Ideas to Get You Motivated and Keep You Active

by Donna Haupt in Motivation

Ideas to Get You Motivated and Keep You Active

Sometimes we just need a spark of motivation, a jump-start, to get back into our studios and work spaces and start drawing and painting. I believe motivation is the energy that puts us on the road to accomplishing our goals. Motivation is that excitement, that driving force, the incentive we are all searching.

 Listed below are ideas I’ve used that helped move me into action. These ideas are broken down into categories. Hopefully these ideas provide you with inspiration to produce and share your art with the world. I love reading other people’s ideas about getting motivated, so share your ideas also. I will continue to expand on this list. Now find that stimulus and get motivation.

 Visual Stimuli

  1. Find object(s) you feel are the most beautiful and interesting and draw/paint them in groups or as single objects. It could be something you recently purchased, even a food item.
  2. Page through your favorite magazines that contain images you like. Sometimes these images offer color combinations or ideas that assist you in making choices.
  3. Visit interior decorating stores and antique stores for things that stimulate your imagination. Take notes.
  4. I enjoy exploring my local Hobby Lobby store, all the color, textures, patterns, and attractive items for sale.
  5. Visit art museums in person. Don’t just be inspired, but take notes on what inspires you. Bring that feeling back to your studio.
  6. You can visit many art museums on line.
  7. Find that special museum that exhibits the subjects that interest you.
  8. Travel, visit places, unusual but safe places, especially places that appeal to your subject matter—seascapes, landscapes, buildings, etc.
  9. Visit places on-line that inspire you. You have the entire World to choose.
  10. Always carry a sketch book, a camera, and note cards with you.

 Mother Nature

  1. You are completely surrounded by Mother Nature. She offers boundless and never ending visual delights.
  2. Mother Nature offers you the beach, the mountains, the desert, the forest, the clouds, the seasons, all types of flora and fauna.
  3. Man’s contribution to nature’s beauty includes many ideas from landscaping, buildings, architecture, and statues. These all make wonder subjects to draw/paint.
  4. Animals, so many beautiful creatures on this earth to draw/paint.
  5. Stop and look at the beautiful evening sunsets.
  6. I love a beautiful patio setting with a water fall. A painting of water coming from any source would make a lovely, peaceful, and tranquil addition to a wall.

 Teach and Share

  1. Teach a class and share your skills.
  2. If sharing your skills motivates you, make a plan and do it.
  3. Share something you experienced by illustrating it. Something that moved you emotionally.
  4. Create illustrations to share your knowledge about something and teach a lesson. Do it on-line, on your blog, or make a video.
  5. If you like to write, illustrate a story you have written. Write a story so that you can illustrate it.
  6. Illustrate a historical event that interests you.
  7. Do a series of illustrations, 2 or more drawings or paintings, on a subject that interest you.
  8. If you receive pleasure in giving, donate a painting to a charitable event which means you need to paint more pictures.

 Portrait Fun

  1. Do a self portrait, do several self-portraits, use several art materials and methods. Use it as your profile picture in Facebook or other social media.
  2. Do a portrait of a loved one, do many portraits of our loved ones, including pets.
  3. Draw your favorite celebrity, maybe someone you have a “crush” on.
  4. Draw and paint someone you admire from history and share their story. I do this with the saints.
  5. Draw/paint someone whose life story inspires you.
  6. Copy a painting from the masters.



  Just be Colorful

  1. Play with color. When you see color combinations that interest you make notes and keep a color file. Update it constantly.
  2. Where can you find color–the painting section of your local hardware store has all those color chips and beautiful brochures.
  3. If you are into botanical beauty, be sure to visit places where plants and all those colorful flowers are sold.
  4. Create a piece of art with a message you feel would make the world a better place, make it a social statement.
  5. Sometimes special events can spark our imagination, a wedding at the ocean or a visit to a beautiful mansion, etc.
  6. If you are into lingerie, draw something sexy, colorful, perhaps using something you own. Frame and hang it on your empty walls in the bathroom.
  7. Learn all about the principle of using color. Buy books on color and used them for reference. Books on color should be part of your art library.
  8. Buy a color chart. Study it and refer to it often.   

Explore Yourself

  1. One day just sit down, relax, with pencil and paper in hand make a list of the things you like in life. Select one and do a drawing of it. Use this list when you feel low on ideas to draw or paint. I recently saw several paintings of money.
  2. Similar to the above, explore your mind and make a list of what excites you, such as, people, certain places, a concept, a feeling, etc. From this list you have many ideas to paint. Keep this list, continue to add to it, and never loose your list. Use it for ideas.
  3. When you draw or paint put an emotional element in it using color, composition, facial and body expression.
  4. Create a drawing or painting about something that has emotional impact to you, something you are passionate about. 
  5. Explore and analyze what finished work of art you think others would like to see hanging on their walls, enhancing their homes and lives. 

Do something commercial

  1. Design and illustrate a music album cover of your favorite artist. Make it into a poster and hang it on your walls.
  2. Look at poster art. You may want to use some of your work to create poster art. There are some wonderful poster art pieces out there. You can print and sell them.
  3. For the fun of it, illustrate and/or paint an image for a magazine cover.

 Explore your fellow artist

  1. Visit art websites that provide information, techniques, and tips. One of my favorites is
  2. Occasionally visit the websites of other artist and be curious about what other artists area doing and what they are selling. 
  3. Visit gift shops and see what art is on sale.
  4. Subscribe to art magazines. I subscribe to the Artist’s Magazine. American Artist is also one of my favorites. These magazines not only open you to the world of art, but offer many features that inspire and teach you.
  5. On-stage performances do something to the senses and kick in visual ideas. A good habit is to partake and enjoy in what other non-visual artists are doing.  “The Jazz Artist” 


     was inspired by my sister, Cheryl Conley, a jazz vocalist,
   52.  Listening to your favorite songs can trigger images. Sit back and just listen and enjoy.


  1. If you find the subject mater that interests you the most, keep the momentum moving. Learn everything you can about it. For example, if human anatomy is your favorite subject, learn the anatomy, buy books on the subject, keep a sketchbook or a note book on what you learn and fill it with illustrations and information for future use.
  2. Take an art class.
  3. Continue to learn and study your area of interest because being an artist is a life long process of growth and development.
  4. Look through, browse, purchase and collect fine art and art history books.
  5. Explore drawing and painting media you have not tried such as–color pencil, water based oil paints, alkyd oil paints, oil painting, acrylic painting, fabric painting, screen printing, etc.
  6. Learn about the various art movements like Art Nouveau, Art Deco, the Renaissance, Medieval art, etc. etc.
  7. For the project you are working on, keep your work organized by keeping your sketches, your research and collection of picture in separate folders.
  8. Keep a collection, a file of pictures and images that interest you, that you may use in the future, and organize it alphabetically.

 Selling opportunities

  1. Think of your art as a piece you will display in your own gift store. Paint what you want to put on the walls of your gift shop. Paint art that will turn heads, art that cause people to stop and look.
  2. Think of your art as part of your own art gallery inventory. Paint what you want to put on the walls of your art gallery, especially for that opening night. What would you like to share with your guest as they sip wine and view your paintings and drawings?
  1. Explore places to sell your art such as Etsy, eBay, etc. There are a number of sites where artists sell their work. I will explore this later and provide more in another blog post.
  2. You can create calendars with,, and other on-line print companies. Think of putting your art on a 12-month calendar and decide which of your current pieces would you chose? 
  3. You can plan a series of works for a calendar based on a particular subject, or make a collection of your art. Give the calendars as gifts or try to sell them on-line.
  4. Put your art on t-shirt and sell them.  I am currently working on a few ideas.




   66.  Put your art on products such as magnets, cards, mugs, hats, etc. There are many print companies that have on-line sites that you download your work and see what it looks like. You many want to order these as gifts, sell them, include them as promotional products, or start your own business with your products.
  67.  Research the market where you can sell your art. Keep a file on this and up-date it often.

 I’ve listed many ideas you can bounce around and revise to fit your situation. The world is really full of stimulating ideas. In fact, that is one of the problems artist have. We leave many projects unfinished because our minds are always generating new ideas. We will start a new project and leave behind an unfinished one. Honestly, I have a few unfinished pieces of art sitting around. My husband says it would drive him crazy to let a project sit unfinished. 

 I will continue to add to this list and explore certain subjects a little deeper in future blogs. I hope that you also develop a similar list and share it with us.