Monday, December 21, 2009

Inspiring the Uninspired

It's the end of December and the major holiday flurry has passed us by. With this, I am finding that it is hard for me to get motivated to get into the studio. Last week I had the excuse of holiday shopping and preparations so I didn't get to paint much, but now I really don't have much of an excuse. I find that as the days get shorter and it's darker earlier, I am less motivated to go into the studio. It's cold out and staying home underneath a warm blanket really sounds much better than shivering while trying to paint, right? So what do you do when you aren't motivated to paint? Here's my list...

1. If I'm going to stay home, I may as well get the admin side of art done. Things like updating my website, writing my next blog post, emailing galleries, and cataloging my paintings for my own records are good things to get done since I can do those things on my couch, underneath my warm blanket, while watching some seriously bad television. Currently I am watching the "Wendy Show" as I write this (Who is Wendy and why does she have a talk show????).

2. Organize and go through your "box" of inspiration. For me, that is going through all of the old photographs that I got for Christmas and deciding what would make good paintings. Before I started working on this series, I would go online and look at other artist's websites and see what they were painting. I also have many art books to look at. A few hours of this usually gets me revved up to start a new painting.

3. Visit a gallery, museum, or interesting retail stores. My favorite is Paxton Gate, a taxidermy/garden/weird curiosity store or Pearl's Art Store. Who doesn't get excited around new art supplies? Okay, maybe that's just me. Julia Cameron, author of "The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity", calls these art dates. This is time that you spend by yourself looking at things that inspire you or finding things that can inspire you. Going to see art always inspires me, whether it's cause I see something great and I want to emulate that, or I see something that isn't as great and I think I can do better than that. Sometimes just walking around to different stores gives me ideas and I find interesting supplies to use. Now this means I would have to leave the house and go out in the cold, but sometimes that's the price you have to pay for inspiration.

4. Make a date with a fellow artist. Sometimes just talking about art with another person is all I need. Getting excited about what you are doing or listening to someone else talk about what they are doing and getting excited about it is contagious. Talking to other artists gives you a sounding board to bounce ideas off each other or work out problems you may be having with a painting. Having support from a fellow artist is extremely important to my art making process.

So there you have it! Now I am done writing this blog, I'm going to go organize some photos before meeting up with my writer friend, William.

Image: "Doug", 12" x 12", oil and encaustic on wood panel. This is a commissioned painting I did before Christmas.


  1. I wish we were neighbors so we can go on artist dates together. Keep up the good work!!

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.