Keeping it up in the Winter

Yes, the blog title is a double entendre. I just read somewhere that a title should grab the audiences attention, so here we are… Some folks may indeed be reading this little blurb, while in a nice warm climate during the “winter” months. For me, in Michigan right now, this is one of the most desolate times of year. Luckily this year the snow has been sparse so far, so the world still retained some of its color. Usually the world of dreary whites and greys surrounds me during these late winter months and it drives me crazy. This year at least I get to add some dreary browns in there for a nice bleh balance.

In the last few years of working through the winter these are a few things I have learned:

Each day I like to put on something I love, with some energy. I like gloomy music too, but use sparing, your soul is already gloomy enough during the winter, don’t make it worse by feeding it more gloom. Pick something you like that helps energize you. Different tasks require different music, make sure your being productive with whatever you’re listening to. I tend to think music with no voice/singing is best for writing, as it doesn’t confuse the thoughts. Where music with singing tends to be pretty awesome for visual art making.

Pictured: Inappropriate music for most gentlemanly pursuits.

If you can’t get out, get some vitamin D in you! You can also help your mood by bathing yourself in natural sun light indoors! Sit by windows when you work, get a day light lamp for your work area, or build one yourself. Adequate light has improved my headspace so much in the last few years. Maybe its all in my head, but being around bright warm lights helps me make it through the months of long nights. If you do your work on a computer screen, make sure to take a break and get out of the glow of your monitor. If you do want to build a light lamp and you have a bit of technical savvy, do what I do:
Then prop that up somewhere and get glowing.

Don’t stop making art in the winter! I know it may be hard to bust out your usual level of productivity, but you have to do SOMETHING. I tend to switch to things I can do in the house during the cold months (as my studio is in a outbuilding). I paint more miniatures during the cold days, doodle on my Surface, work graphic design, or work on small bite sized paintings. Even making sure to sketch and doodle will help keep you sharp and motivated. It is a great time to plan your big paintings in the warmer months, plant seeds! Read books, get inspired, get juiced up for when the world is green again! I also have found things to do creatively in the winter; art contests, snow sculpting, coloring, juried shows. You can even light things on fire, the sky is the limit!


When you finally make it back to when the sweet wind is blowing, the sun is shining and the world is blooming again. You are ready! Time to hit the ground running! Re-energized I can jump into projects with renewed gusto! Pop the cork on the studio and get some of that refreshing air in my lungs. I hope you all are staying sane and keeping the torch burning!