Does the creative process elude you? I remember when I started taking my painting class, my teacher spoke about his creative process and how it was an integral part of producing actual work. Because let’s face it, even when you have the time to sit and get to work, the inspiration isn’t always there. This is where the creative process can jump start things! Most days I have to refer to a few tricks to make the most of my time when I’m trying to get in the zone.
It wasn’t so obvious to me what my process was in the beginning, though. I had to almost step back and watch what I did as I did it, to figure out how I created my own inspiring environment.
So if you’re not sure of your own creative ways, don’t worry! I have a few tips to help you figure it out. The main idea is to focus on the 5 senses: it will help you be really present in the moment and ready to embrace whatever comes up.
Here is a peek into my creative process and how I use each of the senses:
Sight: I like to be in an environment with visual stimulation to keep the juices flowing. This can be sketchbooks I keep open to look at now and again for ideas, previous paintings on the wall or some other artist’s work in Instagram that gives me some ideas to adapt into my own. I usually paint in my studio (which is also a spare bedroom right now) so I like to have a lot of color around me to keep me loose and brave.
Hearing: Music playing helps me get out of my own way. I heard once that when you play music while you are creating, it turns off that left brain so that the ideas flow easier. That makes so much sense, right? The inner critic is silenced a little easier.
Taste: A drink and a little snack nearby helps me keep going so I’m not interrupted! I love my snacks 🙂 And no one likes to stop the flow in the middle of a good idea.
Touch: I love to keep my supplies within arm’s reach so I can experiment with different markings and materials. If I don’t have to dig through clutter or an overwhelming amount of supplies. I create more easily. (That’s probably true for most of us.) I have standby favorite supplies. but I also like to keep unlikely tools around to mix things up. (spray bottle, bubble wrap, baby wipes etc)
Smell: I once saw a video of Flora Bowley where she prepped her canvas with a smudging stick. She said the smell of the smoke and the energetic clearing of the space helped her get focused. I love this! I tend to use a candle, but it has the same effect. Smells can bring up a lot of memories, so I make sure the scent is one I love and has a good association.
Another part of my process includes wearing clothes that are comfortable and messy–ones that I don’t worry about getting paint on. I also allow a little time before I create something to think about the inspiration behind my session. Whether it was a song or a poem or a color in nature that I saw that day, I try to hone in on what brought me to my table to create. Knowing the ‘why’ makes it easier to break through when I hit a block.
I hope this inspires you if you need help figuring out the creative process; using the senses is a great way to start and you can expand on it from there. Just keep in mind, it’s a fluid practice and it’s always changing! Go with what moves you forward at the moment and enjoy whatever shows up.