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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Baker, MA

Secrets to Conquering Creative Blocks

You may not know this but paintings and drawings have a "hard stage." It's in the middle of your process somewhere, you've been trucking along, feeling good... and all of a sudden you don't like it.

And you don't know what you don't like!

Something is off and you're feeling deflated, discouraged and wondering if you have to start over. Shannon likes to call this, "the ugly stage."

1st lesson: this is NORMAL!!! It doesn't mean anything about you as a painter or drawer. (insert sigh of relief here)

2nd lesson: there are tricks for getting through this stage! They are easy and unbelievably helpful!

Here is one of my secret tips that will probably blow your mind. Take a photo of your painting in progress:

And change it to black and white. You can do this with editing tools on your phone or on your computer, or even just print it in black and white.

This easy trick will help you see your painting with COMPLETELY fresh eyes and you'll be able to tell in moments what's been bothering you. The questions to ask yourself are:

  • where are my darkest darks?

  • where are my lightest lights?

  • is there enough contrast between them or should I enhance the difference (i.e. make the lights lighter and/or the darks darker)

  • do I have enough "midtones" (values between your lightest lights and darkest darks)

  • is my piece balanced?

  • where does the eye travel?

I GUARANTEE this is going to help your art-making immensely and you'll be able to move past the "ugly stage" into liking your piece again. Yay!

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