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Creativity Exercises to Jump-start Your Art

Feeling stuck or in a rut? Meet artist Mary Bentz Wilkerson who is a master at motivating art students. Here are some of her tips and creativity exercises for getting recharged.

Get some fresh air.

This releases chemicals beneficial to humans. It gives you a sense of peace and connectedness, and it will re-energize you. It’s one of the best ways to achieve a peak creative state.

Cotton Fields Rain, oil on panel by Mary Bentz Gilkerson

Think of the studio as a state of mind.

Lots of people get hung up on the physical space, but don’t let that get in your way. Your space can be a room in your house or even just a table in the family room. A physical studio isn’t as important as the state of mind you bring to it. The studio as a ‘state of mind’ is one of the first steps in creating discipline.

Meet inspiration halfway.

Show up on a consistent basis. When feeling uninspired, do some of the repetitive tasks that set you up for creativity. Detach from the outcome and put ‘play’ back in your process.

Champs, Grove Summer, oil on panel by Mary Bentz Gilkerson

Find the extraordinary in the ordinary.

There’s no such thing as the perfect painting subject, so don’t wait around. Just paint. With “deep seeing” and close observation, you’ll start to fall in love with your subject.

The power of doing nothing.

By giving the brain downtime, we give it rest and our ideas, the space to incubate. The ideas that come out of the blue come from letting our subconscious do some of the heavy lifting.

Minervaville, Winter Sunset, oil on panel by Mary Bentz Gilkerson

Share your gifts.

If you’re not sharing your gifts with the world because of a limiting belief or fear, then you’re not living up to the responsibility you have to the world around you.

Follow your curiosity.

Paint what you find intriguing, what excites you. The things that spark your curiosity are the markers along the path to finding your deeper passions.

Do you have some great ideas for how to stay motivated and get recharged? Share some of your creativity exercises in the comments below!

Learn more about Gilkerson and her inspiring work in a feature profile in the June 2020 issue of Artists Magazine.

Join the conversation!

2 comments on “Creativity Exercises to Jump-start Your Art

  1. Pamela Chase says:

    Use up palette dirt by practicing brush strokes, getting tree branches right, or experimenting with simple techniques like scrumbling foliage, painting shapes and shadows, or blending/bleeding colors on the paper. Great way to get in a warm-up and clean up palettes at the same time.

  2. Gihan Zohdy says:

    I prepare a pool of future projects by recording inspired thoughts on paper after brainstorming. I thereby have a treasury of thoughts stored and used as necessary.

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