Keeping the Creativity Moving in Challenging Times

I hardly need to mention that for many of us, 2020 has been a challenging year. As I have written in past posts, I have been dealing with major life changes even before this pandemic struck the world. I have spoken with several art friends over the past few months. Some artists have embraced this time of lockdowns and social distancing and have been able to enjoy productive time in their studios. Some artists have not been able to so much as set foot in their studios due to either physical or emotional challenges. I fall somewhere in between. This post will not only be about what I have been up to artistically, but also will be to share what I have personally found useful to keep the creative flame lit while I go through several major life changes.

First, personally, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and I am catching the occasional glimmer! For me, life will be very different than what I had previously known. That brings a lot of exciting new opportunities! I have another move coming up in a couple of weeks that will definitely interrupt the creative flow. I am working on making the transition as smooth as possible so that I don’t lose a lot of momentum.

I have a few tips to share for those creative people who find themselves, like me, swimming in a sea of change. First, and most importantly, is to take the very best care of yourself. This is may or may not be the best the time to be a stoic. Be sure to take care of not only your physical needs, but your emotional needs. I have discovered that there are many wonderful counseling services to be found online for every aspect of your life. Sometimes a simple lifestyle or emotional self-improvement or coaching program is all that is needed. Please reach out to a professional if you need help!

If you are struggling, it is OK to release expectations of highly productive creativity. Everyone is different. Some people thrive in a highly structured or stressful environment, others shut down. I have personally found creating small studies that allow me to work on areas where I can continue to build needed skills a life saver. I am not creating any major work at the moment. However, I have found a lot of ideas for major work popping into my head while I am working on value studies or learning how to paint skin tones. I keep a notebook handy to jot the ideas down along with a quick sketch as they present themselves.

It is these ideas that have determined which skills I need and want to work on. I like stretching my abilities. It gives me a great feeling that even though I am not painting any finished works to sell at the moment, I am keeping and building the skills to do so the moment I am resettled into my new home.

This weekend I have been working on painting my personal skin tones. I will have a post soon about finding tutorials online and how I worked through a couple. I am just getting started on painting skin tones. While I have drawn the figure many times in the past, I have never really painted the figure. Here is a sneak peek at my first two attempts at a two different of methods for painting skin tones:

Finally, I will share one more tip that I have found helpful for continuing to grow creatively. As much as it would be great to paint perfect spheres while doing the above exercises, I decided that it was OK to just focus on what I was trying to accomplish with the paint. Temporarily letting go of perfection or high expectations, can be another great way to continue to work when it is challenging to focus.

What have you found helpful to keep your creativity moving during the past few months?

Yours in truth and beauty,


One Comment

  • Syne Mitchell

    Good suggestions and insights. Thank you for sharing them. Releasing expectations and just doing _something_ has been helping me. I think of it as practice for when things are flowing again.

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