Finding Inspiration

Are you empty sometimes? Are there times when you don’t have any ideas or new projects? We tend to desperately put pressure on ourselves to find something creative and new, but this is often counter-productive. So how do we go about finding inspiration?


Ouch. This can be hard. Our art is important to us. We need to be proactive and driven to produce. But first. relax.

If you are in a slump creatively, just go with it. You will come out of it. But the more pressure you put yourself under the harder it sometimes is. It is very hard to force ourselves out of a slump. Our subconscious will eventually get re-engaged and start pumping out the great ideas. Give it time to rest and rejuvenate.,

Take a walk

Really. “Waste” the time. Carry your camera or not, it’s up to you, but don’t require yourself to take any pictures.

When you walk, go slow. This is not mainly for the exercise. It is for your head. Look around. Look at everything. See things as it for the first time. Play the game that you just teleported to [your favorite exotic destination] and you are looking around in wonder at everything. Try to see how many things around your neighborhood you never really “saw” before.

None of these may be in your “style” or preferred subjects, but learning to see new things is good.

Read a book

I have heard it said that most adults never read another book after they graduate from school. Maybe that is just males. 🙂 Even so, I hope that is a false statement. Books are one of the most important inventions in history.

Reading something new will expand your thinking. Studying something related to your art will give you a new appreciation of different styles and ideas. It may teach you something you can apply to improve your images and refresh your creativity.

Even if not, you will still be better off mentally for exercising your brain. Books are a major repository of the collected wisdom of centuries.

Watch an educational video

I can say to watch videos because I do not produce any videos. I’m not selling anything.

The good thing about the internet is that there is a wealth of information there, free or for relatively low cost. There is probably no aspect of our art that someone doesn’t have a video about.

That being said, the “signal to noise ratio” (the percentage of useful information) is fairly low. Be careful of who and what you take in. Even so, it is not too hard to find good stuff.

If you are up to it, it can even be healthy to watch bad videos. That sounds weird, but do you find, as you get more mature and confident in your craft that you can sift the good from the bad? If you watch a bad video, or one you disagree with, it can be empowering to be able to refute the presenter and know why you believe they are wrong, at least for you. It can help bolster your confidence.

Read other artist’s blogs

You are reading mine. Thank you! I would love to hear your thoughts.

Probably thousands of blogs are written every week. Pick a few new ones to add to your list. They do not have to be leaders in your field. Look around and find artists in other fields whose work you admire, who influence you, whose style you admire. Follow them. This is another great source of wisdom and inspiration.

I follow a few people. Not many. But I am constantly amazed at the wisdom they give away.

Be open

None of these suggestions will do much good unless you open yourself to receiving what they might give. Openness is an attitude. Our attitudes are under our control.

Are you totally focused on one subject? Why? Widen your view. Have you become cynical? As you learn to look around more, re-awaken your wonder and joy. Find new things that excite you. Cast a wider net. Get enthused about something. Give yourself permission to try new things.

Inspiration sneaks up on us when we aren’t expecting it. The more we can be open and receptive, the more often we will find it. I find that stimulating my mind with new thoughts and learning new things helps keep me open to inspiration. Try it!

About the image here

I can’t claim this is super creative as such, but I am very happy I made this image. This is the epitome of depressing conditions: way out in the midwest, nothing around anywhere, temperature was 108F, winds blowing so hard I had to hold the tripod, totally clear blue sky – what to shoot? I decided the interest was the wind. How to capture the effect of it? I think, by being open to exploring new ideas, I made something good out of it. At least, I’m happy with it.

This image is part of a series I am working on, tentatively called “Maria”. It is not published yet.

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