Artists are a lost bunch. All of us. We’re always pushing the envelope, burning the midnight oil, biting off more than we can chew and forging trails where there aren’t any. I may look like I know exactly what I’m doing, but I can assure you I’m lost half the time. It’s my job, because it’s the quickest way to end up somewhere I’ve never been.

Getting lost takes minimal skill. If you’re curious about things and a bit of an explorer, you’ll get lost. The trick, of course, is in finding your way home again.

How many times have you started an art project — filled with optimism and certainty — and followed your creative muse around this way and that until, about halfway through, you’re in no man’s land with no clear path to the finish line?

A key question to ask is “What am I trying to do?” Reestablish your original vision in your mind or — gut check — admit you were hoping things would become clear as you went along. Then push on. Move confidently into unknown territory and keep your eyes open for familiar sign posts: Emotional content, solid composition, pleasing color, visual hooks, tonal harmony and masterful technique.

You can rarely think your way out of an art dilemma of this nature. Too many options, too much procrastination. Roll up your sleeves and get in there, even if you’re not sure where it’s all heading. Work it. Push it. Find the art.

Illustration courtesy Lindsay Podd used under a Creative Commons license.