Beating the Winter Blues

22 Feb 2012

Call it the blues, call it the doldrums, call it what you will--it seems that many of us plein-air painters go through a slump about this time of year. Even if the weather is good enough for painting outdoors, nature isn't always at her finest when we're waiting for spring to arrive. It can feel as if your creative well has all but frozen over and inspiration has gone dormant.

I saved this image from an online home decorating magazine because I liked both the arrangement of shapes and the color palette.
I saved this image from an online home decorating
magazine because I liked both the arrangement of
shapes and the color palette.
I was just talking about this with some friends, and I was surprised to hear some of the creative ways people have found to break through our particular "seasonal disorder." Of course, there are the usual fixes for artists' block, such as exercise, meditation, journaling, working in another medium, and the like. But my friends had some more unusual--and in my opinion, more intriguing--ways to break out of the blues.

• Have you tried Pinterest yet? Much like "pinning" ideas to a bulletin board, you can use your Pinterest account to electronically "pin" anything you find on the web to your virtual bulletin board. Look for art that inspires you, subjects you'd like to tackle when painting outside, even color palettes that make your mouth water. Sifting through the inspirational imagery you've collected online can be a real boost.

• The web has more motivation to offer, especially on You Tube and any source of podcasts that may be of interest to you (and don't forget the Artist Daily site!). How about those how-to TV shows? The funny thing is, many of my artist friends find creative ideas in videos, recordings, and TV shows that have nothing to do with art, per se, but are about the creative process, like cooking shows or interviews with noted authors.

• If visual images just aren't cutting it for you, use words instead. Try making a list of words you can use as touchstones for creative inspiration. A quick selection from my touchstone word list includes journey, spirit, bird, map, and hunger. Do any of those make you envision your next plein air painting? If not, what words would?

So, come on now, share. What's the craziest, zaniest, oddest thing you've done to melt winter's icy grip on your creative spirit and get your artistry flowing again?

--Jennifer

 


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