If you are already
experienced with art,
you haven‘t done art
for a while,
here are a few
Tips For Rekindling the Artist Within You
by Kelly Jamieson (who has kindly permitted publication of this article)
Missing: One artist
Last Seen: Alive and well somewhere within you, long ago,
in what felt like a much better time and place
Reward: Reinstatement of personal creative fulfillment
Just when you thought the artist within you had
disappeared forever ... you receive some encouraging signs
of hope for an overdue rescue.
You are an artist. You were born an artist and you'll be an
artist on the day that you die. Like life and everything alive,
you are dynamic and you change slightly everyday with
each of the moments that make up the layers of your
existence. Along your journey, you'll often encounter
periods when you masochistically succeed, for whatever
reason, in smothering your inner artist. Everyone contends
with this, but what separates you from others is your ability
to declare these periods 'times of creative-self repair.'
Apply patience and trust that you'll soon move forward into
a new and improved phase of invigorated creativity.
Below are some guidelines to help convince the new and
improved artist within you that it's time to emerge.
1. Reconstruct your creative environment.
Our surroundings affect us on so many levels, consciously
and subconsciously; it's not surprising that sometimes we
can't determine specifically how we've clogged our creative
arteries. If you've lost the access to your creative flow,
consider changing something around you. Significant or not,
make yourself a new haven for creation. Clear out a corner
to call your own. If you're short on space, find an easily
accessible place nearby to go that allows you forget the
world and reconnect with the deepness of your artistic self.
2. Invest in a few new supplies.
It's possible for artists to have relationships with everything
- and sometimes in our sets of tools, we let memories of
disliked or discarded projects resonate from the past.
This definitely stunts the potential for fresh new creations
to materialize. How much is revitalized inspiration worth to
you? Start over. Pick up new paper, paint, pencils, brushes
or palettes whatever it is that you need to get excited for
opportunities to make a few new first impressions again.
3. Book an appointment with your creativity.
Will three o'clock work for you? Make a schedule. If you're
finding that there's no point during the day or week that
you're feeling creative in any way determine a random one
and set yourself up for some counselling with your
creativity. Allocate time each day twenty minutes, one hour,
whatever you need - to fully remove yourself from the
constraints of your life and focus only on your art.
You may find yourself stumbling at first, but soon you'll
look forward to the daily release of creative energy.
It won't be long before you're unable to make your
appointment because the two of you will be so busy
4. Be patient with yourself.
Just like your art, you are a work in progress. Never look
down on yourself for losing touch with your right brain.
When moving forward from periods of creative stagnation,
you have to remember that you've cut yourself off for a
reason. It's possible that you might not quite be ready
for 'post-renovation' re-opening day. Try not to fret in
frustration; trust that your 'creative-self-repair' feature
is fully serviceable and prepare for the eventual emergence
of greatness that is bound to appear.
5. Don't criticize yourself.
You are creative you are an artist. That is who you are but
remember, what artists do require skills and if you don't
practice skills, they become rusty. That's just what happens;
life always gets in the way of us really doing what we want
to do. You can't hate yourself if your creative edges become
dull with time. Be gentle with the expectations for your
creativity. Acknowledge and accept that what you produce
right now is definitely not your top potential; there's not
doubt that you'll be consistently sharpening that edge with
time. Look forward to the improvements you'll continue to
display as you fully move into and unpack in a fresh
creative phase of your life.
6. Find something inspiring.
What is it that makes the blood race through your veins?
What is it that captures your eye twice and retains your
interest? It's time to put yourself in a position to see your
world with a new, fresh perspective. Is there someone you
know who brings out a different side of you that you have
yet to explore? Is there something that makes you so mad
so sad - or makes you laugh harder than ever? Whatever it
is, attempt to transform it into art. Emotions and your
permitting of their outpour is always good. You base much
of your art on emotion and it's possible that your creativity
might have been cut off by an emotional filter you weren't
even aware you'd installed. Let yourself learn to feel again.
7. Attend a workshop.
Okay, it may seem like the most un-spontaneous thing
you have ever done in your artistic life, but when you're
creatively challenged, take the steps you need to move
forward. Your local community centre or art supply store
likely holds weekend workshops for reasonably cheap fees.
A three or five hour artistic kick in the pants may be all it
takes to remind you that you're better, and more capable,
than what you previously believed. Do what it takes to
confirm what you like to do or would like to do artistically
- and get excited at the possibility of creation again. If you
do your footwork and find there are no workshops in your
area create your own workshop. Go on a personal overnight
retreat just you, your tent and your new notebook. Sunsets,
sunrises, constellations at new angles or just the
peacefulness of you and the rocks - may help to unlock
your creativity. If you can't get out of town consider the
backyard; it's not far, but it might just be far enough.
8. Find a community to support you.
When we're struggling to slide back into levels of creativity
we used to frequently dominate, it's important to line-up
positive elements of support, encouragement, idea
development and feedback. The web is invaluable for
online community forums for artists. Utilize your neighbors.
As alienated as you may feel in your loss of creativity,
you're bound to find many others who can share your
experiences many who will be able to offer advice, insight
and help to ensure you reestablish your creative presence
within your life and your community.
Be confident in the fact that there will soon be a moment
when you'll wonder how you were even in a creative dry
spell. Until then, prepare for the ultimate re-emergence
of the artist within you; the longer you've been away, the
better your reunion with yourself will be, guaranteed.
One of the best parts is realizing that - as far away as
you've felt from your creativity - it's always been right
there where you left it - safe inside you waiting for just
the right moment to reemerge.
Enjoy your rediscovery.
Now it's official:
Art is good for you !
The idea is to get creative and de-stress.
Being creative with art will put you in a great mood. Your paintbrush or pencil will draw your attention away from yourself (from your stress, worries,
problems, etc.) and into a zone of pure pleasure. Not worried about the finished
art piece, you get lost in the doing. You‘ll feel like a little kid in playschool with
not a care in the world.
Express Yourself: Creating art can be as simple or complex as you want it to be.
Remember, when you are doing something for enjoyment, let go of any expectations and rules, and just do it. Explore different options before buying
out the art supply store.
If this is your first venture into painting, drawing, pastels, etc., start with the basic tools.
Books or websites will guide you in your endeavour. Or if you prefer taking an art class at a local studio or community center, great, this puts you amongst
people, which is good.
What to use to express yourself artistically: watercolours, acrylics, colour pencils, etc etc. You can also just have fun by picking up an inexpensive drawing pad and a pencil, and doodle.
Main thing: Enjoy!
--- And how will art alleviate stress? ---
Art can relax you when you are stressed and ease the tension of the real world.
- By distraction:
Iit takes your mind off what is stressing you, at least for a while.
Afterwards you‘ll find you‘ll have a clearer head to tackle your problems with.
- By flow:
There‘s a certain quality of being called "flow", that experts say is very
beneficial for us. This refers to a state of being completely engaged in something to the point of being in a near meditative state. You can also experience "flow" when you‘re doing other creative activities such as writing or gardening. But you can also get it from drawing.
- By self care:
Just the act of having a hobby can make you feel more balanced.
Sometimes we forget that we need and deserve "relax time" and self care. Taking even a few minutes on a regular basis to devote to a hobby can give you more of what you need in this area. And with drawing or other artwork you have the additional benefit of being left with something beautiful (or at least interesting) to show for it!
Art is a wonderful escape route. Experimenting with an assortment of styles, colours,
and textures, is taking an adventure of creativeness. It releases boredom and built up
Art lets you take those emotions and turn them into something beautiful.
Very therapeutic indeed.
What follows is your PRESCRIPTION for ART.
You don‘t really need a prescription, but if you feel better by having one,
please feel free to print it out and to enter your NAME,
and show it to anybody you wish.
PRESCRIPTION for ART
- Take 30-60 minutes per day to do Art! –
(“When I’m doing art, don’t wake me.”)
.............................................. has a doctor’s permission to disappear into
the art zone for a minimum of 30 minutes per day.
Laughter, serenity, peace, relaxation, reduced stress levels, diminished anxiety, solutions to tough problems, bursts of creativity, calmness, health, fun.
CAUTION: Negative side effects occur if this prescription is ignored.
........................................ gets cranky, mean, wicked, bad, depressed and
possibly nasty. Lack of art can cause spitting, hissing, and PMS-like symptoms.
Prescribed by "Dr. art." Angie Stehle
WORKSHEET of Ideas, Possibilities, Projects
=== Perhaps print it out, and tick off what you have done / tried). ===
(in no particular order) - Please choose freely.
- Ethnic/cultural styles (African painting; Greek style; Roman; Ancient; Medieval;
- a window looking out, incl. foreground such as windowsill with vase etc.
- a variety of windows
- miniature painting / also on stone
- tone in tone with one contrasting object
- a story or message
- use a black background with contrasting foreground
- use a golden background perhaps with silhouette
- create a marble effect background
- paint on glass / flat glass and/or glass objects
- modern, abstract, unusual; elements and principles; geometric
- animal details eg. eye close-up
- an Irish painting, or one from your culture
- expressive art (emotions, ideas)
- decorative art
- legs only (animal and/or humans)
- go out photographing and/or sketching
- drawing with perseverance and determination
- artwork emphasising edges / spaces / relationships / values (how dark)
- work on gestalt (the whole) = a united character, pull it together, then final touches
- make a selection in composition
- use repetition
- choose a special viewpoint
- use perspective, create depth when including details
- work on light
- work on form
- make a group effort
- distort something, experiment with something
- paint abstract ideas such as power or authority
- play ― "What if" in your mind and draw that
- express the same person younger and older
- try out different textures
- put something or people into a different time
- study a famous artist or another famous person
- put patterns together
- invent something new or unusual
- make your own combinations, eliminate/change what you like = artist‘s license
- emphasise beauty in something common
- change your perspective by imagining yourself very tiny
- create a mood, an atmosphere, a character, a style
- a religioius subject
- express drama / action
- colours: imagine the picture is made of dots / mosaic
- work on colour combinations
- brainstorm a subject and everything that goes with it, even remotely
- try various techniques
- paint about a social concern
- try different mediums (crayon, pencil, paint, fabric, yarn, stone, wood, metal, etc.)
- use your phantasy and creative imagination (not necessarily absolute fidelity)
- make a sketch
- try a grisaille (if you don't know what it is, google it!)
- kids room mural
- ceiling mural
- make a portfolio with works in one consistent style
- symbolic meanings expressed in artwork
- make a poster with Dublin doors
- make a poster with various windows
- express sounds from nature or music or songs in artwork
- orchestra, soloist, instruments
- paint magnified flowers eg. Japanese or Chinese style
- use a Chinese newspaper as a background for a painting
- photograph a consistent character (Teddybaer etc) (or 2) and then draw or paint for
- prepare a number of canvases with various (interesting) backgrounds for later use
- express smells in artwork
- paint fire
- create unusual hats, make a poster of them
- a sequence of growing plants or animals or humans
- a collection of teapots
- arrange flowers with an object and paint it as still-life
- make a colour series, eg. everything red, with one blotch of a contrasting colour
- butterflies, also phantasy butterflies
- a collection of glass bottles together, study what makes glass look like glass
- create an A-Z poster
- flowers in unusual objects (in a baby shoe, bride‘s shoe, walking shoe, sandal, ...)
- families; mother and child; love; values
- paint pots; design pots
- something you or someone else has experienced
- many smiles and one frown
- arrange different fruits together (variety of colours, sizes, textures)
- study mountains in different seasons
- beautiful landscape
- create artwork that might become useful
- sun, moon, stars, universe
- study weather, rain, storm, etc.
- draw a variety of shells, possibly glue real sand onto a canvas
- use real wooden pieces on your canvas to make the painting come into reality
- paint a variety of ponds
- create balance / create tension
- mugs and what you can do with them make a good subject
- photograph a variety of gates / doors
- music as a subject
- imitate the work of other artists such as the old masters
- make the life of a funny worm the subject of a cartoon
- dolls, dress them up for different situations
- roses in different shapes (heart, etc.), romantic theme
- flick through books, magazines, catalogues for picture ideas or references
- four seasons
- photograph various yawns and sleepy animals and persons
- make hearts of strawberries, of rose petals, of shells, of seeds, ...
- write in sand and photograph it
- a gardening subject
- people at work or at play
- an underwater theme
- draw an event, an experience, a situation, a tragedy
- introduce a zoo or a museum or a park by way of illustration etc
- floral drawing
- add dots etc to flowers to create movement etc
- literary subjects (words) such as poetry, literature, quotes, phrases
- create bookmarks
- herbs and wildflowers
- paint on roundish stones and photograph them and make a poster of them
- paint or draw interiors
- express time, the passage of time, ageing, life
- collect seedpods and make them a theme
- paint your dreams and hopes, your inner world
- a fairytale or story for children
- express emotions in painting (Van Gogh did so!)
- newspaper with a fresh flower
- an old photograph (sepia) with a fresh flower
- photograph something step-by-step
- photograph two characters (persons or dolls or toy animals or animals) and make a
story of it / postcards
- sand arrangements with plants or objects
- a historical subject
- use bamboo as a frame
- create message cakes, message scrabble, message whatever
- make a giftbook with drawings or photographs especially taken for it
- add calligraphy to a painting with a message
- create artwork related to a particular tourism area or city or town
- photograph (and paint) fruit when cup open or cut into slices and light behind it
- appetising food arrangements make an interesting art subject
- use miniature items (such as from dolls houses) in your artwork
- use small pieces of cotton material, lace, etc in mixed media artwork
- draw with water colour pencils and let it "rain" on it
- create a still-life with baby items
- a still-life with wedding items
- make a glass house and paint it with glass paints
- dolls house rooms are interesting to paint on canvas
- paint bamboo Chinese style
- make a fireplace screen out of a material you will paint on
- draw a spider web with dew drops
- ask a friend to sit for a portrait drawing
- draw an identity of a personality
- photograph or sketch people informally and draw them
- animals, birds, etc
- modernise nature
- observe scientifically and draw like Leonardo da Vinci
- combinations of humans and animals, animals and flowers, etc.
- the apple‘s view in a still life
- snow in the city streets
- sandwich series (time)
- double portrait: you and your mother
- the night
- series of self-portraits showing different emotions
- the same sky at different times of the day
- still life with 3 objects from your desk
- what kittens dream about that makes their paws twitch
- paint something that has to be captured quickly (a wet object before it dries OR a
passing bicycle OR a running person
- the negative space in a large leafless tree
- paint another version of your favourite painting, moving every colour ONCE along
the colour wheel
- put your favourite CD on and paint the music
- a deserted sandy beach, footsteps leading away from you, a small figure at the
- the view you wish you‘d see from your studio window
- what a bee sees when it is collecting pollen from a rose
- 4 self-portraits in different seasons
- Water drops on a broad-leafed plant
- What a worm sees when it looks up at a yellow daisy
- A portrait emphasising not so much the likeness but an aspect of the person‘s
- Kids ice-skating on an ice-covered pond at dusk
- Black as a colour, not as a tone
- A paperclip (with something) as the centre in a story or idea
- 3 vases of sunflowers in the styles of 3 different artists (series)
- etc. etc. etc.
Some days there won't be
a song in your heart.
Inspiration when you
have "Creative Block"
You want to do art, but you feel ununspired and hesitant, can’t get started?
No, you haven’t lost your artistic ability. It just needs to be re-awakened, that’s all.
Have a look through a few art books or art magazines.