Friday, July 15, 2011


Outer-Wear © 2011 Amy Hillenbrand
  24 x 12 Oil on Canvas

I often write about getting unstuck from painters block. I received a comment the other day from a fellow artist wondering if  I have found the key to unlocking this dreadful mystery. Personally, I think the key is different for different people depending on what "lights your bulb".  Let me elaborate on the bulb comment. I am a person who enjoys the doing of something; actually being in the process of. When the item is finished, I do enjoy looking back and seeing the doneness of it, but being in the doing is what feels juicy. Oh, I know doneness is not a word, but you catch my drift. But for some people, the love of starting of something is what brings them excitement or a rush. And for others, it is the completion of something that lights them up. 

Okay, so back to unlocking the block thing. So knowing that I enjoy the doing part of things is the key to getting unstuck for me. Often I have a hard time getting started on something but once I'm in the actual "doing it" I'm humming along.  So this is what I do: instead of forcing myself into it, I picture in my mind me in the middle of painting. I will recall a time I was just flowing along being in the zone and feeling how wonderful that feels. I see my studio, I see the sun shining in the window, I hear my Pandora station playing, I feel the brush in my hands and I feel how happy and satisfied I am in that moment. It starts the juices flowing until I can't hardly wait to get my brushes and paints out. 

So whichever part of the process brings you the most juice, enough juice to light your bulb, focus on it. Make your mental picture and let the energy move you. So what is your favorite part?


  1. Great subjects! So, when you're stuck, have 2-3 "doings" in you r head and then you'll really be marching right along!

  2. Amy, this is just fabulous! Can't wait to see it in person. I can see a whole series of these vertical paintings too. Love you ideas about getting unstuck.
    I'm about to go into the studio - after a quick trip to Jerry's art supplies. Wanna go?

  3. Wonderful painting. Really like the format and subject matter. Sweet!
    I think I am still so new I am just always "itching" to paint...I know...don't hate me! I am sure I will get to that point but there are so many things I have not even tried yet. I guess my problem is TIME...BUT they are all my favorite parts. Finding that photo/setup or chance to plein air and then the anticipation- then the actual doing..and even if not the best masterpiece ever, the fact that I got the TIME to paint:) IT is all Happy for me and makes such a difference in my life.
    Signing off as Sappy Kathy:)

  4. Amy, love your thoughtful writing, and beautiful paintngs! The composition and fresh colors are terrific!

  5. Amy, your work is outstanding. Love the composition and theme of your work. Truly inspiring.