Having the vehicle and directions to get where you want to go in your career is priceless. Especially when trying to navigate the uncertain roads of an art career.

Michelle Andres is an award-winning painter and writer who believes
simplicity is the path to tranquility. A former art
business blogger, she is currently working on a new series exploring the rivers and parklands near her home.
You can keep up with her on her blog, view her artwork or follow her on Instagram.

But, what happens when we’re in unfamiliar territory?

Recently, I came to a crossroad in my art practice and didn’t have a map. No Google Maps, no Garmin, no road signs ... Nada. Sometimes, as we’re traveling the path of our natural, creative evolution, we get lost.

It may be that we follow our curiosity deep into the woods and can’t find the way out.  

Perhaps the shiny eyes and voices in the night murmur, ”Come this way.” Or, “Not that way, this way is better.” And we actually listen to them! 

If we tried to pay strict attention to all the information that claims to be “useful” to us, we’d all be in an over-loaded, slack-jawed, dead–fish-eyed stupor.

Enormous loads of information bombard our consciousness daily.

In the confusion of looking for a map, we’re accosted at every proverbial street corner. I don’t know about you, but I’m unwilling to have my art career carjacked by any ol’ yahoo waving a “Pistol Of Perspective”. Lots of people claim they can provide directions … but sometimes they send you down a treacherous alley or a dead-end street.

I was stopping to ask directions when I bumped into San Francisco Artist and Acrylic Diva, Tesia Blackburn. To my delight, not only was she familiar with the terrain, she honored my free will to choose my own mode of transportation.

Her advice to me—choose one design element you’d like to study.

Create 50 paintings. Do nothing else. Nothing else. Explore that element, get intimate with your subject. You’ll free your mind from other bothers and you’re bound to produce some very good paintings.

It sounded so simple, yet so time-consuming. It sounded a lot like … .ahem … self-discipline.

What’s a lost girl to do? Rather than straying deeper into the woods, I sought civilization. I set out to explore my element in my a series titled “Villages".

Why “Villages?”

Because my abstract landscapes held my interested, but I needed a little bit more. I want to ensure I’d stay engaged during the learning process. I wanted to tell stories. Villages … small communities where people live their lives. Families. Characters. History. Epic tales. If you’re looking for direction, start a series, as Tesia Blackburn suggests

Artist Kesha Bruce has her own flavor of advice to begin a series. Kesha draws quickly and with abandon—in one sitting, 100 drawings, three minutes each. She swears it will take you out of your critical mind and something original, fresh and exciting will evolve.

Kesha Bruce uses this technique to begin all her series. It’s a potent prescription to find direction or even discover new lands

Not all who wander are lost, but if you are, or if you’re seeking a new direction, try a series of paintings or drawings. You might discover new lands! I’ve found success. The journey has deepened my understanding, experience, confidence and my work is improving.

If you depend upon someone else’s idea of where to go…you’ll land squarely in their space. And not your own.

So, trust yourself. Let your muse be your guide.

Still need some inspiration? Try these 20 prompts to get you through a creative slump.