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Painting Inspiration When Your In A Rut

Updated on July 30, 2015
Stormy Leaf profile image

Steph is a self taught artist and crafter who loves life. She is also a mother of three little monsters and married to one handsme devil.

Example Of My Rut...
Example Of My Rut... | Source

You're in a creative rut.

It sucks.

It's frustrating.

You have work to do, but just cannot get it onto the canvas.

None of your usual techniques have been working for you and you are about to give up.

We have all been there at one point in our lives or another.

Take my picture above for example.

I have been working on a four seasons four painting series for my mother for about a year now. I've been in a rut THAT LONG. I don't think I picked up a paint brush for a good six months because no matter how hard I tried I could not think of what to paint or at least sketch onto the board.

But one day last week I decided enough was enough. Went onto Pinterest and found a GREAT reference picture (remember a reference picture is just that a reference, don't try to copy every last detail). Got my paints and brushes and preceded to work. I painted the background, came out perfect! Went to paint the trees, which are dark with little highlights, got as far as you see above and gave up. It looks awful.

I started doubting my ability to paint AT ALL!

Then I smacked myself, mentally of course, because I know I do good sometimes great work when I apply myself. Thats what I wasn't doing; applying myself. I was just splashing paint onto a wood board and hoping it turned out halfway decent. While mentally preparing myself for it to look awful. I foretold my own future!

Apply Yourself!

Stop doubting that you'll do horrible work, because then you WILL do horrible work. Its all about self confidence. Once you believe that your work will be great, your mind will start working with you and not against you. When you start thinking in a more positive note your strokes will be better. Your project will go smoother and look better. Why? Because you retrain your brain to stop doubting and start doing.

So what did I do?

I put that other painting aside and made sure I could still paint. Don't ask I'm an odd one.

Applied Myself
Applied Myself | Source

See what happens when you stop fighting yourself?

When I changed my thought process and actually applied myself instead of winging it I succeeded.

Use your accounts to your benefit

Make sure to use your various accounts to your advantage for research.

If you have an idea in mind and cant picture what you want yet, go online and start researching your options.

Has someone already done what you want to do?

Don't quit, make it better than theirs.

Find what inspires you and work with it! You may be surprised that it takes you in a totally different direction than what you previously had in mind. Take me for example again. I had originally had a four seasons project i wanted to get done. Got stuck in a rut, quit, smacked myself, and made sure I could still do what I wanted. Then I was asked to do another type of painting entirely. So I put my project aside momentarily and made a customer happy. Which makes me happy, which is just a good thing in general because one of my bills got paid ;) It's the little things...

Deadpool | Source
Deadpool | Source

Other Things To Try

If just seeing the other art that's out there just isn't doing it for you maybe try some of these for inspiration;

  • Drink a cup of coffee or tea (does wonders for my friends and I)
  • Sit in quietness and reflect on whatever mood your painting needs to be to get into the right mindset
  • Go for a run or just exercise in general
  • Take a long relaxing bath
  • Read up on your favorite artists
  • Reminisce on old photographs
  • Meditate
  • Listen to music (try a variety)
  • Ask a family member or friend

The main point is that if you are in a rut, STOP beating yourself up over it and get out of the studio and try to do something else to relax. Take your mind off of it for a little while and live life!

If you have any suggestions as well, I'd love to know them :) Just drop them into the comments.

Thanks for reading! I hope your rut passes and your work turns out wonderful.

© 2015 Steph


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