Circling the Drain

This year has been usual in terms of my creative output.  As a result of trying to balance time in the studio and spending more time on my photography my painting productivity has dropped.  In the previous two years I averaged thirty paintings in twelve months and this year I’ve barely completed a dozen.  Submitting work for exhibits, maintaining business records, and researching grants not only takes time it often results in creative ‘pauses’.  If you experience this in your work one of the ’52 Ways to Nurture Your Creativity’ (by Lynn Gordon) provides ideas on how to re-focus and re-charge.

The card is titled ‘Brain Drain’ and gives this advice – “Creative expression may seem to spring from the movement of a paintbrush across the artist’s canvas or the vibration of the vocal chords through the singer’s lips.  But the origin of creativity lies much deeper; it’s actually the percolation of the unconscious that bubbles up onto the canvas or into the concert hall.  To tap into that source, slow down, tune out the static, and rest the brain.  Go to the local Zen center (or your bedroom closet), meditate for an hour, and note the thoughts that struggle to the surface.  Take a nap and write down what you dream.  Or be your own analyst – lie down close your eyes, and just start talking.”

While meditation was viewed by Western civilization initially as a purely spiritual practice it has since been shown to have physical benefits as well.  “Studies show that meditation is associated with improvement in a variety of psychological areas, including stress, anxiety, addiction, depression, eating disorders and cognitive function, among others. There’s also research to suggest that meditation can reduce blood pressure, pain response, stress hormone levels and even cellular health.”  Most importantly, from an artistic perspective, meditation can substantially improve creativity.

So whether it’s meditation, sleep, talking to yourself, journaling or some other technique for reducing ‘brain drain’ and improving your creativity don’t let stress and activity sap your creative energies; find your way to refill your creative reserves.

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