Images from "Earthly Delights" watercolor series in progress.
Well....at least to boldly go where I haven't gone before with my paintings.
Lately I've been feeling complacent with my art work and complacency sucks. Being too comfortable isn't a good thing for my creative brain. It sort of makes me feel lazy and bored causing my inner creative spark to dwindle to a mere flicker. And with only a flicker, there is little light within to radiate out -- leaving nothing but a dark canvas before my eyes. (Oh, okay, maybe I'm being a bit to dramatic here, but I think you are getting the point).
That's when the infamous words from the opening titles of Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation beamed into my head. (For you Trekkies, the original series had the words "...to boldly go where no man has gone before..." where ST:TNG had the words "...to body go where no one has gone before...). But I digress.
So, how did I break the weighing chain of creative complacency? I stepped out of my comfort zone. I boldly went where I have not gone before -- painting with bold watercolors using only red, yellow, and blue colors. I took an art class with my talented friend Kate who taught us a method of using watercolors that I never tried. It was inspiring!
No, it may not have been a huge artistic leap for me, but at least I tried something new that reignited my spark and has me excitedly exploring new painting civilizations.
If you are feeling kind of bored, don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try something different. Maybe take a class to learn a different art technique or medium. Maybe pick up a pencil instead of a paint brush. Sometimes all that it takes is one small step to get that fire lit again.
Be sure to follow me on Instagram to see my latest artwork.
This morning, I found myself staring at a blank page. I knew I wanted to draw something, but had no idea what to actually draw.
Ugh! The old "staring at a blank page" syndrome. Whether it's creating art or writing words, we've all been there, right? It can be frustrating.
Here's a quick tip that sometimes helps me out when I hit a creative block. Turn on some music.
Yes, really. Just turn on some music. It can be anything that suits your mood. It can be anything totally random. It doesn't matter.
This morning I put my iTunes on to play some random music. I found myself listening to the "Alice in Wonderland" movie them by Danny Elfman. Before I knew it, my pen was moving around the page and the lines were starting to take shape.
That's how I ended up with the artwork you see below. I let the music take my creative brain to a new and wonderful place.
Give it a try sometime and let me know how it works for you.
Peace and Live Creatively! -Jason
"Sunday Morning Alice" artwork by Jason J Nicholas. Ink. 6" x 10"
"Sunday Morning Alice" artwork by Jason J Nicholas. Ink, crayons and colored pencils. 6" x 10"
Ever create a drawing or painting and have an inner pinging about what it would like like if you had used a different medium, technique, or style. This happened to me as I was working on the "Tropical Church Building" art piece.
For me an essential part of the creative process is listen to your inner voice -- your inner creative ping. It can certainly take you on wondrous journeys. Creativity is about being playful and curious. Don't deny what your creative gut is telling you.
What do you have to lose if you don't act on your inner creative ping?
Well, I guess you will never know, unless you give it a try. 🙂
Peace and Live Creatively!
Below are the steps on how I went from starting with a pastel image and ended up with a colored pencil drawing.
"Tropical Church Building" pre-drawing stage Blank watercolor paper, pastels, and ink pen.
"Tropical Church Building" work in progress. Pastels on Watercolor paper. 9"x12" Artwork by Jason J Nicholas
"Tropical Church Building" close up view of pastels. I love the texture! Pastels on watercolor paper. 9"x12" Artwork by Jason J Nicholas
"Tropical Church Building" work in progress. Ink on trace paper overlaid on the pastel piece. 9"x12" Artwork by Jason J Nicholas
"Tropical Church Building" finished. Ink and colored pencil on trace paper. 9"x12" Artwork by Jason J Nicholas
Let’s say that you just bough a red car. Now, you notice more red cars on the road. Is this a coincidence? No. It’s a focus thing. Whatever you focus on, opens up some sort of channel in your mind’s eye, to allow what your are focusing on be magnified. I haven’t researched the science behind this yet, but, dang it, Jim, I’m an artist and not a neuroscientist.
We can apply this same concept to our creative minds.
What does this have to do with my photo above?
As you may know, I love to do inkling sketches that have hearts in them. I have somehow implanted this focus filter in my subconscious mind. I now see heart shapes in random places — even when I’m not looking for them.
This morning, I looked down at my dining room table and saw my earphones in the heart-shaped pattern you see in the photo. (by the way, why do they call them earphones? It’s not like anybody is dialing to talk to my lobes? But, I digress….)
We can take the “see more red cars” concept and apply it to our creative minds to allow us to see ordinary objects and the world around us in new and inspiring ways.
Well, now I’m off to go and buy a red Ferrari, I’ll let you know if I see more of them on the road. (Okay…I’m not really, but it doesn’t hurt to drive that idea into my brain.)
How are some ways you’ve experienced this? Share your ideas and comments.
Are you afraid of not living up to others’ expectations by being yourself and pursuing your inner voice desires? Who isn’t, right? Well, one morning while sitting out on the balcony at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and enjoying watching a giraffe eating his breakfast, I got to thinking. (Yeah I know…that can be a dangerous thing. LOL). But, bear with me. This brings me to today’s word in our continuing expedition of 42 Words to a Better You……..
My family and I have been fortunate enough to stay at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Right outside our windows, was an African savanna with lions, giraffes, zebras, oh my! I particularly enjoyed watching the awkward looking, yet gracefully elegant giraffes. What lesson did I learn about pursuing your own inner voice from watching these amazing creatures?
Giraffes aren’t shy about sticking their necks out and going after what they want. They extend their necks and heads up to reach their food. Rather than waiting for their meal to come to them, they go right to the source of their nourishment. It’s their instinct. And, they don’t make a ruckus doing it. They do it quite gracefully.
So, why do some of us fear taking a chance and going after what we want? Perhaps we fear making a mistake. Or we fear pursuing the unknown. Or maybe we are afraid to embarrass ourselves by looking like fools to our friends, family, and peers.
What have I taken away from that day from watching the giraffe?
Expressing my inner creative. That is how I felt. My inner voice kept telling me to share my love for creating, drawing, and writing in hopes to inspire others. I ignored it for many, many, years and always felt a piece of my soul missing. Out of the lesson of the giraffe, this blog was born last year.
Expressing my silly side. This lesson has also taught me to not worry about being embarrassed about how I appear to others when expressing my silly side. I have now embraced my inner silliness as part of my nature. By doing so, I am now fortunate enough to be part of Off Book, an improv comedy troupe. See post #31: Improv to see what other lessons improv has taught me.
Safari, so good?
So, perhaps we can learn from nature and its creatures like the giraffe and make it our inner instincts to stick our necks out and express our inner voice and dreams — to be the individuals we want to be.
Have you ever been inspired by animals or nature to pursue something in your own life? I’d love to hear. Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Yes, it is Thanksgiving day. And, yes, I do have yummy food on my brain, but more importantly, I have gratitude on my mind. One of the things that I am very thankful for is the precious gift of creativity. Creativity for me is the melting pot of my core being and the world around me. It fires me up!
Being a creative and looking for new ideas isn’t always as easy as just sitting around the campfire and singing. Sometimes I get stuck in search of that next design element, that next color, or that next word. There are lots of suggestions out there for getting beyond the creative mental block. A topic I will continue to explore in future blog posts. For today, let’s stick with s’mores. How can s’mores help get you out of the marsh? Here are some ways that they help me.
Random Ingredients – open up your mind to randomness. Pick 2 or 3 random objects, or colors, or ingredients, and mix them together. The results could be sweet and launch your thoughts into a new direction.
Collaboration – When s’mores are mentioned, who doesn’t think of sitting around a campfire and singing songs. Why not join up with some friends and collaborate and brainstorm together. This can help get the mojo flowing.
Indulge – Eat something that makes your taste buds come to life! The rush of yum can ignite a fire inside.
Scout – S’mores and scouts go hand in hand. Step away from the project you are working on. Get outside and explore nature. This is a great way to clear your mind. When you go back to your project, you will feel refreshed.
I will definitely be returning to the topic of creative blocks. Stay tuned. One resource I would like to recommend is a a website by Todd Henry called Accidental Creative. Check it out.
How are some of the ways you break the creative wall barrier? I would love for you to share your ideas in the comments below. I would also love for you to subscribe to my blog.
“I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.” – Billy Joel
Do you find yourself putting on some tunes at certain times? I find myself listening to music all of the time. I love everything from Neil Diamond to Metallica to movie soundtracks. Music can be extremely powerful in so many different ways. It has the ability to motivate, inspire, soothe, captivate, free, and stimulate. Following are a few of the positive ways that I incorporate music into my own personal life.
Comfort – There are times that we all need comfort in life. For me, I turn to Neil Diamond. His music always brings me back to a time when I needed some comfort from an unknown world. I would turn on Neil and listen to his poetic words and would ease my mind and encourage me to continue on.
Creativity – When I get a creative block, one of the things I do is to crank up some movie soundtrack music. Whether it be the sounds of Danny Elfman or Hans Zimmer, something inside my brain unlocks and inspires me for the project I am working on.
Connectivity – Do you find yourself in need of connecting with your kids? I cannot express in this one post the amazing amount of connectivity music has brought into my life with my son. Everything from listening to music to making up our own silly songs has opened up great expression and communication between us.
“Those who dance are considered insane by those who cannot hear the music.”- George Carlin
Imagine being trapped in a block of solid ice, sitting there, frozen, unable to move. There is nothing better than changing your mood from one of lethargy or boredom than getting up and shaking your booty. The mere act of getting up on your feet and “gettin’ jiggy wit it” gets the blood flowing and allows your inner freedom to come out.
Dancing was a great way for me to get through those early fatherhood days and sleepless nights when my newborn
would be up at all hours and our schedules were crazy. We would turn on some music and dance around the room holding our son and enjoy the moment rather than sitting there complaining that “we can’t sleep”. It made for a fun time for all of us. It was an instant mood changer.
How do you incorporate music and dance into your life? I would love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to comment below. Also, be sure to subscribe to my blog to keep updated when I post. See the side bar on the right.