I think one of the biggest misconceptions is that artists only paint when the mood presents itself.
As artists, accomplishing something often depends of our creative energy – and it’s not like we can flip on a switch and we’re on our way. Do I wish. That would be a luxury. Being a painter is my job and just like most jobs, I need to clock in and work whether I’m interested or not. That’s where finding the key to motivation comes in.
Speaking for myself, I’m motivated when I have direction. A project. And it usually has to be self-imposed.
Like joining a gallery – which takes commitment.
It may mean getting a body of work done for a show, adhering to deadlines – but that is great incentive for me. I chose that road – it gives me a constant direction – which means I paint more and learn more and hopefully get better at it.
Ways to motivate
Go to an art museum. Stir up those feelings of ‘awe’. Take something back with you – how colors are used, the power of brush strokes or subject matter you never thought would interest you.
Work on a series – it gives you a plan and direction for a while – and when it’s done, a great sense of accomplishment.
Watch another artist paint – remember there’s tons of demos on you tube, DVDs for sale and workshops to join.
Watch some great, visual movies – noticing lighting, composition, atmosphere.
Constantly update your blog and website – getting other’s attention is one thing, but keeping the attention is hard work.
Don’t stick to just painting large or small.
Mix it up.
You’ll find yourself painting more.
Get out and take photographs. Paint things you never thought you’d be interested in.
Take a break and miss your brushes and paints.
BEWARE – there are many things that can suck the motivation right out of you, like –
Comparing yourself to others.
You’re not selling anything – don’t despair
You can’t find a gallery who wants your work – remember, it’s hard-times for the business of selling art. Keep working at getting better and down the road, try again.
Bad news – It goes without saying, these are hard times and sometimes it’s a struggle to stay positive.
As I said earlier, we, as artists, rely on strong mental energy to produce good work – so find what motivates you make it a habit to give yourself occasional pep talks.
The new challenge includes some figurative work and an overall feeling of open air and atmosphere. If you find figures difficult, remember these wise words from Monet “…try to forget what objects you have before you, a tree, a house, a field or whatever … merely think here is a little square of blue, here an oblong of pink, here a streak of yellow, and paint it just as it looks to you, the exact color and shape…”.