Monday, April 25, 2016

the magic of getting started

What do you think is the hardest part of the creative process? Getting started or to keep going? Although both are hard, I argue getting started is always the hardest and there is a magic in just starting.

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it~ Goethe (tweet this)

One of the reasons I am in love with collage is because I know I can always just start collaging - gluing down my inspirational bits- even when I am uninspired knowing that during the process the inspiration will find me.

Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.~Picasso (tweet this)

I believe that it is a great creative truth that inspiration will find you...but only if you are working. you cannot wait until you are "inspired" to start your art. You just have to begin.

I use this tenet to get my teenage son to do his homework. I know that getting started is always the hardest part. He cannot wait until "he is in the mood." Who was ever "in the mood" to write a paper about to Kill a Mocking Bird? Yes, it was a great book- but to write a persuasive essay- well pigs fill fly before a teenager will be "in the mood" to write that.

However, once he writes that first sentence, he may be in the mood to write another and then another. And one more until the creative well runs dry. So we put it away and then I have to force him to the kitchen table the next day to get started.

It is the same with art. Many make the mistake that because art is enjoyable that they can wait until they are "in the mood" to paint. But to make great art you have to work at it often because not everything you do will be a masterpiece. Like a writer, you will scrap many sentences and throw out rough drafts. Like a scientist there will be many failed experiments- canvases that you will not want to ever display. (don't be tempted to list these on ebay or give to your mother. If you don't like them, you should paint over them with something better.)

The Magic of getting started...

But we know that once we start we will happily be reunited with our muse... it is also like exercise.. the hardest part is getting to the gym. I liken it to the first peck the chick makes in her shell. 

Are you surprised to hear me compare my art to writing an essay or exercising? The creative process takes discipline and the magic is in the hard work.

In this blog post I share the secrets behind this poppy painting... come and see.
The secret behind the vibrancy of the flowers are watercolor markers. The watercolor markers are transparent color. Since it is a marker, the color is applied as pure pigment and not diluted with water. I used shades of red and pink to create the poppies. The transparent watercolor allows you to see through the color and enjoy the luscious layers underneath.

In order to make the poppies "pop", I white washed the background with diluted white acrylic paint. The paint was diluted with glazing medium. not water. You can still see the layers peeking through the white veil but they no longer compete with the flowers. I teach all these techniques on my free youtube channel SchulmanArt plus I also offer online classes at 

Mixed Media Madness is probably the best class to learn most of these techniques. If registration is not open now, then you can get on the waitlist here.

Some details you will notice in the collage layers are piano music. I love adding music to my collages as the music brings in an energetic force to the piece. You will also notice words and other snippets of pattern.

Bringing complex art in your home means you will have art that you never get tired of looking at as you notice something new every time you study the artwork. The colors are intended to cheer you up while bringing you a sense of calmness at the same time. →collect this art
The finished painting measures 20x20" and comes with a black floater frame. The original mixed media canvas comes framed and ready to hang on the wall so you can enjoy poppies all year long.

Here the painting is shown displayed over a Pottery Barn bed. All furniture, linens and accessories are from PotteryBarn. You can collect the painting at

Want to save on this art right now? 

let me email you the latest coupon

Want to learn how to create your own art like this?

Other Posts You Might Like:

In Case We Haven't Met Yet...

Art Journaling Inspirations →
Hello! I'm Miriam Schulman and I create mixed media art to tell stories. I also teach other people how to craft their stories with art. I give them the techniques they need to get the results they desire which brings more joy to their lives.

My art has been published by Somerset Studio, Art of Man and the New York Times among others and collected by an international audience. When I'm not working on art in my studio, you'll find me in a museum spending time with friends or family. Explore my art at or join the fun at

Let's Discuss!

What do you think is the hardest part of the creative process? Getting started or keep on going?