Friday, February 19, 2010

What do you do for Inspiration?

We are starting a new feature in which we ask our members a question for the month. This month's question is "When the well runs dry, what do you do for inspiration?" We hope you find lots of ways to get inspired from these responses!

I step away from my art desk to remove myself from the "pressure" to create and the monkey-mind that says I "should be" creating. Then I go outside and lose myself in physical activity, be it heavy lifting and digging in the garden or a long, fast hike with my dog. I find that getting in touch with my senses (the sounds of bird call, the smell of the soil (mud), the sound of my blood pounding in my ears, the feel of my muscles straining) fills me with renewed joy and a sense of freedom which I then bring back to my art space.


Four things:
1. This is crazy. When I'm stumped, I organize my studio and just
start messing around. Putting things away, going through old scraps and
half done projects gets my juices going for some reason.
2. I keep an inspiration pile handing on one of those clips and it
hangs from a hook near the light switch (no accident there I guess).
These are little clips from magazine, catalogs of colors and things I'd like
to try
3. I make something for someone else, imagining what colors and themes
they like
4. I use my SoulCollage
cards to start
with a color scheme and textural elements. This method always works.


When I'm looking for something to do but my Muse is MIA, I will go to my personal library

and look through some of my books and magazines to get ideas for future projects. If

that doesn't get the job done, I will pull out the pen and paper and Zentangle. Usually

I can get my brain back to a creative zone with just a little meditative doodling.

When I am feeling like I'm in a "creative rut", I grab a cup of tea or glass of wine (a piece or two of dark chocolate is an added bonus) and sink into a comfy chair in the "inspiration corner" of my living room. Soon I'm immersed in ideas in the books from my personal studio library. I usually don't get to sit for long, before inspiration hits and I begin sketching in my art journal. Then I'm off to my studio, sketches in hand, to begin work on a new piece of recycled jewelry or an assemblage.

Jennifer Campbell


I take a long walk in the Pearl or downtown. Walking gets my blood flowing and brain working, and the heart of the city offers so many little textures, patterns, window displays--something always gets me excited. Even if I don't use those things directly in my artwork, they get the juices flowing. And if all else fails, I can stop by Powells for a good browse of art books.


I usually spend a few minutes daily being thankful in advance that the Universe is bringing lots of creative inspiration into my life. Then I begin to see it everywhere . . . online, in my studio, reading magazines, doing crossword puzzles, cleaning out kitchen pantries & cupboards, shopping, listening to music, out on a walk, doing yardwork, watching tv, etc, etc.


I start straightening up my studio and something always drops out that distracts me so I start working. It happens a lot; I have a relatively clean studio (except all the dog hair on the floor). I also always seem to have a pile of half-finished projects that I keep going back to when I don’t have any other ideas.


I go shopping! I love to look in stores like cargo, flutter or any place artfully decorated. Vibrant colors, patterns, antiques or any good art always gets my mind churning with possibilities. A second to that is getting together with other artists and experimenting, gets me in touch with my creative side. I'm so often side tracked with life and work, I need a push and then I'm off and running. And thirdly or maybe 1st... is "the dealine" it is my master and gives me focus and clarity to start and finish. My ADD brain responds well and I do my best work when I know someone will get to see it at a show.


I find browsing through new technique books is always inspiring.


When the well runs dry, I like to look at art magazines like "Cloth, Paper, Scissors," "Artful Blogging," " Art Journaling," or "Somerset Studio."

Another thing that jump starts my creativity is to just play in my Visual Journal. Sometimes if I can just do something simple and just for me, it is enough to move me beyond my stuck point.

I am always excited and encouraged by reading the blogs of other artists. Just knowing that other artists are producing and creating encourages me and gets my creativity flowing again.


I keep a 5x7 notebook just for ideas that I might have seen in magazine, on line, at a gallery or something in nature, it is all put in the notebook with little sketches and small notes to point out what my mind saw or how I can adapt an object I saw into my medium. Or the other thing I do is look at what I thought was a really cool piece of art I made last year and with new skills and more knowledge I try to think of how I could make it better and most often I come up with an idea that is totally new.


Here's my list of ways I get inspired- go on an artist date (visit a gallery exhibit I want to see, look at art books at library or bookstore, take a walk with my camera, sign up for a class); collage in my visual calendar; blog surf on the internet; clean up my workspace to start afresh; browse through books and magazines on my shelf; start collecting supplies to make something on my to do list.


1) Rest—allow the fallow time; turn away from the creative process and pamper myself….knowing that when I am content the creative spirit will re-appear

2) Turn outward for inspiration—talk to friends, read old journals, visit a shop or gallery

3) Lure myself into doing one tiny thing….inevitably transforms into a little bigger effort

I go straight to my visual journal when the well runs dry. I paint and putz and the journal helps me to open up creatively and to keep myself out of my own way!

We'd love to hear your ideas--What do you do for inspiration?


Dayna Collins said...

This is a great new feature on the blog. I'm inspired by just reading everyone's responses!

Z'anne said...

Thank you, Robin, for posting this great question. It was interesting to see that a great many of us have our own libraries and use them for inspiration in times of need. It makes me wonder, did the Great Masters do the same? What did they use when they were blocked? Or, did they ever get artist block? Hmmmm.....oh for a time machine.