Use Your Head

Have you ever cleared a spot of time in your day just to create a piece of art, and your mind seemed totally blank? Are you a little too familiar with artists block?

I can assure you it’s happened to all of us creative’s at one time or another. In my case, I have very limited free time because I have to work my schedule around caregivers. I may plan the best way to use my time, but wouldn’t you know the part of my brain where the ideas are stored is as dry as a bone! The harder I try to think of an idea for a painting, the more my head fights it. That’s when you know it’s time to find a new way.

I have found some tricks over the years to get myself visually stimulated. Since time is an issue for me, I might start thinking about possible subjects several days ahead of my upcoming creative time and I start tossing around some ideas about what I might want to do. For example, music has been a major inspiration for me and I believe it is the common language of mankind. Many of my paintings are based on songs I love, or songs that make me think of images that delight me.

Usually I start with the title of the work first, and that’s how my paintings begin and end. Once the title has been chosen, that means the imagery is pretty much right there supporting it. I do all the composition and work in my head, and I actually see the painting done in my mind. Focused thinking can save a lot of physical energy. With the title in place, my goal is to visually illuminate those particular words and ideas I’m trying to express. When the painting is complete and I’ve done my homework, I can see how well the images support the title. Since I work so physically slow, it’s easy to stay on track and keep the images and title connected with each other.

There are so many ways to coax your brain to think of ideas. It doesn’t have to be music. It can be a favorite movie, a favorite book, a family member, a pet or a poster hanging in your room. Try taking five minutes to close your eyes and relax. Think about things you love or enjoy doing, like sports, dancing, etc.. Eventually all kinds of images will start forming in your head and you are bound to come across a visual resource that inspires you to start working.

The imagination is an amazing entity. You don’t even need to literally see a picture or replica of a place or thing because you can see it in your mind. What images are you thinking about right now?

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