Cultivating Creativity After a Dry Spell

[00:00:00] However, the soul of who I am, painting is what I'm called to do, and I know this because I've been making arts in childhood. Just like many of you who are listening, this was something that was in your blood from the beginning, right? Somewhere along the line, maybe the light went out for a little bit , but we're back to it now and we don't wanna let another minute go by without creating. Deep from our heart making artwork that matters.

[00:00:32] You're listening to Unfold with Kellee Wynne. This is an unpolished, imperfect, and totally honest podcast, and I'm talking to all the artists, creatives, visionaries, and change makers who wanna live a life by design and not by default. If you're ready to have thought-provoking, eye-opening and heart-centered conversations that explore the stories that made us who we are and break through the boundries expectations than you are in the right place.

[00:01:05] Well, hello. Hello, and welcome back to Unfold with Kellee Wynne. We are already several episodes deep into this podcast, and it seems like everything's going swimmingly well. I am so appreciative that you keep showing up enthusiastically sharing this podcast with all your friends. Talking about how much it means to you.

[00:01:25] I think I'm digging into the soul of what it means to be a creative person on this wild and crazy planet that we're on and how we use that creativity. Today, I wanna talk to you about cultivating it after a dry spell, as you all very well know. . I've had a real hard time with Creative Block. In fact, it's kind of been on and off for at least a couple years now.

[00:01:51] And then the last couple of episodes I've talked about what it is that I've struggled with, how to find your voice and how I lost my mojo, and some of the things that have happened along the way that have led me to be where I'm at right now. And also the honest realization that a very. May be that I'm using so much creativity in producing things like the podcast and art courses and showing up online that it's really satisfying that creative itch that I have.

[00:02:20] However, at the soul of who I am, Painting is what I'm called to do, and I know this because I've been making arts in childhood. Just like many of you who are listening, this was something that was in your blood from the beginning, right? Somewhere along the line, maybe the light went out for a little bit , but we're back to it now and we don't wanna let another minute go by without creating, creating deep from our heart, making artwork that matters.

[00:02:51] So what do you do when you've had such a dry spell? We've talked about different ways in which we can, you know, find our voice or you know, things that might inhibit our mojo. But let's talk about when we're coming back, when we finally have made a determination that we're not gonna let another day go by because every day matters.

[00:03:13] And so it's really sometimes coming to the calling and saying, I will just have to actively. Seek this out. I can't wait for it to come back to me. I mean, it's just the honest truth. If you want. Uh, inspiration to strike. You've gotta show up in your studio and start getting to work, right? And so I've done a few things recently to kind of get myself right back into the groove of things.

[00:03:38] At least at the moment. It seems to be working. And I wanted to, to touch on that and especially touch on the kind of art that I'm making right now because, I'm starting to see a connection between what we make and how often we have our creative juices flowing. And when you're making work that doesn't thrill you, when you're showing up and you're making work that you think you're supposed to be making and you're struggling through it now, there's always a time, let me put a little put pin in that.

[00:04:08] There's always a time to struggle through it till till you've learned how to make something. But if you're past that point and you're just getting the point of boredom or uninterest. Then you have to really tap into what lights you up. And you know what lights me up are my abstract florals. Something happened when I stumbled upon taking my work from, you know, the landscapes and florals that I was painting that were kind of a slightly surrealistic and then pushing it into this whole new realm, and it was almost electric.

[00:04:43] Um, if you've ever had those moments where you're painting and you're really tapped into it and you can kind of feel the surge move through your whole body, it's almost like slightly outta body experience. If you haven't had that happen to you yet, that means it's time to just keep moving with your creative practice until you do tap into it.

[00:05:06] Because when it happens, you know, you know you are there, you know you've arrived. And it's an amazing feeling too. It's like, oh, uh oh, something's happening. This is it. You know? Wanna know. The most shameful thing about it is I've tapped into it a few times in my life where I've like this. This is the magic.

[00:05:27] And then fear held me back. Ooh, I don't know if I can do that. Let's go back to the comfort zone and that comfort zone can put you. a rut and keep you from making your best work and maybe even give you that creative block or help you lose your mojo that amongst all the other busyness of life. So if you're not making the work that lights you up, it's gonna be really hard to keep going.

[00:05:52] So I wanna tell you about Super Bloom, which is this whole abstract floral thing that I. Stumbled upon, in all honesty, I wanted to get there. I didn't know how to get there, and then one day it just fell out of me. It just like poured out and it was pretty exciting. I was actually teaching at a a workshop in-person workshop.

[00:06:14] Which they rarely happen now, so when I do offer them, jump on it immediately. , I'm telling you, you know, with these covid days and all, it's hard to get outta the house and actually meet in person. But when it happens, it is such an exciting experience because you really get the energy of all the people that are with you.

[00:06:33] And I was teaching all, all about color. We were doing a lot of mixed media and at the end, the last day there was this big push from the students to say, show us what you've got with the florals. We wanna see that now. And I didn't have a lot of time, so I just had to get in and tap in immediately. I had no time to overthink it.

[00:06:55] Hey, the is a little secret right there. The overthinking might kill the bojo. When you just go and go for it. And that was when I first made these really loose expressive marks with graphite and l very thin washy layers of, um, acrylic paint and all these marks. And I realized at that moment, like, florals didn't have to look like florals.

[00:07:20] Like what an aha moment. . They could just have a, a feeling or an energy of floral. They could just have. Slight representation or hint of it, but it was the energy and the motion that I put my whole body into it at that moment. That's what made it alive and electric. And so Super Bloom was born for me and I've pushed.

[00:07:45] the realms of what that means. Sometimes it's minimalist and sometimes it's absolute abundance. Sometimes it's on paper with a lot of graphite and mark making, and sometimes it's on canvas and it's just layers and layers of lush brushstrokes and, and strange shapes and odd colors. So, Super bloom is really, uh, something that's developed over time.

[00:08:08] So when I have painted over the last two years, when I have tapped into my creative voice and been true to myself, that's the work that comes out. This really pushing it to the extreme abstract. Sometimes the landscapes can, can take me there, but it really has to be an abstract expression of how I'm feeling.

[00:08:30] It's gotta be the color. And the motion, that's really like kind of when I analyze what it is that turns me on when I'm painting, it's the color and the motion. So I wanna tell you about what an actual super bloom is now. Not just my super bloom, but an actual super bloom. So this term comes from. When a rare desert botanical phenomenon in which an unusually high proportion of wild flowers whose seeds have laid dormant in desert soil, germinate and blossom at roughly the same time, the phenomenon is associated with an unusually wet, rainy season.

[00:09:12] So what does this mean? Basically, seeds have stayed dormant underground, un germinated. Un blooming waiting for the floods. And this happens actually in California especially, you know, they had a drought for a really, really long time. And I got the idea because my mother, she lives in California and she would, um, send me all these photos of these.

[00:09:39] Just hills covered and covered in wildflowers, and she ca you know, she's like, this is what a super bloom is. And it happens occasionally in California. I don't know where else in the world, I'm sure it happens in other places because it's a, it's a, but you know, it's a biological thing that happens when all these seeds don't get the water that they need, and then suddenly the floods come, and then all you have is this amazing.

[00:10:07] Super bloom. Super bloom from, you know what I mean? That is literally the term. How exciting is that? I definitely recommend that you Google the word super bloom and see the pictures of all of these wildflowers just covering the hills for miles as far as the eye can see. But how do we relate this then to art?

[00:10:27] Because it's not just about the flowers for me. It is the magical moment where spontaneity meets years of hard work where all that you know about painting finally becomes all that you feel. It's a rare moment in an artist development, and it always happens when you least expect it quickly, and on the spot, and without planning is when the muses arrive.

[00:10:54] So, As I said very specifically, that's what happened to me. It just came quickly and on the spot and I let it pour out of me. And when I am willing to put down the overthinking and the fear and the second guessing, see we all do this. I do this, see, uh, more than a decade into my art career. . Well, when I just tune in and allow the color and the motion to flow, the super balloon happens.

[00:11:24] The muses come and these really magical florals. They're very abstract and pushing the boundaries of where I used to paint into, where I wanna keep exploring, and it actually is so exciting to me. I can think about. , you know, 10, 20 dozens of different ideas of ways in which I would love to cultivate these, these super blooms into fruition.

[00:11:49] And this is your secret. Clue. If there's something that's giving you more ideas that can push you into new realms, that you could continue to explore. How does that floral work on paper? How does that work? How does that color work on canvas? How is it gonna work? What if I painted on. I don't know, the wall instead of on canvas.

[00:12:15] What if I filled fabric with florals? What if I translate these shapes and colors and motions into fiber arts? Like my, my mind goes that far. I'm not gonna actually create that because I want to kind of stay within the realm of painting and mixed media. But when. When my mind can't stop thinking of all the possibilities of how this part of my voice, this part of my soul can be expressed fully, then I know that I'm on the right place and I need to cultivate that.

[00:12:47] I know it's like it's burning in me, and that's why in the last month I've been so excited to actually show up in my studio is because I finally gave myself permission. To do the thing that I wanted to do, and that was to create wild, abstract florals in all sorts of shapes and sizes and ways and beings and explorations, and it's really, I.

[00:13:15] It's exciting. My art practice. Something just clicked when this series of wild, abstract florals manifested themselves. That's all I know. And now a portal has opened and here I am finding myself in love with painting all over again. . I mean, maybe it's a culmination of years of experience. Maybe it's finally learning to let go of whatever's in my head and a whole lot to do with trusting myself.

[00:13:40] But whatever this magic is, I'm excited to be here at this very moment, and also for the opportunity to share it with you in my brand new workshop that touches on the heart and salt of why we create. So of course, If something's inspired me this much, I wanna gift it to you. And in my new course super Bloom.

[00:14:01] You're gonna find out all the magic that's happened as I've created these wild abstract florals. I wanna give you something concrete right now because I've been through this dry spell. I've had this creative block and I've allowed the to-do list and the family and the obligations of my own boredom and really, let's be honest, the pandemic that's lasted nearly two years now to really get in the way of my creative.

[00:14:32] Voice of showing up and actually making the work.

[00:14:42] You know, I, I talked about some ways in which we do things that hinder our mojo, and now I wanna give you some ideas on how you can get out there and start turning the juices on. Getting your mojo going, whatever it takes, so that you can show up for your creative practice. So the first thing I'm gonna have to recommend is we need to get out of the house and go do something I don't know about you, but it's getting easier and easier to just stay in and not make plans to leave the home.

[00:15:11] After two years of trying to be safe and avoiding being around other humans, that might give you the plague. Literally . I think we've gotten too comfortable sitting at home and we're missing things that have been so exciting and things that have fueled our creative fire for so long. And that's things like getting out in nature, going to museums.

[00:15:37] I miss going to museums. I don't know about you, but when I went and saw art in person, it made all the difference in the world. It was like the Dien Corn exhibit. I went and saw it five times going to the National Gallery of Art and seeing a Monet or a Van Gogh in person, and seeing those layers of colors and the brushstrokes and the paint, and knowing that a master touched that there's actually an electric energy that comes from it, and we're missing that.

[00:16:05] I can honestly say I've been taking time to go into nature, but maybe not even enough. But seeing and feeling the earth with your feet and breathing in the fresh air and touching the bark of the tree and seeing how the mushrooms grow, unusually in strange colors on the side of a fallen tree and, and the liken on the side of the rock.

[00:16:28] Like these things really open up your creative. Flow because you're looking at color and texture and you're looking at something that's happened without the help of humans to create it. It is Mother Earth's own natural expression, and it's a great way to just get your. You know, you're out of your normal routine so that you can relight and rekindle that fire of creativity.

[00:16:56] A few other great things that you can do to get out and do something new. Uh, I find going to flea markets, some bazaars and boutiques where you can see and touch and feel. Create creations from long ago. For me, I love the vintage and the antique because I feel like I'm connecting with, um, through an object.

[00:17:21] I realize it's kind of strange, but through an object with humans on the other side of time. I collect old postcards and it's got the writing on it. Usually in French, because I'm a little bit obsessed with France and all things French. You could call me a Francophile for sure, but those postcards are a little snippet in time and it really does fuel my creative heart in such a way that I can't even quite explain.

[00:17:49] But when you know that you're tapping into. The longevity of the human race here on Earth, and we're all connected. It's a pretty exciting feeling, and there's something about that that just turns on my creative juices, and if you relate to this at all, then it's time to go and find the nearest flea market.

[00:18:08] Spring is almost here. I know that there's gonna be all kinds of garage sales and bazaars popping up here and there. Um, and they're outdoors, so, you know, it's a great opportunity to go and just mingle and find that beautiful piece of glass bottle or an old postcard or a tray that somebody used to keep their perfumes on.

[00:18:33] It's like all these little things. Are connections to the other humans, and I find that's a really exciting way in order to get your creative juices going in. It works for me every time, so I'm passing on that little tip to you. And if all else fails and getting outside is a bit challenging, just fuel up your car and go for a drive.

[00:18:56] To part of your state that you've never seen before. Go and see the hills pass by and the little, the little neighborhoods and old, you know, an older part of town where the buildings are, you know, maybe a hundred years old. I know we've on the east coast here, we definitely have a lot of these really. Old colonial towns and it's really just a nice way to take a drive maybe with someone you love.

[00:19:22] Listen to a long good podcast like Unfold with Kelly Wynn and, and see if that doesn't get you, your juices going. Okay, so what's another thing you can do to. Break through the dry spell. How about studying art history? Because when we connect with the history of art that came before us, we can't help but feel like we wanna be part of that experience.

[00:19:48] I know it just is like so exciting. I watched this video the other day of art historian ReSTOR a Restorationists, and he was taking a painting that had been cut into. I don't know who would do that to a beautiful piece of art. And he showed how he restored it all, and it brought me back to this memory of.

[00:20:11] Traveling in a little town in France, and I apologize because I do not remember the name of it. And coming across this woman in her atelier, that's studio and she is a restoration for the Lou. And I was like amazed watching her. You can smell the oil paint and she's carefully cleaning off the painting.

[00:20:32] This very old, you know, I mean, I don't know. A couple hundred years old, at least painting, uh, didn't, you know, I don't speak French very well, so the barrier was there. But it's like these moments in time when you start studying the art, the art history, everything from Rembrandt to de to Dega, and even the mid-century artists like.

[00:20:54] Steven Korn, or even more importantly, learning from the women of Art History. Fria Kalo Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Helen Frankenthaler, Joan Mitchell. Uh, It's really important that we just like soak in the stories of the people who came before us because then we realize we're part of that history.

[00:21:20] And also, man, it just lights me up to think about all of the revolutionary times that have happened in art history. Everything from the impressionist, breaking the rules to the abstract expressionists, breaking the rules and everything. Tween. It's like it just keeps going. Even modern things like Banksy, it's really fascinating to think how that envelope can be pushed time and time again, and that we are part of that.

[00:21:45] How do you get into studying art history and learning about it? Look, the world is at your fingertips with Google, but YouTube actually has some amazing videos. The National Gallery of Art, the MoMA, you know, all these famous museums around the world, they actually produce. Art history lessons for you, or tours of the museum.

[00:22:08] So if you can't get out to study it, go, go take a chance with just learning something on YouTube once or twice a week, turn it on. There's also some great art history podcasts and of course books, you know, go to your local library. It's time to learn a little bit more about art history and see what colors, what shapes, what brush strokes, what marks were.

[00:22:34] Inspire you for your next work of art. All right. Another idea to break through the dry spell. We need friends, I think I've said this many times, but we really need friends and if you don't have any friends locally that you can meet up with, I highly recommend the find your Space online. I, I would say this is one of the most important things an artist can do because making art can be a very.

[00:23:03] Lonely and solo activity. And if you get in your head too long and you feel too isolated by it and you have nowhere to bounce the ideas off of, it's gonna be hard to keep going sometimes. So I say find some friends, find an organization locally. Find a group online, and if you do have some, have a paint day, invite them over to paint or do a a zoom paint together because creating at the same time, even if you're not creating the big masterpiece of art, even if you're just doodling and talking, there's some great energy that can be shared there.

[00:23:41] And when you find artist friends that you can rely on, you can also ask for feedback to get some. Critiques, um, and some help on where you're going with your art. Turn to a friend that you trust and ask for some feedback on your artwork. Let's all help you keep from making work in a bubble. It's always nice to get a little bit of a, a different point of view.

[00:24:09] Of course, learning how to give that kind of a critique is very helpful. And in an upcoming episode of Unfold, I will be sharing with you an easy way to self-critique and to give feedback to your friends who are artists or or other artists that are asking for your help. You know, get a new point of view.

[00:24:30] It always makes a difference. I wanna have to say that, um, what I've learned the most right now about how to get your, um, creativity back that I haven't actually done, but I keep hearing over and over again, is writing. And as you well know, in last week's episode, Artis really encouraged. The idea of practicing, exploring all the ideas and just pouring it out on paper over and over again and exploring her point of view until she had exhausted all possibilities and it all started coming together.

[00:25:11] But, I know a lot of artists do these morning pages. They do exploration of their art. They'll have a, a painting session and then journal about it. And I really feel like writing is the next revolution in creativity and if. I'm behind on this and I'm not, I'm not caught up with the trend. I'm gonna tell you, I think that this is the part that I might be missing, and I'm very curious to see what happens if putting that daily writing practice, uh, into play will make a difference in keeping the creative juices alive.

[00:25:47] And on that note, I would say also using your sketchbook to practice without pressure, because you know, if you're coming back after a dry spell, it's really beneficial to play and practice and just goof around and get your ideas out. I've been. The best way that I've been able to get back into creating regularly is using my sketchbook to do the grid squares, and I just lay out like I use a trace little post-it notes that are just the perfect little two inch squares.

[00:26:20] And I, and then I go in and I create teeny little works of art in these beautiful little grids. I'm either playing with collage or I'm playing with color, but whatever it is is I know I'm doing it for myself and not for anyone else. And so it's play without pressure and it gives me a lot of ideas to see how things will work out.

[00:26:38] Another option that I provided just recently in one of my live demos on Instagram was to do a hundred pieces. of really fast, quick color sketches is kind of called automatic drawing, even though you can do it with paint or whatever. And the idea is, is to get through a hundred of them in a very short amount of time, either one day or a weekend, you're not really thinking about, you're just allowing the color and the mark making happen.

[00:27:09] If you're really interested in that, you can go to unfold with Kelly Wyn. Dot com and on the show notes for this episode, you'll be able to see the link to. Demo that I did. Um, and then you can learn a lot about that automatic drawing process that just loosens you up. It's almost like you, it's giving yourself permission to make a hundred pieces of bad art.

[00:27:35] And I've said that before. Make some garbage art. You're gonna find out that in the end you've actually made really great art and there's a lot of great ideas in it. So this is something that I've also done to cultivate my creativity after this very long. , um, dry spell, and of course if it inspires you, you can sign up for a new art course.

[00:27:59] Now, for some of you who keep. Chronically taking classes and not actually watching the videos and learning from them. I'm gonna say go back and use what you already have, but if you haven't found the course that lights you up yet, try, try, try again. And I, I, I actually took my own advice on this one, and just two weeks ago I signed up for Bbgs.

[00:28:24] Art course. Um, and it's just a mixed media art course. It was a very straightforward, but I love her art. Her abstracts are out of this world. She uses, um, large format. Collage elements and a lot of just like big swaths of paint and very intuitive, but her composition and design is amazing. So when I found out she had a course, I signed up for that and consumed the whole thing in one day and it lit me up.

[00:28:53] And sometimes that's what you have to do. I don't take courses so that I can copy step by step, what I see in a course. I take courses so that I can gain the. Feel the energy and then implement those ideas in my own work. And so that might work for you. I have super bloom coming up here, opening up on the 22nd to register.

[00:29:16] And then the course will be, uh, modules will be running all the way through March. And all of it is about how. this, these seeds that laid dormant came alive in me and how I make that color in motion turn into abstract florals. If that's what you need right now, I totally encourage you to come and join me.

[00:29:38] But if what you really need right now is some time alone in the studio to just make garbage art, I also encourage you to do that. That will tell you what I don't want you to. If you've had a dry spell, or even if you've been making art and you find yourself stuck, these are the things I don't want you to do.

[00:29:58] I do not want you to jump right into big, new, lofty goals trying to over commit yourself. If you haven't been making work and you are already finding yourself in a time crunch, you're already making excuses, you're already avoiding the studio, the last thing you wanna do is do the 100 day project. Or commit to a gallery show where you're creating 20 works of art and it's due in three months.

[00:30:29] Do not do that to yourself. I'm speaking from experience . I would never tell you something that I didn't actually know myself, but I'm speaking from experience because those are the kinds of things that will actually drain you more than inspire you if you're already in a great regular creative practice and that fits into your, into your.

[00:30:51] Flow of things to create a collection of work, then do it. But if you've been stuck, if you've been hesitant, if you've been struggling, then don't overcommit yourself to big, lofty goals. And I would say start with the easy stuff first. Start with the things that fuel your juice. The looking at real beautiful classic masterpieces, practicing in your art journal.

[00:31:17] Uh, writing out daily. Doing easy garbage art. I know I keep calling it garbage art. It doesn't mean that it. Bad art. It just means that you are not attached to the art. Just don't hold to perfectionist standards. When you hold that over your head and you go into the studio and you've been blocked for so long and you're like, okay, it's time to paint, and now it's time, I'm gonna make a masterpiece my very first time back into the studio.

[00:31:46] Even if it's just been a week and you haven't found your way into the studio. You are gonna have to let go of perfectionism and get in there and just play and get your juices flowing. And that's probably when all of it's gonna start coming together for you. That's when your super bloom is gonna happen when you bypass the overthinking.

[00:32:10] Get over the perfectionism and get in there and just make you, just as long as you hold yourself accountable to show up and do the thing. I think that's gonna make all the difference in the world. I'm telling you, I'm coming around folks. I'm coming around and the, the work that's coming out now is really got me excited.

[00:32:33] I just wanna dive deeper into it. I wanna explore all the ways in which I can cover my world in abstract florals. And you know, like Carrie Schmidt did, she painted her car. I wanna do that. I wanna paint every corner of my life in these big, wild florals, all the colors from neutrals to bright pinks, and see what happens with it.

[00:32:58] When you start getting into that zone where something's that interesting to you, that's when you need to latch on and let the electricity move through. You call on those muses. Allow it to be part of you. Do not deny yourself that joy. Do, do not let fear set in and keep you from doing something that's wild and interesting that's taking you down a whole new path.

[00:33:24] because you're afraid that, oh my goodness, but I've been making this kind of work over here and this is what my people expect. Guess what? That's not the most important thing. Following your muse is the most important thing because then you're gonna make work that commands attention. You're gonna start being able to tap into making work that not only would be easy to sell, but then you're gonna be able to create an entire lifestyle around your creative process.

[00:33:52] it's gonna be coming. It'll become automatic to you. You'll be interesting about it. You'll be able to talk about it. It's gonna light you up. You'll be prolific and proficient when you do the thing that you love the most. So do not deny yourself that pleasure, my friends. Do not stop the muses from entering in and turning you on and lighting you up and letting you go with it.

[00:34:21] I only say this from experience. Nonetheless, I hope that this has been an inspiring podcast to you to get back into the studio and start making art that is meaningful to you. No more excuses. Go light that fire. Thanks for joining me again in this episode of Unfold with Kellee Wynne. I appreciate you sharing the podcast with all of your artistic friends and those who might aspire to be artistic.

[00:34:53] Share it on Instagram, tag me in it and I'll re-share your post. It'll make my day and it'll help spread the word that this podcast is growing and reaching more people every day. Thanks, and I'll see you next time. Bye.

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