This is one of a series of blog posts about The Creative Mystery and contains strategies and ideas to unleash the flow of creativity in your art and life. Here are the links to the other posts in the series.
The Creative Mystery | Strategies to Unleash Your Creativity Part 1 | Strategies to Unleash Your Creativity Part 2
In the previous post in this series, I wrote about how getting out of the way of your creativity is one of the best things you can do for your creative life, and I’ve given you three strategies to do it. In this installment I give you another three strategies for getting into the flow.
Work with what you have
Nothing will stop you in your tracks like feeling you don’t have what you need to complete the task. If you don’t have paint or paper or canvasses, use what you already have.
If you have wood, find faces and figures, draw round them. Now add details.
If there are clouds in the sky, what can you see? Take a photograph of what you see.
If you have fabric and thread, paint with embroidery.
Our materials impose their own limits on us, and that can be a boon to creativity. Think about Cuba and how the US embargo forced Cubans to be creative because they could not buy what they needed.
Think of what children manage to make with a few cereal and toothpaste boxes and some glue at nursery school.
Allow your unique style to manifest.
“The creative process is a spiritual path. This adventure is about us about the deep self, the composer in all of us, about originality, meaning not that which is all new, but that which is fully and originally ourselves.” – Stephen Nachmanovitch
What is your expressive personality?
We are all influenced by what we are taught, and by what surrounds us, there’s no denying that. But deep inside we are still ourselves.
Painting intuitively allows your style to emerge without needing to copy other styles. Using the same processes as other artists is not the same thing as using the same style.
Drawing intuitively in an art journal is a great way to practice your natural drawing style.
I like listening to podcasts and drawing in my art journal.
We learn by doing. Think for a moment about the difference between projects that we plan to do or imagine doing, and those projects that we actually do. We may think up fantastic artworks, but the creativity happens when we actually create them in reality.
There’s no perfect time to paint. Life is going on around you all the time. It’s all about showing up.
Banish the idea that practice makes perfect. Rather see practice as the goal and work in the space between what you feel and what you can express. This is where you can discover the unknown parts of yourself and realise them. This doesn’t end. This is ongoing. Not a destination to reach, but a journey to continue while we are here. How Zen is that?
If you are bored in your practice, change it. Don’t let it become static. Change your tools, your surface, your choice of colours. Be more subtle, or more bold. Stretch yourself.
When you practice regularly, and show up even when you don’t want to, you put yourself in the space for inspiration to come. You are there, ready and waiting, for a subtle message to appear from within you, ready to hear it and act on it.
When you allow your creativity free reign, work is play. You will develop a relationship with your painting practice and with every painting you create. You’ll start to really enjoy spending time with your practice without feeling all that original resistance.
The more you practice the skills and techniques that you’ve learned, the more unconscious they become. This is when you can have both technique and the freedom of no technique. Liberating!