Creativity, like waves, comes in sets. Waiting around for the next set is just part of the ride.
About a month or so ago, I put a big blank canvas on my easel. It was intimidating to look at. It took up most of the width of my studio and it’s empty white surface was daunting.
I’ve been saving it for a really great idea. An idea that I didn’t yet have but I knew would eventually show up. So I took the first steps to prepare and wait for the creative block to come to an end.
This canvas and I have been staring at each other, waiting for someone to make the first move. I figured having a canvas ready to go would motivate me to start painting. Each time I walked my art studio and saw it, I nodded to it with a sort of “see you soon” sort of intention.
Days & weeks past. Instead of painting, I found myself doing everything else except painting.
I kept telling myself, maybe tomorrow.
I’ve been through this phase a few thousand times, so I know how it goes. So I just embraced my creative lull, while waiting for the next set. In the meantime, I worked on other stuff that needed attention.
Being a professional artist, I get asked often, “What are you working on?” I feel pressured to have an incredibly powerful answer to prove to everyone how inspired I am like they think I should be.
As much as I’d like to be this iconic artist-type who walks the Earth in blissful inspiration all the time, it’s just not the case.
Even as I write this newsletter, I feel my inner-critic telling me how lame I am for not having any new art to share with you.
So, what the heck have I been doing?
1. I’ve been attending to the many other roles that I play. I re-vamped much of my website this month (what do you think?).
2. I have been so fulfilled by my role as a Creative Coach and I’m loving minute of our video calls together.
3. It’s been I have been an effective office administrator, sending art orders to all corners of the world. This month I sent out a ton of my new 311 Limited Edition prints. (Only 1 Foil and a handful of Standards left as of this newsletter writing by the way)
4. I watched about 14 Art Videos on YouTube and listened to like 19 Podcasts and finished a new AudioBook to nurture the student within me.
5. I sent my Book manuscript off to the first round of editing!
6. I have been working on a fun new project with my wife Chelsea…More on that soon.
7. Most importantly though, I’ve been an awesome Dad.
Creativity Eventually Shows Up
A couple weeks back, while I was about to do more boring office work, I found myself reaching into my paintbrush jar. I did so as nonchalantly as scratching an itch on my arm.
I grabbed a filbert brush and put on some Miles Davis tunes. Without any particular plan, I squirted some paint on the palette and started to paint.
“Did I feel the jolt of inspiration strike?”, you may be wondering?
I just got tired of not painting.
Other areas of my life had gotten sufficient love and it felt like my Inner-Artist had been the neglected child. Like a tug on my pants from one of my children, my creativity was saying to me, “Can you play with me?”
As has happened many times before, the lull was over. When we over-think things, nothing happens. When we wait for the perfect idea, it never arrives. Sometimes you just have to grab your instrument of creation and just play.
Inspirations doesn’t always come in the form of a Devine message from the Gods, sometimes it’s just a gentle nudge saying to you, “hey dude, stop ignoring me“.
And so, I want to remind you this…
It’s okay to be lame.
Everything you do doesn’t have to be Instagram-Worthy.
When you do feel a jab from the Universe though, don’t ignore it. Make the first move.
So what am I painting? Well, you’ll have to wait and see.