Using Your Emotions To Get Motivated To Make Art (And A “Never Seen Before” Painting!)

2016 Artwork Motivation And Emotions Article sketch

I’m sure I’ve talked about this before, but I thought that I’d talk about a technique (perhaps the oldest trick in the book) for getting motivated again when you don’t have the enthusiasm to make art.

But, although this is an article about another way to get motivated to make art when you’re feeling unenthusiastic and uninspired, I’m going to have to start by talking about how I got out of a recent unenthusiastic time I had recently. I’ll give some more general advice near the end of this article.

Anyway, a while before I wrote this article – I was having a dismal and unenthusiastic day. After a lot of effort, I finally pushed myself to make an extremely minimalist and fairly low-quality limited palette (red, yellow, blue and black) painting.

Although this was one of the few paintings that I didn’t feel was good enough to include in my daily art posts, I’ll include it here to illustrate how uninspired and unenthusiastic I was feeling:

"Audience" By C. A. Brown (Never seen before!)

“Audience” By C. A. Brown (Never seen before!)

Although I’d actually made this painting, it didn’t really make me feel any better about myself as an artist. It’d taken a long time to make, it felt like an absolute chore to make and it didn’t really seem as impressive as it should have done. Not only that, I was still in a fairly dismal kind of mood.

It was then that I noticed that the next piece of art on my schedule was the artwork for April Fool’s day. Since I’d already written the very cynical satirical article I’d planned to write for the first of April, I suddenly realised that I could make a cynical piece of digital art that made the same point.

Since it’d just involve taking some things from old digital photos of mine and messing around in MS Paint, it seemed lazy enough for my extremely limited levels of enthusiasm too.

So, I made it:

 "Yearning Of The Cosmos For The Zeitgeist Of Postmodern Thought " and "Gossamer Memories Of Paperback Perdition" By C. A. Brown

“Yearning Of The Cosmos For The Zeitgeist Of Postmodern Thought ” and “Gossamer Memories Of Paperback Perdition” By C. A. Brown

Suddenly, to my surprise, I felt slightly better. A cynical grin crossed my face. I started chuckling evilly to myself. But, most of all, I felt better about being an artist. I felt like making art meant something again.

This was all because I made something that expressed a particular emotion (cynicism) that I feel a lot but, for some reason, hardly ever seem to express in my art.

Because I was in a fairly dismal mood, I was feeling more cynical than usual and, because of this, trying to make anything other than cynical art just felt kind of “empty”/ “pointless” as a result.

So, I guess what I’m trying to say here is that if you’re having problems working up the motivation to practice making art, then it might be worth looking at which emotions you really want to express. It doesn’t matter whether they’re “positive” or “negative” emotions – the important thing is to work out what emotion it is.

Then find a way to make a piece of art – any piece of art- that plays into that emotion. It doesn’t matter whether it’s good or not, the important thing is to make a piece of art that feels meaningful to you in that moment in time.

Even if it’s a terrible piece of art, then it will remind you why you got into making art in the first place and, with any luck, this will make you feel more enthusiastic and motivated to make better pieces of art.


Anyway, I hope this was useful 🙂

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