10 Ways to Revive Your Studio Spirit When You’ve Hit a Brick Wall

It’s so easy to fall into a rhythm when it comes to creativity. We find something that we like and that we’re good at, and then we do it again. And again. Before we know it, we’ve settled deep within our comfort zone. Why not? It’s safe and we get frequent gratification because we know we’re good at that particular thing. But what does this do to our spirit?

Mixed-media artist Chris Cozen (featured in the new DVD Top 15 Acrylic Painting Starters) has been there and done that. When she realized that she had fallen into a predictable rhythm with her acrylic art, she decided to “pull a 180” and start painting with fresh eyes again. In today’s newsletter, she shares her advice with you so that you can break the habit of repetition.

Warm regards,
Cherie

Acrylic painting techniques with Chris Cozen

Send in the Clowns (mixed media on Yupo, 22×30) by Chris Cozen

10 Ways to Revive Your Studio Spirit When You’ve Hit a Brick Wall by Chris Cozen

Have you ever hit a brick wall in your studio practice? One day I realized that I was starting every painting in the same way. It stopped me right where I stood. I recognized then that I needed to shake things up in order to start fresh. When I feel like I’m in a rut, the first thing I do is grab a new acrylic painting product or one I haven’t used in a while and start exploring. Acrylics are a great medium to work with as they’re incredibly versatile–especially when you work in mixed media, as I do.

Try these acrylic painting creativity boosters:
• Start by taking one product and pushing it as far as you can to discover all of its hidden potential. Spread it thinly, build it up, mix in color, scrape through it and layer it over text. Work it!
• Some products can be re-wet to create fabulous bleeds–this means that when the paint has dried, you can add wet paint to their surfaces. Each bleed is unique unto itself.
• Mix two products together to create an entirely new one. Since acrylics are designed to work as a complete system, you can freely mix and match, create and concoct! You can create one-of-a-kind combinations and combine a number of product applications to a single surface.

Getting to know your materials is essential to keeping your mojo going in the studio!

Painting with acrylics, Chris Cozen

Golden Light (mixed media on board, 16×20) by Chris Cozen

Here are 10 ideas for reviving your studio spirit:
• Grab a new surface. If you’re used to paper, try Yupo. If you’ve been working on canvas, try clayboard.
• Switch up your color palette. Just change your traditional yellow, for example, to something wild like nickel azo. Your perception of yellow will change and so will your entire color wheel.
• Start your next composition with a new technique. Even something as simple as switching from white gesso to black gesso will force you to work differently.
• Switch your paint formulation. If you usually work with heavy-body color, then try something inklike such as Golden’s new high flow acrylics.
• Paint over an old painting.
• Work upside down.
• Close your eyes, grab a color and the find its complement. Now find out what happens when you work them together with black and white.
• Work wet-into-wet.
• Rearrange your studio.
• Make some mistakes! Let go of what you already know.

There are endless explorations ahead of you when you enter the world of acrylics. Pick up a good book on the subject, watch some instructional DVDs and get out there and play. There’s nothing better for your studio spirit than keeping a playful attitude. Rediscovering your studio spirit will bring a new vitality to your work. ~CC

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