The Mountains and Valleys of Creativity

One of my favorite sayings is “we wouldn’t have mountains without the valleys.” I think of this every time something not-so-great happens, or when I’m just in a creative slump. Those who know me personally would find it hard to believe that I’m ever not in the “mountain” state of mind, especially when it comes to creativity, but let’s face it–we all go through highs and lows in our life of art.

There are the incredible days when new ideas seem to bombard our minds and we can’t jot them down fast enough, hoping that when we have time to address each one, we’ll remember the sparks that make our heart beat a little faster with the excitement of what we can create. And the time we spend actually being artistic brings so much joy because we know we’re doing what we’re meant to do. I believe that this is one of the most important things in life–to find what you’re meant to do and then to actually do it, just like Nike says. These days are our mountains.

And then, even if only occasionally, we slip down into the cool valley. Self-doubt is a common culprit, but that alone can be covered in an entire book. Another downer is simply not being motivated or inspired. To those on the outside, it doesn’t seem like a catastrophe, but you and I both know how devastating it can be. You know you want to paint, but what? You’d like to draw in your sketchbook more, but what? When you’ve reached a valley, and trust me, friend, we all do at some point, you can look to Maggie Price for a lift.

Several years ago I took a pastel workshop from Maggie, and I can honestly tell you that I’ve never looked at clouds the same way since she enlightened me that they’re never completely white. (Oh! And for those who don’t know, Maggie is also a co-founder of Pastel Journal). So when I heard that she just came out with a new book called Creative Freedom, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. Creative Freedom: 52 Art Ideas, Projects and Exercises to Overcome Your Creative Block is just the book that you’ll want to have within arm’s reach for those times that you need a little (or a big) push, no matter what your chosen medium is.

And so I leave you with this quote from author and naturalist John Muir:
The mountains are calling and I must go.

Until next time,

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