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Sunday, July 31, 2016


We all go through dry spells, when we create nothing. Illness, grief, exhaustion, fear, emotional upheaval, family crises, there are so many reasons to be in the desert.

The very awareness that we are not creating brings us guilt, which itself inhibits creation.

I can't solve your desert. But I can share with you how I deal with mine.

1. I collect random ephemera throughout my day. I have a place to store it. Periodically I sift through it. Nothing may click right now, but it has percolated through my mind, and something creative will result.

2. I go to inspirational places. My current place is Venice. The architecture, the light in the water, the colour of the water, it all speaks to me. Find a place, do what you must, sacrifice as you can, go there. Be there. Spend time there.

3. I reorganize my studio. Seeing it afresh sometimes sparks my creative tinder. Just touching my tools and materials can pull me to create.

4. I go where there are other artists. I eat where they eat. I read where they read. Is as if there is an air of creativity floating through the area.

5. I buy myself beautiful flowers. Walking through city streets with a bunch of beautiful flowers is somehow very empowering. Strangers admire you, or admire the flowers. You feel good about that. Silly, I know, but it does work.

6. I make a firm commitment to do a five minute sketch every day. What's five minutes? An easy commitment to keep.

7. I give away sketches. To strangers on the bus, to my waitstaff, to the people behind the counters. It's a little thing for me, but it may be the only piece of original art they have ever owned. It's a really big  thing for them.

8. I keep my phone camera on and take photos of things I see on the street. Nothing amazing, just ordinary things. Really powerful exercise, as it turns out.

9. Art engenders art. I go to the museums and spend time with art. I visit galleries and craft shops.

10. I forgive myself for not creating right now. We all dwell in the desert sometimes. Just remember, though, that the rain which falls percolates through the sand to become refreshing water of life.

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