Inspiration, meet brick wall. Problem.

Every artist goes through this.  Heck, EVERYONE, artist or not, hits this point once in awhile – where nothing seems to work and the creativity batteries are exhausted.  One of the benefits of a professional education in the visual arts is that, as a student, you learn to push through those blocks.  Don’t feel like drawing?  Too bad.  Your job is to show up, sit down and produce credible work.  It may not be a masterpiece (or it might) but it will at least be passable.  Plus, (insert artist here, as everyone seems to have “heard” this from a different source!  I thought it was Picasso, but, alas, no verification) once famously said that every artist has 10,000 bad drawings in them.  So, even if what you are creating is fit only for the bottom of the bird cage, at least you are slogging your way towards drawing #10,001.
I know this.  I realize it.  I embrace it and expect it and know that if I just grit my teeth and push through, I will eventually be rewarded by a return to some sort of spark of inspiration. But in the meantime, and it IS a MEAN time,  I have half finished artworks watching me from all corners of my studio and precious little desire or desire to work on them.
The only consolation (small one, to be sure) is that I have spoken to a few friends (and fellow artists) recently who have all confided to having the same “lack of momentum” problem.  One of them is a bestselling novelist who stated simply that the book in her head wasn’t “ready to be disgorged on the page yet.” She finished with one word, which I think sums it up nicely: “Problem.”

Fellow artists, how do you keep your motivation on days (or weeks) when things just aren’t happening?

Here is where Tempest stands at the moment.  Notice the ink wash(es) and then the scratching out… ad infinitum.

“Tempest” WIP ©Joanna Zeller Quentin 2010.  All Rights Reserved.

and here is a new little portrait, just playing with color.

“Poised” WIP © Joanna Zeller Quentin 2010.  All Rights Reserved.