Artworx Gallery | Contemporary Art & Gifts | Goolwa SA

Artworx Gallery - currently celebrating its 10th anniversary - is a regular award winner and the finest contemporary art gallery on South Australia's Fleurieu Peninsula.

The Painters' Blues

Most artists have experienced painters’ block, which mainly has to do with not knowing what to paint next, we are also aware of the Painters’ Blues, but don't talk about it much.

Painters’ Blues can manifest itself in several ways and has more than a few causes. Sometimes, life just gets in the way, casting its problems before us as it always does, we can feel an inability to create. Unexpected crisis' can cripple any desire for art, but this is natural and it won't last forever. Sometimes, we have to ease back into it and be gentle on ourselves. You can't force art to happen because it takes body, mind and heart - all three, but especially heart!

Occasionally, the Painters’ Blues can make us feel like we could never paint anything worthwhile again. It's a baseless state of mind and may be fleeting, but it's as real as the easel before us.  I think it is often called insecurity and may be a momentary loss of confidence. We can't always know why these feelings come upon us, but they do and it's helps to know that we are not alone. The good news is, we do get over it and we are not air traffic controllers where a loss of confidence could cost lives.

There are times when we can hardly face any attempt to paint. It can all seem too hard when we are not in the zone and that little dark cloud puts a veil over the joy of work. Inexplicable as these things often are, they still happen and in these cases a bit of pottering around in our workspace can cure it. I like to fiddle with a painting that hasn't quite worked out or wipe the slate clean by going over it with a primer undercoat ready to start afresh - it's empowering and gets the painting heart beating.

There are other self-inflicted causes of the painting blues, like social media. I think Facebook and Instagram are particularly good for art and artists, but all is not what it seems in these worlds. It is very easy to assume that every other artist is swimming through life and art without a care in the world, but this is hardly ever true. We tend to put our best foot forward on Facebook and it can make it look like our art and life journey is a breeze, which it hardly ever is - for any of us.  Having this false impression of the lives of our fellow artists can have a negative effect on ourselves and our work.  You can rest assured that anyone doing well in life or art, has counter-balancing issues to deal with too - you just don't hear about them.

So how do we tackle those painting blues?

Heartily share in the successes of others, coax yourself back into painting by hanging around your work area and appreciate the joy of work, not just the finished product. You'll be glad you did.


Happy painting

Mike Barr



Liz and John Francis

12 Hays Street
Goolwa, South Australia

Phone: (08) 8555 0949


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