The Deserted Trappings of a Creative Mind

Wow, it’s been a while since I have been on here! If you have been following me on Facebook, you will note that my creative mind has been the equivalent of the Sahara Desert…devoid of life lol. This has been going on since what? Christmas? Just after Christmas my mind went on a trek through the deserted plains to no where. I had been racking my brain trying to come up with ideas and the harder I pushed it, the more empty it became. It’s almost as if I even forgot how to paint!!! I almost tossed it up in the air and said, “to heck with it, I’m done!” I kept wondering if this happens to other artists. I know that we get in creative slumps sometimes, but for months?!!! I have never experienced such a thing, so I wasn’t sure how to handle it.

Oh sure, I tell people over and over in interviews and such that I have never had a creative slump and if I do, well, I just go trotting over to Pinterest for inspiration. It’s an endless source of ideas, creativity and inspiration, right? Right…sure thing there Courtney. SURE you know what you’re talking about…not. Little did I know that sometime soon I would be facing my most barren moment yet. Sometimes around the holidays I step away from work and art to spend it with family. I struggle for a few days when I get back into work and it’s all good. Not this time! My mind had other things in store for me!

Pinterest was and is full of wonderful ideas, but the gorgeous images before me created no spark. No neuron firing that says…EUREKA! Not even a dull spark that said, “ok, that might be interesting.” Colors started mingling with each other, losing their luster.

But one day, we had a friend from out of town stay with us for the night so she could go to her marathon the next morning. We were talking that night and I was explaining to her my creative problems. She instantly said, “this may be your mind telling you you need to step back and start on something new and different.” I was thinking, “gasp! Me give up art?!…nononononono!” We got to then talking about her marathon running. I asked what got her started and if she liked it. She said she hated it. Hated it?! Wait, why would you do such a thing if you hate it?! In a world of quick fixes and instant gratification, this was confusing to me. She went on to explain that she does things she doesn’t like to challenge herself. She loves a good challenge and there is nothing more challenging than doing something you hate. Not just for herself to see if she can do it, but to show her children that “you can do anything and do it well, even if you hate it. And, sometimes we are faced to do things we hate.”

Now, I don’t hate art. But, I took what she said to heart. I wasn’t hating art, but I was hating my barren wasteland of a mind. I was hating that I wasn’t being creative. With our talk, I just took a step back and kind of gave up. I decided I wasn’t going to think about it anymore. The challenge I took up was with doing a collaboration with another designer. Lacking in inspiration and creativity, I forced myself to sit down and work and create. I just did it. Oh, how I hated it too. Yes, I didn’t like it. I didn’t want to do it dang it! I want to be inspired before I work!!!! I wasn’t. But, I pushed myself. I pulled up my big girl pants and went to work.

Pulling out my watercolors, which are the most difficult for me, I spent four days painting some birds. I kept forcing myself day after day to paint in layers until they were the way I wanted them.  I did some paint splats, which absolutely held no amusement for me, though doing those in the past always held much fun for me, the flinging paints around. Sigh. But, I kept on going. Scanning, painting, pulling bits and pieces of things together. Before I knew it, I had the makings of a kit. Wow, when did that happen? How did that happen?

Again, if you are following me on Facebook, you would have seen my little painted birdies. And, there folks was just the beginning. As I was working on this kit that I was hating with every fiber of my being, I started to slowly like it. My thoughts started to slowly to turn things like: Wow, these colors are starting to look really pretty together. Hmmm, my birds didn’t turn out too bad. I really like these couple of papers I did. Then my mind started to turn to things like: Oh, I really need to do a pack of these. Ooooo, I would love to do something like that later down the road. Slowly I started to build of list of ideas. So far, I am up to 10 new ideas!!!

In the end, taking a deep breath and stepping away, and challenging myself at the same time to work brought everything back to life. My creative ideas will have lots of new things as well as doing some things I have done before. This has opened up new doors in my creative mind. My creative mind went from being the equivalent to the Sahara Desert to becoming the abundance of the Amazon Rain Forest.

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