The Herald New drawing- This is a study for a painting that will be called “The Herald” Next I have to work out the background. #fantasyart #musician #fantasy #drawing #art

Fird the Turd Bird

Fird the Turd Bird
Fird the Turd Bird

“Who is that?”,  you might be asking. Allow me to introduce you to Fird the Turd Bird, a portrait of the personification of my inner critic, the nemesis  and arch enemy of my muse,  Musetta.   Through the ruse of expectation (of how my painting should look) and comparison (how it actually turned out)  Fird got loose last evening and ran amok, so that when it finally came time for me to do my end of the day sketching he was in full on attack mode, pecking,  biting and scratching at me.   “You’re lousy at painting!  You’ll never be really good at it! Blahwdy blah blah and on and on it went.   Musetta was in full retreat, weeping and hiding in the deep dark  sad shadows of my psyche.

So I did the only thing I could do in order to keep the discipline of drawing every night.  I started sketching Fird (although I didn’t know that was his name at the time).  As I drew he became quieter and then finally completely silent, because being the stupid vain creature he is, he couldn’t, wouldn’t, and didn’t criticize his own portrait.  And that’s when I knew had him!  At last I drew a spiked dog collar around his scrawny neck, attached a heavy chain,  which in turn was added to a spike in the cold hard ground. He was my bitch now.

But knowing him to be the sneaky elusive creature that he is, I knew that I needed to take further precautions, so I have given his likeness to the CPI (That’s  Bureau of Creativity Investigation)  and they have issued a wanted dead or alive poster which now hangs on the cork board in my studio, to remind me to be on the lookout and at the first vague hint of the stench of him that tells me he is once again on the loose and lurking about, I can take the proper steps to catch and put him back in his place, chained up and and powerless to wreak misery on me and Musetta.

I sincerely invite you to name and describe your inner critic and share it in my comment section.  And if you draw it put a link to it.   That way I and others can spot your inner critic  and report it before it has a chance to work it’s nastiness on you and anyone else who happens to get in the way.  Thank you.

Copyright 2013 Ann Gates Fiser All rights reserved

My friend Erin Hogan responded by drawing this guy

Birds of a Feather

birds_of_a_feather“Birds of a Feather” ” 5″ x 7″ graphite

The good citizens of Anaria are known for their colorful fashion though not necessarily or usually for their good taste.  Friendly and sometimes not so friendly rivalries would go on for decades to see who could embellish their attire in the most creative and unusual ways.  Occasionally but very rarely some of their ensembles would achieve elegance.  When that happened one hardly knew how to respond.  By it’s very taste-fullness it seemed out of place and therefor in very poor taste.  These three gentlemen so depicted, are not remotely in danger of offending their fellow citizens.  Quite the contrary, they will be much admired, emulated, and the subject of much gossip and competition.  Bravo!  Well done gentlemen!

Creative Funk~ How Do you Get Past Blocks?

Another artist on a FaceBook group I belong to asked the question of how to get out of a creative block that she’d been in for quite a while.  It inspired me to post my thoughts about it. My answer (elaborated here) was this:

Small Steps

“Musings in the Daisies” 9″ x 12″ GraphiteTilinda the elf seems to have the expression one has when locked in creative inertia.
“Musings in the Daisies” 9″ x 12″ Graphite
Tilinda the elf seems to have the expression one has when locked in creative inertia.

Have you ever watched a dog getting ready to take a nap?  Mine would circle the spot where she planned to sleep several times before finally laying down.  I watched her and learned.  So my “circling” is to clean up, arrange my work space (if it needs it) and then get a piece of watercolor paper taped on a board.  I start with the mundane and non- threatening steps.  Next I flip through my my sketchbook looking for something that pops out at me that makes me want to paint and usually after circling around like that I’m ready.

But if I have no idea of what I want to paint after that, here are a couple of things that usually work.   I  grab my sketchbook and start doodling.  A lot of times something will emerge that I want to do.  If not then I look at other artists works for inspiration.  I find 3-4 paintings that I like of 3-4 different artists and  using one or two elements that I liked in each painting create a new piece.  Something new emerges that I might not have thought of before.

in·er·tia ~  [in-ur-shuh, ih-nur-]  noun

1.  Inertness, especially with regard to effort, motion, action, and the like;
inactivity; sluggishness.

2. Physics.
       a.the property of matter by which it retains its state of rest or its velocity
along a straight line
so long as it is not acted upon by an
external force.
        b. an analogous property of a force: electric inertia.
3. Medicine/Medical . lack of activity, especially as applied to a uterus during
childbirth when its 
contractions have decreased or stopped. 
(Kind of sounds like creativity stopped dead in its tracks….)

Creative funk is nothing but of inertia.  It takes energy,  some kind of movement or force to get going from a point of standstill.  If  I take any small step, even if it seems insignificant, I can start moving in the direction I want to go.   I’m able to build momentum and move past whatever is keeping me locked up.   And usually but not always it’s fear.  Fear is an emotion,  e-motion, or energy in motion.  Or at least it should be in motion but what is usually done is that I bury it, stuff it down so that it becomes trapped in my body.  I don’t think I’m alone in that. 😉  The way to release any emotion it is to feel it.  You don’t even have to give it a name, like  fear, anger, sadness, loneliness, resentment, etc.  Just feel it.  Notice where it’s living in you.  Feel the spot in your body and really pay attention to what it feels like. When I do this I notice after a relatively short time that it starts to move and dissipate and I feel so much more free and energetic.   Because there’s so much that I haven’t been willing to feel forever I find that I’m peeling an onion layer after layer.  It’s getting smaller but it’s not gone. And most importantly I have to keep feeling.  Feeling is where it’s at and most importantly, the more I feel the more creative I am.  And that is what’s so important~ that I’m able to fully express myself into the world.


One more thing about inertia.  If you do get yourself going and moving, don’t stop.  At the very least have the next idea ready in your head. A sketchbook filled with ideas goes a long way toward giving you the momentum that you need to stay out of the funk bucket.  Sketches are also a great way to keep exploring new directions, because boredom is another kind of block inducer.   Let whatever idea comes into your head take shape on the paper.  It doesn’t mean you ever have to do anything with it but you will have told your unconscious that ideas are important and the muse of imagination will gladly give you more.

Your Turn

So how have you gotten past creative  block?  Or are you stuck now?  Please leave your comments below because  I’d love to hear them.

Copyright 2013 All Rights Reserved Ann Gates Fiser

My Christmas Card & the Passion of Doing What You Love

I’m working on my Christmas card right now.  It’s a painting called “The Toymaker”, and it’s of an elderly elf sitting, working at his bench making a toy in the wee hours of the night. I feel a strong connection with this one because,  it illustrates the passion and dedication of people who create, who are driven to create. Loving what you do, no matter what it is,  is I believe one of the most important things in life. We spend more time working than we do on any other activity, so it makes sense to me that it should be something that we really love to do.  In these hard times I know that a lot people feel stuck in jobs that they really don’t like. Afraid to quit and look for something that really inspires them , they are trudging through their lives, believing that they won’t be able to find more work.  I also know people that don’t know what they love. Who’ve never found that thing that makes them want to get out of bed in the morning and get the day started.  If you are in the first category I recommend any of the books by Abraham and Hicks, and really a powerful little book called “Every Word Has Power” (Yvonne Oswald). If you are in the second category, there are many books out there that help you figure out what your calling is.  I can think of very few things that are more important than figuring  that out.  Happy Holidays!

Here’s the finished card: