Artist Block!

Yesterday my brother-in-law, who is a musician (Lazer Forever) was talking about a musician/artist duo Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt. They found a way to fight artist block, calling it the Oblique Strategies deck. It is a deck of cards with instructions for when a dilemma occurs in a working situation.

In this case, the card is to be trusted even if its appropriateness is quite unclear. They are not final, as new ideas will present themselves, and others will become self-evident. In any case, they re-route your thinking in hopes to bypass that dang block.

I looked to find the deck online and had little luck. So, I decided to try to make one of my own. If you have any ideas to add to mine, I would love ideas other than my own!

Here is my list so far:

  • Make an illustration influenced by your favorite illustrator.
  • Paint a landscape with only three colors.
  • Create a painting in a medium you’ve never used before.
  • Study and draw figures from each source: Bridgman, Vanderpoel, Hogarth, and the masters.
  • Create a full painting in 30 minutes.
  • Draw a figure in: 1 hour, half hour, 10 minutes, 5 minutes, 1 minute, 30 seconds.
  • Create two versions of the same painting — one with warm colors, one with cool colors.
  • Sketch in a public place.
  • Paint the same still life in your illustrative style.
  • Research a particular era, artist, or style and create a few paintings influenced by it.
  • Take a trip to a zoo or aquarium to sketch animals from life.
  • Do a collage.
  • Start with the most awful color you can think of.
  • Work over an old painting.
  • Do a painting upside down.
  • Find five things around the house to use in a piece.
  • Re-do one of your paintings you liked.
  • Paint in a mirror reflection.
  • Do ten blind drawings in the yard.
  • Choose a traditional painting from a book and do it in abstract.
  • Paint only in orange all day.
  • Paint only in black and white for one hour.
  • Choose two colors – do a painting in only those colors – different tones.
  • Pick a critter. Paint it.
  • Paint only in browns for an hour.

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