I recently committed to keeping art supplies with me wherever I go. It’s been one of the most effective means of producing creative work. I keep a sort of “lunchbox” filled with little goodies from my local art store. Basics: tubes of acrylic paint, Sennelier oil sticks, graphite pencils with sharp points, newspaper (for ripping collage pieces as well as a way to protect the table you are working on), illustration board, colored paper, glue sticks.) These little treasures provide me with instant opportunities to paint, color or play with paper. Whether I’m waiting for my ride to emerge from the foamy poodle brushes at the car wash, or I’m staring resentfully at the blank walls of the DMV – I’m armed.
A few weeks ago, Josh and I headed north for a couple of days in the sun at a seaside resort in Santa Barbara. At first I felt guilty, but then I realized I get to take my office outside. I got to create my own ersatz art studio amidst some of the most inspiring scenery on the planet. All I needed was a table, which poolside server Ian (and his “man bun”) gladly shifted my way. (Pic #1)
Real productivity doesn’t mean you have to bury yourself in your routine. It means finding new ways to produce – and new places to do it. For me, just being surrounded by fresh colors and quirky shapes is enough. Try exploring what surrounds you; find patterns in nature (Pic #3) or crazy color combinations in some lady’s muumuu. Play with those ideas and see what takes form.
A change in scenery can change your view — and the quality of your work. You will find yourself noticing things you passed by before, and that new habit will expand your visual vocabulary. Then, each time you paint, write, or make music, you will create something deeper, richer, and uniquely yours.