One of the things that I find the most challenging about being the kind of artist that loves to dabble and try many different kinds of mediums and techniques is that my brain seems to always be on "bright idea" overload. There should be a name for this disorder: Artistic Random Thoughts Invoking Spontaneous Techniques (aka A.R.T.I.S.T.). ;-D I have all these great ideas swimming around in my head—constantly pushing and fighting to find their way out and be transformed into great designs (hopefully!). But with so many different directions to go, sometimes it can be frustrating and it ends up being easier to just ignore them all and stay with the safer, "tried and true" things I'm already comfortable doing. Can you relate?
So, one of the ways I have found that helps me get focused is to "assign" myself one to three different ideas to try each time I sit down to create something—whether it be a new technique, color combination, or unique material—my goal is to try at least one new thing during my work session. I like to give myself a couple of options, since I'm also the type of artist who finds it difficult to create anything halfway decent unless I'm "in the mood" for whatever it is I'm working on. I might try one thing, decide that that particular Muse isn't visiting me right then, and move on to the next thing until I find a Muse who is feeling more cooperative. *Ü*
How do I decide on the ideas I want to focus on?
Sometimes I pick one from the notebook where I keep most of the "brilliant" ideas that pop into my head, sketches, and snippets of magazine photos, etc. that inspire me. (Tip: I get some of my best ideas when I'm dreaming, so I like to keep this notebook by my bed so I can quickly sketch it down before I forget!). If my notebook isn't handy, I'll jot down ideas on any scrap of paper I can find and collect them around my work area.
Another method I like to use with my lampworking is to keep a collection of random beads in a little silver tray on my work table. These beads are mainly funny experiments or accidents that impressed me when they came out of the kiln—an unusual color combination, the way a pattern unexpectedly came out, or maybe something I tried once and needed to come back to when Ms. Muse was playing nicer. I pick out a couple of beads that "speak" to me that particular day, set them out by my torch, and away I go!
For example, this week, somewhere in all of this…
I happily found the inspiration to get this…
Of course, these are just some of the best examples—there were plenty of "duds" that came out of my kiln this week too! LOL But the key thing (pardon my pun!) is that using methods like these and setting simple goals every time I sit down to create is what helps me stay motivated, focused, and able to cross off things off my "to do" list (so that I can make room for new ideas!).
If you've been struggling to set your creative spirit free, why don't you give this a try? Or if you have any other helpful ideas that work for you, I'd love to hear about them too. After all, we artists can never have too many sources of inspiration, right? *Ü*