Do you want to try your hand at some new art but feel resistant? Here are four tips for getting started!

First, try to detach from your current visual library

A very common problem, and almost always an unconscious one, is the need an artist feels to make his work look like something he holds as “good art” or “real art””—very often Old Master art. Because he possesses an internal library of the successful artworks of well-known artists, without quite realizing that he is doing it he aims his art in the direction of those successes. It is vital that an artist detach from that visual library—extinguish it, as it were—so that his own imagery has a chance to appear.

Second, try not to rest on skills and talent

Maybe you excel at producing dynamic-looking cats or turning a patch of yellow into a convincing sun. That you have these talents doesn’t mean that you ought to be producing lifelike cats or brilliant suns. Your strongest subject matter and style choices are dependent on what you want to say rather than on what you are good at producing. By all means parlay your skills and talents—but don’t rely on them so completely that you effectively silence yourself.

Third, allow risk-taking to feel risky

Very often the personal work you want to do feels risky to undertake. Intellectually, you may find the way to convince yourself that the risk is worth taking—but when you try to take the risk you balk because you suddenly feel anxiety welling up. Remember that a risk is likely to feel risky. Get ready for that reality by practicing and owning one or two robust anxiety management strategies (more than a score of them are described in my book Mastering Creative Anxiety).

Fourth, revisit your earliest passions

Life has a way of causing us to forget where our genuine passions reside. You may have spent decades in a big city and completely forgotten how much the desert means to you. You may have been so busy painting and parenting that your burning passion for creating a series of cityscapes fell off the map somewhere along the line. Finding your voice may involve something as simple and straightforward as making a list of your loves and starring those that still energize you. This is one of the simplest and smartest ways to discover what you are passionate about and what you want to say.

Give these tips a try and get some new work going!

And take a look at the online creativity coaching trainings that begin in June:


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