Artist | Teacher | Coach | Mentor

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Weekly Blog on creativity and what it takes to be an artist by David Limrite (artist, teacher, mentor & coach)


David Limrite-Artist, Coach, Mentor, Teacher

“ Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what next or how. The moment you know how, you begin to die a little. The artist never entirely knows. We guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark.”

~ Agnes DeMille

“Brushes down” is what I tell my students when they have hit a wall with their painting. Hitting a wall could include: getting stuck and not knowing what to do next, becoming frustrated, allowing self-doubt to creep in, or thinking that they have just made a huge mistake.

When an artist “hits the wall,” they often have a tendency to panic.

Brushes down!

Take a deep breath.

And step away from the canvas.

Once you panic, you will most certainly begin to make poor choices in a frantic effort to fix or correct the perceived problem. Put your brush down and walk away for a few minutes. Come back to your creation and look. Don’t pick up the brush yet. Just look.

After a few minutes away, often times, the big mistake I thought I made, is not such a big mistake at all. Often times, after putting my brush down, walking away for a few minutes, and coming back to the painting, I will see the problem and the solution much more clearly and more level headed.

You might have heard me say this recently, “When I first hit the wall on this particular painting, my tendency was to paint out the whole thing and start over. I now see that all I really have to do is re-work this one tiny area over here.”

If you do not see the solution right away, after coming back to it from a short break, work on another area of the painting. Or, better yet, work on a completely different painting for awhile. More often than not, I come up with a solution for a painting that I am stuck on, while I am working on a different area of that painting or while working on another painting altogether.

If this doesn’t work, or you just can’t keep your eyes off of the the area that you are not happy with, paint it out and start over. When you paint out an area, it’s gone. And you get to start over. You get to try again. It feels as if you have just gotten a new lease on life. {Smile} You have learned something and you have just created a new opportunity for yourself.

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