Eastport Gallery members weigh in on how they find ways to jump start the creative process.

1. Scribble, Doodle, Play
Keep a journal handy and capture lighthearted ideas and half thoughts. Try working with different colors and textures and leave space for lots of imperfection. Artist Anne Black encourages students in her classes to get started with “playful warm-up pieces” that experiment with different mediums to help inspire new ways of working.

2. Collaborate 
Artist Jen Maffett works with her sister long distance. They share photos on their phones to help figure out what’s next when working on a piece of art. Jen says: “Often our biggest problem is trying to decide when a piece is done.

3. Take a Class
Try something new! Alison Brennan, Education & Outreach Coordinator at Eastport Arts Center says: “Stretching your imagination and learning to be creative is a choice you can make.  Our arts center workshops can help broaden your creative skills, give you a feeling of accomplishment and add a little spark in your life.”

4. Schedule Creative Time 
Sometimes it is easy to let creative projects slide lower on your to-do list as you wait for perfect timing. With a full-time job at the newspaper, The Quoddy Tides, Artist Lora Whelan dedicates two specific days a month to paint. It also helps that her studio is also her home office, which allows her to jump over to a painting if there’s a gap in her schedule.

5. Use Themes 
Observe a particular subject for a day (or week) and then apply your medium. Maybe your theme ends up as a painting or poem … or even a play. Watch how crows interact or take note of patterns of light. Perhaps pay close attention to the sunset each day for a week (particularly now, with sunset happening so early!) Last season, artists from Eastport Gallery stretched their imaginations around the theme of  “Atmosphere”  for a show in July.

Visit eastportgallery.com to see all the member artists’ work.