Making art when Life Gets Complicated

What do you do when life gets complicated and you don’t feel like making art?

When life gets complicated: Loss and overwhelm

A few years back my home was filled with stuff emptied from the three storey historic bank where my former business lived. The clutter was almost overwhelming. I felt that creating art would not be a part of my life anytime soon.

The business of closing down the business, after spending the day remodelling our rental property, found me battling exhaustion. And, I was still processing the loss of my  mother. I had plenty on my mind but didn’t really want to sacrifice art.

My mother and Bill
My mother and Bill

moving forward a little

I looked for a project to work on in the small space I had forged in the middle of all the stuff stacked in my lounge and dining space. Money was tight, so I limited myself to the materials I had on hand, and could locate in the middle of the muddle.

Aware of my often impossibly high expectations, I knew that what I chose to do had to be done with little stress.

(Continued below)

Temporary studio in dining space

How I planned for less stress

To avoid the pressure I often felt when I created narrative realistic work, I chose to create circles, squares, and lines. Primary colours, red, blue and yellow were used because I didn’t want to worry about mixing colours. Mark making with pigment ink pens completed the works.

Making art with Inktense and pigment ink pens were in my stash of art supplies
Inktense and pigment ink pens were in my stash of art supplies
I chose to create circles, squares, and lines

Main challenges

My main challenges were space, time, money, and battling fatigue.

The battle against fatigue is why I chose to create ‘Can Blue Come out to Play’, which was a continuation of an earlier series, ‘Can Red Come Out to Play’. I simply had to continue similarly to what I had done earlier.

Inktense and leftover watercolour paper were in my stash so I didn’t have to spend money.

Supports were stapled to a backboard fashioned from a reclaimed wooden cabinet door. That solved my space and storage problem.

I really loved the results, mostly.  More importantly, I was making art once again.

how to get back to creating when life gets complicated

  1. Determine what you can do within your boundaries.
  2. Make a list your challenges.
  3. Find simple ways to meet them and work on them a little every day.
  4. Write down your challenges on paper along with the simple solutions you come up with.

kickstart your creativity

Don’t know what to create? Then why not kick-start your creativity by looking for ideas based on work you’ve already made, or use simple geometric shapes. 

if you're feeling overwhelmed

If all this sounds like too much, just do one thing each day. For example:

Day 1 – Choose the support you’ll use, that is, the paper canvas or wood that you will create on. Get out the support and prepare it for use, if needed.

Day 2 – Choose your medium from art supplies you already own. If you don’t own any, everyone has graphite pencils, ink pens, or crayons. Start with those.

Day 3 – Start creating.  If you don’t know what to do, do what I did and use basic geometric shapes.

Just do a little...then celebrate!

Remember, take the pressure off yourself. Nothing is a mistake except to do nothing. The point is to simply start doing. If you don’t like how it turns out, it’s not a disaster. The win is—you are making art once again!

Find a way to celebrate your victory every time. Mine was really simple. I stepped up to the mirror and gave myself a high-five. Then I wiped off the finger prints. Then rinse, lather and repeat!

(Continued below)

My final challenge...Time

My final challenge was time. Art was important to me, so I chose to schedule it as an appointment in my diary. Evenings a few dedicated times a week.

By persistently making these steps when life gets complicated, you’ll soon have an interesting collection of works of your own and, most importantly, you will be making art again.

I invite you to watch the video on my YouTube channel by clicking here. 

These rules proved to be useful once again last year when we had to pull up and restore the floors in the older part of our home. Which brought a lot of chaos. Click here to read ‘4 ways to overcome when life gets in the way of creating art’.

Red Playground First Three Works

You may also be interested in these

Scroll to Top