Lost in Lanscape: fighting creative block in wilderness (painting)

Sometimes, your art can be struck by a crisis of confidence. It doesnt seem like its going to end well. You dont want to continue, and BAM, you’re totally blocked up.

We’ve all been there. This happened to me recently with a commissioned painting. Lets work through our blocks together, shall we?

Dedicated readers of this blog may remember the trip up to the Sierras that I took a few months ago. That was recon for a painting that my aunt commissioned.

“But wait Samwise, that was like four months ago. Where have you been since then?”

Well friend, I’ve been, as Bob Ross would say, in Agony City.

Three wet oil paintings in an 8’x10′ living space. I got your Agony City right here!

Lets back up. I did that fish painting, which was just like those other fish paintings. My aunt saw it, and said she wanted one with Mammoth in the background. Cool, that’ll be a slam dunk, thought a much more naive me. I took the bait.

So I do the trip, I make up some sketches, and take them to my aunt and uncle. I had one sketch that was all landscape, and of course they wanted that one. This was the switch part of the bait-and-switch.

And just to be clear here, I’m not mad at my aunt or uncle. They just want a landscape for their house, thats perfectly reasonable. I apppreciate them supporting my art. Even if it took me outside of my comfort zone.

I think thats the best way to express it. Getting creatively blocked means you are outside of your comfort zone. And you have to get out of your comfort zone to expand your skills. By focusing on this part of it, the block loses power.

Creative blocks either defeat you, or you work through them. So get to work!

The smallest practice canvas. It falls really flat for me. Definitely missing something…

This is going to be my first finished landscape painting. I say “finished” because I am selling it. All those other landscape paintings were done as practice canvasses. And it’s tricky to know when you’ve gone from a practice canvas to a completed work of art. Thats part of what’s tripping me up.

I decided to do three canvasses. Small, medium, and large. This way I can make all the mistakes on the small ones. Not the best idea for a guy working out of a tent. It takes some tricky manuvers to work around them.

Thats what it was missing! King Ghidorah, mightiest of all Kaiju. Bow down before him, puny humans!

Sometimes, you have to have some fun to break out of a rut. Adding Godzilla monsters to landscapes is my way of fighting back against overthinking.

And I think it upped the paintings value immensely! Hail King Ghidorah!

I’m going to continue working on these pieces, and more updates will becoming out soon. This one should be done before my PCT trip. And btw if you havent heard about my upcomming trip on the Pacific Crest Trail, check it out right here. Big thingson SCLeccentric this spring, so stay tuned.

Thanks for reading,