How To Enjoy Creating Art Again – Three Essential Elements

image: dan james
image: dan james

When we make art, it’s the most joy filled, rewarding and uplifting experience of our lives, where every moment is preciously savoured.

We feel like we’re dancing barefoot across the tops of the clouds, with rainbow hearts spraying out from our chests, and fairies all around us, playing harps on the backs of unicorns…

Don’t we?

Um, well, no.

For many of us, it isn’t anything like this at all, despite what we’re often told it should be like.

Instead it’s an anxious and demoralising slog to find enough time, courage and energy to even begin, let alone luxuriate in any kind of carefree cloud top shenanigans.

So what are we doing wrong?

Why is there such a huge gap between what you experience when you make art, and what you could be experiencing?

There’s no doubt that for any of us artists, making art is an essential part of our lives. Beyond it being something we just need to, I believe that for the most part it can be a rewarding and very enjoyable experience.

If we’re not excited about our next session of creating, then something not’s right.

There are three factors we need in place, and if one or more of them are missing, or lacking, then we’re simply not going to be enjoying our art.

Consequently we’re going to stop trying to gather up that courage and energy to even try, and eventually we’ll decay into a state where we wonder if we can call ourselves an artist anymore, or indeed if we ever could.

So the three element are –

1. Appreciation

If we don’t appreciate what we have, we end up in a constant state of searching for what we feel is missing. We’re forever focusing on the hole in the middle of our doughnut, rather than the delicious, ample doughnut itself.

Simply stopping for a few moments each day, or a few times a day, to notice all we have – the talents, abilities, materials, ideas, opportunities and support we’re graced with – transforms how we approach art making, and indeed our entire lives. Try it.

2. Focus

Many of us feel that to be artists we need to have a dozen or more projects on the go at any one time, and to develop every fragment of every idea that crosses our minds into a full blooming artwork.

This is simply impossible. It’s like going to the beach for five minutes and expecting to count every grain of sand there. When we focus on what’s important though, and eliminate the unnecessary distractions, we can make incredible progress and memorable, meaningful artwork.

3. Evolution

There’s a difference between being a product designer and a product manufacturer – the brains behind the idea versus the hands that bring it physically to life. As artists, we need to be both.

If we get stuck in the role of factory conveyor belt, just churning out the same work over and over it becomes monotonous, and demoralising. We need to evolve as artists – we need to find that balance of exploring the new, and making use of the skills and experience we’ve already nurtured.

With appreciation, focus and evolution, we might not find ourselves dancing with the fairies and unicorns overnight, but for most of us that not really what we want anyway.

What we do want – what we need – is to feel we are artists creating work that means something, and creating work that we enjoy.

So, which of these three elements could you use more of in your creative life?

Join the conversation and let us know.


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