Getting Unstuck: Victory over Creative Block with Small, Quick Projects

catheholden-brushesI made a new friend recently who, after visiting my barn studio, stated that she has several large canvases started but can never seem to make the time to finish painting them. Therefor she may feel reserved about starting any other new creative projects. I think many of us go through feeling creative but having limited time and resources, and often limited space, to create. We also feel at times no creativity flowing at all. For any who aren’t creating art or crafting on a daily basis, or do but find themselves lacking motivation, often the most achievable-yet-gratifying projects are those can be started and finished in one day from conception and sourcing supplies, to making the project, and, of course, clean-up. Often, a project that can be squeezed in after dinner or on a Saturday morning can be just enough to exercise your creativity.catheholden-3inch-canvasAnother friend of mine, a professional artist, suffered a series of life challenges and became artistically stuck and was avoiding her studio completely. To pull herself out of that negative current state, she devised an exercise to get her juices and motivation flowing again. She purchased packs of 3-inch square stretched canvases and every day committed to decorating just one. This was a very achievable daily project that could take minutes or hours, depending on the mood. She decoupaged vintage ephemera scraps, painted, and sketched. After weeks of merely moments in the studio, she’d finished multiple canvases, each representing a day in her struggle and efforts to overcome it. All the finished canvases placed together created a meaningful assemblage of beauty in healing. I am so inspired by her story that I make an effort create routinely, on even the smallest scale, no matter how stuck I am for creativity or time. Which brings me to stencils and decoupage.IMG_7165Stencil art is a fun, quick, and satisfying craft. Stencils can be used on so many surfaces with supplies such as paint, ink, texture paste, bleach, embossing ink and powders, glue and glitter. With all supplies in hand, a stencil project can be done in merely minutes yielding exciting results.IMG_5718 Decorative vinyl and coated paper stencils can be purchased in stores and online. If you have a digital cutting machine, they can be cut from coated card stock or stencil material using SVG designs purchased and downloaded from the internet.IMG_7152 Stencil canvas, clothing, thrifted paintings, blank wood boxes, frames or boards, greeting card background surfaces, a suitcase, a lampshade, a rug… there’s just no end to the things you can stencil in a short amount of time.fullsizeoutput_83fDecoupage is a meditative craft that can enhance many objects such as boxes, wood scraps, and wood or canvas boards into beautiful home decor. Images and graphics printed from your computer to plain paper (using water-resistant inks) can be ideal for layering with Mod Podge, or other decoupage mediums. Trimming the multiple printed or photocopied images for future use can be a pleasant project in itself.catheholden-decoupage-papersOf course, if you have a whole day to create, combining decoupage with stenciling you can attain many layers, incorporating paints and rubber stamps, to craft larger mixed media projects. IMG_7150You don’t have to be an expert or know your paints and pastes to get moving, just get moving. Experiment! You can also search YouTube or online craft video channels to learn about techniques and products quickly. Then get right back to creating.

For more visual inspiration, follow my Instagram feed @catheholden.

And remember, maybe all you really need to get out of that rut and jump-started back into creativity is a pack of 3-inch canvases.

What do you do to keep your creativity flowing?

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3 Responses to Getting Unstuck: Victory over Creative Block with Small, Quick Projects

  1. #1 - CraftyHope says:

    Great tip. I know that sometimes the hardest part is just getting started. Doing something small sounds like the perfect way to get in the groove. Thanks for sharing your process!

  2. #2 - Cindy Keller says:

    Hi Cathe, my daughter is an art enthusiast and looking for inspiration. I am going to recommend her your blog so she has some authority to lean back on. I never realized how good she could get until I saw her art pieces. That’s when I realized she was on to something. I hope she will learn with your art projects and tips.