Creativity as a Cure for the Blahs

June 16th, 2008

Last week, I was feeling a bit of the blahs and after wallowing in it for a bit, I was determined to move through it. Creativity to the rescue! Reading some inspirational words, playing, having some good laughs, and making art helped me to break free of the blahs and into something more colorful and light. Over the weekend I was working on a couple pieces that I finished up today. "Carried Away" (above) was born from an idea that came from playing in my sketchbook (sketches in this post.) It is about 6.5" x 10" and was created with acrylic, ink, and colored pencil on thick printmaking paper. I also worked on another idea that came to me on a long drive. I made a quick note as I drove, so that I wouldn't forget it (nearly illegible since I wasn't looking at the paper as I wrote on the back of a receipt on top of my steering wheel.) Later I transferred the idea into my sketchbook, played with it some more and eventually it became "Storyteller" below.

"Storyteller" was created with collaged papers (mostly maps and pages from old books), acrylic paint and ink. It's about 9.5" x 9" on thick printmaking paper. As I was imagining it in the car, I had an image of words flowing out of a woman's hands because I love the idea of art that tells a story. I think other images may come out of this idea, but this one is finished. Below is a detail of the whale, which I particularly like because of the way a piece of a map is its eye.

I've got some links to share that hopefully will bring you some inspiration, whether or not you're feeling like you've got a case of the blahs.

  • Just spotted the blog Three Beautiful Things (via a small stone.) Love the simple and totally beautiful things the author has noticed  there. This one made me smile: I hear music from Oli's yard. He is sitting in the half-shade with a jug of juice and his guitar.
  • I so loved this post by Patti Digh. Oh so touching and inspiring.
  • In the comments of my post and art about Alzheimer's, Carla from Anonyrrie mentioned the song "Silent House" by the Dixie Chicks. I looked it up and thought it was heartfelt and lovely. You can listen to it here.
  • Jim is planning a very cool sketchbook swap on his blog. I'm planning to play along!
  • Big thank you to Julia for featuring my etsy art shop in her Friday favorites! Julia has a blog filled to the brim with inspiration.
  • A sure-fire way to beat the blahs is to head out for a nature walk. I love the look of this collection of pine cones from the blog, unruly things.
  • I love this innovative way of hanging art using pants hangers (seen at poppytalk, originally in O at Home magazine.) I think it would be a great way to display prints that you don't have a frame for or works on paper.
  • I was so entertained by this interview of Melanie Ford Wilson by Danny Gregory in one of his Illustrated Life podcasts. I listened to it while I painted and enjoyed it thoroughly. The podcast talked a lot about sketchbooks which was great fun to think about and listen to someone else's approach.
  • Shortly after listening, I saw a picture of a bear online and really wanted to draw it. I grabbed the nearest pen and scrap paper and scribbled this guy out (below.) Bears are terribly cute aren't they? I mean, I wouldn't want to mess with one, but if the bear weren't opposed to it, I'd totally give it a hug.
  • I mention the bear drawing because I think doodling and drawing whatever your heart desires is a wonderful way to beat the blahs.

How do you use your creativity to scare away the blahs?

14 Responses

Thank you so much! I love the whale picture…what is print paper..I was using hangers too..did not know what to do with my paper mess! another reason for my blahs! I won a store magazine rack on ebay that is great but was expensive.I saw a vintage pink twirly rack with clips at a local antique shop but she does not want to sell it! Your artwork is stunning is that you in them? I see your reading Byron Katie read it years ago and saw her a few times.Thank you again no wonder I did blue today..I have to get back to creating for me not just to make money…I have a gothside and would have to start another blog for that to not scare my pinky fans! Thank you for inspiring me I am working on a mermaid mixed media painting..have not messed around in a long time..need a easel for my neck ouch! Thank you for links too! blog bum! Denise Hull,Mass.

absolutely true, i actually started my blog last summer to beat the blahs, and last week i posted about how photographing a particularly bad thunder storm the night before had helped me forget to be scared!

I think all art tells a story. I absolutely love what you’ve done with that thought. Don’t you just love it when things come to your head like that?

Wow storyteller is amazing! I love that whale too – I like maps and have a whole load of pages pulled to turn into images one day…

Meanwhile I’ve got less a case of the blahs than of bloglines not recognising my blog’s updates anymore… so what’s that the blags?

I love your bear doodle he’s got so much movement in him….

oh love the three beautiful things-link Leah! love the whale’s eye and the lines on it’s old back! beautiful art!

The Story Teller is so very beautiful, Leah ! The textures from the old maps and things give it such depth and I love how your heroine is looking outwards, ready to share the stories she holds.. just beautiful !

Unfortunately, I spend a lot of my life fighting the “blahs” … but fortunately, I also have great moments of relishing life’s beauties and everyday miracles! Using my creativity has become my greatest, most fulfilling therapy of all, in good moments or in bad. It can range from cleaning up my work space so I have clarity, to losing my “crazy-brain” self in the colors, the great toys, the music, and the infinite possibilities of my studio. Diving in and creating fearlessly is always the way out of the dark places for me.

Thanks, as always, for the wonderful open sharing of your own experiences. You inspire me with every post…

I was hoping you’d develop the sketch of the bees and houses. It turned out great. Really love your new pieces. The storyteller with the whale is very special indeed.

Your paintings are beautiful, Leah. I especially love the one with the bees uplifting the houses. It gives me such a feeling of hope.
When I am feeling blah, I reach for the most colorful beads I can find and start playing. Bright colors always lift up my heart and make it sing.

after coming off of the high of my brother’s wedding…i crashed BIG time. last night i pulled myself away from a bag of lays (nobody can eat just one…bag!) and the abyss that is my couch and started painting another flying pig.

once again you are in inspiration.

i want to be you in another life!

your fan in chicago. Stacy

I looooove the bear! :)

Leah, carried away is soooo fun. I will feature it in next week’s “bee spotting”. I know once I show off my “oh bee-have” one you created, someone will want one for sure. These would make great everyday card sets, I would by them in a heart bee-t.

Amazing on your “Storyteller” piece. It is a story in itself and came out so beautiful. You must have such a great sense of accomplishment!

I love this post! It is really about the total value of creativity and “how to do it right.” Nice one.

So glad to see that Carried Away made it into a finalized piece. Wonderfully fanciful!

i LOVE the whales!!!! i’m feeling a bit of creativity blahs myself today, and this post definitely helps. Move through it!!! I tend to take my artwork so seriously because I’m trying to make a living out of it, that sometimes the fun gets killed. I love that you doodle and draw whatever your heart desires to scare away the creativity blues! Such a great post. :)

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