Every artist hits a creative slump once in a while.
You want to paint but you don’t know what to paint, or even where to start. When you do finally put brush to paper, it’s a disaster. The drawing is wrong, the colours are muddy , the paper misbehaves and the flowers wilt before you finish.
Instead of painting, you’ll clean the windows or hoover the house … anything but settle down at that desk. Does this sound familiar?
I often find this happens to me after a break. Even a short break can interfere with the creative process. Whilst the last few weeks have been tremendous fun, I’m yearning once more to settle back into a painting routine, but it’s a struggle.
“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working”
So, how can you recover that inspiration and enthusiasm?
1. Get organised- Clean that desk and sort out those paints. Spring-cleaning is a simple, effective ‘pick-me-up’ for the soul. A clean desk is like a blank canvas inviting you to come and make a mess.
2. Treat yourself! Nothing says “Get painting” more than new art materials. Who can resist the swish of a brand new brush, the lusciousness of a new colour, or the lure of a brand new sketchbook?
|Look what arrived in the post today!!|
I was delighted to discover that Jackson’s Art are giving away their Daniel Smith ‘palette tester’ dot cards at the moment… yes, free paint! Does it get any better than that? Click here
3. Play! Colour charts are a great place to start and so useful too. My lovely friend Claire sent me a beautiful wooden box with a selection of Daniel Smith earth colour paints. This is the perfect time to try them out and compare them to my other earth colours.
|Yummy earth colours! The biggest surprise was to see the difference between Winsor and Newton Raw Umber and the Daniel Smith's Raw Umber|
4. Inspiration is everywhere. Find a subject that appeals to you, something that has caught your eye. I am forever picking up things on walks- seeds, sticks, shells, leaves, berries- all tiny treasures waiting to be painted.
|I came back from a walk with some oak marble galls and a cedar rose- which I think is the remains of a cone from a Deodar cedar tree. My new colour chart proved very useful!|
5. Paint with no expectations- it doesn’t really matter if you finish it or not. What is more important is that you enjoy the process. If you do end up with something good, then that’s an added bonus. A good place to start is to grab some cheap A4 paper and a pencil and just start to draw.
|Lots of scribblings, no expectations, just fun!|
6. Be organised. Decide what you want to do the night before, that way you hit the ground running when you go into the studio.
7. Set aside time to paint. You will never find that spare moment to paint, you have to allocate a certain amount of time each day to satisfy your creative whims. Even if you allow yourself half an hour a day to do something, you will achieve something in the end.
|Set yourself the challenge of painting just one leaf a day (or two). Even half an hour of sketching and painting every day can get you back into the routine of painting.|
8. Keep motivated! I love my botanical artist friends- they are hugely supportive and really encouraging. It’s always very inspiring to see their work- just look at any one of the blogs on the right here. Their enthusiasm keeps me motivated.
|Galls and Roses, Shevaun Doherty 2014.|
I was very inspired by Sarah Morrish's beautiful painting of galls and was delighted to find my own on a walk.
9. Try an audiobook I discovered audiobooks last year and have since become hooked! What a fantastic way to spend a day, listening to a great story and painting to your heart’s content! You really won’t want to leave the studio. I get my all audiobooks from www.audible.com They have a huge range to choose from and there’s a month’s free trial for new customers (yes, more free stuff). The BBC Radio 4 is also great company in the studio- they have some great dramas to listen to.
10. Plan ahead. Make a list of all the things that you want or need to do. It could be preparing work for an exhibition, or starting a commission, or even just finishing the painting that you started over a year ago for your brother. It’s a great way to keep you focused and on track.
“You have to keep your bottom to the chair and stick it out. Otherwise, if you start getting in the habit of walking away, you’ll never get it done.”