Renewing Your Artistic Spirit

My husband is a mechanic, and in our garage he has no less than three vehicle projects at a complete stand-still. The other day I asked why he didn’t spend more time working on them and he replied, “Probably for the same reason you don’t make much art: I do it for a living. Sometimes the last thing I want to do when I come home is work more.” No wonder I married this guy! He was completely right. I make art all day long; it’s my dream job! But, after a day of paint and glue and clay, the last thing I want when I get home is more paint and glue and clay. So, how to get out of this funk? I have some ideas…

Try something new: Ignite that creative passion with a new medium or technique. You might be more inclined to do a little art making if it something that challenges you in a new way. Take a class, maybe even get some credits. Break out of your comfort zone and broaden your artistic horizons!

Use the buddy system: What a great way to spend a little more time with a dear friend or two. Set up a Pinterest project night. Get some snacks and a beverage or two. Focus on being together and don’t worry about how your art turns out. Enjoy the old feeling of community that comes with being creative as a group.

Go see some stuff: Check out a student show at your local college, head to the nearest gallery or museum. Spending a little time immersing yourself in art done by anyone old enough to at least vote can do the soul some good. Heck, it might even get your own creative juices flowing again.

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No matter how you get back to your artistic roots, spending personal creative time is important. Make the time and reap the benefits!

What are ways that you keep yourself engaged in your own artistic endeavors?

Any plans to dive into some creative projects this summer?

Sarah Dougherty

My name is Sarah Dougherty, and I teach elementary art in a large urban district in central Iowa. I love working with our diverse population of K-5 students to bring art to their homes, communities, and everyday lives.


  • Grant

    I actually make a lot of art because I feel like I watch the kids make it all day, but I’m not really participating in it.

    Our district is really rare, because pretty much every art teacher makes art. We have an annual art show at a local coop gallery and usually get a great turn out.

    • I love the idea of having a teacher show! A few years ago we had a for-credit summer class for art teachers and then had a reception and show for all of the work produced. It was an opportunity to get to know my colleagues on a deeper level and make some art!

  • I teach high school Art and photography. I make samples of almost every project I assign. I can see what trouble the students might encounter, and they see that “she really does know her stuff”. I also make two collages a week because I require my Art III-IV students to make one a week. If they complain that one a week is too much I just smile and say I’ve been making two a week for several years, and it is do-able.

    I’m looking forward to painting this summer. My “studio” is the screened-in-porch. It’s delightful, bright and airy…. and also temporary. I know I can’t use it all year so I make the most of it during the summer.

    • A screened in porch studio?! AH-MAY-ZING! What a refreshing way to get back to the brush!

      • Thanks Sarah! I really enjoy it…. the fun of painting plain air…. with out the bugs :) It also keeps me close to my children.

        I forgot to mention earlier…. since I joined Instagram I’m taking a lot more photos. Having a new audience is exciting, and I’m making some new friends.

  • Corby Blem

    Can you tell me what book the girl is reading in the photo? I’m leading a workshop on Op Art and compiling resources.

  • Marie Elcin

    I’m taking a sculpture class at a local art center to stretch my skills in an area I’m not so great at, and I try to spend 2 afternoons a week in the studio. I think it’s really important to hold onto the “artist” part of being an art educator. It’s easy to let the well of creativity get depleted by giving that energy to the kids, but carving out that studio time for myself repletes the well.

    • Marie, so eloquently put! I am impressed, and I know that your students reap the rewards as well.

  • Behind the Marble Walls

    Great post! I teach art in a museum, so I am constantly surrounded by great inspiration. Yes, I know, I am so very lucky ;) This is inspiring, but sometimes teaching and my 4 kids busy schedules throw me for a complete loop on my creative side.

    New supplies to the rescue! I have ordered some Lumi-Inkodye – It’s photo-reactive fabric dye. How cool is that?! That’s got me out of my current creative funk. I’ve been busy sketching out ideas and waiting for the mail to come :) Sometimes it just takes a new material to inspire. It’s like when I was a kid and got a new box of crayons… the smell, the pointy tips, the rainbow of colors! Who can resist that!