and set a goal. Muddle through this with sticktuitiveness and don’t look back. I am going to document my way through this artistic toothache. It’s right before Christmas, a truly legitimate time to be stuck, and nearly on the cusp of New Year’s resolutions. Perfect.

So today I:

Put some more paint on a landscape. This is a new twist for me because I normally paint abstract images.

Painting of pasture with sheep
And added some stuff to a 4-piece collage. But I’m not sure what I want this to be so I did a thumbnail. Here’s that:

thumbnail sketch of a 4-panel mixed media piece

And I thought a lot. All told, maybe a couple of hours of arting.

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