A painting I’ve started and just don’t like… so, time to remotivate. But How?

I am making art but as of late my paintings feel stagnant, unexciting. I’ve started to list out and develop strategies I use or want to use to generate more inspiration in my creative life. Feel free to share your own!

(1) Select an element or principle of art (Elements: line, shape, form, color, texture, space, value (lights & darks); Principles:  Movement, Emphasis, Unity, Harmony, Variety, Balance, Contrast, Proportion, Pattern, Rhythm). Look around your home or travel somewhere outdoors or to a public building like a mall. Spend an hour conducting a scavenger hunt looking for that single element or principle in the space around you. Photograph or draw your findings.


Pattern, photograph by Carrie Brummer All Rights Reserved

(2) Carry a random object around with you for one week. Consider the object’s journey as you carry it everywhere. Place it in situations that clearly contrast its nature. Photograph it, draw it, or write story shorts based on the object’s travels.

example: I have students conduct an object study where they must present a single object in 4 different ways using 4 different media. One student selected a pineapple and literally carried it with her around school and town. She captured photographs, drawings and paintings that lent the pineapple a personality much like Wilson in the film Castaway! She also made an amazing sculpture inspired from the object. I’ve also seen writer Patrick Ross use this on his blog The Artist’s Road.

(3) Have a sketchbook or journal with you everyday. Fill one page everyday, regardless of interest, motivation, ideas. Just fill it.

example: My post last week shows my journey investigating this idea.

(4) Go through a magazine and cut out all of the images and words that appeal to you. Now try to make a collage with these random pieces. Does it tell a story?

(5) Find an artist in your field that inspires you. Analyze their work. (Reminder on how to analyze art here.) Can you use their strategies in your work?

(6) Review an old work you haven’t worked on for ages. Spend an hour reviewing and revamping it.

(7) Make a list of all the creative ideas you have to see if you have actually followed through on all of them. Maybe it will generate some new ideas that excite you as well!

(8) Meet up with a creative spirit like yourself and have each of you bring a project you feel stuck on. Spend 30 minutes or so reviewing your friend’s work. Come up with ideas for their project, then share ideas with one another!

(9) Go for a walk. Do some yoga. Bake. It really does help to get your mind off of your art!

(10) Research competitions online. Perhaps some guidelines and restrictions may help you frame your next big idea.

BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: Do you have motivational, creativity generating strategies? Share them below! Let’s compile a resource for everyone.

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