How Creative Limitations Can Inspire You

A few days ago, I lived in California. Life has changed drastically, and it still feels a little surreal that I’ve closed a chapter in my life that was full of palm trees and a short drive to the Pacific ocean.  As I write this, I am sitting at my brother’s dining room table in Minnesota, impatiently waiting for my moving pod to arrive with all of my art supplies.

Last week, it was easy for me to do art when I had a full studio set up. I had shelves of supplies, and everything I could need to flex my creativity. Watercolor paper, mixed media paper, watercolors, canvases, every size paint brush, acrylics, a variety of inks, pens, markers, varnishes, and more.

Right now, I only have a black pen, a handful of precut watercolor paper with watercolor designs I applied before moving, and gold ink. My carry-on was filled with clothes and essentials, so I could only bring a few items to create with while I wait for the rest of my stuff.

Even though I would love to have my complete studio set up, I’m okay with this for the moment, because I’ve learned that limitations aren’t a bad thing.

Limitations can set you free

It sounds counterintuitive, but applying limitations to a situation can kickstart creativity. When we have too many choices before us, we can become paralyzed with indecision. An abundance of choice can keep us stuck in place as we evaluate every option before us. We waste energy imagining what we could have instead of deciding how to use what we already have.

When you are given limitations, you no longer have to look at what else is available. You can focus all of your energy on what is directly before you.

The limited art supplies I currently have for the next few days prevent me from getting distracted by anything else. There is power in narrowing your focus.

You don’t NEED to buy new art supplies

Have you ever experienced art supply boredom? If you’re like me, you probably have a bunch of art supplies that you have accumulated that maybe don’t excite you anymore. It’s like going grocery shopping but having no idea what to make for dinner after, so you order take out instead.

With a little discipline, that boredom can be transformed.

Challenge yourself, and pick out a few supplies you haven’t used in awhile. Sit down and give yourself 15-30 minutes to explore and play with the materials. You never know what will come of it.


Of course, I’m itching to use my other supplies right now, and I know how exciting it can be splurge at Dick Blick–but when your budget is tight, or all of your stuff is on a truck somewhere, you have to make the most of what you already have. You never know what will send you down a new creative path.

While I get settled in Minnesota, my store is closed and I will be focusing on consulting sessions with all you lovely artists out there for the next couple of weeks. If you need help with your branding, Instagram account, or just want a creative accountability coach, then check out my consulting services. You can easily add a session to my online calendar now.

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