creative blocks

Finding Inspiration for Art

Finding Inspiration for Art

Artists sometimes face an interlude in creating new art or continuing existing works due to a “creative block”. They may find it difficult to conjure up a new idea or finish an artwork they’ve already started. As an artist, you may feel like you’ve painted everything you enjoy painting or you’re not even motivated to pick up your paintbrush anymore because you’re fresh out of ideas on what to paint. 

Mixing real life with canvas.


When this happens, it can feel like the end of your world (or at the very least, your art career), but there is actually is hope! Below are 10 tips that have worked for me in the past to help overcome a creative block and to help get you back on track to create new and more amazing artworks.


  1. Assign Yourself an Art Project. There are a variety of books as well as articles on the web that are dedicated to daily, weekly, and monthly art project ideas to aid artists in getting their creative juices flowing again. 

A few recommended art project books.


     A few book examples are:


  1. Paint the Same Subject 10 Different Ways. I am also a photographer, and one exercise that has helped me wriggle out of a creative block has been giving myself a time limit and shooting the same subject 100 different ways. However, canvas can be expensive and with the time it takes to paint a work of art, you may have broken your creative block well before painting #100. Restrict yourself to one subject and paint that same subject 10 different ways. Think different angles and perspectives, sizes, crop in close, etc. Try different mediums and textures.


  1. Paint Anything. Prepare your canvas and paint any subject, even if it doesn’t interest you. Paint a still life of things from your home. As long as you are painting something, you are getting your juices flowing and this is a great first step on the road to recovery.


  1. Experiment with new media. Break out your camera and shoot something that catches your eye. Then try drawing or painting one of your photographs. I very often will take my charcoal pencils out and draw one of my photographs. 

My photograph of the pelican on the pier (left) and my drawing from that photograph (right).


Even if you feel like you’re not much of a photographer, attempting to draw or paint a still object or scene from a photograph is a great way to try to beat a creative block.

My photograph of a scene in Eze, France (left) and my drawing from that photograph (right).


Flirting with other art mediums can not only assist in getting the creative juices flowing again, but you may find you like practicing in a new type of art!


  1. Don’t Limit Yourself To Just One Media on Canvas. I found my art world opened up when I started incorporating objects onto my canvases such as dried flowers, faux butterflies, actual musical instrument parts, etc. It not only made my works more 3-dimensional, but it gave me a niche. Artwork doesn’t have to always be 2-dimensional. Sometimes letting the artwork flow out of the canvas and come alive also helps with creative inspiration.

Incorporating actual guitar parts onto the canvas for a 3-D feel.


  1. Study the Great Masters and Try to Emulate Their Work Adding Your Own Twist. Research the great masters of art in your area of interest and study their works as well as other artists’ works. Try painting in their style and form, possibly even try to replicate one of their paintings, but adding your own twist. By emulating the works of artists that are of interest to you, you find yourself newly inspired and developing and/or practicing new techniques that you didn’t know before.


  1. Look To Magazines, Books, and Other Media for Inspiration. Along the lines of studying the masters and other artists’ works, look through your favorite magazines for inspiration and new ideas. Other forms of art can also be just as inspiring and motivating to cause a boost in your creative juices. Things such as a good song, a movie, a tv show, a work of art or even a good book can help generate new ideas for things such as still life portraits, scenic paintings, a new painting technique, and much more.


  1. Start an Art Journal. An art journal can be a great tool for artists to get the creative juices flowing. Keeping a small notebook with you at all times can come in handy for jotting down that fleeting idea that you might have during the day (or night) that you may forget after 10 minutes otherwise. Art journals can also serve as a place to create sketches of ideas you may have for paintings.

An art journal can be a great tool and record to save you when you go through those times of a creative block.


An art journal can serve as a record of your thoughts and ideas – something you can refer back to during those times when you might have a creative block.


  1. Take an Art Class. There’s nothing more motivating to get you painting again than to take an art class. Taking a class can force you to paint, learn new techniques, and share different visions with fellow art students. An art class also forces you to produce work in a more structured environment. You might find that the exercises and assignments that an art instructor might give you help to open that creative door again.


  1. Have patience. Creative blocks are not the end of the world. They are just a small bump in the road to becoming a better, more creative artist. Creative blocks can provide you with opportunities to look at other works and try new techniques granting you continued education, practice, and production. Have patience. Don’t look at a creative block as an obstacle, but as part of the creative journey.
Posted by Dawn Wayand in Tips, 0 comments