Sometimes, you just don't feel too creative.
Here in the Pacific Northwest we get a certain kind of weather--it's wet, windy and gray, gray, gray. Sort of a perpetual twilight that makes you want to dig into your cave and hibernate. I'm certainly not the only one who is affected by it.
Usually, you adjust after a few days, and most of us who live here come up with certain routines to get us through those first few days of funk. I know that a creative slump can be a problem for many, so for my design team post, I thought I'd share my routine that I've come up with to keep me creating.
When the autumn twilight days hit, I know that ideas will be scarce. I'll find it hard to decide what I want to do. So I have a plan template. It's simple, designed to help me make choices.
My plan template:
Use whatever compatible media is closest to hand. I grab them in this order -- the closest paper or *substrate; a painting or coloring medium; remaining tools necessary for the project.
Flip through books or magazines and let one fall open at random. Use something on the page for my subject matter.
Based on media being used, set a time limit for the piece to be done.
Choose a second project, using the steps above, so I can alternate between projects while items dry.
K.I.S.S. (keep it simple, stupid)
That's the plan.
(*substrate-any surface that is used for your art work. It could be paper or wood or glass or fabric or anything you can draw, paint or glue on).
So, the closest substrate to where I was sitting was a wood tag. The closest drawing/coloring media were Daniel Smith watercolors. The wood tag was already primed with Golden Acrylic Ground for Pastels. If it hadn't been, I would have moved on to next medium closes to me--acrylic paints. Watercolor on unprimed wood doesn't work so good.
I decided to do both sides of the tag, so first I flipped through a magazine. There weren't any pictures, but I saw the word 'bird' and made it the subject for one side of the tag. For the second side, I flipped through a book--Dory Kanter's 'Art Escapes', and landed on a painting of a pear.
The remaining tools needed were for applying the paint. Brushes were closer than sponges or foam brushes, so I picked the first round that was small enough for the tag size, and cheap enough for using on wood. I set up a container of water, and laid down a non-stick craft mat.
If I didn't have a purpose for this project, I would have stopped here--the fewer items used the better. But this was stamping project so I needed more. I picked up the two stamps that were at the top of my stash--a Trees background and a Grunge writing background. I chose a StazOn Jet black inkpad because it was the closest inkpad. For the trees, I chose Shabby Shutters because trees are green, usually. I also wanted to use my Sakura of America gellyroll pens.
I decided to give myself 15-20 minutes for painting the tags, and another 15-20 minutes to stamp and color.
I drew the bird lightly on the wood, and traced it on the deli wrap. I painted the bird and let it dry, while I switched to my alternate project.
When I came back to this project, I cut out the mask and set it on the on the bird, inked up the trees background with Shabby Shutters ink, and stamped the image on the wood. I didn't feel the contrast was strong enough, so I used a white gellyroll pen to add sky. Then I added a touch of Rose-star Stardust pen to add the glow of sunrise and a little sparkle (which didn't show up well in the scan).
Then my time allotted came up, so I quit fiddling, and turned to the other side of the tag.
When the watercolor was thoroughly dry, I decided to experiment. This wasn't part of the plan, but any stirring of creativity is welcome, so I went with it.
I'd read a blog post recently where the author used transparent gesso to seal her art journal pages. She explained in some detail how she carefully applied the gesso so it wouldn't cause water media to run.
Not sure if was because I was painting on wood, faulty application by a beginner, or just the technique itself--but I smeared my pear into mush! I ended up lifting off most of the watercolor to save the piece.. It didn't look too bad--just like a very faded wood sign. I stamped over the pear with the 1787 writing background, and upped the contrast with a dark green brush marker in the background. I smeared color from a metallic gold gellyroll to punch up the pear, smearing a bit of the marker color for shading, and used a white gellyroll for highlights. The last step was to add swirls with the gold gellyroll.
My experiment added an extra 1/2 hour or so, but that's okay. The time limit is set to keep me from fiddling in discontent, not to stifle experimentation.
So am I out of my creative slump? Not really. But I'm not worried. I managed to finish three decent pieces (finished the alternate project too). Even if they had been total fails, that would have been fine. For me, the main thing is that instead of fretting that I couldn't create, I created. There is a feeling of satisfaction that comes from that, and I know it will help me get out of my slump all the sooner, better than ever and ready to roar.
VLVS! stamps used:
Sakura of America Gellyroll pens -- Stardust: Golden-star, Rose-star/Metallic:Gold/Standard: White
StazOn JetBlack ink pad
Distress Shabby Shutters ink pad
Daniel Smith Watercolors: Phthalo Blue (red shade), Azo Yellow, Quinacridone Magenta
Marvy Brush Marker-Posh Green
Golden Acrylic Ground for Pastels
Round watercolor brush
Deli paper for mask