Thursday, July 11, 2013

How to Break Your Creative Curse -- guest blogger Lisa Collins

I am on a roll!  This blog is actually writing itself (har har) which is lucky since I've had a bit of a creative block lately-- have I mentioned that?  I found one remedy to not exactly knowing what I want to write:  Welcome, guest blogger, Lisa Collins! 
 I missed you!
I've been in more of a playing the Sims and reading Sookie Stackhouse mood but then I found my favorite pen which has been missing for months and I was so happy that I drew some stuff which I am going to post at some other time because I'm hogging up Lisa's guest post. 

How to Break Your Creative Curse
Every artist experiences a creative block once in their lives. You may be stuck right this minute, and not have a clue what to put on that large blank canvas which is lurking in your living room. Well, the good news is that there are ways to push and trigger your imagination and doing some very simple tasks can be hugely rewarding. Also, due to the rise in social media and apps that technology provides us with, we are now able to freely look at other people’s inspiration with just a click of the button. Be it photography, graphic design, painting or a sketch – the internet can also give you lots of ideas.
Go out of town
We all want to escape our everyday reality, catch a plane to a faraway island in the middle of nowhere once in a while. Some spend many hours dreaming of being on a remote beach in the Caribbean, sipping a Pina Colada whilst getting lost in their favorite Jackie Collins novel. Indulging in a luxurious cruise for two may be more your thing, and there are cruises suited to more artistic types which actually involve doing creative activities.  If you are the adventurous holiday maker, then visiting somewhere more active may trigger your creativity; climbing Mount Everest or visiting Niagara Falls may be just the thing to inspire you. Whatever your ideal holiday destination is, as long as you are somewhere different from your normal everyday routine, there is a chance of being inspired. So, this summer, book a holiday or just take small road trip with a few friends, but make sure you bring your sketch pad.
Meet someone new
Meeting new people is always a good way to get out of a rut, and take your mind off the lack of ideas you have been experiencing. Take the time to speak to someone new at work, at your yoga class on a Saturday morning or at the gym. You may be really surprised on the effects of doing something different and not staying inside your shell. Being a tormented artist isn't always the best idea. 
Take a walk
It’s so simple, and more importantly, it’s free. Go for a short or long walk and you may find your surroundings make you creative and want to go home and create a masterpiece. Exercise is also a brilliant way of releasing stress.  Whether it's because of work or your boyfriend keeps forgetting to put the toilet seat down and help with the dishes, stress can be a creative killer. It may sound drastic, but if your body is under pressure or worried, it can really dampen your art life (and other things, which we won't go into right now). Going for a run, jog, or riding your bike around the block could also so the trick. 
Get in touch with nature
Many artists tend to feel a connection to nature because it can draw out your imagination and make you feel grounded and primal. A simple image of a bird, a tree or a flower can make you want to take out your pen and draw. Nature is a great way to be inspired.
Listen to music
Music is another channel to creativity. As an artist we often forget how other forms of art can help our work. Listening to some classical numbers from Mozart or Beethoven can be very therapeutic and if this is something you haven’t tried then you must try it once. Listening to new things is a great way of triggering emotions  that we sometimes do not realize we even have. If 80s music is more your thing, then try putting on some Madonna and see if it helps budge the creative block.
Bake some cakes
Cooking and baking is a great way to use your senses and be creative. You don't have to be a top chef, but try a new recipe or bake a new cake and experiment with some ingredients. What is the worst thing that can happen? It may taste disgusting and you may have to throw it away, or you may have discovered a winning recipe to share with your friends over your next dinner party. Taste your food, and let the smells and your taste buds help you choose what to do next. You never know - it may inspire you to do and create something else. Remember, art comes in many forms and cooking the perfect dinner or baking some delicious cookies may be your next big creation.
Try a blank canvas
Finally, having a blank canvas in front of you with no boundaries on what the outcome must be can be a great way to let loose and break your normal artistic pattern. If you normally draw or paint portraits then break the mold and splash some brightly colored paints around for a bit and see if this gives you other ideas. You may hate it and bin it straight away – or you may love it and hang it on your wall. You have to start somewhere, so don’t put too many restrictions on what you just do.
Of course, there are other more drastic measures which people would recommend to artists for creative block, but none legal. Drinking a good glass of wine, or three, can help relax the mind too but every artist is different. The best thing to remember if you are struggling to put your art on paper is to take a few days off, do some new things, and see how you feel when your mind is clearer. The more you stress out yourself, the more likely it is that you will make it worse.

Thanks so much Lisa, those are all excellent suggestions.  Some of my own remedies for creative block (that I haven't done) are to go back and look at your UFOs.  Sometimes looking at a piece you've set aside brings back the inspiration you had for it when you started.  Another thing that I sometimes do (and yes I need to take my own advice) is to make some fanart, usually of the Harry Potter persuasion but it's not limited to that.  With fanart, you've got your subject matter already built in.   "Agh!  I don't know what to draw" can be redirected to "Agh!  How do I get Hermione's hair just right?"  and you're off!

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