I discussed killing it in a previous post, "Who Killed It", concerning your creativity. This doesn't just apply to visual artists. Ever wonder if Paula Deen got in such a funk that she went out for a Sonic burger days in a row? Feed the kids Mac 'n Cheese every night (not too bad, I might say :). Tim the Tool Guy avoiding his workshop for days, until the sawdust on the floor was full of little mice? What about a writer who reads every best seller he can get his hands on, but can't put two words of his own together to make sense?
Here are some tips:
- Leave expectations at the door. I don't care which of your galleries (I wish) are demanding the same old landscape/still life/nude. If you are bored, it will begin to show. Yeah, I know. gotta keep the money flowing in. So, find another hour a day just for you...cut down on social media, exist on sandwiches instead of four-course meals for awhile, turn cellphone and email OFF. You can find an hour a day, surely. ps: dust in the living room never killed anyone. If some jokester writes you a message in it, answer his a** right below and walk off! (yeah, happened to me)
- Try a new medium. If you are known for watercolors, get yourself a starter set of pastels. I'll be glad to recommend some that won't break the bank. And as with other mediums, you can create masterpieces with a limited palette...you don't need (?) 4,000 sticks in every imaginable hue, shade and hardness. I'm just saying...for a beginner.
- Reorganize/declutter/rearrange your painting space. Last time I moved my studio, when we downsized living space, I pre-organized all supplies in the 15qt. Sterilite containers with the attached flip lids. Easy to move around when full, easy to stack, and the lids don't come off, get lost, get stepped on.
- If you've been painting on the kitchen table and having to move your gear to eat, FIND ANOTHER SPOT! Take over the 'formal' living or dining room. How many times do you axully use them? wouldn't that valuable space be more productive as a studio where you could work in odd minutes without having to unpack/pack back? I had a friend who did just that. The first room off her foyer had no function, except for another room to sit in. Didn't link to any other rooms, so it was a dead end. She put tarps on the carpet, moved out all the furniture, and set up folding work tables in an "L" shape. Art lamps clamped on the back edge of these tables, and she could have 3-4 separate work stations with storage underneath.
- Bribe yourself with a major purchase...like a floor easel. You can get a good one from Best (made in USA, they won't fall apart like the imports) for $200 or so. I recommend the Best Lobo Deluxe Easel...sturdy, convertible to a flat configuration for watercolor/collage, or vertical for oil, pastel. Storage shelf under. Easy to adjust, and USA made in American Oak! I did this for me several years ago when a closed business and all its leftover stuff ended up in our walk-out basement. Told myself if I would just fill one large trash can a week (Randy agreed to get it up for pickup), I could have the space for a studio AND my reward was a David Sorg easel. Best bribe I've ever had!
- Previously in two larger houses, I had art gear in several spots. Theoretically (in Wicki's mind anyway) I could paint in several different locations. Problem turned out that whatever I needed was someplace else. Gear from classes/workshops/en plain air got dumped at the back door or in the trunk of my car. In our smaller space, I have one 10x14' room all to me. Everything is in bins, and labelled. Small bins are on metal bookshelf on wheels, large ones in closet. On the mid-shelf of closet are stacks of boards for oil, another for pastel, and another for watercolor blocks. I have two work stations set up...my big easel by the north light window for pastels. My studio assortment sits on top of a flat file holding large paper. My oil taboret (Jack Richeson) is set up for oil. I can find anything I want and move less than one box to get to it. Love my cozy space
- Change your pattern. If you paint fast, go slow...and visey versy. As slow as you can. If you paint alla prima (all at once), paint a grisaille (monotone underpainting). Change your genre...known for landscapes? Do some still Life. Study anatomy. Study birds. Study Color. Put this new information into your painting.
- Plan a retreat. I mentioned Mélanger avec Amour in a previous post, Zen Zone, where Kippy Hammond writes about the value of a retreat. No excuses...trade kids with a neighbor for the night...take a trip...send the family away for two days...just gift yourself some time.
- Go to your art bookshelf and randomly choose a book. Clear a space to read and practice what is in it. Do the demonstrations! Try to grasp what the author is saying. Apply the parts that resonate with you to your creative work. Dogear the corners, splash paint on it, USE it.
- Take a workshop. Not if you are the local workshop junkie...you should stay AWAY from workshops and absorb what you've taken in. However, if you do a workshop, prepare! Gather the supplies. If the tutor has a specific pigment/brush/paper GET IT AHEAD OF TIME. there is no humanly possible way to learn what is being taught if you substitute whatever you have on hand. Give yourself a break and a chance to succeed. I once organized a 3 day workshop with Leslie B. DeMille. He was adamant about NO STUDENT GRADE PAINTS, and had a reasonable list of 18 Rembrandt pastels. Wouldn't you know that several students showed up with THEIR way of doing things. Mr. Les about had kittens when he was at an easel to help a student and couldn't get a particular mixture. Then he saw the Winton Oil tube and never went back to that easel.
This is what I'm doing at the start of 2014. A fundraising campaign with Hatchfund.org called Over and Over Again: Repetition with Variations. This blog is part of the project. Since the end of one year and the beginning is a rebirth time for me anyway, painting is slow, and I felt I could commit to the daily marketing/promotion of the project. It ends on February 18, my Sarah's birthday. She would have been 27 on her birthday in 2014. Please go over and follow/share/donate. With your help and a successful campaign, we'll be able to start a scholarship fund in her name.
PS: If you are reading this through email as a newsletter, click here to read in the actual blog and see Comment area which is at the bottom of the post. Click on "Comment", then scroll down to see the box. Let me know if this doesn't work...OK?