(Re)Igniting the Creative Spark

Artist Prompts: Play Time

I am an artist, or used to be. Ideas exploded from my crazy head, like an erupting volcano. The lava spilled everywhere taking form as wood sculpting, watercolor paintings, oil paintings, and embroidery mixed with pieces of rust or embroidery mixed with watercolors. Never needed artist prompts. When my kids were little I taught myself how to play the piano, so that I could sing and play lullaby’s to them at night. It’s a crazy list of efforts that’s had twists and turns. I also wrote and illustrated five children’s books (self-published) all while working as a makeup artist in the film and tv business for 45 years.

Now I have a chance to do something for myself but I have lifer’s block. Kind of like writer’s block but it’s life. What do I do next?

The volcano is quiet. It sends out a puff of smoke every now and then but that’s about it. My cousin, unknowingly came to the rescue. She had an idea, she says, that might light a match at the base of the mountain. “Try this:” she says, and recites the recipe:

  1. Cut paper in to small strips, small but big enough to write something on.
  2. Then write one activity on each strip of paper – be specific. It can’t just say fruit, it has to say what kind of fruit or how you use it.
  3. Make a lot, the more the better!
  4. Put all the pieces of paper into a paper bag and shake.
  5. Pick out two strips – three if you’re feeling brave.
  6. Proceed to combine and create (meaning; write, draw, doodle, photograph etc)
Little slips of paper turn into artist prompts
Loves and Likes turn into artist prompts

I’m always searching for artist prompts, and maybe this will get the volcano to erupt a little bit. I don’t need to go crazy and wipe out villages. I just need it to trickle down the mountain side every now and then.

My therapist wants me to act a little more like an extrovert. She asks me: “what do you want, what’s your passion?” That’s the point lady, I feel like screaming. I’ve lost the passion – my volcano has died!

So I think, I’m going to try to get the passion back with this blog. I have no idea if this will work or not, but here’s the plan. I’m going to do the above recipe and blog about it and see if the volcano wakes up.

If you’re going to play along, what things would you list and if you create something from putting two or three things together, I’d love to see the results!


  1. Kim

    Ok, now you’ve got my wheels turning. My wheels turn slow…

    • penro

      It could be fun. I feel like I need a boost maybe something will come out of…who knows. Fun to have you join in. We can lift each other. Slow is ok!

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