In July, I took an online course called Inspirit. Initially I chose this class because I love the idea of drawing inspiration from yourself. Letting YOU inspire your art, instead of always trying to find inspiration elsewhere. Creating art is about trusting yourself, getting in tune with your intuition, and letting yourself just play.
While working through the course, I created two artworks. Both are inspired by myself.
This one was inspired directly from the visualization exercise that was in one of the course lessons. I don’t remember the exact prompts of the meditation, but I distinctly remember where it took me. A park I used to play in as a kid… that feeling of serenity and being in touch with the trees, the sky, the grass…
You know the sensation of tilting your face to the sun, closing your eyes, and your senses are overwhelmed by warmth and bright light? When you can see the orangey yellow behind your eyelids? That’s this :)
I used only art supplies I had handy: sketchbook paper; acrylic, watercolor, and gouache paints; pens.
This second piece is a collage with a photo of myself. Inspired by this quote:
“The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
I took a photo with my self-timer, and printed it off on my black&white printer.
I surprised myself with this piece! It turned out better than I ever imagined. Almost as if I stumbled across one of those hidden jewels… :)
I enjoyed this quick online course as a way to get back into mixed media. I struggle with making time for creating good old-fashioned art, and it’s even harder if I feel like I’m “doing it for nothing.” Having assignments in this class gave me a box to work within, which makes me feel more creative.
Intuitive art and drawing inspiration from my self and my inner world are ideas I’m interested in exploring further. It gives me great comfort to know that creating magical artwork doesn’t have to be hard: all I have to do is search within!
Sometimes when you’re feeling creatively stuck, you’re trying to work on your art but keep procrastinating or lack motivation, and doing something similar but different can help get those creative juices flowing. Or not. But as an artist, you feel more fulfilled and successful at life in general when you get that creative buzz going, right? When you create something new that didn’t exist before. When you pull from that well within yourself and uncover some jewels: fascinating, interesting, beautiful, clever… When you at least made something!
When I say “non-artsy”, I mean ways that don’t involve drawing, painting, sculpting, or any artistic practice that involves a lot of patience and skill. A break from traditional fine art mediums. Some of the ways I’ve outlined below are indeed artsy, but they’re a little more entry-level, take less time, or typically have less pressure.
How to get creative in non-artsy ways:
Go to a new place just to see what’s there. Wander a neighborhood that isn’t yours. Switch up your surroundings. Go get coffee, lunch, or a cookie at a place you’ve never been. Scavenger hunt for a specific brand of potato chips. Go sit someplace busy and people-watch. Try on a different personality, pretend you’re a celebrity in hiding or an important businesswoman who nobody knows. Try to blend in, or try to stand out. Make it your mission to talk to 3 strangers, or make it your goal to not speak a word to anyone. Your eyes and mind will be stimulated by the change-up. Your heart will get a rush from the unknown. It may not be the most creative activity, but it can help jumpstart something creative. Your subconscious will take in all the new stimulation and pop out something unique later. Just give it time.
Bake, make a sandwich, meal prep for the week, saute, fry, whatever. Work from a recipe or don’t. A kitchen is like an art studio: raw materials that require manipulation to become something new and better. Making a whim is a tricky way of being creative. You have purpose in the kitchen (gotta eat!) and drive (hunger!). You know when you’re done, and you get to instantly enjoy the fruits of your labor. And unless you’re cooking for someone else too, it doesn’t matter how your work turns out. You’re your only critic.
Do your makeup
Get creative with a different palette: your eyeshadow palette. Or your lip palette, your bronzer, or whatever. Paint up your face. Get weird with it, or don’t. Try something new, or do your same old. Doing your makeup gets your hands moving, gets your brain thinking and problem solving in a creative way. You get to call the shots, and make the call on “is this too much? is the shadowing right? is it balanced? need more highlights?” Makeup is like painting, but with a different purpose.
Yes, writing is art. And if it’s your chosen art form, then this isn’t really a break from the norm. But sometimes when I feel stuck, I try artsy writing. I don’t know the official term for it, but it’s kind of like poetry without rhyming. I try to be descriptive, and almost like fantasy. Make everything sound dramatic and beautiful, like it’s a movie. Here’s an example:
this morning is sunny. our apartment is flooded with light. the sheer curtains casting dusty shadows on the drawers, the vertical blinds open but making stripes on the carpet. my monitor is in direct sunlight; if i were on my computer i’d have to rotate the blinds and block the light so i could see. but i’m on my laptop, on the futon. heart pillow under the keys. my toes just under the coffee table. jar of water, nearly full. double-walled tea mug of brewing tea, a teabag of twinings green. a tiny tupperware to catch the bag. at breakfast we scarfed down cereal with fruit. poured out black tea from the teapot in intervals...
Photograph is definitely an art form, but casual photography can also be freeing. Try knolling the items on your desk as a way to clean up your clutter. (Knolling = arranging neatly in a grid) Or gather objects around your home of similar colors for a creatively colorful photo. Don’t think too much about getting it right. Snap the photo and be done with it. Experiment as much as you want; anything you do is creative and that’s the point.
Instead of getting your hands moving to create a drawing or painting, try collaging. Physically or digitally. Look through magazines or pinterest and collect images on a certain theme. Put them together to make a moodboard. You’ll be surprised how fun it can be, without being too challenging. You can’t get it wrong; you can make a moodboard on any topic or vibe you want. I’m all about back to school right now.
Layer on the jewelry, or try a new outfit combo you’ve never seen yourself in before. If you’re already dressed or not into your current wardrobe, try planning out your style. This could include completing a workbook to define your personal style, creating moodboards to discover your style, or watching youtube videos about minimal or capsule wardrobes.
Just remember that it’s important to change up your routine once in awhile, especially if you’re feeling creatively stuck. Our art comes from our lives, so if it feels like the well is dry, it might be time to refill with more life stuff. Or at least it’s time to eat :)
Before blogging on & off at my blog RubyBows, I “blogged” at LiveJournal and other online diaries and sites probably as far back as 1999. Ever since we got the internet at home. Most of my old writings no longer exist, and that’s OK. Sometimes letting go of your old self is a good thing.
I’m starting over now because I feel like a new person. Reading posts from 7 years ago makes me cringe. When building up this new site, Creatively Operating, I migrated all my old posts over from Blogger. Then I looked through them. Unimpressed at most of them, and embarrassed by a few. “It just doesn’t sound like ME,” I thought.
People start over all the time. Especially online. That’s the beauty of your virtual self: at any time you can shift and morph into something new. Something different. Or remove yourself altogether and just lurk. It’s like each of us “owns” a little section of the internet. It’s wherever we write, share pictures, blog, and share whatever we want.
I’m starting over with my blog because my old home online felt like a place I no longer wanted to be. Filled with past me; evidence of my past self that no longer serves my future vision. I want to try something new.
I’m sure ya’ll get it! Sometimes we just need to hit refresh.