Four Ways to Keep the Spark Alive in Artistry by Drew Sarka


“Golden Hour Along the Stream” 18×24, Collection of the Artist

As artists, we spend a lot of time and energy thinking about new painting subjects, techniques, and running the business of art.  All this thinking can be draining at times, which is why I find it imperative to have strategies for keeping the spark alive in my art, strategies that you may find helpful as well.

Step away from your passion (yes, you read that correctly)

There is no question that we are passionate about our art.  We do our art regardless of external circumstances….but if you find yourself stuck, lacking inspiration and motivation, don’t lose hope.  Motivation ebbs and flows, and requires replenishment at times.  Stepping away, taking time to rest can help to reinvigorate and refuel that passion.  The ebb is not unproductive; your subconscious is likely processing your latest inspiration, which will suddenly burst upon you in all its glory.

NOAPS Drew Sarka Continental Divide 30x40(1)

“Continental Divide” 30×40, Collection of the Artist

Talk to people

When I find myself burned out or uninspired, I start taking to others.  I listen to their stories, hear their perspective, learn a new approach, or relate to the universal challenges we artists face.  Seek out other forms of art such as music, performance art, literature, or travel and get a taste of other cultures or of the wilderness.  The smallest thing could provide that spark, and set you back on your artistic path.


“White Horse” 24×36, Collection of the Artist

Write stuff down

As an artist, I believe observation is an important stimulus to creative ideas. The artist envisions the subject in their mind, then translates it into a brushstroke.  Most people assume it is the adroitness of the hand or the special twirl of the wrist that creates a beautiful work; it is actually the power of the artist’s brain to interpret what they see or visualize that creates the art.

One of the best ways I’ve found to keep your observational skills sharpened is to to keep a journal.  By keeping my journal handy, I am able to jot down ideas or observations as they happen, helping to keep the inspiration flowing and healthy.


“Cowboy Backlit” 18×24, Collection of the Artist

Let your mind wander

Daydreaming is an art in itself…this loose, un-directed thinking can assist the process of creation by associations that are unique to you.  Sometimes your daydreams may start by flipping through an art book, listening to music, or just letting your mind wander aimlessly, forgetting about your day to day worries.  Start by taking a walk outside (or even around your studio), intentionally observing your surroundings and letting your imagination take over.  You’ll be surprised at how quickly you can mentally recharge and find your inspiration to keep the spark alive!

About the Author

Drew Sarka, a family doctor at Aurora Family Practice Group, creates representational oil paintings that capture his life experiences and showcase the beauty of what Colorado has to offer.  From majestic mountainscapes to delicate florals to playful children twirling on a tire swing, Sarka is known for translating genuine, honest experiences onto the canvas.  His choice of color and placement of light, shadow and form bring out his signature textural composition.  Drew’s work has appeared in more than 35 art galleries and shows across the U.S.  He is currently represented by Cherry Creek Art Gallery.  For more information, connect with him on Facebook, Instagram and at

For more information on the National Oil & Acrylic Painters Society, visit, find us on Facebook and Instagram (Natoilandacrylicsociety).

This blog was edited by Patricia Tribastone, NOAPS Blog Director

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