Uninspired? Unmotivated? Welcome to the club! All artists have these block periods when they feel too much emotionally and/or physically drained. It’s normal when it comes to creative work. You are not a robot. You cannot have ideas all the time. As a human being, you need a break from time to time to get back even more inspired and motivated than before.
While on the topic..
So what to do when you don’t feel like doing anything?
Listen to music
The right music can help you in every situation. Find your favorite tracks, turn the volume to the max and have fun! Sing, dance, and paint. You’ll easily free your mind when enjoying your favorite song. And the art-creating will begin in no time. It will be [as I like to call it] coming from your heart and soul.
If you experience a block then you need a break for a while. And going outside will refresh your mind. I suggest going somewhere in nature to breathe some clean fresh air but if you live in the center of a big city, go to the nearest park [or nearest shop for art supplies]. The point is to be outside for a while to clear your thoughts. And who knows, you may get inspired on the way by something.
Get inspired by other artist’s work
Many times when I don’t feel like painting but I want to motivate myself, I just go to Pinterest and look at so many beautiful artworks. It’s impossible to not get inspired when you look at other’s art. Something in you will tell you to grab the paintbrush immediately.
Have a sketchbook
For me, having a sketchbook is a must. When I don’t feel like painting on a canvas or big piece of paper [or don’t have time] I always paint something in the sketchbook. Also, I use it for experiments and mark ideas for later. And because it’s a sketchbook, I don’t care if I mess it up, which helps to paint more freely. Best about sketchbooks is that they come in all sizes. Choose the one that suits you. Mine is A5 size with 250g paper weight. I use masking tape to make ‘frames’ around the paintings and it changes a lot the way they look.
Go through your older works and sketchbooks
[One more reason to have a sketchbook] If you have been into art for some time then you have works you forgot about. You can reproduce some in the way you see them today, or see a technique you haven’t used recently. You’ll realize how your skills have grown and will feel good about it. You’ll find ideas you have totally forgotten and will inspire you to start a new project. Tara Leaver has a great article [+ video] on how to use old art to inspire new art.
Repaint old paintings
Maybe you’ll even want to refresh some oldies. For example, I repainted a few of my canvases because few months after painting them, I didn’t like them anymore. I’ve learned new techniques, changed the way of looking at art and didn’t want my paintings to look so basic. I wanted to give them life. Below are two examples of repainted works [which are for sale, so if you are interested, just click on them for more info].
Experiment with different styles and mediums
I encourage you so much to do this! Go to the art store and buy something you haven’t used till now. When it’s something new you haven’t tried, it will be more interesting for you. It could be the painting/drawing medium or the surface you make your magic on. Don’t be afraid to make a step outside of your comfort zone and mix things up. Nobody sees the world as you do, so show your point of view! Last week I’ve got oil pastels and now I can’t stop using them. Over acrylics or by themselves, they are awesome. Also, found a few sheets of craft paper I’ve totally forgotten that I have. Below you can see two jars with flowers done on the craft paper. The one on the left is done with acrylics and the other is with the oil pastels. Don’t fear the change, use it for growing!
Go to a gallery/musem
This combines two of the above suggestions – go outside + get inspired by other aritst’s work [double win]. Being in a building, which purpose is to store and show art – if that doesn’t inspire you, I don’t know what would. Go alone or with someone who enjoys spending time in a gallery/museum as much as you [going with someone who will be bored and will say every 3 seconds ‘Come on, lets go’ ruins your time there]. When something catches your eyes, stay in front it as much time as you need to study it. The colors, the brushstrokes, the style… Everything that you find interesting and inspirational. You may even have a small notebook with you and write some notes. And when you get home, mark some ideas while your thoughts are still fresh.
I’m very far from being a photographer [as you can guess from my photos] but I love taking photos. Most of times I think of it as capturing moments and colors which I may not see again. I enjoy the small things in life, so taking a photo of the sky or sunset, or of a bee on a flower, or even of a cactus/succulent in my room [well, I see them all the time but I love them, so who cares… *takes 593 identical photos of her cat when he’s sleeping*] is something that inspires me because it’s capturing the beauty of nature. Take photos of everything you find interesting, you have no limits. Then try to retouch these photos by using a program on your computer. Make them look more professional or make a collage, you decide. The point is to keep your creativity working.
One more thing..
Keep you body healthy. You won’t be in the mood for making art if you feel like sh*t. I’m a bit of a maniac when it comes to healthy lifestyle so I couldn’t skip this part. Eat healthy, move your body [even if that means to dance on our favorite songs] and have enough sleep.
Healthy body ↔ healthy mind ↔ more creating
Do you have your own advice for beating the artist’s block? Would you share it?