Curb The Creative Block: 7 Ways Artists Can Stay Inspired

by Aileen Mitchell 17. February 2014 15:59

Anyone working in a creative field or medium knows how difficult it can sometimes be to stay in the totally inspired frame of mind. The spirit wanes, the mind occasionally blocks, and the creative impulses dribble from your brain like water down a plug hole.

Sometimes it’s just tricky to keep those creative juices flowing – and sometimes we need a kick up the artistic derriere to motivate and galvanise us.  

So, what to do? Well, as a matter of fact, there’s PLENTY you can do to give those artistic sauces a good stirring and those creative proclivities a thorough pounding. Here are 7 of them.

Surf the web

There’s much to mined from the sensational, interstellar glories of the internet other than dubious Dutch women and funny cats.  Nourish your creative and artistic soul by researching other artists, look at other painters and read about other partial-to-frequent flourishes of the pen and paintbrush.

Even better, take a peek at work you normally wouldn’t go for, artistic styles you’re unsure of, artists you haven’t heard of. In other words, stretch out beyond the norm of your artistic practices, outside your artistic comfort zone.  YouTube also has an extensive range of painting/drawing classes and demos.

Pick up a book

The World Wide Web might be a vast library online, but you can’t beat perusing a bookshop for the real deal, the physical connection you get between creator and tome. There’s something magical about a bookshop or library, and whatever subject, movement, style, period, form or artist you’re interested in – or want to find out about – you’ll find it.Online, you can go to sites such as Amazon, research it, ‘peek inside’, and read reviews before you pluck out your wallet.

Take Photos

Grabbing a digital camera and taking your own photographs is a fantastic way of fuelling the fire of creativity. For starters, you’re out and about, exploring the sights, sounds and environments around you in the living world – often stimulating in itself – and secondly, you’re capturing those moments in a single snap.  It’s surprising the assortment of images you can capture, that enrapturing second, captured in time that kick-starts a whole slew of creative ideas and concepts.  

Visit Art Galleries

Perhaps the most obvious one, but we often miss what’s right in front of us – and an art gallery is one of the best ways to immerse yourself in the work of fellow participants of your craft.  Forget the stuffy conception of art galleries as cobwebbed tombs of ancient creations, commandeered by goose-stepping curators kitted in tweed suits, spectacles and an imperious air.  Modern galleries are lively, vibrant affairs, offering rotating programs of art and installations. Sign up to get regular email updates from your local galleries so you know what’s on.      

Make Art Friends

Any creative act should be something of a communal experience. It should unite people, engage them, and give them something to talk about. Well, talk about it with people who share your passion for art then. Find out about local art groups in your area and join them. Have stimulating conversations with stimulating people who are stimulated by art as much as you are.  

Online Courses and Workshops

Schools and colleges offer evening classes, special centres hold courses and workshops – and they’re another opportunity to branch out, meet new people, and consider other approaches and techniques. Admittedly, some of them can be a bit pricey, but it’s another way of, literally, broadening your artistic palette.   

Carry a Notebook

Just as writers scribble down ideas and sentences in moments of creative epiphany, artists should do the same and draw sketches, as and when they get ideas. If you’re inspired by something you see, such as a landmark or unusual image, sketch it.

If an idea pops into your head as you’re trawling the frozen food section of your supermarket, get it down.  Inspiration and artistic creativity knows no bounds and will come in its own time – and you’ve got to be ready for it. Capture those artistic lightning-in-a-bottle moments and always carry a notebook or mini sketch pad.

This just scratches the surface of some techniques you can employ to stop those creative juices from drying up.

Are you an artist with any other tried and tested methods to stay motivated and keep your inspiration levels up?Share in the comments.

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