Saturday, July 30, 2011

Inspiration and Motivation - Trying to Get Creative Again

I didn't feel up to writing last week.  There's been a lot of junk going on that drew upon my energy and put a bit of a damper on my creativity.  With all that I've handled over the years, I managed to be strong as I have indeed survived them, but sometimes it saps my energies.  It's a struggle, admittedly, to find the strength to continue handling life's "bumps in the road" as many times I feel that my tires are running flat.

Through one recent dilemma, I have been in touch with a fellow artist who has posted on her blog how she's dealt with creative block, especially when you feel like your self-confidence is being severely tested.  I thought I would link up her blog posts here as they are indeed appropriate for how I'm feeling right now.  and

and to overcome creative block in the art world,

It comes down to getting motivated and finding one's own goals and I thought I would address some things here.  Motivation - the driving force to do something.  Hum... where does one start?  I guess in a way I've been lucky in that my creative juices flow in many directions.  When I'm feeling particularly down lacking motivation to do any one particular form of art, I hop over to something else or do something else.  And then the flip side of this, I face hurdles in staying focused when I feel things aren't going quite the way I want them to go.

Model Horse Painting/Customizing.  Sometimes it's a battle here as in many cases your sales come down to how well your work wins in our hobby competitions.   I've battled feeling held back and one well-established artist told me to stop thinking about what others think - paint/create model horses because it makes ME feel good.  I really tried to change my mindset, and believe me, I still battle with this today.  However, when I started focusing NOT on creating winning pieces and focusing on doing a better job, it seemed to help.

Here's one of my latest creations named Incantation - a Peter Stone Ideal Stock Horse model repositioned, repainted, and given real mohair.  He is owned by a dear friend who's been kicking my butt to push on with this art form based on two models I've now done for her that have become local "champions".   My focus here now - not on creating winners but having fun doing the creating, doing the best I can, and just pleasing a commissioning client or MYSELF. 


When the painting of model horses "isn't talking to me," I'll jump over to another form of art to refocus.  Sometimes it's attempting to do poetry, writing fan fiction for my favorite movies or TV shows, or doing something like digital art.  I can spend hours looking for colorful patterns and pictures using free program called Fractal Explorer and Apophysis and taking the rendered images and at times making even more creations by combining them together.

Inspiration - something that sparks that inner drive to move forward.  To me, it can come in many forms - perhaps as a kind word from someone who understands what you are going through; a feeling of success at one step that drives you on to the next; or obtaining some inner peace doing something relaxing (sometimes these are temporary "fits").  For example, I will take a stroll down to Center Cemetery in my home town - yes, this sounds freaky but let me explain - Center Cemetery resides right alongside a salt marsh and it's truly beautiful there in the summer.   As a nature watcher, I enjoy the large number of birds that congregate here to feed on fish and small crustaceans that make their way upstream on the high tides.  Egrets, herons, songbirds, ducks and geese, sandpipers, and my favorite - the Ospreys - all hand out here.  I'll watch kingfishers show off their marvelous hunting skills hanging in the sky as they locate a fish to pounce on.  The sandpipers probe the exposed mudflats for bites to eat.  And seaside dragonflies patrol the cemetery grounds and over the river's water for prey.  As a water sign being a Scorpio, I find peace here.  It's generally quite except for the periodic visitor wishing to pay respects to a loved on that passed on.  Even for myself, a dear friend was laid to rest here and now I get to say hello to her while I commune with Nature.  I never go to this place without my camera as I never know what I will see there.  And after a venture like this, there are times I'll come home and create, create, create!

You don't necessarily need to go far either.  Sometimes I just need a short walk outside my own door into the yard to feel inspired to work on art.  I also don't go outside without my camera.  The flowers are blooming now both wild and cultivated.  There are numerous creatures hard at work with daily life.  Sometimes I find inspiration in seeing how they don't let the bad things hinder them.  They have things they must do and they just do them.  Even if you are in the city, take a moment and go outside.  One favorite thing I enjoyed in my youth was just looking up at the clouds and observing patterns or pictures that emerged.

 I see ocean wave rolling in.  What do you see?

Like many, sometimes you feel like the weight of the world is upon your shoulders.  I'll focus on the things I can't do or haven't felt successful with and these will curb my creativity a great deal.  Then, I will get a swift kick to the posterior that gives me the strength to push on.  Yes, there are times I feel like I'm taking a step forward and then twenty backward.  We all can be our own worst enemy - this can squash the creative focus or cause unnecessary high levels of stress.  I'll whine and complain, but I will eventually seek something that allows me to push forward - like a fast and hard reminder I still have a roof over my head, food in my belly, and my health.  I've overcome stresses others might have folded to long ago.  Admittedly, it's a battle but I refuse to give up.  As I was yet again just reminded via conversation with a fellow artist, perhaps something is coming along that just hasn't presented itself yet - maybe where I am now is just a springboard to something bigger and better - and I need to be there with open arms to embrace it.

I guess the reason for my ramblings is this - find something that boosts your motivation and allows you to find inspiration to create, or to accomplish a task that has otherwise proved daunting to face.  So today, I will finish painting that model horse I was commissioned to do, take care of a few necessary chores around the house, and take a short walk outside and marvel at what I might discover in my own back yard.

Coming Soon:
Feel Better Friend card and a Friends Like You birthday card


  1. Hi Donna,

    Wonderful post, thanks for sharing this glimpse into your creative world of many interests and talents.

    A stroll along the Salt Marsh sounds magical with all the birds you get to see. I wonder when you think of your special friend who has passed on if a similar bird comes for a visit?

    As for cloud watching, two weeks ago as we were nearing our destination for a wedding - in the sky above the the stretch of farmers' fields was a huge angel or dove!

    Blessings on all you do Donna and enjoy finishing up your model horse commission.

    I think I'll send you an Egret for your next visit to the Salt Marsh!

    Kind Regards,

    P.S. You could make wishes on the New Moon today Saturday, 30th July from 2:39 pm EDT onwards up to 48 hours later. Hand write up to 10 heartfelt wishes, plant these seeds and know that they will come true!

  2. Hi Donna - it's great that you are able to share your journey so openly. I'm sure it will be a huge inspiration to others, even if they are too shy to say so :)

    I was wanting to see the horses you've mentioned and so I'm glad you posted one on your blog. They're superb! In fact, there's so much to comment on in this blog post - but my favourite is the drawing of the Knight of Confidence at the end! It's reminded me that I've never got around to putting the illustrations of the Knight I mentioned in my blog together with the story. One day.....but seriously, I think it's very important to make your art first and foremost for your own satisfaction and then, if some of it happens to be 'marketable', all well and good. That may sound backwards about but I've found it works!

  3. Hi Sri - I will blog later about that special bird coming for a visit for I had such an experience a couple weeks ago and it is truly a story to tell. And I'll be sure to have my camera ready for that visit from your Egret!

    Judy, Thank you for your kind words and inspiring posts sharing your experiences with creative block. I need to find a permanent way to don the suit of armor and permanently put away the Demon I fight all the time with. I know I'd be a happier and less pessimistic person but I admit trying to change my whole mindset is very hard as it's so ingrained into me. Do post when you get your illustration of your knight done! I'd love to see!