Thursday, January 7, 2016

Drawing Prompts 01-2016

  1. the room you are in
  2. something round
  3. a piece of yarn
  4. a piece of popcorn
  5. money
  6. a weapon
  7. something that makes music
  8. a mandala
  9. a feather
  10. a weed

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Drawing Prompts 12-2015

  1. your shoe
  2. a bottle cap
  3. a doorknob
  4. a kitchen gadget
  5. something square
  6. a basket
  7. your car
  8. a drink
  9. something folded
  10. a table

Monday, November 16, 2015

Running On Empty

I am going through the doldrums right now. That's what they used to call a dead spot in the ocean where there wasn't any wind. I've been living the creative life long enough to know that it won't last forever, but I also know there's no guarantee that what worked to get me going last time will work again. Sometimes you have to get creative to get your creativity back on track. And if you're not feeling it, it simply means you're going to have to work at it for a while. Fortunately there are a few tried and true tools that should be in every artist's tool kit, and I've found that some combination of them will usually get things moving again.


1. Get Introspective
(German music optional) As with most things, the first steps toward fixing a problem (in this case, a temporary lack of inspiration or motivation) are to recognize that there is a problem, and to try to find the cause of it. Do you have too much or not enough time? Is something specific stressing you out and causing a creative block? Are you bored with doing the same thing and maybe need to take a sabbatical with a different medium? Get some quiet time and get honest with yourself. Think for a while about what specific things might be affecting your creative energy, and what might need to be adjusted or fixed.

2. Get Productive
Leave your art space alone for a bit and get something else done. Maybe the laundry has been piling up. Maybe the pantry or the kids' bathroom closet needs to be cleaned out and re-organized. Big or small, pick a job that needs to be done, that you can do in a day. Finishing a useful task gives a sense of completion and helps replenish your store of positive energy.

3. Get Crafty
Just because you aren't working on your next masterpiece doesn't mean you can't be doing something. Get on Pinterest* and find something you can do to jazz up your house - your car - you wardrobe - your self. Again, don't get yourself bogged down with a massive project. Pick something easily accomplished, and hey presto! More positive energy.

4. Get Curious
I am a fan of learning. If I could afford it, I would be in school - in some form or another - for the rest of my life. When people ask me what superpower I would choose, I never hesitate: Immortality, because as it is, there is no way I will live long enough to learn all the things I want to learn. I've found that studying something new stimulates my brain like few other things can. Your brain loves to be exercised, and adding new information to it can create new associations. Read an article about ancient Egyptian textile design, or the origins of salt and pepper as the de facto condiments on every table in the United States. You may find yourself thinking about a painting based on an 8th-century tapestry, or wondering what a pepper plant looks like, which could lead to a series of botanical sketches. Who knows?

5. Get Out
Out of your routine - out of your comfort zone - out of the house, even. When things become routine, they can become boring. You don't have to think about what you're doing or what to do next. But thinking is a good thing! Routine and sameness can create complacency, which is the arch-nemesis of creativity. So do something different. But don't try to take it too far. You know you - the "something different" might mean a spontaneous roadtrip with just you, a friend, and your camera, or it could mean sleeping in, going out for breakfast (without fixing your hair!) and then taking a shower in the middle of the afternoon. It might mean going to the mall and not shopping, but instead seeing how many random strangers you can engage in conversation. Or it might be working with charcoal and pastels for a few days instead of oil paints.

For myself, I've been catching up on the pile of dirty dishes that threaten to take over my kitchen if I am not in there twice a day to fight them back. I also cut a Halloween pumpkin into chunks and canned it. I now have 14 quarts of pumpkin, ready to be pureed, and my family will be able to have yummy pumpkin goodness throughout 2016 and into 2017. I cleaned and un-labeled some glass jars that I had saved, from spaghetti sauce, jalapenos, pickled okra, etc. (all things I want to eventually make for myself, but I haven't yet) and transferred some of my dry goods into them - things like my pumpkin pie spice, tapioca, and pearl barley. I spray-painted the jar lids, now I just need to find a neat way to label them, and I'll have added a touch of funkiness to my much-cleaner kitchen. I learned how to do arm-knitting and have a few really neat infinity scarves to show for it, made from my own yarn. I've also gotten back to learning Irish (it's on Duolingo!) which I started on St. Patrick's Day of last year, but I've let it slide for the past few months. I find I have a lot of brushing-up to do, and am slowly regaining much lost ground. But it's fun. My supply of creative energy is still running pretty low, but I am confident that it will soon be where I need it so that I can begin using it again.

Pumpkin Pie FOREVER!

*about Pinterest: Tread with caution here. I love Pinterest - in fact you can follow Halaylah Studios here - but if you're already in a creative slump, getting all excited about a new project, or seven, can lead to further heartbreak and frustration if you run out of steam in the middle of them. Pinspiration is great, but be careful about over-filling your plate. When I know I can't afford to fall all the way down the rabbit hole, I limit myself to ten minutes, and NO page refreshes!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Drawing Prompts 11-2015

  1. something from your workplace
  2. fire
  3. something with wings
  4. a clock
  5. a bottle
  6. something that can be misunderstood
  7. a quote
  8. a castle
  9. your phone
  10. a few of your favorite things

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Drawing Prompts 10-2015

  1. a street sign
  2. the house next door
  3. a chair
  4. part of a game
  5. a machine
  6. a child's toy
  7. your bed
  8. a basket
  9. a flower
  10. the contents of your medicine cupboard

Friday, September 11, 2015

Drawing Prompts 09-2015

  1. something you are afraid of
  2. your front door
  3. a tree
  4. a key
  5. something with wheels
  6. a map
  7. a seashell
  8. the last drawing or painting you did
  9. something destructive
  10. something white

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Drawing Prompts 08-2015

  1. a city or building
  2. your pet, or your favorite animal
  3. a strawberry
  4. something old
  5. money
  6. a plant
  7. something in your refrigerator
  8. a bridge
  9. something that turns
  10. a box