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  • Writer's pictureFatima Learn

Painters Block vs. Motivation

I am starting to think that maybe I am not really an artist. When I haven’t painted for along time but think about it all the time I ask myself … Wouldn’t a real artist do anything to execute their desire to paint? I start questioning if I got what it takes to be an artist. If I don’t put any effort into it then I must not be a true artist.

The Folklore

There is a folklore I have heard over and over. To be an artist you had to be suffering for your art. I believe it was Van Gogh that might have unknowingly created this tale with his lifestyle. He was quoted “I put my heart and my soul into my work, and have lost my mind in the process.”. History shows he lead a tortured life with poverty and mental illness but nothing stopped him from painting. He created beautiful art but often it is seen as art that came from a tortured soul. It became part of his legacy.

Is It A Lack Of Motivation?

I start thinking that maybe I need to have a tortured life? Maybe, I am just not creative enough or could it be that lately I do not feel productive doing artwork. Do I need to feel productive? Is making artwork a hobby and why make time for it if its going to be just a hobby. Am I alone to think this way sometimes? One thing I do is ignore the folklore about what a stereotypical artist is. Especially stop comparing myself to other artists work ethics.

More often then not when I ask people who are not artists what they think of Van Gogh. Their response usually is “the crazy artist who cut off his ear”. Please note that I ask them specifically that way “…what they think of Van Gogh?”. I am curious whether they will mention his art first or the folklore created around his name. I like to think that Van Gogh was an artist that never stopped caring about creating artwork. He had the courage to pursue his passion and wow - he could work colour!

Getting Over Painters Block

When you lose site of your muse and start making excuses then it is time to start seeing things differently. Getting over painters block requires some effort but it does not mean you are not a painter if you experience it. When you lose the will to paint then you have to dig down deep in yourself and rekindle the passion for artwork. Maybe start a different paint style or literally look at things differently (upside-down or paint with your other hand). Paint to music, paint how you think the song would look like as art. Have fun with it and ideas will start to develop.

Don’t learn to stop caring and find courage to look at things your own way. You might not want to admit it but sometimes the people you associate with have an impact on you. Especially if you have been losing motivation lately .

Image above - Van Gogh, A Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear, 1889.


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