Today, I'm proud to say my friend Paul IS a full-time photographer. He creates amazing images and sells them at art shows and festivals, galleries and to a variety of publications.
|Paul Grecian, Photographer|
Today, Paul shares 6-1/2 tips about how to stay creative, PLUS 6-1/2 images he created that go with each tip, PLUS the biggest prize I've given away on the blog. And you, dear reader, get to choose which prize you'd like if you win! (Scroll to the end for giveaway details.)
You can find Paul Grecian online at his blog and can view and purchase his images at his site.
6-1/2 WAYS TO STAY CREATIVE
I don’t always have the luxury to be creative when the mood strikes. As a full-time artist, I have to prepare for shows, gallery exhibits, fulfill phone and email orders, attend meetings and a litany of other obligations that keep me away from my camera. So when time permits, I need to be able to facilitate the creative process. Here then are my 6-½ ways to keep the creative process flowing.
1. Do Something Comfortable: I often find that I am at my most creative when I am comfortable. Oh yes, I do like my comfort! The advantage of being comfortable is that my mind is on my work and not on how hungry I am, how cold it is, how much this sweater itches! For this reason I often create my best work when I am somewhere familiar, working when the weather is not too hot, not too frigid, and with equipment that I know better than the back of my hand (not that I’ve really studied the back of my hand so much). Being comfortable concentrates my awareness on the elements within a scene that visually are exciting me most.
2. Do Something Uncomfortable: Sometimes however, being comfortable doesn’t stir the creativity pot. When this happens, I reach for a rarely used lens, apply a new method to my image making, place myself in a new environment, or try working with a new subject. Exploring new terrain literally or figuratively means experiencing new feelings and allowing responses to them to come through in the work I create. Being too uncomfortable can be inhibiting to creativity, so a balance is needed. I do find though that being cold when working on a winter scene focuses my mind on how to convey a sense of cold in an image. The uncertainty of exploring a new location often generates in me a sense of wonder that can be missing in locations I know too well. Working with a subject or in a style that feels awkward can generate new ideas even if not resulting in great new work.
3. Read…….well, anything really: Other than physically being in the field where my work is actually created, nothing generates more creative fruit for me than a good read (along with a cup of joe). Whether it’s the latest issue of a favorite magazine, a biographical sketch of an artist, a blog entry, or something totally outside my normal reading fare (there’s this girl named Olivia Bean I’m reading about….), the vicarious experiences and pictures that author’s paint for me always make me reach for a notepad (or my ipad these days).
4. Explore something within: When I am at a loss for where to go, creatively speaking, searching within can bring me to a place that generates new ideas. What I especially like about generating new directions this way is that it feels the most authentic to who I am. Recently, I have begun to explore the “collector” side of my personality. For several summers I worked at a museum in Philadelphia where I was exposed to awesome and historically important natural history collections. When I was younger I collected rocks, shells, and other items like acorns, and pine cones. I still have a collection of such items and use them to spur on the making of new images.
5. Keep it simple, just create: Putting too much pressure on creativity can act like a lead weight on the process. At such times I feel it helps to just create. I allow myself to explore a subject without thought to purpose or outcome. On a recent rainy day, I found myself fixated on a leaf that had fallen on my car windshield (worry not, I wasn’t driving at the time). From within the car I began to visualize an image of the leaf along with the geometry of the raindrops and a diffused background. I attached an appropriate lens to my camera and allowed myself to just be in the moment and create for no reason other than to create.
6. Hang around creative people: I am very fortunate to be involved with groups of people who are actively creating in a variety of ways. These talented, sharing, artists, craftsmen, writers, and musicians find unique ways to express themselves and always ignite my own creative fire. I have found it inspiring to be around people who work with my chosen medium of photography, but even moreso to be around those who work in mediums other than my own. Regardless of medium, there are so many overlapping aspects to the creative process. I can learn and be motivated by those who work with wood, glass, clay, paint, words, musical notes or pixels.
6 ½. Mow the lawn: Okay, so this is a bit of a metaphor for “whatever works for you.” There is however something about the droning, white-noise, monotonous sound of my lawnmower that is conducive to my thought process. Maybe it’s also the repetitive almost meditative back and forth walking behind the machine that allows me to contemplate new projects, the solution to a problem with a newly printed piece or deciding on my next marketing move. Whatever it is, it works for me and makes the chore of mowing the lawn (sneezing and all) more bearable.
THE BIG GIVEAWAY: One person will win a 7"x10" print (11"x14" final size after matting) of any of the images that appears on this blog post. (Value of giveaway: $47, plus shipping.)
To enter the giveaway . . .
1. Click the "follow" button at the right.
2. Leave a comment about how you stay creative.
A winner will be chosen at random and announced Tuesday, June 5th. (I want to win this one!)
Thanks so much, Paul!