As artists, it is vital that we keep our creative juices well and truly flowing so that we can keep producing high-quality original work. In this article, I’m going to dive deep into exactly how to Develop Your Art & Creativity, in order to avoid the hamster-wheel effect.
Back in 2009 I totally burnt out as an artist. I felt like a conveyor belt, churning out paintings on demand and completely stuck in that hamster-wheel. I’d lost my reason why. So, in a rash moment, I pulled all my work out of my galleries, away from my agent and cancelled everything. The result was, I went in a different direction for a few years, and am only now in 2019 really coming back to my art with a new fresh approach.
All that was really missing was understanding what exactly I’m writing about today; developing your creativity. Making sure as artists we stay flexible to change, try new things, stretch ourselves, and of course get out of that comfort zone.
What is creativity?
The dictionary defines this as: “the use of imagination or original ideas to create something; inventiveness.” I think I prefer this definition: ‘Creativity is the act of turning new and imaginative ideas into reality’. This implies action is taken and a mix of thinking and producing. Very often I think we do the thinking part, but not always seeing it through.
Firstly, let’s look at what might get in the way or stop you on your path to develop your creativity.
What might hold you back:
- Negative beliefs – If we hold a belief that we are not good enough, talented enough, not capable etc. this will definitely get in the way of success.
- Fear of failure – So many of us hold this fear of failure belief and this alone can stop you taking those all-important arty risks I’m going to talk about later on.
- Not taking the time – This was the one that got me before. I was ‘so busy’ producing works for upcoming shows that I told myself I just didn’t have the time to explore my creativity and so I ended up burnt out.
- Lacking in confidence – Sometimes having the confidence to just try new things can make all the difference, if this is lacking then we tend to stay doing the same things over and over again.
Now let’s discover what you can do to unleash your full creative potential in all its glory and truly develop your art & creativity.
Tools for success:
- Brainstorm ideas – This might seem obvious, but quite often we don’t do the things that are right in front of us. Take some time to just come up with as many different ideas as you can, including all those ‘silly’ ones. There is quite often a gem in there.
- Mind-map – What a great tool to use to take all those random thoughts and organise them more in a visual way. Start from the centre circle with all the main points, then create ‘branches’ off each of these and explore till you run out of thoughts.
- Journal – I love to keep a small sketch-book with me as much as possible, so that as ideas come you can jot them down immediately. You can either write or draw or both, I’m not sure it matters, just use a journal to develop your creativity and you’ll have lots of ideas to work from.
- Become an expert – I read many years ago that it takes 10,000 hours of disciplined practise to become considered an expert at something. The takeaway here I think is that we could all do with just investing more time doing all of this.
- Curiosity – Yes be curious about your subject matter, your materials, artists that inspire you, your surroundings and anything else that is relevant to you right now.
- Look for opportunities – These all around us if we are open to seeing the signs; learn new and challenging techniques and try as many new things as you can.
- What inspires you – This has got to be an area that becomes a daily practice; books, museums, Social Media, blogs, nature, music, materials, structure, history etc.. Try writing everything that inspires you down in your journal and maybe explore each one deeper using a Mind-map, something exciting could arise.
- Take risks – As humans, we are naturally either a risk-taker or not; there is some middle ground, but it’s usually more one way than the other. If you are the former, then you may well already be using this technique to develop your creativity. If not, I’m going to challenge you to take some big risks the next time you are faced with moving a piece of artwork forwards. I have found that the best work often comes after a dramatic move on my part.
- What do you See, Hear, Feel, Experience? – When you are stuck ask yourself these questions and see what answers you get back. Allow yourself to really immerse yourself and you might be surprised at what you come up with.
- Ask: What if? – This is my favourite question to ask myself when creating. What if I put a big red dot right in the middle of this painting? What if I totally changed the light/dark; what if I turned the canvas around by 45 degrees…You get the idea.
- Get feedback – I’ve saved this till last, as sometimes it can be hard to ask for open, honest feedback. But I’m going to encourage you to do just that. More eyes, ears, emotional experience the better to look at your work. You are not obliged to follow any of the suggestions of course.
By now I hope you are about to leap away from wherever you are reading this and get stuck straight into one or more of the above suggestions. I can promise you that on your journey to Building Your Dream Art Business and learning to Live A Balanced Lifestyle, you will have an enhanced experience and improved results all round and I wish you every success. Especially, now that you have more clarity on how to develop your art & creativity.