Recapturing Your Creative Muse

A guest post by Victoria Rose Martin

It’s happened to all of us at one time or another. We walk into our studio and not only is the creative muse missing in action but it appears as if that little tramp has run off to join the circus. And as hard as you try to be enthused to work in your studio nothing happens. Perhaps you push a pile of papers around your table only later surrender to the fact that you’re just not motivated. It happens to me too and usually it’s right after I have just met a huge deadline. Let’s face it life can be crazy and burning the candle at both ends can be a huge creativity killer. So the next time you’re drawing blanks instead of masterpieces here are a few suggestions to help you recapture your creative muse.

1.     Search the Internet or your favorite shop that sells art magazines and do not look at artists who use the same materials as you. Instead find an artist who works in an opposite media and make sketches. For example if you sculpt look at painters or if you work in fabric search for artists who work with metal. Since I work with clay I might reach for the magazine Somerset Digital Studio since the work in the magazine is 2D and not 3D and the best part; even if an artist influences me I won’t have to feel like I have copied their style.

Somerset Studio

Somerset Digital Studio magazine cover


Remember, opposites attract and looking for answers in all the wrong places can lead to a jump-start and may put you on a track you never anticipated.

2.   Sketch or doodle or even better ask a loved one to create a sketch for you. I’ve done this before and gotten great results. I’ve had both friends and family execute quick sketches of how they see my work and they prepared wonderfully silly pictures that I adored. It was the result of one of these sketches that started me creating a series of figures wearing bustiers.

Martin Art 1

Ceramic figure in bustier inspired top.

Try it yourself; if nothing else you might get a good laugh.

If you have young children I beg you to ask your child to draw you something. And even if it’s scribbles on a page find an element you can borrow. Perhaps it’s simply color ideas. And speaking of color, a great source for ideas is the Pantone Guide to Communicating with Color.

Magazine page

Samples from the book Pantone Guide to Communicating with Color.

Or it could be as simple as purchasing a new tube of paint in a color you wouldn’t normally use and force yourself to use it.

I know I get into predictable ruts where I use the same 2 or 3 colors over and over and to free myself I’ll ask my husband to grab a random bottle of glaze from the cupboard and love it or hate it I will make myself use it at least once.

3.     Go for a walk. And while you’re on that walk tell yourself you’re going to find one thing be it a pebble, leaf, or a crushed piece of metal, and let that object be a starting point. Maybe it’s the texture or perhaps you associate that object with a certain person, place or thing that starts you off in a new direction.

4.    Even if you’re not inspired make something. Sit down with no expectations and let your hands take over. For goodness sake, stop thinking so much. Do you know how many times have I “thought” myself into a corner? (A lot more than I like to admit.)

5.     And finally, be true to yourself. If you simply copy somebody else’s work or style then you are not being your authentic creative self. Find your own voice by making your own art and sketch often.

Martin Art 2

An image taken from my sketchbook.

Oscar Wilde said it best, “be yourself, everyone else is already taken”. If you’re honest with your likes and dislikes, you can’t help but make sensational art that reflects the real you.

Try the above suggestions for remedying a creative dry spell or if you just want to try something new. Document the process and then show the results on your blog. People who admire your art want to be part of the story so let them have a peek into your life.


Victoria Rose Martin is an artist and designer currently living in South Florida. She is the Department Chair for Fine Art and Graphic Design at Palm Beach State College in Lake Worth, Florida. You can visit her website at:
W8060_creative_thursday_CM1.inddYou might also enjoy, Creative Thursday by Marisa Anne.

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