Creativity in everyday life  -3 tips to staying sane with artist block

3 tips to staying sane with artist block

Artist block. Why it happens and ideas about what to do when it happens. 3 ways to help yourself when getting artist block.

Artist block happens to everyone. Here are 3 tips to help you stay sane with artist block. The first time and to be honest, every time, I panic. Will I never get any good ideas again?

What are the signs or artist block? You sit at your easel or drawing board and you cannot find a single thing to paint or sketch. You draw or paint without thinking or worst, feeling the joy of putting different elements together.

You paint the same thing over and over again without changing anything or making it better. You sit there and cannot move. You feel a mini depression coming on because nothing is going well. Whatever you paint is coming out muddy or just plain bad.

When you get artist block, you mind needs a break. It needs time to think and reflect on what you are currently doing. Quite often you are on your way to moving your art to another level. Your mind has not yet figured out how to move to the next step.

So you need to take a break. You need to stop what you are doing and do something different for a short time. This does not mean that you need to stop making art. Here are three ideas for you to try:

1. Try a new product. When visiting the art supply store, there’s always something new that the shop is very willing to show you. If something catches your eye and it won’t break the bank, try it. Add it to your current work and see if it adds anything to your practice. It may or may not.

Quite a few times, I enjoyed trying out the new product, had a lot of fun making something with it but by the time I used up the sample, I was done with the product. I had no urge to incorporate it in my repertoire. The odd time, I did and the change or extra product made my work shine. It is worth a try.


2. Visit a gallery. We get lonely in our studio and often we miss the visual stimulation of seeing other people’s artwork. Seeing new work, work painted or sculpted in a different way or seeing new color combinations is exciting for artists. After one of these art walks, I often feel happier and excited about art.

Double your joy by bringing a friend (who likes art). When you bring a friend, I find that the discussion of the artwork adds an extra bonus dimension to the process of looking at art. Your friend will also see the artwork in a different way and get you looking at the artwork differently. This doubles your intellectual stimulation.

3. Host a critique with other artists. Chances are that you are not alone in your ‘artist block’. Invite your friends to come for an afternoon of critiquing each other’s work. You may have to provide coffee, tea and a few snacks but I can assure you that the other artists will come willingly. We all have one or two paintings that we get stuck on and welcome help.

There are a couple rules to follow in order to have a pleasant experience when hosting. One is that no one is allowed to make negative comments. You are looking for solutions to the problem and that is the goal. A second is that only two comments are allowed each per painting. You don’t want to overwhelm the artist who puts up their work for critique. For more in depth advice, check out my online class on critiquing :https://www.udemy.com/course/1848512/manage/basics


Overall, you need to break up your routine. Routine is an excellent way to create product but a change of routine will jazz up your day and add a lot of new ideas or stimulation.

I hope this helps you .

Doris’ website: www.dorischarest.ca

I have creativity courses and art courses online at: https://www.udemy.com/user/dorischarest/

For more information on mixed media by Doris Charest: www.dorischarest.ca

All photography and artwork by Doris Charest

Thanks for reading, and please do recommend, like, share, comment, etc. Thanks.

Till next time …

Creativity in everyday life — 4 Things great artists do differently

Four pieces of advice

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I came across some points that are bound to help any artist. If you are just starting out or have been working at art a while, these are great points to ponder.

  1. Focus on a special subject. Choose something that you can do for a long time. This doesn’t mean that you cannot do anything else. It means that you show your specialty but once in while, you work on a second subject. That topic is your ‘relaxing’ moment. You may or may not show later when you are more adept at it or have enough for a series. Again, the choice is yours. You can have it as a fun moment or a series that you are working towards in the future.
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One artist I know solved her dual interests by showing her flowers in one city and her figures in a different city far from the first city. Overall, you do need to become an expert in one area. Make your speciality stronger by saying no to anything not in your line. An artist that did this well is Robert Bateman. He worked on animals with a mostly abstract background most of his career.

2. Step away when you are stumped, the answer will come. Go for a walk. All artists get blocked once in a while. Each artist needs to develop their own rituals that will help them break out of their slump. Many artists, including Claude Monet, Andy Goldsworthy and Robert Bateman choose nature as their way to relax when they are stumped. They spent and spend long periods of time outdoors. Other artists go dancing, go swimming or go to concerts. Find the element that helps you and go for it!

3. Be consistent in one element related to your topic or style. Let’s say that you work with the same three colors all the time but after a while, you are totally done with those colors. Don’t drop all three colors. Drop one and add ONE different one. Your audience will notice the change but the colors will still be typically yours. If you still want to change it up, get your audience used to your one new color then and only then change a second color.

An artist that has done this well is Kandinsky. Wassily Wassilyevich Kandinsky was a Russian painter and art theorist. He is credited with painting one of the first recognized purely abstract works. For more information about him, go to: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wassily_Kandinsky

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4. Adapt your subject when you tire of it. If you painted trees for years but now you need a change, look at something related to trees. Maybe you will do only foliage or the trunk of the tree with what is at its base as the seasons change.

Make a gradual change towards something different. An artist that did this well is Mondrian. Pieter Cornelis Mondriaan, after 1906 Piet Mondrian, was a Dutch painter and theoretician who is regarded as one of the greatest artists of the 20th century. He painted his abstractions with a few colours at first then gradually changed colours and linear elements.

Doris’ website: www.dorischarest.ca

For more information on mixed media by Doris Charest: Udemy.com

I hope this helps you .

Doris’ website: www.dorischarest.ca

I have creativity courses and art courses online at: https://www.udemy.com/user/dorischarest/

For more information on mixed media by Doris Charest:

https://www.udemy.com/user/edit-profile/

https://www.skillshare.com/user/dorischarest

All photography and artwork by Doris Charest

Thanks for reading, and please do recommend, like, share, comment, etc. Thanks.

Till next time

All photography and artwork by Doris Charest

Thanks for reading, and please do recommend, like, share, comment, etc. Thanks.

Till next time …

Creativity in everyday life — 5 tips for an artist to succeed

Success tips for any artist

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Success with art depends on you and your ability to let people know that you are there and willing to sell your artwork. Otherwise, they will think that your art making is only a hobby. In the beginning of your career, it may have been a hobby but now you are ready to transition into a proffessional. Here are some tips that may help.

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1. Focus on a special subject. Choose something that you can do for a long time. I love mixed media landscapes and have yet to run out of ideas. If you love portraits, concentrate mostly on portraits. Do what you love.

One artist that did this really well is John Hamilton “Jack” Bush (20 March 1909–24 January 1977). He worked on his abstracts for years. His style varied little. He just loved the painting process and he was dedicated to Abstract Expressionism. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Busha

2. Work with similar colours over and over again. Learn what those colors in a variety of combinations will do together. Once you have mastered those colours, then move on to different ones.

One artist that did this really well is Mark Rothko, born Markus Yakovlevich Rothkowitz. He was an American painter of Russian Jewish descent. He worked the ideas of colour vibration and what happens when one colour is next to another colour. Simplicity was his mantra.

3. Start with only one color plus black and white. Once you have done everything there is to do with those three, add one more or change to a different color plus black and white. Master your craft in small increments and you will always do well.

One artist that did this really well is Tony Onley. Toni Onley OC was noted for his landscapes and abstract works. Born in Douglas on the Isle of Man, he moved to Canada in 1948, and lived in Brantford, Ontario. Among his works are many watercolours depicting the northern Canadian landscape. He simplified his colour palette and kept painting the most beautiful landscapes. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toni_Onley

4. Go for the ‘big’ idea. Work on one basic idea and make it work really well. Make your work a jaw dropping moment. One artist that did this really well is Helen Frankenthaler. She was an American abstract expressionist painter. She was a major contributor to the history of postwar American painting.

Having exhibited her work for over six decades, she spanned several generations of abstract painters while continuing to produce vital and ever-changing new work. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helen_Frankenthaler

5. Once you have an idea, don’t overly perfect it. Just do it. You need to enjoy the process not plan every miniscule detail before starting. There nothing wrong with planning. I encourage that but you need to allow the possibility that ‘happy accidents’ might happen for the better.

One artist that did this really well is Oscar-Claude Monet. He was a French painter, a founder of French Impressionist painting and the most consistent and prolific practitioner of the movement’s philosophy of expressing one’s perceptions before nature, especially as applied to plein air landscape painting. Monet’s ambition of documenting the French countryside led him to adopt a method of painting the same scene many times in order to capture the changing of light and the passing of the seasons.

From 1883, Monet lived in Giverny, where he purchased a house and property and began a vast landscaping project which included lily ponds that would become the subjects of his best-known works. In 1899, he began painting the water lilies, first in vertical views with a Japanese bridge as a central feature and later in the series of large-scale paintings that was to occupy him continuously for the next 20 years of his life. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claude_Monet

I hope this helps you .

Doris’ website: www.dorischarest.ca

I have creativity courses and art courses online at: https://www.udemy.com/user/dorischarest/

For more information on mixed media by Doris Charest check out her website and Udemy.com

5 tips for success as an artist
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Creativity in everyday life — 3 Mistakes Artists Make

Mistakes you can avoid

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Being an artist is challenging. We are people and people make mistakes but here are three mistakes you can avoid with just a little bit of planning. You want your art career to move along in a positive direction.

1. You don’t record the work you do. When showing your work, you want to make sure that you know what painting went to which gallery. Not all galleries are honest. Some ‘forget’ your work and pocket the money. I have had that happen to me and if I had not documented my work, I would not have been able to prove that I had brought the work to that gallery.

There are thefts in galleries too. They and you need to know what you placed in that particular show. I do two things. I have an inventory list of the work I am handing over to the show. I work hard at having a photo of the work included in that inventory list. This means that you need to be prepared AHEAD of time.

You cannot be painting until the last minute. I also take a photo of the work once it is up in the gallery. This is proof that it was in the show and it is also a record of the show. There are times when you will be asked for photos of the work on site. You will be prepared and already have the photos this way.

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2. You don’t update your artistic resume. I struggle with this mistake. Sometimes, I am so busy that I forget to update the resume. Forget some shows and you insult the gallery because they are not on your list. Get the dates wrong and other galleries will think you invented the show. All kinds of unkind theories will surface.

Other problems occur when you don’t update regularly. I end up with mistakes on my resume because I rushed at the last minute to add the latest show. Once I even forgot to capitalize the gallery name. This is thoroughly unprofessional. Your goal should be to be a professional artist with up to date information and a well-honed resume that is ready upon demand.

3. You don’t create a series. Working in a series is a great asset to your career. You decide on a theme and then work on that theme for a minimum of ten to twelve paintings. This is not only a good way to work out your ideas but it is also a good way to improve on what you do create. I find that the first painting in a series is just the ‘bud’ of the idea.

As I create more in the series, the idea expands and grows. By the 12thpainting, my idea has matured, changed and blossomed. The paintings get better and better. Occasionally, there is a ‘needy’ one that doesn’t make the cut but generally, I find the concepts get better and so does the work.

If you show your new work to a gallery or show It on your website, the presentation of a dozen works creates a better impression than one or two works with a promise of more. From the professional viewpoint, you are a solid artist with work behind you. You are a serious artist.

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People that create only a couple of paintings in a series is viewed as amateur. That being said, there are some of my ideas that never made it past two paintings. By the end of the second painting, I was bored and did not want to continue.

You keep these paintings in the back. I found that the idea stalled because I did not think it out enough before starting or I just had fun with the materials. Once I had mastered the material, I had learned what I needed to learn.

These paintings go in the back as paintings that are part of my learning curve. Not all work needs to be shown. You can consider these works for private clients or charitable donations but not as part of a show.

I hope this helps you .

Doris’ website: www.dorischarest.ca

I have creativity courses and art courses online at: https://www.udemy.com/user/dorischarest/

For more information on mixed media by Doris Charest:

All photography and artwork by Doris Charest

Thanks for reading, and please do recommend, like, share, comment, etc. Thanks.

Till next time …

Creativitiy in everyday life — Resistance or psychological blocks

Sometimes, people resist commitment. Are you resisting? Even in minor ways like waiting to the last minute or making your goals smaller and smaller. Reasons vary. Did you make your goals too ambitious? If lack of time is a factor, break down the project into segments.

Sometimes, the odds of achieving the goals seem overwhelming. There is a way to trick yourself into actually doing something for yourself and your goals. Here is what you do:

1. Make a list of what you want to change or creative element that you want to add to your life.

2. Break down each goal into small parts. The parts should be small enough that you can do each step in 5–10 minutes.

3. Pick only one goal (of the list you made). Rewrite the goal and the list of steps on a separate sheet of paper. Use bullet points.

4. What is the first step in the goal? Can you do this today?

Here is an example of one of my own goals from long ago.

Goal: To make myself a space in the house where I could paint in watercolours. Just to put the moment in context, we had just moved to a new city and the house was full of boxes that needed to be unpacked. I had two small children (a needy 3 year old and a six year old that was bored because there were no friends to be had).

I worked on the house every day but I really wanted my own space in this new house. I also wanted time to paint again. I had just started again before we moved. Moving had put everything on hold. I had a doctor to find for the kids. A school to find for my eldest. A play group for my youngest. The box with their clothes got lost in the move so clothes to buy. No food in the fridge and dirty floors from the movers bringing the boxes because it had rained the day we arrived. It just doesn’t rain, it pours….

I arranged the children’s rooms first so they would have a place to sleep and play. I arranged the living room furniture and kitchen furniture. Where could I set up a space for me? For the first time, we had a family room and a living room. This was a bigger house than we had before. We only had enough furniture for the family room. This left the living room empty and free.

My eldest kept doing gymnastics in the big space that looked like a gym so I decided that we didn’t need living room furniture yet. I set up a small table in the far corner of the living room and separated it with a standing screen that hid (more or less) the table from view. At least the children did not pay attention to it since they could not see the table with interesting things on it.

My first step was to set up the table for my painting. Period. That’s all. I unpacked boxes again. The next day I found my box of supplies. I did not open it –just placed it next to the table. I unpacked boxes again and looked up doctors. After about 15 calls, I found one that would take patients. The next day, I found my references (this is in the days of printed photo references) and placed them in the spot. I unpacked again.

I am sure that you get the picture now. Now the rest is up to you….. Ready, set, go!

Remember to break it down into small steps….

Start today towards your goal to be an artist.

Doris’ website:www.dorischarest.ca

I have creativity courses and art courses online at :https://www.udemy.com/user/dorischarest/

All photography and artwork by Doris Charest

Thanks for reading, and please do recommend, like, share, comment, etc. Thanks.

Till next time …

Welcome to my new website!

Doris Charest
Welcome to my new website.

I will be blogging about what it is like to be an artist.

Everyday life as an artist.  What is it like?   Well, I can assure you it is not boring.  There is always some new challenge on the horizon.  I will talk about  getting ready for shows, daily life, preparing courses and much more.  Keep in touch and you will find out ….