Forcing Artistic Endeavors...

8:11 AM

...seldom works well for me.

In a very recent (as in yesterday) conversation with an art friend, we were discussing our lack of motivation to create art at this insanely busy time of year.

I'm not even sure I would call it a lack of motivation. I think it's more of a redirection of time, talent and interest and it's deadline driven.

You see, it's not that I haven't been creating. I have, I have! Just not in my journal.

Very quick sketch of my new door tree
on hot press watercolor paper
I recently purchased two new "trees" to go on either side of our front doors. I had a ball decorating them with all kinds of red and bright, acid green trims. I have also redone the wreaths that go on the doors as well.

However, when I tried to paint them....well, let's just say it became "forced fun" and it didn't go so well. It was damp outside and I had a running litany of all the things on my gotta-get'er-done list as I attempted to sketch the trees. I rushed the painting and it was taking forever for the paint to dry because of the dampness.

The result...not my finest piece of work. Do I wish it were better? Of course.

Do I wish it enough to s...l.....o.......w down enough to do a better job? Not at the moment.

Does that mean I'm slacking? Hmmm, maybe. Maybe not.

Let's take a look at the definition of creativity. Does it apply to just creating art or does it also apply to decorating the mantel, making (and decorating) adorable, delicious cookies, sewing cute stockings to be hung by the chimney with care, and wrapping each present with extra attention?

For me, it is all of the above. Well, except for the cookies. I do cakes rather than cookies.

I also find that I have ideas hitting me rapid fire—so rapid that it's hard to keep up with all those really fabulous ideas that I want to act on if I just had the time.

This is where my journal really starts coming in handy. Instead of just creating art, I capture ideas. 

When I want to remember that cool snowman I saw, but instead of a red top hat, I have the idea of adding a long scarf with a blue sky cap so it would look like my cousin when he arrives for the holiday gathering, I put it in my journal!

How about that really cute holiday display I saw down in the town square that made me think about the small village I have packed away that I could use to recreate the scene on your mantel? I can sketch out a quick idea in my journal!

Sometimes, it's just words that inspire, like an idea for a greeting card or a gift tag, maybe even a gift. I write it down!

Maybe it a gorgeous play of reds and oranges with a mix of acid green that looks so stunning that I want to remember it for next year's decorating. I. Write. It. Down!

Using our journals creatively to help us capture thoughts and ideas rather than stressing over whether we're filling enough pages or the art is good enough is the true beauty of keeping a journal.
The Finished Page with a little bit
of ink to help add definition

If you don't want to use your regular journal, create an idea journal and carry everywhere so that you can capture those wisps of inspiration when then happen to float by!

The idea here is to make our journals and sketchbooks work for us so that we can recognize all the fun ways we're using our creativity as well as to capture all the ideas that we have when we don't have the time to act on them.

Try keeping a creativity list and write down all the ways you've been using your talent and creative/artistic skills. You'll be amazed at how quickly the pages start to fill up when you start thinking about the various activities that require creative thought!

How are you using your journal this holiday season—are you creating art or capturing ideas?

You Might Also Like

13 Creative Thought(s)

  1. I, too, suffer from too many ideas and not enough time. And my journal is is a valuable place to store all of that creative stuff, saving it up for later inspiration. And sometimes it's a good place to just do something, anything, to keep the creativity flowing. I like your festive tree! Great sketch!

  2. Sweet, sweet tree! And, I love that I can make snow flakes sprinkle down upon it :)

    You've hit the 'season' and journaling right on the head! Creating for Christmas helps me keep the reason for the season in my heart despite the craziness of the retail world. My biggest challenge is that all the inspiration hits way too late! Thanks for putting down what's in my heart!

  3. Mine are mostly ideas. I am using my creative energy at work, I make arrangements, decorate trees etc for other people. Lots of people dear to me have December birthdays. I have to celebrate them as well as the other holiday carrying on. Fun.. don't feel guilty not working the book so much this time of year. I sure don't.

  4. Very nice and timely post Laure! Yes, I am using my "creative" taught me well! Technology has been a huge help too in helping me capture and keep my thoughts organized! Too bad it can't help find me More TIME! :). HAPPY HOLIDAYS if I don't get to see you before!

  5. Wonderful post. I have always used a lined spiral notebook to keep ideas in and lately draw character ideas of journal pages in it. I use a lined one because I use to mostly just write to do lists and ideas I saw in it but now I draw more. I have a stack of them, they aren't something I would share with anyone, but I cant do without having one going. Maybe I ought to go to an unlined book.

  6. Great post. So true that there are many more ways to be creative than just in a journal (just sketching/painting). I've been quilting more lately myself. And making ornaments.

  7. Hi Laure! Merry Christmas! I am out here, and just wanted to say I love your idea for drawing down ideas in a journal. I want to start a third journal just for this idea...only not ideas, but actual things I accomplish each day! My days are so busy with the house, grown kids, grandkids, and everything that goes with it, I feel like I need to document what does on in each day! I pray you have a wonderful Christmas!!!
    xoxo- Julie

  8. Ah... I can relate to the thought of 'redirected' time. As soon as I get my decorations, Christmas cards, baking, wrapping, and general clean-up done (that ole ' gotta-get'er-done list') ..... then I do plan to sit down and enjoy some sketching in my dining room so I can look across and enjoy the Christmas tree.

    I can really relate to your thought of 'ideas hitting me rapid fire'. That is SO true for me -- I'm always getting ideas of what I want to sketch if only I had more time. I think I should try your idea of a less formal journal to just record the ideas.

  9. Thanks for the post Laure. Love the tree. I have been feeling quilty that I haven't put pen or brush to paper since the last class ended. I have been knitting and ideas race around in my head while the kneedles click/clack. I love the ;idea' journal idea. I'm traveling next week and am planning on getting back into my journal.
    Wishing you and your family rest, peace and the happiest of holidays.

  10. What a great post! And cute tree, too--I see why you're so excited to have it (them). I agree that creativity can be expressed in everything we do (there's a cool website you might like, called "Creative Every Day" ( I have taken the pressure off my "official" creativity by allowing myself to work at it in shorter lengths of time, realizing that the other aspects of my daily life need a little extra time and attention right now. I feel OK as long as I'm doing a little something most days (writing morning pages, working on blog posts or other writing projects in shorter bursts).

  11. A very wise post, indeed, Laure! I think I will have more than one journal this year. One for creative ideas, doodles and such, and one for 'prettier' art, used when I have more time....

    All the best to you and yours this holiday season! Hope to "see" more of you in 2013!

  12. 'Capturing ideas' is what brought me to journaling in the first place. I realized I needed to somehow save a good idea and pull it out of the journal when I had time and inspiration to work on it. Gradually my journal evolved into something much more than that, but raw ideas still go in whenever they pop up. Good ideas can hit at the strangest times.

    P.S. Do you realize how much fun your little starry sprinkles are to play with!

  13. wow! this is amazing! you are really talented! could you check out my site as well?

    Merry Christmas! Thanks!


Let's talk!

Like us on Facebook

Flickr Images