In this blog post:
- 5 ideas to spark motivation and inspiration;
- a behind-the-scenes (BTS) montage of how the image above was made;
- a call to action.
Have you ever had days - or longer - of no ideas, no motivation, no inspirations? Yeah, me too.
Today, I offer a few ideas to stimulate your creative juices. And, if you don't mind, I'll use my own experience to illustrate what is happening.
Once upon a time, I read an article about being in the moment of an experience. I believe it was by Ellen Burstyn, the actor. She wrote of being on a whale watching trip with her son. Burstyn was reading "Moby Dick" as the whales around them breached. The White Whale was in her thoughts as she was drenched by salty ocean showers caused by the breaches. Her thrills provided me a blueprint for future adventures.
And, I've found that blueprint to be helpful when I get stuck for inspiration and motivation with my art & photography.
Here we go...
Suggestion #1: If it's in your budget, schedule a workshop with someone whose body of work you respect and admire. Find someone who has a style or a niche that will cause you to step way outside your comfort zone.
I've committed to a residential workshop with Carolyn Mendelsohn in Haworth, England. She is a celebrated portrait photographer. And her Wuthering Heights images have a distinct feel. Carolyn was also just recently selected as the Royal Photographic Society Gold Medal Winner.
Oh my gawd! The comfort zone will be s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d!!! (Here's one of my personal clues that tells me I'm being stretched. I become supremely agitated and grumbly.)
Suggestion #2. Read a book, a story. Read with enjoyment in mind. Just let the words, the emotions, the setting wash over you. Let them seep into your consciousness. What did the story bring up for you?
Haworth was the home of the Bronte sisters, and the geographic inspiration for Emily's "Wuthering Heights". Reading the book has been tedious. "Emily, darling woman, I don't care how many people praise your book as a masterpiece of it's time...you've got some problems with structure."
The behaviors and emotions in the book only reinforced a belief I've held for a very, very long time. "Drama is a waste of time and energy." Drama does not equal Romance does not equal Love. And plotting revenge makes for an unhappy life.
Suggestion #3: Watch a movie. It's always interesting to immerse yourself in the creative work of other folks. And there's nothing like watching a movie based on a book to compare creative visions. (Really, who thought Tom Cruise should play Jack Reacher? I digress.)
I watched the original, 1932 movie that starred Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon. The movie version hammered home a bleak, forsaken terrain. The terrain set the mood for despair. And while the movie was (again) about the drama of love (not); I felt the driving motivators in the movie and book were class prejudice, teenage confused thinking, and revenge.
Now...that is an interesting combination for artistic inspiration!
Suggestion #4 Add you and do the "math"
Write it out, if you need to. What did you see? What did you feel? What thoughts came to mind? Do you have your own beliefs about something you read/saw? Are there pictures starting to form in your imagination? What do you have on hand that will allow you to bring your imaginings to life? Is there a metaphor you can visualize/create?
Here's my equation of inspiration for the image "Drama is wasted energy".
Bleak landscape + craggy rocks + drama + masks + backdrop + craggy rock wall + lavender sprigs (a poor substitute for heather) + thoughts about drama/romance/love + how I chose to process the image (sharpness of the drama) = "Drama is wasted energy".
Suggestion #5 Start walking
This suggestion might seem off the beaten track for artists needing inspiration. Our friend, science, has shown that physical exercise effects the neurotransmitters that leave us feeling "all happy and warm". Physically moving our bodies decreases a sense of depression, makes us think more clearly and makes us more receptive to new ideas.
What do you think?
Is this a process that might work for you? Have you ever used movies or books as inspiration? How about walking? Tell us about your experience, your creative equations. Have you committed to an experience that will expand your creative boundaries?
Please share your experiences of looking for inspiration either in the comments below, or over on the Facebook page. Maybe your suggestions will help someone who needs inspiration.
Expect the best. Anything else is an adventure.
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