Follow Me On Twitter Join My Facebook Fan Page Pin Me Follow Me On Google+ Watch Me on Vimeo

Getting Over Creative Blocks & Art Journaling

Curiosity about life in all of its aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people. -Leo Burnett


In case you missed my special birthday SALE last weekend, I’ve extended it through tonight (Friday, December 19, 11:59PM CST). Use code DECEMBER for 10% Off online classes, original paintings and large prints (even when you sign up for class with the 3 Month Payment Option).

Visit my shop here.


Here’s a peek at the December Bonus Project for my Serendipity 2 – A New Year In Mixed Media online class.

Lately I have really been loving to keep some paintings really simple. I stick to just a few supplies and instead of painting on canvas, I create on cardboard or old book pages.

Sometimes there’s such a mystique about painting on canvas.

To work around that creative block, I start on something I don’t care so much about to loosen up like ripped cardboard or a canvas I’ve already mucked up by using it to clean my brushes or as my paint palette.

This way my painting feels less precious, allowing me to stay free and in the moment, unafraid of making a mistake.

For the December Bonus Project in my Serendipity 2 – A New Year In Mixed Media online class, I kept these guidelines in mind and created a primitive portrait in a large-print book that I’d picked up for free at a garage sale.

I especially love painting in old books as if they were sketchbooks because there is already something there, waiting on the paper. I don’t need to make the first mark.

Painting on something I’ve picked up for free also takes the hesitation and precious-ness out of the mark-making. Since book pages are usually thin and not the greatest for mixed media, I like to glue on cutouts and torn sections from other book pages for my first layer. This adds thickness to the paper and, again, takes away the initial fear of making a mistake.

For this Serendipity 2 class painting, I layered on book pages and handmade papers, then added acrylic inks, water-soluble oil pastels, acrylics, pencil and watercolors.

I like to create paintings like this rather quickly, so I don’t think too much about what I’m painting. I often do a series of paintings in this free style before moving on to a painting on canvas.

What sort of things do you do to get over your own creative blocks? I’d be delighted to know and will look for your suggestions in the comments.

Happy holidays!

Juliette Crane


Ps. If you’ve been wanting to paint more freely, we really get over creative blocks in my Bliss and Serendipity 1 and 2 classes.

Watch video previews for all of my classes here.


  1. To get through a creative block, I put on music and look at some work I’ve done that I like. Then I find a few paint colors that make me happy and start painting at a faster than normal pace. When I stop thinking so hard, the creativity comes–i just have to remember to get out of my own way!

    • love that you find colors that make you happy and start painting fast. i so agree… i always have to get out of my own way and sometimes that means just painting and covering it up again and again, just because I’m having fun with that rather than getting to a finished piece 🙂

  2. I love the idea of using old books to create in. In fact I have quite a few lying around already from fleamarkets…but still I am too afraid of using them. I am cosidering of using one of these books for my Life book 2015…
    The best way for me to get started is either to write my thoughts for a while or clean up my mess. 😉

    • yes, use them for lifebook! at least one if you have many. it’s so lovely to let some of the old words show through and create something new! I always have to clean up my mess too… otherwise it’s as if I can’t create anything new or see through the clutter 🙂 xo

  3. Awesome blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere?
    A design like yours with a few simple adjustements would really
    make my blog shine. Please let me know where you got
    your design. Thanks

Leave a comment... I would love to hear from you!