How Artists Keep Inspiration
Inspired All The Time.
People ask me “how do you paint so much?” “how do you stay inspired?” I think the real question is: “where does creativity come from?” I will do my best to answer these questions in this article, but really a book could be written on each subject.
“How do artists do it? How do they keep creating?” I will say in a very general way, artists are usually born that way. For what ever reason at a very young age they created, drew, painted, clay, collage and made a lot of messes. Well this sounds like most children growing up, so what then really deciphers who will grow up to be an artist who will not?
Growing up around creative people, creative parents and siblings helps to stimulate the initial seed for creativity. Growing up with a sister who is a great artist, a mother who was always painting or doing a craft, a father, although not artistic, was creative in that he worked on custom cars, always had a new idea for an invention of some sort or another and found creative ways to solve mechanical problems. I was always positively motivated and encouraged to create all my life by those around me. My parents could see that I had a gift for art, so they always supported and encouraged me to continue. Sometimes lack of encouragement can drive one to create. It’s in the nature of the artist to rebel, those that were never encouraged or even criticized for drawing all the time found a way to flip that inside their mind and that drove them to create even more. Almost like a reverse psychological.
So, if you’re a person who is born with it, how do you keep it? How do you keep painting? And where do I believe creativity comes from? Honestly sometimes it’s harder to turn it off then to turn it on. For instance, I have so many ideas I constantly remind myself that I am just a vessel for this creativity to flow through. I allow this creative energy to channel itself through me. The more I give to the energy the more my physical being is capable of doing more work. That is a huge psychological advantage to the artist in seeing themselves as a channeling device for the creativity to flow. It’s an advantage because if you envision the creative power inside you that motivates you as being something greater then who you are, your name, your physical identity, then the creative power will always exist and it is up to you to allow it to move through you.
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As an artist, I believe this energy lives all around me, it is the very miracle of life. It is the harmony of the heaven/space. It is the idea that out of all the galaxies and all the empty space and all the planets, we have life on ours and it’s all happening right now. This energy lives right now, it’s all around you. We are on a planet with billions of people all living and breathing, fighting, loving, sharing, building and destroying, it’s an over abundance of energy all around. The miracle of just “being” and sharing this life time with whomever else is on the planet is pretty amazing to me. As long as I am conscience of this happening I know there is a field of energy that I can tap into any time and moment that is endless.
But amongst all this energy there are times when this miracle can be forgotten. There are times when you need inspiration to be awakened. I will share a few methods on how I continue to be inspired when I feel that my ability to receive this creative energy is low. I know that the creative energy is always inside me and out there, so how do I now allow myself, my imagination to be receptive to the creative channel?
I surround myself with other creative people. Being an artist, all my close friends are artists. They all are working on projects, murals, paintings, graphic design, music, dance. We feed each other; we talk about our creative processes; what techniques are being used; what styles; who inspired them to create this piece. etc. etc.? There is so much information other artists have to share that will help to open your door. Aside from sharing with other artists, as an artist it is very important to be around other artists. As an artists, I have already stated it’s in your nature to rebel. Rebel against the way “normal” people perceive the world, our very act of creating is the act of rebelling. Governments don’t want it’s people to create, it wants it’s people to follow. We use our imagination to free our selves from whatever political or social episode the rest of the world is having. In doing this it creates separation from the norm, from the masses and this can be lonely. Driving a artist into personal exile because they feel nobody understands them or excepts them. That is why you must as an artist surround your self with other artists! It’s healthy to know that there are other people that feel the same way as you, that think similar and share the same challenges as you do. Yes, you are unique being an artist but you are not alone. Network and help each other build.
If I am feeling the creative block and there is no one that I can connect with at the time to share and network with, or I really do feel like being alone but I need to get the juices flowing and I can’t, I take a brake and exercise.
To change ones mental attitudes, you have to change ones physical physiology. Get up, move, stretch, go for a run. If you mentally feel stagnant, it’s probably because you’re physically stagnant. Everyone knows exercising is healthy but when you exercise, you allow new blood,and new oxygen to go through your body re-engerizing and stimulating your body and mind. In stimulating your mind you stimulate your imagination because that’s where your imagination comes from. When I exercise, I don’t think about my art projects. I love to exercise. I am a, martial artist so when I train, I am thinking about my martial art techniques. If I am jogging, I am thinking about my stride. But as I think about my current physical activity there are times I can not help my mind from wondering into the depths of my creativity thresh hold. This is usually the moment when I have a creative brake through. I get that puzzle piece that I needed to go forward with whatever project I am working on or the fresh new idea for the new project I’m about to start. Try some exercise, doesn’t have to be major, don’t over due it, if you’re not used to it. You just need fresh oxygen and good blood circulation.
Let’s just say for whatever reason, I can’t exercise. Well then, I use books and the internet to stimulate my creativity. I read a thought provoking book, something metaphysical, books on my favorite artists, or a good fantasy or science fiction book. Books feed my mind with new images and ideas. Those ideas sometimes lead into new visions of creativity. The same goes for the internet. I look up photography, animals, figurative, anatomy, dramatic lighting effects,… I search for other artists, maybe, I just type in Google “abstract art” and I see what pops up. Do not rip or steal other peoples’ work, however, being inspired from them is ok. Borrow ideas but make them your own, You know inside when you have ripped a complete idea and when you have borrowed it to influence your style. There is a difference.
Traveling is a great way to open the door up to the creative mind. This helps to change your perspective. Great art and great artists are made from finding different perspectives that most people are not going to see. As an artist it’s your job to help other people understand there is a different way of thinking. When I say travel, this doesn’t mean you you have to go to some far off exotic place, however if you can then that’s awesome. Just get out of town for a day trip, go see the city, or if you live in the city go to your nearest forest. It will help you feel refreshed, Make sure to bring a note pad or your sketch book in case you have any creative brake through. But don’t look for the creative brake through, keep in mind you’re on a trip to get away from the struggle in your mind. Be relaxed, enjoy the moment and let it come to you.
The last area in my life where I get my inspiration from is my dreams. I am not going to go into too much here. I feel I could write a separate article just on dreams and using the information in the dreams to help stimulate visions. I have had lucid dreams all my life. It is just within the past 6 years that I have really been paying more attention to my dreams and trying to think about how they relate to me in the my physical reality. It has just been this past year that I have been using the imagery from my dreams to base some ideas from them for paintings. There is a state of consciousness right before you sleep where you can induce lucid dreaming. I am beginning to control that state. Now, if I have an idea and it is incomplete, I will think about that idea and at the same time induce a lucid dream and most of the time there are instances where the original idea takes a life of it’s own in the lucid dream giving me a vision. Right now, all I can say is: “pay attention to your dreams. Try to remember them, write them down and see if there is anything that you can use in a creative way. It takes time it takes practice”.
I am not only a creative individual but a full time artist I have the door open to the creativity thresh hold open all the time. Sometimes I can not paint fast enough to get ideas out. But when I feel there is a block, those are the solid techniques I use in opening the door to creativity. If you’re an artist, see what works for you. It might not work the first time or one might work better for you then the other. Just remember, finding ways to open the creative door is just as much a technique as using whatever creative medium you explore, when you’re in the creative act. If you are not an artist and just want to find out a little bit more about a creative process, I hope this gives you a little bit more information on the creative act.
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