Well Art Discussion recently seems to be more or less 'How do I do insert topic here' so I just thought I'd ask a light hearted question.
I remember a video from John Cleese I believe it was, on creativity. Where creativity is fostered under certain conditions that got me wondering because I almost always find myself inspired to draw at night. It fits all the criteria but I think I've done it so consistently over time that is has become conditioned to the point where the urge comes at a certain point of day/night. I often draw before bed then wake up and the urge to finish what I'm working on just vanishes. I never feel like drawing in the morning. Then if I don't get an urge to draw in the day, inspiration almost always hits around the same point that night.
Anyone else experience this?
Now that I work from home, I lead a mainly vampiric lifestyle.
Originally it was to escape from the heat of the day as that saps my creativity and the air-con saps my electricity.
But now its just the way it is. I don't pull all nighters all the time (turning in soon, its 1am currently and I have some errands to run tomorrow)
I have been working through the night a -lot- lately though to meet deadlines. For me its just so peaceful and I like going outside into the cool
night air and looking at the stars and such. Sometimes I even take the dogs for a walk in the early hours.
I don't know if I am more inspired at night, I don't think so..but that is when I work.
Yeah, absolutely and undoubtedly nocturnal. Sometimes even into 3-4am. I feel like it is the only time I can TRULY be completely self-indulgent without repercussion. Zero distractions, with a mere fraction of the daily conscious humans inhabiting my locale. Something very calm and focused about those late hours for me. And without getting all too new-age, I do believe there are massive and often chaotic energetic reverberations and fields we encounter in our lives that have negative ramifications on our bodies and minds. I think we deal with them in a sub-conscious capacity every single day. I like to blame them for my whacked out sleep schedule.
Definitely - and there are reasons...you know, if you buy into it. It has to do with left brain/right brain theory...and just plain distraction factors. At night things settle down...phones don't ring...people don't stop by, significant others go to bed, etc. In addition there is the idea that after an entire day of analyzing, critical thinking, decision making and general left-brain dominance it gets a bit worn down (likely just using up the chemistry reserves). This allows the right-brain to begin to shift into a more dominant role. That's the theory in a nutshell anyway.
I know from my own experience this is pretty much what happens. The hours from 10pm - 2am are extremely creative and productive under normal circumstances. My problem is sometimes I get on a roll and it can easily go into the 4am timeframe and beyond.
I am the same way with Jeffx99. It happens to me all the time. Can't work in the day, then when 9-10pm hits the creative switch goes on like a light. Sadly, I have no off switch... I usually have to exhaust myself (usually around 5am) before my brain stops chugging away. Not the best or healthiest of lifestyles....
I might also add that here in SoCal, in the valley, it goes from a crapton of noise and people and bustle in the day to this magical quiet at night. I love driving around at 3-4 in the morning, it feels very apocalyptic. The cities just turn into utter ghost towns at night and I love it.
Last edited by Cadaure; October 26th, 2012 at 08:25 PM.
Yep, the 'on a roll' part is the issue. Glance at the clock "ok it's 11"..... glance again "Holy crap it's 3 in the morning".
This is why I majored in science and do art on my spare time. Time becomes more precious, so I try to do as much with the time I have. I have been doing at least one watercolor plein air, in the park, and a bunch of portrait and gesture sketches, during commute, every weekday. I have become so mentally accustomed to this that if I decided to skip a plein air session, I will fill guilty and regretful. You also don't need creativity or inspiration to start drawing; you can still do studies or still lifes.
Something that may help in forcing you to draw is what psychologists call "model-learning". Set yourself a model, e.g. John Singer Sargent, and try to compete with your model. For me, Sargent had done about 2,000 watercolors in his lifetime, a quota I am trying to meet or beat, thus I have been doing a watercolor painting every weekday after school. If your model began drawing or painting at an earlier age than you, then you've got some ways to catch up. "Model-learning" usually inspires me to just start drawing, because it reminds me of the ways I've still got to go. So find someone that inspires yourself to draw as much, and try to outdo them, because that's the only way you will ever at the very least attain their skill level.
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And so I thought I was one of the few people like this. I work much better at night. The most difficult thing is to make other people understand and accept it :/ If only you could control the amount of quiet time you have everyday..
I think the (young) human brain is the most active at around 11-2 in the night. I actually don't remember if I read it somewhere as a research or if this is one of my own conclusions so don't take this as gold, but it seems true for me. But the stupid thing is that when it's around 3 or 4 and you already made the decision of staying up all night I get sooo tired all of a sudden. But then it's too late to go to bed if you have to get up early because 4 hours of sleep ends up with me being a total zombie the next day, even worse if I stay up. So those few hours are a tough time to battle through. Luckily currently all my uni classes start at 12 or later haha.
And here I find myself as every night at some point. Tired as hell and another bit of drawing done. Clockwork lol. Well.... at least I'm not the only one who is a night owl apparently.
I have different productive periods depending on what I'm doing. I prefer to do painting and traditional work in daylight and digital work in the evening. I like to sketch weird stuff right before bed.
I seem to work best at different times depending on circumstances and what I'm doing.
When I was a kid, night was the only time to get stuff done, because I didn't have my own room and the only time I had space to myself was when everyone else was asleep. I'm still pretty much a vampire a lot of the time, and living in the city reinforces the habit - nighttime is considerably less noisy and distracting than daytime. (It helps that some of my clients are night owls, too.)
Weather and time of year come into play a lot for me, though. In the Summer, most of my drawing and a lot of my traditional painting happens during the day - many drawing and brainstorming tasks are easier to focus on if I'm outside in the park in the sun. On the other hand, I find it aggravating to work on the computer on a sunny day - it's hard to focus when I know the weather is nice. So I'm most productive on the computer at night or on overcast days.
When I'm figuring out my work schedule for the week, the first thing I do is check the weather, and plan the bulk of my digital work for rainy/cloudy days, and brainstorming/sketching for sunny days. Of course Summer is hell for digital productivity - short nights and relentless sunny days for months on end. (I do get a ton of drawing done, though.)
I think this is interesting, I have also experienced this. It's like once a certain time rolls around my brain wakes up and gets ready to work.
I have also heard something about a study that showed "creativity" being linked to sleepyness and some chemical that gets released when your brain gets tired. When you are getting ready for bed your brain starts opperating differently. I obviously don't remember the details but I could try to dig it up, or where to find it if anyone is interested.I like to sketch weird stuff right before bed.
Personally, I also try to keep a note book with me to write down ideas whenever they come. In that way I try to keep myself in a state of mind where any time is a good time to work, so that I don't run into problems if something is due. It helps prevent me from being a slave to these moments of inspiration.
I tend to work on drawing in the evenings/ early morning, as I usually work days including weekends (day job). It's strange but I tend to do more on working days than on days off, possibly because I'm reminded of my goals.
Don't really do past 12, can't concentrate due to tiredness.
And if you're painting/ drawing a still life in natural light, the sun dictates certain aspects.
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