Sometimes as artists we get stuck. It happens to all of us. Either our motivation is lacking or our inspiration is missing. If you’re experiencing this, there’s nothing wrong with you – it’s normal. It’s simply part of being a “creative”.
It can be frustrating for sure. Creativity is odd creature. It seems that the more room we give to it, the more it grows. But when we try to force it to happen, the more it hides from us.
Creativity simply can’t be forced, we have to let it happen. In this post, I’ll share 7 different ways to provide some room for those creative juices to flow. When I’m stuck, these activities seem to “kick start” things for me, so hopefully they’ll work for you too.
1. Go For a Walk Outside
There’s nothing quite like going for a quiet walk on a beautiful day. Listening to the birds sing and taking in the natural beauty of the world around us clears our minds. Ditch the earbuds and let the sounds around you in.
Walking also gets the blood flowing and better blood flow means more oxygen to your brain. We think clearer when we are getting better circulation. Sometimes a simple walk can lead to lots of new ideas and renewed motivation.
2. Get Inspired By Art
We often get caught up with our own art and forget about all of the other fantastic artists and works out there for us to study. And when I say “study”, I don’t mean doing an internet search for images. Get out and go to a local gallery or museum and look at the works in person. Study the brushstrokes, the composition, and the colors used by the artist. Get “up close and personal” with the art.
When I leave the museum, I feel completely rejuvenated, inspired, and motivated. I can’t wait to get back to the studio to work.
My favorite painting to “visit” is “The Andes of Ecuador” by Fredric Church at Reynolda House Museum of American Art. It is an incredible work to see in person, measuring over 59″ by 87″. There is so much detail that it is like seeing an entire collection of works in one painting. Below is the sketch for the finished painting. You can check out the finished work, including detail images, here. (Keep in mind that an image on the internet is no comparison to seeing the work in person.)
3. Listen to Music
Music has always been a great outlet for me. Whether it’s playing it or listening it, music can take you to “other” places, especially when we close out other sounds and focus solely on the music. When was the last time you sat down with a great album and put on some headphones?
Music was an early source of inspiration for me. Music provided that extra spark for me when I was in high school and college. These days, I mostly listen to music when I am actually creating in the studio. But, if I’m in a rut, music can often pull me out of it.
We all have varied musical tastes, but if you’re hoping to find that creative spark through music, I’d suggest staying away from pop tunes. Stick to jazz, blues, soul, experimental, or progressive rock. Music that is a bit more open to interpretation, instead of having lots of lyrics getting in the way, seems to work wonders for me.
4. Free Doodle
Sometimes just making marks helps to set those creative juices in motion. Doodling is an underrated activity that can even lead to finished works. There’s nothing wrong with grabbing your favorite mark-making tool and draw random marks, shapes, and forms. Doodling can release some of the pressure that we place on ourselves to create finished “masterpieces” every time that we create.
When you doodle, allow your mind to “turn off” and just let the marks happen. Remember, we need to allow some space for creativity to grow. Don’t force it, just let go and have some fun. You’ll likely find that ideas start to swirl faster than your hand can even record them.
5. Experiment with a New Medium
Sometimes we find ourselves in an artistic “rut” when it’s simply time to broaden our horizons. Often we can be so “tuned in” to the medium that we are most comfortable using that we lose the joy and creative spark that we had when we first experienced it. If this applies to you, it may be time to try a new medium.
You don’t need to abandon your “first love”, not by any means. You may just need to take a break and explore.
Using a brand new medium is like setting out on a new adventure, one where we’re free to explore. Because you are “inexperienced”, you’re likely to be more open to experimentation and “making mistakes”. Often this mindset turns out to be a breeding ground for creativity. You may find your creativity is set afire when you allow yourself to try something new and you may fall in love with another medium all together.
6. Clear Your Mind Through Meditation
Day to day occurrences and worries create clutter in our heads. We often find ourselves overcome with all kinds of things we have to care of – paying bills, taking care of loved ones, grocery lists, and much more. With all of these thoughts in our head, how can we expect to have room left for creativity?
Meditation can be a wonderful way to “quiet all of the noise”. It’s just as important to take care of our mind as it is to care for the rest of our body. Taking a few moments each day to sit quietly and release the worrisome thoughts of day can create more room for the creative thoughts to enter.
7. Avoid Placing Pressure On Yourself
Pressure is a creativity killer. It’s even worse when you place pressure on yourself. The process of creating is at its best when it’s fun. Pressure is simply no fun at all. It will absolutely suck the creative juices from you.
It’s definitely easier said than done, but try to avoid placing pressure on yourself. You shouldn’t feel that every work that you create be a “masterpiece”. Relax, have fun, and allow the creative process to happen. From my experience, the quality of work is much higher when you are relaxed and enjoying the experience.
Freedom to “Flow”
If we expect for our creative juices to flow freely, then we have to unclog the “pipes” and create some room for our creativity to grow. These seven activities may not work for everyone, but they are sure to free up some much needed room in your mind for your true artistic self to start peeking through again.
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