Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Creative Muscle - Use It Or Lose It?

Don't worry - it makes more sense in a minute.
Ah, life after art school. You graduate, you go get a real job because you don't know what else to do, and you let all that create-on-demand training that school instilled in you slip away, because now you don't have the time to create, much less the demand.

Just me? Okay then, consider this quandary I find myself in. I'm becoming convinced that all muscles can atrophy, including the creative ones. This week, we're challenging you to talk about your dreams with another creative person, not just because great minds come up with even greater ideas when they work together, but also because IT IS SO NECESSARY TO WORK OUT THAT PART OF YOUR BRAIN. If you're not an artist, it's still important, but for artists . . . well, let me put it this way:

As a runner, you must make sure to get out and run on a regular basis to stay fast. As a doctor, you must have an active medical practice to have a medical license. As an artist, your creativity and your imagination is everything - yes, there is technique involved, but the ability to visualize and make things up that didn't exist before is kinda where the rubber meets the road. If you don't practice that ability on a regular basis, I'm starting to think you risk losing a great deal of your artistic expertise. Not forever, thankfully (or so I hope), but you can find yourself woefully unprepared and feeling rather out of breath halfway into the race if you're not careful.

This also happened tonight. This pretty
much happens to every art project attempt.
That's what happened to me tonight. I have a live painting event coming up -- Denim Day Tucson (it's going to be awesome!!) -- and today is my time to do some prep work. I have two pairs of jeans I need to paint before models wear them this Saturday, and I am supposed to lay the groundwork for my painting tonight, to avoid any awkward crotch brushstrokes at the event.

It started out swimmingly (once I talked four very interested animals into leaving me alone), so I decided to go wild and sketch out my design on the jeans themselves. Or at least that's what I was attempting to do -- I reached the back of the jeans only to realize that I have no idea what I'm going to paint there

I know how you feel, marker sketch lady.
Now I'm stuck, hopefully only until tomorrow, when I'll wake up full of ideas and fresh perspectives. But in the meantime, I'm left wondering if this is due to my not making art for the last two years. Did my creative muscles atrophy? Do I have to make a New Year's Resolution to get them back into the gym of art school?

Hopefully not. But I can tell you one thing -- I will not be going so long between art projects in the future.

As long as no one needs to look at the back, these jeans 
are looking fabulous. Too bad they'll be on a model . . .

What about you? Do you have any quick fixes for creative atrophy? Don't be shy, post your solutions below!!


  1. Kate, I would have totally Nana-fied the jeans.

  2. I say just start working those artistic muscles out. Not just creating art but look at everything with artistic value. Start imagining everything as art. Use your art as "art colored" glasses if that makes sense.