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The Blank Canvas

The blank canvas. The empty page. As artists, this can seem more intimidating than being fully in the midst of a massive project. They don't call it Writer's Block for nothing: this is very real. The want to create, but the inability to start.

Start with Simple Tasks
One way to ease into creating is to go about your tasks as though you already have your next piece fully formed, and you are simply preparing to get started. Prime your canvas. Prepare your studio space. Maybe even mix paints on your palette. These seemingly menial tasks will trigger your brain, like the bell ringing for Pavlov's dogs, and help to jumpstart a way around the creative block.

Explore Underground Art
Sometimes, the most gratifying and inspiring experience can be looking at someone's art that isn't hanging in a gallery, or being talked about in a criticism course. Look at the street art in your area. This isn't about being a pretentious hipster, or going so far against the grain. It's about looking at creativity out of the context of your studio, or a museum, or the Internet. Take a walk and explore this art for anything: things you like, things you don't like, interesting lines, bad composition. The point is to really look at art that isn't being loaded down with expectations.

Use Your Camera
Going out on a simple photo expedition can be a nice way to jog you into creativity. Digital cameras, camera phones, and smart phones make it easy to take pictures: just delete the ones you don't want. No wasted materials, no fear at putting yourself out there for others to see. Just look and click.

Do Some Reading
There are a multitude of books on the subject of artist's block and self-limiting of creative expression, so why not pick something up and do a little of your own research? Maybe even discover a book on a technique with which you are unfamiliar; allowing yourself to be more involved with the technical aspects of art, rather than the creative, can be a nice diversion, as well as relieving any stress or pressure to create.