Painting by my lovely friend Melody
It happens to the best of us; last week there were a couple of days where the hours stretched ahead of me, and I had NO motivation to do anything. Yes, there are plenty of projects for me to work on, and for an artist like me who must hold a regular job to pay the bills, the free time I get to work on these projects is very precious.
So, what to do?
I’ve compiled a small list of things that help get me moving on days when I’m stuck in a rut.
1. Get Out of the House
This isn’t always my first option, but when I’m sitting at the desk, sighing and staring a blank piece of paper with no further action, sometimes it’s the best option. Some days I run a couple of errands. Other times, I go on a treasure hunt at the thrift store. Finding cheap, awesome crap to put in the house is a good way to warm the blood.
This magical time of year (aka, Portland Summer), if you can avoid driving, do it. I recently acquired a Bianchi Milano cruiser bike. Even though I’m used to motorized two-wheelers, I’m really excited to explore the city the self-propelled way.
2. Get Off the Computer, Open a Book
There are so many resources on the internet, from blogs to art sites and online portfolios. Many times, these can offer inspiration too, but it just isn’t the same as cracking open a real book. I’ve been building quite the library with Jake. Many of these new books I picked up at Goodwill, or found new, cheap comics at various local shops.
Image from above book
The other day, when I was feeling supremely unmotivated, Jake surprised me at work with a new Wyeth collection book (and a brownie!). It couldn’t have been a better pick-me-up.
3. Surround Yourself with Things You Love
When you work from home, it’s important that your environment is filled with things that make you happy and inspire you, and don’t distract you from working. Many of the objects in my home lend themselves to my artwork.
Some of the things I love:
A glass hand; Leftover skeleton from Halloween; My collection of earrings; The smallest plant in a sake cup; A desert terrarium I just built; A skull from Arizona.
4. Draw Outside the Box
When I am feeling creative, but I’m not sure how to get started, I change my studio environment entirely. I go to the coffee shop, or sit at a good patio with a beer (Apex, in SE Portland!), and draw the first thing that comes to mind. If I’m lucky, these kind of drawings lead to other, bigger ideas. Spontaneous drawing like this also allows me to be a bit more experimental, when certain client projects don’t.
The result of my last outing:
5. Give Yourself a Break
Theo has the right idea.
Probably the most important advice I must give myself. On my days off, I can too easily stay indoors all day, working on paper and on the computer. As a bartender who works in a loud, crazy environment, when I go out I prefer to enjoy a good meal and conversation. I make sure that I divide my time equally between work and play. There is no better way to recharge yourself for a new day of Hustlin’.