With paint or Powertex, getting started or getting stuck is something I can relate to. Sometimes we lack inspiration. We get stuck. Mojo has left the building and she hasn’t left a note. Look at all the supplies, the gorgeous colours and the infinite possibilities. Then we freeze.
Maybe we’re tired, overwhelmed or maybe we don’t trust ourselves with those shiny products. If this is you too, read on because this is what I do when I feel this way.
Firstly, don’t beat yourself up, we all feel this way sometimes. If I decide to make art when I feel stuck, I’m gentle with myself.
Secondly, read these Project Pointers. These pointers work really well with Powertex projects but are also great for other craft and art projects too. These pointers are also available as a free printable you can download here.
These are things I do when I want to make something but I don’t know what. Powertex is so huge in it’s range. It can do everything so how can I decide what to make? With lots of creative interests I have to find a way to narrow it down. It helps to have a starting point that sparks my imagination but has enough room for me to be creative.
I pin up this list of things to try if I’m feeling stuck. At least one of them will get me going and if they don’t, I go for a walk instead.
Powertex Project Pointers
Be inspired by your own art
Do you have a favourite piece of art or craft that you’ve made. What do you love about it? Take one thing from this piece and use it in a new creation, such as the colour or theme. I don’t try to recreate it, I don’t want to feel defeated! Looking at this boosts my confidence and reminds me what I can do.
My favourite fairy house is a brilliant example. This was my first one, my best one, my most popular one and I could never remake it. But I can use Black Powertex, Burgundy pigment and string in another project!
A box of unwanted junk or even the recycling box can offer a place to start for a Powertex project. Create Powertex sculptures from jars and bottles, canvases from packaging and junk mail. Old toys, broken bowls and trinket boxes can all get the Powertex treatment. I have a rummage through my recycling and see if anything captures my imagination.
Take a look at your supplies. Is there one product there that really stands out? Something that just fits your mood? Pick an old favourite or something new you haven’t tried yet. If this sparks even a tiny idea then go for it. Find a forgotten supply and just test it out.
If you’re afraid of wasting your precious supplies on something not good enough, I understand but I have a word of wisdom for you. Once I was given a large amount of art supplies by a colleague. They had belonged to her husband who was saving them for his retirement. Sadly, he died suddenly before he could ever use them. Your supplies are only wasted if you never use them.
When I first saw the Powertex and Bister crackle technique I knew I had to try. It still wows me and I love to go back to it. Do you have an old favourite technique that you could go back to? Sometimes I have to go back to go forward.
When we feel stuck we often hold high expectations of ourselves and fear of failure. Letting yourself go and just enjoying the textures and colours and materials without expecting too much takes the pressure off.
I go back to basics and create a project like a child would. Use a journal or cheap paper and supplies to scribble, test colours, doodle patterns. Make something your adult self thinks is ugly but your child self thinks is fantastic!
If you keep an art journal, flick through the pages, splash some supplies around, no one has to see it but you.
Our homes and gardens are an inspiring opportunity for our creations. Would you love to see a blue textured painting in your bedroom or some angel statues in your garden? Thinking about what you’d like to make for your home or garden can be really motivating. I love to make wall art for my home.
We love to make cards and gifts that have meaning, create lovely keepsakes and share our art. Is there someone you could make a gift for? What do they like or what would they like to receive?
You have a purpose to make something with meaning and some boundaries created by the likes and dislikes of the receiver. I don’t need to set myself unrealistic expectations either because anything handmade will be received with love.
The craft community runs some amazing art and craft challenges on social media and in local craft groups. Facebook and Instagram make it easy to participate and are a great way to connect with others too. Challenges get you started but also have enough freedom for you to be yourself. Keep an eye out for art or craft group challenges and join in. Most are happy with any level of participation and are friendly and supportive.
Working on a group or design team project is another way to set yourself a manageable goal.
Get inspired by others – but just a little
I’ve put this last because it’s not always helpful. Looking at what others have made can be inspiring and motivating when we feel good. It can spark us to improve and open us up to new ideas, products and techniques.
When I’m feeling stuck this can be a road to self doubt. There are so many places online to see beautiful art and crafts but I offer you the advice I give to myself when I’m feeling stuck. Don’t look at other people’s work. Avoid Pinterest.
Comparison with others when you feel stuck and want to create is not usually helpful. At best you will try to copy someone else’s work without instruction or any idea how to make it your own. At worst you will spend your entire craft time scrolling through beautiful work that makes you feel inadequate while you make nothing of your own.
I suggest you stick to reflecting on your favourite artists or crafters, the ones that make you feel good, the ones that encourage you and support you as you improve. It’s their attitude and encouragement that will inspire you, much more than their art does.
Find inspiration in who you are
Being your own inspiration sounds a bit odd I suppose but it’s the key to making your own amazing artwork. Whether you use your obsession for your favourite tv show or your deep love of nature or even your current mood, your art will be made in a way that no-one else can do. So find something that’s just You and use it to create unique art. I like Powertex, altered art dolls and angels and I made this!
I’ve wasted hours staring at my supplies rather than creating anything. I just didn’t know how to start but these little kickstarters have really helped me. If nothing is creating a spark for you, do something else instead. Take a walk, call a friend or just relax.
There are lots of other ways you might get inspired too. Annette Smyth talks about how she’s inspired by nature in her latest blog on the Powertex Mixed Media Magazine. Sometimes I watch a craft channel or a tv show about art. Sometimes I get great ideas when I’m washing up or walking to the Post Office!
If you think these might be helpful, you can download my tips as a free printable poster to add to your journal or stick up in your craft area.
If you’re new to Powertex and would like to know what it’s all about you might find this article helpful. I have a whole series of articles written for beginners to Powertex, just choose Powertex for beginners in the categories.