Getting into the creative groove

For my Own Amusement
Emerging Series
30 x 40 x 1 1/2" Acrylics, Mixed Media,& Sand
on canvas
Original and Prints Available (c) Deb Chaney 2008

Feng Shui Recommendation: This painting support your career and lifepath.

To further enhance the journey of your life and work, place this painting near the entrance of your home or office.

Recently, I was speaking with one of my studio mates about getting back into our creative groove when we’ve been away from our work for a while.

Rodja was saying that she’d been out of the studio for three weeks plus, taking a natural break after having just shipped a bunch of paintings to her gallery in Toronto. As well, she also has a graphic design business and works as a culinary chef so her mind and being are not always focused on painting. She has to switch. That means when she gets to her studio, getting her mind into painting mode and sometimes that takes some time.

Similarly, for me, as we all do, I balance a full life with my art. Being a mom to my six year old, having a part time job, and all other details life entails. So even though I dedicate a full day to paint, each week, every Tuesday, there is still a process I go through to get into the work, into that groove

Here are a few things that work for me, specifically on days when the little voice in my head doesn’t want to be at the studio, doesn’t feel like painting, it literally wants to tell me to give up, go home and why life sucks and why I should not bother, on and on the little voice goes…

Lately, I start out in my beach chair, heater pumping next to me and I read and look at inspirational books such as 1,000 Artist Trading Cards or Sabrina Ward Harrison books.

I make a lot of tea – lately my favourite is orange roibois from the Granville Island tea company, (although the green blueberry is awesome too and I would really recommend the African Roibois Cream). Some days I will have a little nap. Last Tuesday I think I had about six cups before I got into painting. Serious tea drinking may get the creative juices flowing.

A few weeks prior I went for a walk and strolled through the artist studios at 1000 Parker Way ( they are part of the east end culture crawl every year). The walk was great – walking is linked to stimulating the brain waves in your brain that enduce creativity, but checking out other artist’s studios topped off the walk ten fold. Its then that the little voice realizes she was wrong. A new voice begins to pipe up...If they can do it , so Can I. Wow, look at what he’s working on. Look she got painting this morning, maybe I could put a glaze on that painting I've been so stuck on for a while....and so the insp iration kicks in.

Very often I write in my journal, as I see my other studio room mate Heather Craig do. In this way she quietly inspires me. Yup good old morning pages to work through all that mind gunk. I like to write lists. Wish lists. Things I’m happy about. Things I am not happy about. Last week it was everything I hate. Everything that was annoying, irritating, and pissing me off. Yuck lists. Feels good to get it out . That works too. After that I finally started painting!

Music can be good too and dancing but lately I’ve been riding my bike to the studio and the beach chair calls and I plop down and get into my creative groove in comfort!

The other day I was so exhausted from, well life, that I just sat comatozed in my good old beach chair and ate Miss. Vicky’s salt and vinegar chips. That and drank tea, of course! Those chips seem to have magical powers. Try it next time, let me know if they work for you. Definitly recommend the salt and vinegar flavour. Yum.

Other quick ideas to get started...

  • Deep breaths, let it be if you’re not feeling the creative “love”
  • Go for a walk
  • Look at what you’ve already done
  • Put aside work that is too intimadating to start - this worked wonders a few weeks ago when I felt overwhelmed with a commission piece I’m working on
  • Do some small practice doodles and pieces, let yourself make some crap art.
  • Go to a free demonstration (If you're in Vancouver, OPUS has them on a regular basis)
  • Look at other artists work - magazines, galleries, internet

It takes a risk to show up and do your art work. I like this quote “ And the trouble is, if you don’t risk anything, you risk everything “ Eric Jong.

There is some quote out here about 90% of success is showing up. So kudus to us for showing up. Let's give ourselves gold stars for showing up ( even if we sit by the heater and eat potato chips!)