Simple Creative Ideas for When Life gets Overwhelming

Up Close & Personal, Watercolour

How crazy is it that it’s been a year (well, depending on where you are of course!) since the pandemic forced countries to go into lockdown. We’re still in the middle of the pandemic, international travels are still pretty much non-existent and many of us have not been able to see our loved ones in person. Although there is hope with vaccines being approved and vaccinations offered in a number of countries, it seems like there is still a long way to go before things can go back to “normal” (what is normal anyway?!). I personally have felt overwhelmed at times, feeling I’ve had enough of this pandemic, wanting to travel and most of all wanting to go home and see my family back home! Sadly, the virus seems to be very insistent on staying with us for a moment longer. I’m sure many are also feeling the same way. I’m here to share with you some ideas that might be able to boost your mood a little. There’s nothing better that a little bit of art and creativity to make you feel better!

Capturing memories – a painting of the dwarf sunflower I grew.

Get into gardening and use your plants for inspiration to draw and paint.

I think gardening has become a trend ever since the pandemic started. I mean who can blame us right? With more time at home and the world seemingly coming to a stand still, seeing plants grow and having pretty greens at home seems like the perfect way to forget all the stress in the world. Better yet, growing your own edibles creates a sense of unmatched satisfaction (and I’m speaking from my own experience!). But plants can offer us so much more than that. Plants make for perfect drawing/painting subjects. You can read more about how I’ve used my plants as my inspiration in my previous post.

Some fun experiment with wet on wet method and salt.

Get creative with some abstract, loose and fun painting.

Most of the time I’ve always painted with control, adding as much details as I could possibly paint. I wouldn’t say my paintings depict reality to extreme details, but I consider myself as more of a “controlled” painter than “loose” and “abstract”. This has sometimes been my achilles heel since I’d take so much time deciding on what I can paint to achieve something I, myself would deem decent, and lets be honest some days just aren’t so great, creatively speaking. On those days I would end up not creating anything and this would sometimes extend to weeks. But I’ve recently made a point to try out new ways and methods of painting. One weekend I just felt the need to paint something, even if it was just random colours on a piece of paper. When I was in the shower I saw my shower curtain and its pattern, some sort of fern leaves, and that was it. I knew I had to make something inspired by that! So, I experimented with some wet on wet and decided to spice it up a little by adding salt. The result? Well it was something I thought was fresh and fun. It was simple to make and didn’t take much time at all. You can totally try it yourself to! It doesn’t even have to be any particular shape. Adding salt when your paint is still wet will create a snowflake like texture making it extra magical and fun!

Inspiring books that kept me sane throughout the pandemic.

Read a book!

Sure, nowadays there’s a plethora of entertainment options for us. Countless shows on Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, youtube, and the list goes on. But if you’re anything like me, there are moments where you might feel fatigue from having your eyes set on the tv. Getting cosy with a good book and your favourite drink never gets old. If you’re feeling that you’re lacking inspiration and motivation to create, grabbing the right book might just be the answer to your problem. I think I’ve managed to read more books during this pandemic than before. One of the books I read and really loved during the circuit breaker (the Singapore version of lockdown) was Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. This book is an absolute must, in this book Elizabeth shares her magical perspective on being creative, how some ideas spark magic and result in a masterpiece even when we least expect it. If you’re in need to be a little motivated this is the book to read. Another book I read during the circuit breaker was titled The Language of Flowers, this book isn’t directly related to art, but it sure left a magical inspiration for me. I wrote a review on this book and how it’s helping me create more (I’m currently still being inspired and creating based on this book!). What I’m currently reading now is giving me all the feels to let my creativity go a little wild and free, it’s a book by the famous Japanese author Haruki Murakami titled Killing Commendatore. This is actually the first book by Murakami that I read following a friend’s recommendation and admittedly the story is so unique it has taken my breath away. I honestly feel that it’s the perfect book for me right now, it just so happens to be centred on an artist and his new found creativity. This book has me dreaming of spending some days in a faraway cabin in the middle of the mountains just to paint!

A project I’m working on – to create a dictionary of flowers, inspired by the language of flowers book.

Choose a theme to paint.

I’ve been wanting to do this since I don’t even remember when. But I just never had the patience or commitment to go through with it honestly. However, since I spend more days at home now I’ve decided to start. I’m currently working on two different themes and different approaches. Inspired by “The Language of Flowers” book I’m slowly building a flower dictionary. I’ve started with flowers that are easier to paint! It’s actually been a pretty fun project to do, and I’m looking forward to painting more and more flowers. The second project I’ve just started is painting sea animals. For this I’ve decided to use 1 sheet of paper and fit as many animals as I can. I’m only at the sketching part, but I’m super excited about how it’s going to look like once I’ve added the colours. Who knows maybe I can even make it into a calendar or some card print!

One from the Paint With Me Community, theme was fog and mist.

Join a community.

Feeling uninspired and wanting to find people of the same interest? Then joining an online community is the answer. Recently, there have been more and more artist starting communities with a small membership fee monthly. If you ask me, it’s a small price to pay for the content you will be getting. I personally joined Susan Chiang’s community – Paint With Me Community. It includes monthly practice of a certain topic and live paint alongs, just to name a few. The cherry on top, however, is the people you will find! So, look around and see which community can serve you best.

Join prompts and challenges.

If you’re looking for inspiration but joining a community isn’t an option just yet, why not look out for prompts and challenges hosted by artists on social media. Prompts and challenges are a great source of not only inspiration, but also to practice your art and get better. You can also see how other people approach the same subject with different techniques and methods.

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