Bust Creative Blocks With Baby Steps

In my recent blog post from May, There’s Never a Good Time to Make Art. (Make It Anyway), I gave tips on how to get out of your creativity rut in five easy steps.

I then proceeded to be my own guinea pig and went and took my own advice.

It’s not like I haven’t been creative. It’s just that I was ONLY making art for clients and wasn’t sure anymore what my own work looked like. I also felt highly dependent on my computer and the digital painting techniques I’d developed in Photoshop.

I used to be a painter back in the day (aka the 20th century) and I wondered if somewhere inside I still was a fine artist. You know… in case the electricity goes out, which it often does in Malawi!

The results were pretty amazing considering that I started with a big fat nothing in terms of having time, space, or energy to start making a new body of artwork that didn’t rely on glowing screens.

weaver. Bust creative blocks
Masked weavers have a thriving community by the shores of Lake Malawi. They weave the coolest round nests to house their young. I aimed to capture the look and feel of handmade woven baskets in the sky and water to make it look like everything around the weaver is also woven. See more

Look Ma! A New Gallery!

Below is a (highly imperfect) quick video update on how things have been going since I finally gave myself permission to make art 30-90 minutes each day before my official workday started for close to six months.

(*Apologies for the shaky-cam! I was egged on to make this video about who I am and why I love what I do “without over thinking it” in a recent LinkedIn challenge I participated in. Lessons learned though. I’ll use my computer cam instead of my phone in the future and ensure it’s steady.)

Wait. Isn’t It Impractical to “Just” Be an Artist?

I’m a practical dreamer.

So that’s basically someone with their head in the clouds building castles in the sky but who also finds ways to build foundations for those castles that solidly connect to the ground. (*Read one of my favorite books if you want to learn more: The Practical Dreamer’s Handbook!)

As a teen, I didn’t know that it was impractical to want to be an artist. I was the first in my family to graduate from college.

I happen to be a huge introvert, not even 5 feet tall, and “as nice as a Canadian.” <-I’m told this often as an American living abroad.

I like being the way I am (eh?), but it’s easy to get drowned out in a world full of blowhards.

But in my art… that’s where I sing at the top of my lungs. It’s where I shamelessly layer colors in such a way as to provoke the exact emotions I want the viewer to feel.

What do I want my viewers to feel?

Alive! -Inspired. Safe. Connected.

-Like maybe… good things are going to happen. Because if you can dream it, your thoughts can become reality.

I’m an idealist. -And most of the people who love my art are too.

But life is hard. I may say NO to that plastic straw, but Big Straw Inc.™ is making 10,000 more in the next minute. Sometimes you just feel like nothing you do can make a difference.

But the world needs us dreamers. -Even the impractical ones.

I help drained idealists achieve a more positive and empowered mindset through art that soothes and recharges the spirit.

If you’d like to see more of my own artwork made both on and off the computer, come visit me at: Ma Kalulu Studio.

If you’d like to join my mailing list, you can receive 20% off your first order of artwork or gift shop goodie AND be notified the next time I am having a FREE art print giveaway. Woot!

Bust creative blocks. Sacral chakra
Blossoming is a meditation on being in balance with one’s own creativity as well as the ability to more easily enjoy and feel deserving of all the pleasures that life has to offer. This image symbolizing the sacral chakra, can inspire pure creative energy, passion, more harmonious relationships, and joy. See more

Do you have some great tips or tricks for getting unstuck creatively? If so, please put them in the comments below.


Receive inspirations, advice, tutorials and more by following me on Facebook, see what goes on behind the scenes in my art studio over at Instagram, and connect with me on Twitter.

If you are looking for creative inspiration or want a safe, supportive closed group to post your latest creations (artwork, music, writing, a recipe, photos, your paperclip collection, etc.) come join our Facebook Group: Creativity Is Contagious- Make and Share Daily. We’d love to see you there. You can also spy on what I am working on for clients and organizations or just peek inside my own personal sketchbook. (Some of it is quite hideous!) 😛

That’s all for now!

Hope you are staying well and do drop me a line if you have any questions or want to let me know how your own creative work is going.



me with some recent work. Bust creative blocks
Me with a recent drawing. Seahorses are the best dads of the animal kingdom as the males carry and look after the eggs. They also symbolize perseverance in many cultures because they are amazingly strong and resilient. (<-kind of like artists!) See more