Searching For a Better Feeling Thought - The Secret to Artistic Inspiration

Autumn Waters at Sunset from Paintings by Chao Shao-an. See a larger version of this painting.

Your Current Thoughts Paint Your Future

Whenever I have a conversation about painting with someone, what they say is always so revealing. Their words reveal their thoughts and their thoughts create their future. The secret to making progress towards your ultimate desires in painting or anything in life is as follows:

  • Examine your current dominant thoughts
  • Pay attention to how those thoughts make you feel
  • Incrementally change the thought to one that feels slightly better
  • Repeat methodically until your dominant thoughts produce highly desirable emotions like enthusiasm, joy or passion
  • Once you are there in this feeling, let the feeling wash over you, enjoy it, "milk it" and suddenly you will be inspired towards easy, natural action that put you on a path to all your ultimate desires

A Concrete Example

Current thought: "I just can't figure out how to control my moisture when I paint"

How does the thought make you feel?: Frustrated

Change the thought to: "Maybe there is someone out there that can help me learn how to control my moisture?"

How does the thought make you feel?: Hopeful

Process

Going from frustrated to hopeful is actually not that easy. It is multiple steps up the ladder of emotions so often the mind will reject the new thought because the jump is too big. If you encounter this it is better, to incrementally change the thought in stages like:

Current thought: "I just can't figure out how to control my moisture when I paint" - Feeling of the thought: Frustrated

Change the thought to: "I'm not sure if I can learn how to control my moisture" - Feeling of the thought: Pessimistic

Next, change the thought to: "Learning how to control my moisture doesn't seem exciting" - Feeling of the thought: Boring

Next, change the thought to: "Well even without mastering my moisture control, I can still enjoy painting" - Feeling of the thought: Content

Now the target thought feels more accessible: "Maybe there is someone out there that can help me learn how to control my moisture." - Feeling of the thought: Hopeful

Hope is not the stopping point

Although hopeful feels much better than frustrated, it is still not the stopping point. Once who made the journey from frustrated to hopeful, you can keep going.

What if you change the thought to: "I've heard that Oriental Art Supply has lots of effective tutorials online. I'll bet there is one on moisture control." - Feeling of the thought: Optimistic

Next, try changing the thought to: "I'm looking forward to figuring out how to control my moisture when I paint with the help of Oriental Art Supply." - Feeling of the thought: Positive Expectation, Belief

For reference, here is a picture of the ladder of emotions:

Emotional Guidance Scale. I was originally introduced to this through the writings of Esther and Jerry Hicks. I highly recommend studying this more directly through their books and videos. See a larger version of this picture.

Choose Your Thoughts, Create Your Future

Your current reality is a reflect of old thoughts. The problem with most people is that they don't understand this so they keep thinking the same thoughts over and over again and wonder why their painting or their life does not improve.

Nothing is simpler than choosing thoughts that feel good! What do you think? How do you feel?

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