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Trust the (Creative) Process: Overcoming Artist’s Block

In the heart of every artist's journey lies the inevitable encounter with creative block. Whether painting, writing, or performing, artists know the drill: one minute you're on a roll, and the next, you're stuck staring at a blank page or canvas, wondering where the magic went.

Our region is brimming with gifted artists—painters, dancers, sculptors, musicians, and more—but as talented as they all are, sometimes they, too, hit a creative brick wall. Wondering how they shake off those creative cobwebs and get the artistic inspiration flowing again? Here are some of their “creative” secrets.

“Anyone in a creative field faces the disconcerting moment when they come up blank,” says Lori Mortensen ( an award-winning children’s author of more than 100 illustrative books such as Arlo Draws an Octopus, and Nonsense, The Curious Story of Edward Gorey. “While some people keep a file of ideas to draw from, I find I’d rather run with something the moment it catches my eye and gets those mental wheels turning. One of the most helpful things I do is read books I love. When I immerse myself in the language, the rhythm, the art, and the moods of these books, seeds of ideas start to percolate. Sometimes walking around Cameron Park Lake stirs my imagination. In the end, it’s helpful to simply trust the process. Something will come along; it always does. It’s just a matter of time. And when it does, I’ll be ready,” says Mortensen.


Lana Bermudez (@babybugsyshop) is deeply passionate about art and the creative process. When she’s not dedicating her time to teaching art to elementary school children, she’s hosting arts and craft parties for both children and adults. “When you work with kids you can’t afford to experience that annoying feeling when your imagination seems to take a nap—kids are go, go, go, and they won’t stop just because your creativity is stalled. It doesn't just happen to me; it can sneak up on the students too, especially when they're worried about making something ‘perfect’ instead of just enjoying the process. I’ve seen it firsthand; one minute the room's buzzing with the sounds of scribbling, painting, and laughter, and the next, someone's staring at their blank paper like it's a puzzle with missing pieces. I consciously tell myself and my students to remember that art is the one area in life where there is no wrong or right way to make it. Just make it your own! When I stop taking anything too seriously, let fun lead the way, and scribble, I find ideas pop up again, and those blank pages turn into wild, wonderful art,” shares Bermudez.


Kate Gonzalez, studio director at Arthur Murray Dance Studio of Folsom (, has always had an affinity for the arts, but when those creative roadblocks try to knock her off her dancing feet, she has some tips to help keep the creativity flowing. Mornings are her sweet spot. “There's something magical about the stillness—a time for quiet reflection with a cup of coffee—that allows my thoughts to wander freely. Crafting a serene space at home is also a must; it's like having a personal sanctuary for my mind to run wild. As a business owner, I also try to keep my entrepreneurial creativity nurtured. I dive into leadership classes and rub shoulders with innovative minds from diverse fields. Their ideas become a source of fresh inspiration for me. I'm naturally a curious cat and enjoy constantly soaking up the wisdom of creative minds,” she shares.


For Lora Watts, founder of Project Luma (, an art initiative bringing color to school campuses through murals and other imaginative installations, her creative blocks are not due to a lack of ideas; rather, she has the opposite problem of being overwhelmed with too many creative ideas and not knowing which to choose. Says Watts: “Infinite possibilities can create a deer-in-the-headlights effect, and pushing hard for extended hours or days can be counterproductive. Once I’ve exhausted my brain and am spinning my wheels without progress, the most effective strategy is to take a break for the day. Engaging in other activities puts my brain to work in a different space: the background to taking a walk, running errands, reading—all while my thoughts dwell on the issue in the background. Then comes the essential ingredient: sleep. Often, I wake up with a new solution to try, so it becomes a cycle: work, take a break, sleep, and repeat. In the end, trying to rush the process tends to be less effective than giving thoughts the necessary time to percolate.”


by Emily Best
Photo courtesy of its respective company or organization.