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Monday, March 30, 2015

Burning Question: What Inspires You? My Top Ten Ideas PLUS a special coupon code good this week only!

 As a creative type with a background in business, I like to look back on my progress on a regular basis and share some  'aha' moments with you from time to time. Well, really I try to incorporate my own experiences and nuggets of wisdom whenever possible and enjoy hearing what you are discovering as well, in your own artistic pursuits.  
(as an extra bonus I have a GREAT coupon code for you at the end of this post! :)

My sample for the upcoming ReMe reTREAT in Ocracoke Island, NC

I haven't posted a  "Burning Question" in a while so I thought today I'd bundle one in this post as it kinda relates to my topic of 'aha' moments and nuggets of wisdom I wanted to share.  
"What Inspires You? " asked by Emma

That's a great question and one that never really stays the same or is exactly formulaic if you will.  I can't say, "if I take a walk in the woods and look at textures, I'm inspired to run back to my studio and experiment.....or  anytime I dip my feet into the ocean waters, waves of inspiration pour over me" those things happen?  Definitely.  Do I have time for artist 'dates' daily (or even sometimes weekly), no...not always.  So then, where does that inspiration to create come from, especially if you are working on your craft daily for hours and hours at a time?  

I think you pull in inspiration from anything and everything you do.  You have to have your eyes wide open on a moment to moment basis to see things others miss or feel things others may dismiss. 
I have conversations with myself, or with others in my head and then play them out in the studio.  But most of all, I simply show up and do the work.  It really is about creating good working habits for the most part, because the more you do something, the more the doors open for the next  idea and the idea after that. 

And once I have an idea, I try to expand on  multiple times...not necessarily recreating that painting exactly but revising it and seeing what else can I do for as long as I'm excited about a process/composition/topic activity.

You stay inspired when you are excited about something you are doing,  and the flow will continue to feed you with ideas the more regular  you are with showing up to do the work.

Does this mean your faucet will always be on?  No...most definitely not.   I don't want to profess any delusional thoughts to you by saying every day will be rainbows and unicorns in the inspiration category or that you will always feel like going into the studio to create with abandon.   Life will throw you curve balls when you least expect it which will derail you for a time. In those moments, allow yourself a break, a nap, a trip, a artist date, or clear away clutter that is impeding your progress both literally and figuratively.

I'm going through a bit of that myself lately. Clutter and unnecessary activities have put obstacles in my way due to my not being clear on what I want in certain areas or not listening to what signs have been put before me.   I notice when I feel pulled in too many directions, I trip over myself rather than removing the obstacles.   It's hard to be inspired when you are chasing your tail.  When I'm focused and not distracted, at peace and calm.... there's no stopping what I can do. That's when the flow of inspiration gains it's greatest momentum.

 Here are some more tips on how I get inspired or stay inspired:

1) Keep a journal.  Whether it's a visual journal, doodle journal, written one, or some combination of all the above, the act of documenting thoughts, playing with color  or patterns, and getting something-anything on the page, will serve as a source of reference for future projects. Art Journaling is also a good habit that will not only help inspire you, it can help relax your mind.

2)  Plan out your activities and most important tasks each week and build in time to work in your studio to create.  These activities could be both personal and professional. By having a plan, you are creating more likely to accomplish the tasks you need to and leave more room for those that you 'want' to do.  (Note, the need and wants aren't necessarily mutually exclusive..but some may take higher precedence over others.)

3)  Stay well rested, eat well, and exercise regularly.  Your physical and emotional well being plays a big part of your ability to stay inspired among many other things in your life.

4)  Don't be afraid to make mistakes.  The fear of not being perfect can derail your creative activities probably more so than anything else.   I'm not saying give yourself permission to do shoddy work, but give yourself permission to experiment, play with new techniques and compositions,  try new colors, and do all of that over and over again.   Remember, masterpieces are few and far between but remarkable and inspiring work is created everyday..IF...quite frankly, you just go to work without worrying about the outcome.  Worry about the outcome as you finish, not as you start.

5)  Repeat designs and expand the possibilities within a collection.  Sometimes when you are excited about something and have a good plan, you can make it even better the more you tweak it by experimenting.   This is also important when developing a collection.  Tying your work together by repeating color palettes,  themes, motifs, and even designs helps in creating a cohesive collection.  Discover how far you can take those ideas, by taking those ideas far and wide.

6)  Evaluate where the heart strings are being pulled in your every day and professional life.  Saying yes to everything means you are taking time away for the right things.  It's hard to let go of the wrong things, especially if they have meant a lot to you in the past.  The problem though is, you start to loose your focus and hence your inspiration when there is so much going on that your head is spinning.  In fact, it's likely to cause temporary (or long term) paralysis, so to speak, if you are spread too thin.
7) Surround yourself with people that believe in you and lift you up rather than bring you down.  If you are uninspired...take a pulse on the mood of the world around you.  Negativity from within is poisonous, but when it comes from the outside in, well it can darn right kill you.  

8)  Know that from the outside looking in,   it may seem like everything is a bed of roses for those people you admire. They may  have something you want and  appear as if what they are  just doing is just flowing day in and day out without any hiccups or effortlessly 100% of the time.  This is never true. Those that make things easy,  most likely do so because they are insanely committed to what they do. Your mentors  live and breathe their passion and that is why,  from the outside looking in, it looks so polished and easy.
 If you want something with all your heart and soul, you don't wait until the inspiration hits, you run out and find it by doing the work.
That's the magic sauce most of all...doing the work.  

No one said it was going to be easy.

No one said you are going to have time for it (hey we are all busy!!)

But when it flows and you are in the groove-yes it does flow like a open wide faucet and others will be envious of what you do.   You can lead some people to the water but you can't force them to drink it...they have to do it themselves. You have to do it yourself. 

9)  This is one that I have a hard time with...but I know that when I do this, I am way more inspired then when I don't....keep your space open and neat.  It doesn't have to be spotless or totally clutter free, but at the very least, take time to pick up at the end of the day, clear your desk, put away a few things, throw a few things out on a daily basis, and reclaim your sanity by not tripping over yourself physically.   I'm a work in progress in this bullet point...after I finish writing this post, I'm going to go into the studio and clean up. Going forward, I'm going to take time either on Fridays or over the weekend to really clean up because I think it's important to start your week fresh and create a space you can flourish in.

Featured art in the March/April issue of Cloth Paper Scissors

10)  I was reminded of this last tip by a comment on another post I wrote for ReMe last week. It's important to share what makes us smile with others, those little things that we take for granted on a day to day basis should be celebrated.  Take time out to listen to others, to learn about those we love--to learn about the world around us, and you will be amazed at how you feel (and how you will make others feel by just being there to share back and forth).  Capturing the moments in our lives through our art is why we do what we's a celebration of our history, our point of view, and our dialogue with one another.  What's more inspiring than that?

Last but not least---I wanted to thank my readers for taking time out to follow my blog, newsletter, Facebook, and all the other platforms out there.  I couldn't do this on a day to day basis without you.

Save 20% in my shop all week (including paintings, classes, prints, magnets, cards, supplies) using code "hellospring" at check out.  (custom orders not included).

Stop by and see what's new!
If you would like to share what inspires you or ideas you incorporate to stay inspired, leave a comment here!

Likewise, if you have a "Burning Question" about the art biz, creativity, living the creative life, processes, email me at  . I'd love to hear your thoughts and will incorporate as many questions as possible into my future blog posts.

Sweet Repeats


Loretta said...

I look forward to reading your posts. You always say just the right things! Your art is so inspiring and so is your message to those of us who just enjoy being creative. Thank you for sharing your ideas and a part of yourself with us.

Winhara said...

Thanks for a great posting. It is nice to know that we artists are experiencing the same ups and downs. I have a goal of painting, even just a little bit, every day. The more I do that , the more I need to paint to feel like I am accomplishing something every day. It is starting to become a need, something I must do. Happy creating!!

Win Dinn said...

Circles, natural organic matter, and colour all inspire me. I just can't get enough of creative play!