There was something about the March/April issue of Somerset Studio magazine that drew me to the article “Fueling Creativity” by artist/writer Soraya Nulliah. I think it was the stunning mixed media journal that appeared on the page. A beautiful juxtaposition of colorful stamps, inks, paints and paper commanded the attention of the reader and made me want to know more about how it was created.
The article explains that the journal was the result of a creative rut Nulliah was experiencing. She took refuge in the pages of her little book after finding herself less than enthusiastic about returning to her canvas.
Nulliah points out the beauty of an art journal in its total lack of constraints. There isn’t even an expectation to finish it because it’s a journal and, by very definition, a work in progress. She explained that her lack of emotional attachment to the outcome reinvigorated her creative passion. I think any artist can relate to this problem. The article forced me to question the motivation behind the art I create. I realized I rarely create for myself alone.
Everything I make is usually a project that can be tied to my work in some way. Even when I make cards, I immediately send them out. It caused me to ask a tough question: What would I make if I were creating simply for the joy of creating, and how would I feel about the process? This freedom could only open up possibilities in my growth as an artist and as a person.
I loved that the reader also gained insight into the process the artist used to create her journal. I realized that this might be the perfect place for me to start the freeing journey of creating for the sake of creating. I think one result of living in such a productivity-focused society is that even our playtime is often repurposed as multitasking to fulfill some other need. I might just have 30 minutes to craft, so I’ll use that time to crank out that birthday card I need to send by the end of the day.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the practical nature of being able to use creativity to bless others. This article just got me thinking about the beautiful nature of putting color to paper just to enjoy the splendor of the practice.
In the end, we see that diving into a constraint-free project like this art journal inspired Nulliah so that, when she did return to painting, she could proceed with a new assurance. She knows that every time she gets stuck, the refuge of pursuing new artistic horizons awaits like an old friend ready to take her as she is and remind her why she started creating in the first place.