1. Trouble Getting Started

Show Notes
This episode will focus on what causes artists to have trouble getting started on new work and how that resistance results in studio avoidance. We will then discuss 4 simple strategies that will help you engage in your art and get the ball rolling! We will explore several hands-on approaches as well as a more introspective solution. These strategies will get you back in the studio and creating today!

Next Steps
Episode Transcription:
[00:00:00] Cultivating creativity is about helping you build your creative life. Giving creatives a way to make space for artistic growth through the insights from the mind of an artist, instructor, and art coach about the creative process and living that crazy creative life.

[00:00:37] This episode will focus on what causes artists to have trouble getting started on new work and how that resistance results in studio avoidance. We will then discuss four simple strategies that will help you engage in your art and get the ball rolling. We will explore several hands on approaches as well as a more introspective solution.

[00:00:57] These strategies will get you back in the studio and creating today. The best and the worst thing in the whole world is that new project. Fresh supplies, new ideas, just waiting for your genius. No pressure. But what if your idea isn't that great? Maybe it'll just start tomorrow. Now it's week five of that same conversation.

[00:01:20] So why do we avoid the studio? Is that normal? Yes. It's totally normal to find yourself avoiding the studio or having trouble getting started. It could be a particular project, something in the environment, or a mindset playing on an insecurity and holding you back. The important thing is to identify the problem so you can get back into the studio and get started today.

[00:01:43] So what are some of those potential problems? First, it could be something with the project. Maybe you are starting a brand new project and not sure of the outcome of that particular project. Maybe you're in the middle of a project and feeling a little bit stuck. Perhaps it's the environment. Something is distracting you in the studio.

[00:02:03] If you're anything like me, maybe everything you own is out and you need to put some things away. Maybe you don't have the space that you need. Maybe something is in your way. There could be a lot of things in the environment that could be stalling out that creativity. Or it could be an insecurity. Maybe something is bothering you.

[00:02:22] Do you not feel up to maybe this particular task? Do you not feel like you could handle this? What is holding you back? It could be a distraction. You know, we have a lot of things going on in our lives. Something in your life could be really weighing heavily on you, and that can hold back your creativity as well.

[00:02:40] Maybe you need to focus on that thing or get to some resolution with whatever is bothering you to add space for your creativity. So a lot of things can be contributing to this particular feeling. Alright, yes, I know. I'm familiar with that stuck place. How do I fix it? All right, some start now strategies.

[00:03:00] Try some of these ideas. Something in this list will work. I have found that different solutions work for different situations. It totally depends on what you're going through. Solution one, get hands on. If you're an intuitive artist, start something small. Just get some supplies out and start playing, start experimenting.

[00:03:21] Tell yourself this doesn't need to be a big project, you just want to experiment with color, material, shape, form, the process, whatever inspires you. Take the pressure off of it being anything special, and just start working. Sometimes getting over that barrier is the biggest thing you can do. And for the planner, you know, You may already have a plan.

[00:03:44] Do some other sketches, play with some new sketches, start some color studies. I'm not sure about your process. My process, I tend to sketch things out, either in pen or in pencil. Then I like to do tracing paper overlay for color studies. I personally love to use oil pastels for color studies because I love the vibrancy of the color.

[00:04:03] But sometimes if I'm feeling stuck on a project, I just grab another piece of tracing paper and I do a whole nother color study. Maybe do a series of color studies. That's the beauty of the tracing paper. And yes, for those of you who like to work digitally, this is the ancestor of layers. Because you don't want to change your drawing, but you want to be able to see other things.

[00:04:24] So you can kind of layer these ideas. Other things that you can do is just start a new sketch. Play with some new ideas. So notice the theme here. We are playing. I want you to get your hands on something. Make it fun. If you're really feeling stagnant about your project, I feel like there's almost nothing as intimidating as that fresh new material that is just waiting and there's a lot of pressure sometimes in that.

[00:04:51] So sometimes if we just get our hands on something to get started now, it all starts to come together. That's solution one. Solution two, get into the studio. This doesn't mean that you have to start your project right away. There's other stuff you can do in the studio. 

[00:05:08] First, organize it. Put some stuff away. Clean it. Yes, I mean actually clean. Clean some of those surfaces. Refresh. I love having what I call inspirational assets in my studio. And this can be anything. It can be pictures that make you smile, family members, pets, vacations, experiences. I personally love quotes from other people, famous artists, and it just makes me feel like I'm part of a community.

[00:05:36] And I love the quotes where it's just like they talk about either that they're having fun, that it's a responsibility to create, that they have to just push through, and you know, some of those things that feel like, okay, I'm not alone. Other people are doing this. Other people get it. And if they can handle it and get through it, then I totally can.

[00:05:55] And other things that are just silly and fun and inspire you. So refresh some of those things. So sometimes periodically, you know, I stopped seeing something. I've seen it a million times. Now I'll get a new quote. I'll get a new image. I'll put some things up. I also like to create a vision board. I have a vision board in my studio where I put my sketches or projects that I'm working on.

[00:06:16] So I can quick reference them as I'm working periodically will create a vision board, things that I'm really trying to focus on in my life, in my studio, and then a quick lens that that could be really inspirational to whatever feels right to you, put some things that are just inspirational and fun and positive in your workspace.

[00:06:35] Another thing that you can do is just get out the materials. You know what you want to work on next. So you've put away all the miscellaneous things from your last project. Get out the things that you're going to need for this new project. It just makes it so much easier to just have those things out.

[00:06:50] And then once you have your space, So set up and welcoming half the time you're going to want to just dive in and start working and that's great But maybe you feel like i'm not quite there yet. That's fine You have taken that step and the next time you go in the studio It's going to feel so much more welcoming and you'll feel like doing the task You'll feel like getting started and it's totally changed the way you feel about the space Getting into that studio and doing some of those tasks can be really helpful in preparing us and setting up for a new energy in our creative space.

[00:07:25] The third solution, get outside of the studio, get away from the studio, grab a sketchbook and play. I love to go out to a park. I personally love our botanic gardens here in Denver. I'll go to the botanic gardens, take a sketchbook, take some pencils, colors. And I'll go out there and I'll do some sketches and studies and it just revitalizes me.

[00:07:46] It helps me remember what I love about creating. And I'm in an environment with no pressure. I know that I'm there to just play and experiment and just feel the love of creating. Find a place where you can go, you Find a coffee shop, do a couple sketches, go out and look at some art, go to an art museum, go to a gallery, walk around a sculpture garden, really start to take in looking at other art, being inspired by the lines, the forms, the movement, the texture.

[00:08:16] Typically I find the more I look at art, the more excited I get about creating my own and joining that conversation. And so just start looking. Another thing that's fun is to just get some new materials, and they don't have to be expensive. I love a new pencil, a new set of markers, things that I use when I'm kind of in the play mode, or just get some fun new materials.

[00:08:40] I love going to the art supply store when I don't need anything, and just browsing. Sometimes I just get some really good ideas. Sometimes I see something I can't walk away from. Sometimes I see something and it's like, Oh my gosh, this has a really interesting potential. What can I do with this? And that can be really inspiring, just looking at things.

[00:08:59] All of those things start to engage that creativity and really inspire you to want to make your own things. And lastly, it could just be something that's buried a little deeper. And I find a little bit of discovery journaling can be very, very helpful. Get out a journal, find a quiet spot, have a cup of coffee or tea, and set aside some time to get a little bit introspective.

[00:09:25] Do some journaling to uncover what the resistance is. And I find that if you're really being honest and authentic, you can dive down and figure out what it is. And sometimes it's something very small. You're feeling intimidated by your current project idea. If that's the case, I typically set it aside, put out a whole new project, and start there.

[00:09:44] And usually I work up to it. I don't ever really ditch any of my ideas, they're always just waiting for me to pick them up and use them. So it's not that you're getting rid of something, it's just that you might be putting it aside. Now, maybe it's something a little bit different. It could be related to the art, but on a bigger scale.

[00:10:02] Maybe you start questioning what you're doing this for, what are your overall big goals, and that starts to hold you back. If that's the case, I can actually help with that. I have an amazing course called Identifying Artistic Success. It really helps you get clarity on what is important to you, what you want to do.

[00:10:20] I feel that that's really important. Oftentimes other people might ask us, what are you making art for? You need to dive down and figure out why you are doing this, how this is important to you. So that could be something that you're dealing with. It could be a whole bunch of other things. Reach in and first explore if it's something related to the art, because I find that that's what you're focused on, that's what's being stopped at this moment, and that's the first place to start.

[00:10:46] Then recognize that it could definitely be regular life stuff. We have a lot of things in our lives right now. We have so many things that we're juggling, and there could be an aspect of your life that's flaring up and needs some attention. Maybe you're worried about something. Maybe you're dealing with another issue and another component of your life.

[00:11:06] Maybe you need to spend some time thinking about that, solving a problem, coming to terms with whatever that is. If we have something like that in our life, usually one of the first things to kind of close up is that creative part inside of ourselves. And so if we're feeling very uncomfortable, if we have other feelings of resistance in other parts of our life, our creativity closes up.

[00:11:29] Sometimes we have to address those other areas first. I have a list of journal prompts that will help you think through and analyze and maybe dive a little deeper to figure out exactly what's going on that's holding you back. And identifying it is really the biggest part of this struggle. Finding out what that is.

[00:11:47] You can say, okay, well I know what this problem is. I know I'm dealing with it, but I have a strategy. I'm working through it. And so then you can tell your psyche, it's okay, we've got this. Now I need to open up and make some space for creativity, whatever that looks like. And other cases, maybe you don't have it yet.

[00:12:04] Maybe you're like, oh my gosh, I'm realizing this is a big issue. I'm going to need to step away, take some time, deal with this issue, and then I can address the different components of my life, and identify if that's what's causing your resistance. So again, refer to my journal prompts, set some time aside, and really feel into that.

[00:12:22] These four techniques will get you going in the studio. But remember, number one was get your hands on the material. Dive in and start going. Number two is to get into the studio. Reorganize. Refresh. Get some of those inspirational assets going. Number three is start outside of the studio. Go to an art museum or gallery.

[00:12:42] Find or look at some new materials. And then don't forget the journaling. So those are the steps to getting back in that studio. All of these solutions are actually really helpful in a variety of scenarios. I hope you found these techniques helpful. Remember, you are not alone. All artists run into this challenge.

[00:13:00] But now you have the tools you need to get started. Make sure to download my journal prompts in the show notes and subscribe to my podcast. Until next time!


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