We all have those times when our art seems to be flat lining. You reach a plateau and every painting is just so-so. Painting is no different. Been there plenty of times. But that is a good thing. No really, because the only way you can lift up your work is to be sick and tired with where you are right now. It is time for a kick in the pants (or whatever suitable metaphor works for you).
Here are seven suggestions:
1. Take a Mini-Sabbatical
This is a tough one, but you have to drop your painting for a while and decompress. But you must not fret either. Take a few days and do something out of the usual routine. Go for walks. Visit some scenic spot nearby and simply look. Take the kids and get ice creams. Do gardening. Your mind does take time to unwind so give it a while to get your creative mojo back.
2. Sneak Up on Creativity
Yes it sounds weird, but your creative side and your mind are not the same thing. Or so it seems. What I mean is that your mind sulks and you feel down. But do something unusual and your creative side says "Cool lets do more of that!" For example take your camera and a list of ten words. Then take photos of things that you associate with the words. Pick the words at random out of a dictionary then go for a walk and take the photos.
3. Work Upside Down
No not you, but hey, if it works go with it. Or instead try painting from a photo that is upside down. Simply paint the shapes you see as they appear upside down. No pressure of trying to make it look like an actual scene. Not only is this amusing, but it is a great learning exercise in seeing shapes. Then turn the painting around and see how accurately you record the shapes. Interesting.
4. Bag It
Put all your paint tubes in a bag. Reach in and randomly select three tubes. Add a tube of white. Paint a scene.
5. Take a Trip
Not always possible, but sometimes all you need to do is say "The heck with it, I'm booking a trip to ..." Before you know it a long weekend is booked somewhere different and you are excited. Your family thinks you are a hero and everyone has a breather. Often a one week holiday keeps me inspired for many months. Such a trip always pays me back tenfold. It is kind of an investment for mind and wallet.
6. Try New Techniques
Doing the same thing and expecting different results is madness, they say. The most common complaint I hear is artists trying to loosen up their painting style. In fact a have devoted considerable time to making a course that will help with this issue. (See below) The fact is that you unlock creative energy when you try something new. Paint a portrait if you always do landscapes and vice versa. Use different materials. For example use pencils to sketch an entire landscape scene. Really go for it and push yourself.
Artists are often pretty unfit. Yup guilty of that. A little exercise goes a long way to kick starting your energy. But avoid rushing out to buy exercise equipment. In fact avoid shopping. That saps your spirit. Use what you have and get moving. Leg bends, press-ups, squats or simply stretching for ten minutes. Google exercises you can do with your body weight. You will never need a gym or equipment to get a good workout. Feel the energy come rushing back.
My Personal Choice: Numbers 1, 5, 6 and 7 are favorites for me. Number 2 is fun as well. Let me know what works for you.
The Loosen Up Your Painting C0urse
Now live and looking good. Try out the techniques and lessons in this course. Frequently updated with my personal tips and painting lessons. I have a special offer on this course with 20% Off for a limited time. Expires 2 April 2017. To grab this offer click here.
NEW: 2 DVD SET