|"My Dream" collage by Lani, textures by FlyPaper.|
Artist/Art therapist Lisa Mitchell from the InnerCanvas has five creative ways to move through those sluggish times, those times when we might feel a little stuck (it does happen from time to time, in our lives, in our work, or in our art). She reminds us that it's easy (and maybe even a little fun and surely quite artistic) to take an artist's approach to our quagmire. I've paraphrased Lisa's suggestions here, but you can read the original blog post here.
1. Add Depth
Artists add depth by darkening or deepening the colors, overlapping shapes, and changing proportions. We can do the same in our lives and work by diving deeper into the emotion, looking for commonalities and following associations. Don't discount the things that might at first seem irrelevant.
2. Add Color
Artists add color to warm or cool the picture, evoke or intensify emotion, and clarify the focal point. We can do the same in our lives by warming or cooling the tone of our communications, expressing more intense feelings, highlighting new areas to focus on.
3. Change the Focus
Artists maintain a broad view of their work by checking if the values are in right relationship to one another, by zooming out to understand how the details read from far away, and by zooming in to see that the texture and detail is accurate. We can do the same in our lives and work by maintaining a holistic view. We can stay flexible, balancing content and process. We can attend to the cognitive and emotional aspects of experience. We might "hang out" in the details in order to understand the emotional texture of the lives around us (and our own), rather than focusing only on the story.
4. Gauge the Struggle
Artists knows when to persist and when to shift direction. They sense when they are forcing a piece and learn to back off or change direction. They learn when they aren't working hard enough and how to go into work even when all they can see is struggle. We can do this too in our lives and work by sensing when we are forcing or working against others. We can learn to sense when we has backed off too much, and we can certainly show up despite not knowing what an outcome will be.
5. Fall in Love (with the process)
Artists dedicate themselves to the art process. They show up no matter what (even if it's just for cleaning brushes). They stay curious and ever hopeful. In fact they love the uncertainty of their work. We can do this too by showing up no matter what (even on days that feel somewhat trivial). We can stay curious and hopeful and learn to love the uncertainty of our lives and work.