How to Keep the Creativity Going

Have you ever created a painting so wonderful that you could not wait to do another amazing piece of art? You feel like you have finally arrived at greatness and from here on in your art will soar.  Excitedly you start the next project only to be disappointed with the results.  Ok so you are not going to let yourself get discouraged.  You set this less than perfect art aside and grab another canvas and begin again.  The results are not what you expected either and now discouragement sets in.  Have you noticed how when discouragement sets in creativity goes out the window?

Here are a few suggestions to keep discouragement at bay. 

  • Take your success and copy it.  Think in terms of a series of art on the same theme, the same color scheme, or the same subject matter.  Landscape for instance is great to do in the four seasons.  Place the fantastic art where you can reference it and determine where you can reuse color, subject or process to get another great piece. There is no rule against painting the same thing again and again; I guarantee different results each time.  I once walked into an art gallery in New York City where the entire store was filled with paintings of sunflowers.  There were not any two the same.
  • I find it useful to sketch a landscape out with pencil or charcoal before attempting to paint.  It helps to use a diluted color (yellow ocher or lightened burnt sienna) to draw the main shapes on the canvas once you have found the perfect composition through drawing it first.  This helps to ensure the placements of objects in the intended area.  Otherwise, it is amazingly easy to get things skewed.  Using NOTAN, which is the light to dark harmony, ensures a strong composition. 
  • The flip side of repeating a successful painting is to look at the less than perfect ones studying them to see what could have been done better.  Taking notes can help when you repaint it so that you do not miss any of the improvements you noticed.
  • Like our New York sunflower artist, keep painting the subject over and over from different perspectives.  Look at the work of other artists for inspiration or look back at your own and decide where your strengths are and paint those things you are already good at. If you cannot paint a decent tree, then take landscape out of your repertoire or take some lessons.  And that is my final suggestion: keep learning.

You need not get discouraged; every artist does less than perfect art.  I read about an artist who had a bonfire to discard the art he was not happy with.  Old canvas is great for experimentation with palette knives or paint pours.  Usually, canvases can be primed again for another try.  Keep painting!