Whether you are an artist full time, part time, or just for play time the inevitable will happen at some point in your creative journey...you will suffer a momentary loss of interest or ideas. This is not a catastrophe but an opportunity to step back, regroup, and renew your passion with fresh ideas. Sometimes all we need is a simple break in our creative routine. Below I have listed some ideas that help me when I find myself floundering for whats next. I hope these will help you to keep your creative spark alive too.
* STEP OUTSIDE YOUR STUDIO *
While where we work or play can be very inspirational and motivating, whether in decor or supplies, there is still a familiar sameness to it. Take yourself on a field trip to some place that inspires you. Visit another artist friend, bouncing ideas off one another can get the creative juices flowing. Visit a gallery, museum, or my favorite, local art shows sponsored by our public library. Visit a favorite haunt to find new supplies, art store, flea market, etc. Sit by the seaside, walk in the woods, feel the vibrant buzz of the local coffee house, do something where people, places, and activity are going on. You never know what will inspire you, a colorful scarf draped around a storefront display, the beaded jewelry of the lady next to you in line, the feel of wind and sun brushing your skin. Inspiration abounds, just go out and look for it.
* TRY SOMETHING NEW *
Is there a new technique, media, or supply you have been wanting to try? Do it! Give yourself permission to play without the pressure of creating an entire piece of finished art. I have been playing with fusion-dyed collage and textured backgrounds for collage. I want to learn how to give my work more depth through layers. You can find lots of new ideas through books, special publication crafting magazines (many of the Stampington & Co. are my favorites), blogs, and even You Tube crafting videos.
*CHANGE YOUR STYLE *Sometimes something as simple as working in another color palette can recharge your work. While I adore working in sepia tones and neutral colors every so often I go for more colorful choices or I experiment with how I can add a pleasing pop of color into my favorite tones. Flip-flop your technique, if you usually work in paper with a little cloth, try something with a lot of cloth and a little paper and vice versa.
* CHALLENGE YOURSELF *(What is with Blogger flipping my photos sideways? Grrrr! Sorry about that, just tilt your head for correct viewing.)
Sometimes all we need to get back in the groove is a good old fashioned challenge with a deadline. Participate in an art challenge or swap.
Mary of Green Paper hosts a free challenge the first of every month using free images from her collection.
Lenna of Creative Lenna hosts wonderful swaps in a variety of media. I have participated in one from each of these ladies and it really did get me thinking and creating.
One on one swaps are a great idea too! Never be afraid to approach a favorite artist and ask if they would like to do a swap, sometimes it is a yes and sometimes it is a no but you never know until you step out and try. I did a great one with Diane Knott, we sent each other an unfinished piece of art we had started and then let the other finish it and return it. I was amazed by what we each saw as an ending vision to the other ones beginning.
My friend Pam and I often swap supplies. This can get the creative juices going by having something new to play with that is also free of cost. You could host a formal swap with a group of people or just do a one on one swap with a friend.
Another thing I like to do is challenge myself with limited media or supplies. To do this type up a list of media and supplies think of things under the categories of things like; paints and ink, pens and pencils, glitter, rubber stamps, stencils, paper punches, surfaces such as wood, paper, etc. Just look around your creative space and list as many things as you can that you use to create with. Print out the list, cut it apart, fold each word in half, and place in a jar or basket. Draw out three slips of paper and challenge yourself to use those media to create a piece of art, (no cheating!), only use those three.
* TAKE A CLASS *Learning a new technique is a certain way to fire up those creative ideas. Through personal experience, whether online, DVD, or live, I find a certain sense of refreshing after watching another artist at work and start generating new ideas of how I can incorporate what I have learned into my own work or style. Check out local classes in your area through an arts center, artist league, local collage, or craft store.
I can personally vouch for KC Willis Collage Camp online or through her DVD series and have heard that her live classes are awesome.
Mary Green (Green Paper) has two fantastic classes being offered at the moment, Your Vintage Glue Book, which is totally amazing and I highly recommend it for a beginning collage artist. You get some really great design perspective from this class using minimal tools and supplies so there is not a huge investment going in. Once you learn this technique it is the perfect take along craft!
She is also offering a new class Collage Coterie which embraces skill levels of all sorts since it is based on technique as well as images and prompts.
Karla (Karla's Cottage) and Beth (Gathering Dust) are co-hosting an upcoming online class called Romantic Gothic Ghosts, Which is based on the ideal of old romantic Gothic novels like Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights with a Halloween twist of Gothic arches, sepia tones, and fun technique. There are a variety of projects with 12 days of instruction, lots of images, a few quick videos, and lots of tips and tricks.
Check out the DVD's and Downloads at the Interweave Store. There are some really great and affordable mixed media classes available by some fantastic artists.
If you know of a great class, please list in the comments section so others can check it out too!
* SIGN UP FOR SOME INSPIRATION *
(Oh no! Not again!)
Newsletters are also a way to glean some inspiration from. Some of my favorites are Quilting Arts , Cloth Paper Scissors , and Post Script (Stampington & Co.). These newsletters keep me up on tips, techniques, new products, and so much more, plus, they are loaded with inspiration.
*START A SKETCHBOOK/JOURNAL *
If you already have one, look back over it and get inspired by what you have written, drawn, pasted, painted, penciled, etc. Use a simple prompt to inspire a page, but remember, this is for play. I keep a couple of these journals that I don't play in nearly often enough.
A Year in the Life of An Art Journal is a fun site with art journal prompts and fun free tutorials for your pages.
How would you like to make an art journal that went on tour and then became a part of a permanent art collection at the Brooklyn Art Library? Now that could get your creativity flowing! Check out The Sketchbook Project. The rules to enter a journal can be found HERE, be sure and read them carefully for all the details. Sign up date is by October 31, 2010, Completed book must be postmarked by January 15, 2011, and the tour starts on March 2011.
Just google *art journal prompts* and you will have a host of sites to choose from to find the type of journal you might be inspired to keep.
* CLEAN YOUR WORKSPACE *
I know, you are all groaning over this one, but, sometimes freshening up our environment can be inspiration enough in and of itself. Set yourself up a small display of things that inspire you, a small shelf, tray, or table top filled with visual goodies can inspire creative moments. Rearrange supplies in handy containers to have ready a moments notice when inspiration hits. Sort through your supplies, it seems when we start sifting we find things we have forgotten we had and the ideas start rolling for what we can do with our found goodies. Hang or rearrange an inspiration board, again, visuals can spark a creative moment.
* HOST A CRAFT DAY *Getting together with other creative people and seeing what they are working on can really get the inspiration flowing. This does not have to be a formal event with projects, kits, tutorials, etc. Keep it simple. Have everyone bring a project they are working on. If you decided on having a meal or refreshments, have everyone bring something. This is not necessarily about learning something new but about fellowship and refreshment of inspiration.What about you? What do you do to revitalize your lagging creativity? Did I leave something off the list? I'd love for you to share how you keep your creative spark alive in the comments section. Happy Creating!