Saturday, July 24, 2010

How Does Creativity Come to Us?

As a creative individual and a working artist, sometimes I go through brief periods where I cannot get motivated to even draw. As much as I have always loved it and have excelled at it since early childhood, there are some points in my life as an adult when everything else in my life takes precedence and fills up all the time in my day. I do both fine art / illustration, and graphic design in my full-time freelance business, CNGraphics Art & Design. For my fine art, I just want to head outdoors in this beautiful summer weather in New York and find a nice quiet natural setting with trees and water to settled down and paint for a few hours. However, I keep giving myself reasons not to actually do that because I have to clean and organize my home so I can feel more comfortable in my studio, or I should stay at home and follow up on my marketing contacts, or work on my promotional materials, or I have to go to the gym and do Pilates or just plain feel like I'd rather do things with friends, or I have to take care of my elderly mom. I work and do all these things and then there's no time left to paint for myself. Well, as an artist, I tend to get lots of creative energy. And I need an outlet to channel all that energy. So my resolution is to tell myself that each day, I have to work on something related to my art. So during those times when I am not working on client's projects and when I need to work on my own new portfolio pieces, I sit myself down, take a breather and close my eyes usually while listening to music...just for  several minutes to relax, clear my mind. Then I allow myself to think of the things I want to do (for my art), I think how these relate to my dreams, my wishes. When I figure what I want to do, I open my eyes and turn on the computer and surround my desk with books of images. Connect to the internet with paper and pencil in hand and start looking for the sites, images, writings that will inspire me for my next work of art whether that be a drawing, painting or design. I tell myself I have to commit at least a half hour to one hour of pure creative intervention which will lead to some sketching and eventually start the actual project.

The best way to find creativity is first to go to a place of calm and connect with your inner self, analyze your interactions with others (find what makes you tick, what excites you) and reflect on the recent or past events that pertain to your art project, reach deep into your memories, use your sense of smell, taste, sight, sound and touch of all the things related to your art subject and surround yourself with imagery. This sensory overload is a surefire way to get the creative juices kicking in again.

My place of calm and conceptualization is usually in my studio, sometimes I sit at my desk in front my new iMac 27", sometimes at my drafting table, or outside in the bookstore's coffee shop with magazines spread at my table, or my favorite place of meditation at the park by the Long Island Shore in Larchmont, NY with my trusty black bag full of painting materials. I go there after I've thought about what I will paint and find the luxury of time in a day's planned schedule. Sometimes, the landscape painting is the breather I need to before I do a larger in studio painting or a tedious graphic design job. Other times, I make the effort to go to an occasional figure drawing session at a local studio or the Society of Illustrators in NYC to loosen up and refresh my skills. I am gradually going out and drawing again and gradually want to do art everyday again. For a period of several years I was drawing in my sketchbook everyday and working in a studio doing a complete full-sized painting a week. Then I turned to restaurant graphic design as a means to make more money for the next few years and haven't painted as much. Yes, the economy is still bad, but the urge to be creative and do art is too strong. I need to create art to make myself feel useful and just be happy in life. And then when the economy picks up again I will focus my energies into selling that art I've made. It only demands an hour a day to start and if you stick to creating, you will begin to find the time to spend more time on it. It's a necessity for when you have a client demanding artwork from you, so it is best to stay in practice, focus and get the ball rolling.