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7 Ways to Get out of a Creative Slump!

For me, one of the best ways to get inspiration is to get out of my studio and paint outdoors. But it has been a cold few months and without some way to keep my water and hands from freezing, en plein air painting is not really an option. 

I feel like I might not be the only one in a bit of a creative slump this winter, so I wanted to share some tips to help you recharge your creative batteries and get making art again!

1.  Learn about Creativity!

I am a bit fascinated on creative processes of different artists. I get excited about visiting studios, peeking inside sketchbooks and hearing about the methods and practices of different artists. 

I recently posted a list of some of my favourite books on Creativity here.  These books are not all written by visual artists, but I was amazed to find out how similar approaches can be found across disciplines. They really helped inspire me and change the way I looked at leading a creative life.

If you aren't much of a bookworm, I recently watched an episode of “Explained” on Netflix that talked about creativity from a neurological perspective.  It was a short and fun documentary that made me think about creativity in a new way.

2. Take a Class!

Yes, as an Art Teacher that sounds a bit biassed, and of course, I would love to help inspire you in one of my classes, but many people find the accountability of showing up for a class helps give them that push to start creating.  

Life drawing classes or Open Studio programs are often self directed spaces for people to create independently in a group environment, which is great if you are not looking for something too instructional or formal. 

You don’t have to take a a class in your regular medium of choice either! Try “cross training” and experiment in a completely different media. It is amazing how elements in one art form can migrate and inspire another. Try a fused glass class, a pottery class, a quilting workshop or a photography class to try and shake things up. You will be amazed what you can bring back to your own art practice! 

3. Start Journalling!

If some form of journalling is not part of your creative practice yet, it should be!  I feel like this is the most common thing I see artists using to keep their creativity flowing. There is no one way to try this either, it can be Visual Art Journal, Junk Journal, Diary or Scrapbook. For me, having a space to be creative without the pressure of creating a finished piece of art or sharing it is freeing. 

For those of you that enjoy writing, I know several artists who swear by Morning Pages, a practice outlined in Julia Cameron’s Book, “The Artist’s Way.”  

 4. Declutter your Art Supplies or Clean Out your Studio

I might grumble at this one, but it really works! I can’t create anything in a messy studio, and I am also a messy person so you can see how this cycle can stifle my creativity. If I'm struggling to start, I clean off my desk completely and think about giving areas in my studio deep clean or declutter. Sometimes I even discover some supplies I have been meaning to use or a project I forgot about, which is just the spark I need! 

5. Treat Yourself

I don’t want to get into the rut of thinking that I have to buy something to recharge my creative batteries. We artists often joke about spending too much at art stores and I certainly don’t want to encourage needless spending on art supplies, but sometimes something new and shiny can really excite us to get into the studio. 

I really try not to over indulge in things I don't need or will never use and I realize It is a privilege to be able to do this. I recommend setting yourself a small budget, and try to find one small new thing at the art store that sparks some inspiration. Maybe it’s some new paper, a new tube of colour or a new sketchbook. Think of this method as last resort and a treat. Use sparingly!  And of course, you can opt to just window shop and not spend any money. 

6. Join a Community Group

There are many artists groups available both online or in person.  Local Arts Organizations and even community centres ofter Sketch clubs and craft groups and many are free to join! 

My favourite local group is the Waterloo Region Urban Sketchers. They are a free public group on Facebook and Instagram with a very active member base. They arrange frequent trips and meet ups and their social media feed is always full of inspiration from members. 

7. Visit an Art Gallery of Museum

Visiting your local art gallery is a great way to get out of your house and get inspired. Most galleries change their exhibits often so there is always something new to see.  Many galleries offer free admission as well. 

If you are like me and love scrolling Pinterest for Inspiration, try following me there!  


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