How the Seasons Affect Your Creativity

Creative people are often more sensitive to the rhythms and cycles of nature, and it’s important to work with your own perceptions, moods, and intuition, rather than trying to force your muse to co-operate rigidly.

The seasonal changes are a very prominent influence for many people – the visual changes are stimulating, and the temperature changes elicit responses from our minds and bodies. People vary in the ways they react to the different seasons and understanding your own response can help you to work more efficiently with the type of energy you have at certain times of the year.

Spring is a very energetic time, full of freshness and new beginnings. This is a perfect time to start a new project, or breathe new life into one that may have become stale. Spring is very visual, and artists may find themselves using more vibrant colours and being motivated by the sight of bright flowers and new shoots to dabble in some nature-inspired pieces, even if this is not their normal field.

Whether or not you consider yourself a good artist, why not celebrate spring by splashing the colours you see around you onto a piece of paper or canvas. Don’t worry about form and perspective – just capturing the colours is an excellent way to wake up your senses after a long, dark winter.

Summer becomes warmer and more lethargic unless you’re lucky enough to live in a mild summer climate. This is a time to put your nose to the grindstone and work diligently on an ongoing project – perhaps the one you started enthusiastically in spring. Summer encourages us to take things a little slower and conserve some energy. You’re settling in for the long-haul marathon, but you still have good supplies of energy in reserve.

Don’t forget to get outside during summer. Recoup the energy you expend on your creativity by soaking up some sun rays. Get plenty of exercise and keep your visual skills strong by taking notice of the changes in colour and intensity of the world around you.

Autumn is another visual feast – very different to spring and summer if you’re lucky to live in an area where leaves turn red and golden at this time. Treat yourself to these colours and fill your home with paintings in shades of red and orange. Have fun carving pumpkins and, if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, start making decorations and plans for the end of the year.

Autumn is the time of harvesting – so use this time to assess the work you’ve done so far and consider your way forward. Is it ready to harvest? Or will it need another year or more? Does it need pruning, reshaping, rethinking? Do you need to put it aside for a while to allow it to ferment?

Winter is this time of fermentation, hibernation, and regeneration. Do you feel sluggish and uninspired during the colder months? You need a rest. Winter may be a good time for you to do some gentle investigation of ideas that may have come up during autumn’s assessment, or make initial contact with people you would like to network with. This is a good time to put feelers out for like-minded people to join a writers’ or artists’ group starting in the spring. Relax your mind, and, as Julia Cameron says, let the creative well be refilled. Read books you’ve been meaning to get around to. Watch movies and plays, and enjoy the creative expression of other people. Let the ideas mull around in your mind.

This article was first published on BellaOnline in November 2006. © Elsa Neal

Let the seasons inspire and revitalise your creativity. If you need some more ideas, you might like these books:

A Year Of Creativity : Seasonal Guide To New Awareness

Art Escapes : Daily Exercises and Inspirations for Discovering Greater Creativity and Artistic Confidence

The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron


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