#20 QofR: Creative Block Workshop at The Art House, 7/12/16

On Wednesday 7th December I will be hosting an ‘Introduction to Drawing’ Workshop at The Art House Cafe. This will be the second in a series of ‘Creative Unblock’ sessions which I will continue in February 2017.

The group will complete a range of creative block exercises throughout the session, with the aim to build confidence and improve mark making skills while learning how to experiment with a variety of materials. This workshop will be perfect for total beginners and those who have a fear of the blank white page! A relaxed and friendly atmosphere suitable for all ages and abilities.

I will keep in mind the reflections from my last blog post:

“In order to develop our creativity in relation to practice we must fight to undermine our own resistance and subvert our own and other’s attempts to sabotage this.”

I’m planning to use some of the techniques suggested in Danielle Krysa’s book ‘Your Inner Critic is a Big Jerk’. Her idea of a ‘Bad Art Night’ is interesting. ‘You’ll eat, you’ll laugh, you’ll intentionally make the worst creation that you possibly can, and, by failing so epically, you’ll all win.’  Telling the class that what they make is going to be ‘bad’ anyway so they might as well have go raises the question is there such a thing as ‘bad art’? No, I don’t believe so…as long as what you’re making is genuine and something truthful then there can’t be anything wrong with that can there? My gut feeling tells me that it would be a challenge in itself and probably quite intimidating to look at a piece of paper and be told to make something awful. Perhaps instead I can incorporate this idea within other warm up exercises like my last workshop in order to make the group feel more relaxed and try to irradiate their fear of failing because what they produce may not be ‘perfet’

Krysa interviews artist Kim Werker about the idea of purposely making terrible things…

‘Nobody goes into starting a project…thinking about how valuable it might be to fail. That would be nuts.’

‘Now I just throw one project under the bus right off the bat. I make something that’s intentionally ugly. Grotesque, even. Because that’s what an epic failure would be, right? So I make something totally revolting, and then I gloat a little over how capable I am of spectacularly failing, and then I start over, knowing that whatever it is I do from that point forward will have to be better than my ugly thing.’

Krysa’s ‘Top Ten Rules to Play Within’ could also provide some inspiration for this workshop and I’ve already tried most of these in one way or another during ‘Blockvember’. These techniques would help to undermine the participants resistance by easing them in to a creative task and then building upon it. Gradually I hope to build their confidence in a fun environment so that they feel comfortable to experiment with materials, make marks and feel that they have achieved something very posistive.

A few of my favourites from this list:

– Choose one colour that you love, and then gather all of your supplies that you own in that particular colour and make something.

– Pull a sentence from a random place (social media, newspaper, an overheard conversation) and make a piece from it.

– Cut a sheet of paper into lots of tiny pieces and work on each bit knowing that they’re too tiny to be considered final pieces.

– Work on a surface that already has something on it. Incorporate the words, images into your new piece. For this I could take in some old books, wrapping paper, newspaper and magazines to work on. Giving an existing image new meaning.

– Chop up an existing image, rearrange it and create an entirely new composition. I could have a list of subjects to draw. Participants could spend 20 minutes or so making a drawing, not knowing that they have to cut it up to make a new piece. I like this idea…could form part of a collage using other materials and ephemera.

To finish off the workshop I could get the class to write down some words and phrases to look at when they’re feeling that creative block and inner critic take over, giving it a new name

‘Find brilliance in the Scraps’ – Spend some time drawing, writing etc on scraps of paper, screwing them up when you’ve finished each one. Then pick one at random and work on it.


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