I’ve been asked by hundreds of people how I come up with ideas for paintings. The truth of the matter is that when I’m creating from a place of inspiration and authenticity, the ideas just sort of appear out of thin air.
But I realize that’s not very helpful to you. So let me dive in a bit here to share how that happens.
I don’t always have the luxury to just wait around for ideas to come to me. Often, I have to nudge them out of the vortex to reveal themselves to me. Like when I recently painted the Album Art for Slightly Stoopid and I had a deadline to meet.
I’ve come up with many methods over the years to push myself into the creative zone faster and more efficiently. Without getting into crazy details, here’s my top 3.
Meditation is a mindfulness practice that I’ve been using in one form or another for many, many years. It allows me to quiet my mind and take a step back from the pure chaos of my thoughts.
When I am painting, doing yoga or driving, I am in a form of meditation and often random and beautiful ideas arrive during those moments of stillness. So the more I can put myself in this state, the better chance I have of catching an idea.
Creativity likes quiet minds. It feels safe there. So if you’re feeling blocked, the first thing I’d recommend is to find a form of mediation that works for you. It can be as simple as sitting still for a few minutes, closing your eyes and paying attention to only your breathing
2. Show up
Whether you’re looking to hook up at the bar, a better job or looking to get in shape, the most important step is to just show up at places that give you the best odds.
When I’m preparing myself to receive inspiration in a more predictable way, I sit myself down and start doodling. Usually, my first handful of ideas suck. Like really suck. Like to the point where I question whether or not I should continue art as a career.
This churning out of sucky work is a necessary step and can continue for minutes, hours or days before something finally works. When the good stuff shows up, you know that it was worth it. Most people quit way before the good stuff shows up.
I think that the creative forces of the Universe just want to be sure that you’re willing to commit to them. Before they give you their best ideas, they want to see that you’re in it for the long haul.
3. Have fun
This sounds silly. I know. But this is profound and I can’t emphasize this enough. The difference between creating while having fun and creating while stressed is like night and day.
Creating from a place lacking fun and joy will result in dull and lifeless work.
Having fun doesn’t mean you have to be dancing and singing along to Will Smith’s “Miami” song, although that might help. Sometimes I paint in a very quiet room, motionless except for my subtle brushstrokes and it looks like I’m catatonic, but I’m finding a lot of joy in the process of being in a flow state.
These are mindsets and creativity mind hacks that I used regularly and they work, I promise.
I welcome your comments below.