When I adopted the label "Artist" and began taking art more seriously as a career, I vowed to myself to create a life where I lived and breathed creativity. Our muse isn't always on speaking terms with us in every season of our lives, but there are ways to invite inspiration and motivation to flow more freely.
Living a creative life means three things to me:
1. Curating Inspiration in Your Environment
Whenever we are consuming visual information with our eyeballs, there is an opportunity to be inspired and learn from our environment. Observing how light hits an object, the shape and undertones of the shadow, how certain color combinations make us feel, textures, silhouettes, and negative space - all aspects to consider in art.
The environment where you live and create has a great potential to impact your mood, motivation, and inspiration. While it's important to keep a keen eye when you're out and about, we spend 90% of our time indoors. Curating an environment that encourages creativity and the life we want is crucial. We can do this by removing friction from our creative practice. For example, keeping your art supplies somewhere easily accessible or keeping a sketchbook in your bag. Placing cues in your environment visibly like a color wheel, color combination swatches, or your paint palette can spark action when inspiration strikes and make your space an extension of your creative lifestyle.
Undeniably, our phones are also a space where our eyes consume information. We can use our phones as a tool in our creative living by taking pictures for reference, consuming art online, and keeping a list of ideas & inspiration (or Pinterest board).
2. Creating a Fertile Ground for Creativity to Blossom.
Rest! We all know the benefit of a good night's rest; however, taking time to quiet the mind and relax during the day is equally important to creative living. In the hustle and bustle of life, it can be hard to prioritize rest. When you're tired, restless, and stressed it can be incredibly difficult to come up with creative ideas, let alone actually sit down to manifest them into art. It's like trying to squeeze more juice out of a lemon that's already been squeezed. Allowing yourself to slow down, sit with your thoughts, and meditate can help you sort through all the information rattling up in there and develop them into more tangible ideas. Creating space for this part of the process is important! This isn't just a means to more, better, and faster when it comes to creativity. It's a way of honoring the natural seasons and each step in the cyclical nature of the creative process.
3. Carving Time to be Creative Regularly.
The keyword here is regularly. I'd argue being consistent with a creative habit is far more important than the quality of the work. The more often you do a task (like sketching or painting), the stronger the neural pathway becomes. This makes it incrementally easier each time you sit down to create. Have you ever noticed that after a long break from creating you begin to hesitate or doubt your ability? In addition to consistency, creativity craves structure. While creative freedom sounds amazing, lacking a focus can leave you paralyzed with too many options. Using specific prompts or color combinations can inspire creative work quickly. It suddenly becomes a puzzle or problem to solve rather than a daunting blank page.
Carving the time out of your calendar is also an important step. You can't count on only creating on a whim when the inspiration strikes. Creating a schedule, tracking the habit, or adding an external element can all help to ensure you take the time to create. I knew during busy weeks I'd tend to push painting off in favor of more pressing tasks. To solve this problem, I began livestreaming my creative process twice a week. By creating an external force of expectation to follow my posted schedule for the sake of my viewers, I show up to paint even when I don't feel like it for the day. Painting along with someone else's stream schedule could help you, or having an accountability art buddy to show work to for feedback every month could create a deadline to encourage you.