Can You Force Creativity?

3:44 PM

Le Mouton Noir Bakehouse
Watercolor and Ink
Stillman & Birn Beta Series
5.5 x 8.5 Inches
KJ (Catching Happiness) and I ventured forth this past Friday for an adventure. We went to our downtown area to a bakehouse named Le Mouton Noir Bakehouse. She'd read about it in the newspaper and we're always game to try new restaurants and Friday's weather was too spectacular to stay inside.

So off we went. We both took sketchbooks and cameras. By the time we found the restaurant, we were starving. Starving. We kinda got lost in our own hometown! We're blaming Google Maps...but before I digress to far...

I can assure you that sketching and painting was not at the top of my priority list by the time we arrived.

So, what's an artist to do?


I decided to sketch the food in pen then took out my camera and snapped a quick shot before digging in! I figured I would add color once I had convinced my stomach that my throat had not been slashed, but it didn't happen at the restaurant.

Later, when I arrived home, I was no more in the mood to paint than I was to to clean the house. And yet, I didn't want an unfinished page in my sketchbook. (The house being dirty didn't bother me. Never does and rewards don't seem to work either.)

Using compromise to finish the page didn't work because there was no reward (like getting to eat)…or was there? What could be my reward, besides a finished page?

A really, really good piece of chocolate!

You may be struggling to get back into the sketchbook habit. How can you reward yourself to create a page and finish it? What will your reward be?

The second element I incorporated was to challenge myself.

The idea of sitting down and spending an hour—or more—to finish the page held no appeal to me. Since it was a super quick sketch to begin with, I saw no reason to labor over the painting portion of the project.

To keep the quick-sketch feel of the page, I set myself a challenge to see how quickly I could paint the page. In total, I have about 25-30 minutes in the page.

Consider other ways you might challenge yourself: limit your palette to 3 colors or even one; just received new art supplies? Incorporate some of those new supplies. Use only pencil or pen. Use no pen or pencil and just paint. Limit your time. Add a piece of collage such as a patterned paper or part of the menu. The ideas are endless.

Evaluate the page becomes a matter of perspective. Is it a successful piece of art? Depends on your perspective.

In my case, I have recognizable objects. I have a record of a very fun day with gorgeous weather and a good friend. I also have a reminder of a great restaurant that I'll visit again soon. Considering I didn't want to sketch and I didn't want to paint it in the first place, I consider this a successful page.

Creativity to comes in many different strengthens and concentrations. If we focus on what we can do with what we have rather than what we can't do (for whatever reason/excuse) or what we don't have (time, interest, inspiration), we will almost always surprise ourselves with what we do. 

Being creative doesn't require time, money, or inspiration. It requires doing.

I've had to push myself lately. What about you? Are you struggling too? Tell me how you're going to push yourself to be creative by simply doing. Tell me about your rewards too!

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13 Creative Thought(s)

  1. I have definitely been stuggling this winter. I have been doing more drawing than sketching. Doodling rather than drawing. Nothing to show for my efforts. Nothing I would want to show that is. I need a reward for sure. Can't think of anything that would get me going. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm

    1. Lisa, I don't believe there's nothing you could use as a reward! Come on! Fess up and use it!

  2. Great post Laure! Struggling has become my middle name these days and I find myself pushing to get anything done! week off work to stay home and create with no interruptions!

    1. Good for you! Knowing you, you'll be sewing up a storm.

  3. I haven't been sketching much either. But last week I took a class that combined painting and sewing, so maybe that was my reward. It was a very fun week, and I want to do more of it. My husband and I are even discussing how to get me more space for the painting part.

    1. Loved the images I saw over on FB, Cheryl! Looks like you've been having way too much fun (and there's no such thing as too much space)!

  4. So glad you enjoyed your outing and even created a memory page. Yes... I've been a bit sluggish on my end - a little trouble getting my engine going and keeping it going. I just posted my most recent attempt at getting over the hump -- giving myself 4 squares on one journal page to fill during a week. The small squares seemed less intimidating and called for some simpler images. It was playful.

    1. Claire, it seems to be the time of year. I'll be popping over to check out your playful squares. Hang in there!

  5. I always struggle with creativity (my muse is on strike for higher wages and better conditions, apparently) and I completely agree that doing is the key. When I regularly sit down with pen and paper or my sketchbook, even if it's just for a few minutes, my creativity definitely returns. Just like the Pablo Picasso quote I have on my desk: "Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working."

  6. I worked out in my new yard yesterday. I was really tired and my back hurt and whine, whine, could I even think of painting what I had worked on during the day! That's what I was telling myself but that's just what I had just said I needed to stop doing on a facebook post of Brenda Brouseau's so I knuckled under my whining and grabbed my pencil, pens and paint. The pencil was getting too fussy so I put it down and just sketched wonky pictures of my day. Got it almost finished before the light went and I quit. It's pretty basic so I can finish the last square when I am ready. I have been putting off too many chances lately so didn't let myself put it off this time. You can see it here.

    1. Forgot to mention your page looks very immediate and fresh. I'd like a piece of that cake too!

  7. I haven't been doing as much sketching as I used to either. But I have been working on other art projects that have deadlines approaching so that's my excuse :-) Although most days I do something that is creative, whether it's art, crocheting or even cooking, it's all a part of the package. I am trying not to be too judgemental about my time. It's all good.


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