Motivation is a delicate elusive feeling. Some people have trouble finding motivation, Some people have trouble keeping their motivation, and worst of all I see people not knowing what to do when motivation slaps them in the face..
I'm sure it happens to you if you, even if you aren't an art student. You are out and about and you see something... inspiring. You stop in your tracks because you are starting to get cool ideas. you all of a sudden WANT to go home and work. So you make a mental note. Then go on with the rest of your day and then go home. When you get home you sit to work and... all you do is look at your white blank paper.. and thats all. you don't FEEL like working anymore. And you wonder where all your motivation went.
3 things went wrong here. you didn't do anything when your motivation/ inspiration was high because you were unprepared for it thus, letting it fade away. .
1) What to do when motivation slaps you in the face unexpectedly:
First off you DO NOT forget about it and wait till you get home to address your inspiration. The feeling of inspiration is precious, you can create so many ideas that you wouldn't if you had no inspiration. Inspiration is the fuel of creativity, and if you let it come and go it is nothing less but a waste of potential creativity.
That's why I carry a sketch book, to write, doodle, glue in, staple anything that I want in it. If something is inspiring you, you have to try to capture it's essence immediately. So you do not have to just remember it when you get home, you can see your take on what it was and can return to it later. IF you ever find yourself without a sketch book and Some inspiration happens to walk by... oh man.. there is only one thing to do. You think about it UNTIL you reach somewhere where you can jot it down. I mean it. Thats what I do. My girlfriend hates it. Like I'll be in the car with her and I'll look a out the window and BAM, I see something that rocks my world (creatively). I shut down. I don't talk, I don't look around. My eyes are glazed and straight forward. All my recourses are put to remembering and exploring what this inspiration means. I do this the whole way home. So this sucks if we just left to go to safeway for groceries..
2) Keeping your motivation
Besides your sketch book you can do quite a bit to keep your motivation going. I see a lot of people burn out mentally during the school year especially after midterms and before finals. The way I stayed focus and kept my motivation to finish long projects is to transform your work space. For me I needed a visual and an audio set up. You have to surround yourself with inspiring things. The things I put up on my walls around my desk not stuff I liked, but stuff that made me think. I didn't put up a poster of The Beatles but I put up a Russian painting I never saw before. Ilya Repin's 'Ivan the terrible and his Son.'
-Such a powerful piece. The emotion is captured so specifically, only a father would hold his son like that after he just murdered him.. A masterpiece that I could go on forever about. So transform your place, play your music, surround your self with things that make you think. Unless a white walled room is your kind of thing.
3) Finding inspiration
You can't always search for inspiration. Because sometimes you will find yourself searching the web for inspiration or reference and you find yourself youtube surfing or reading about dogs on wikipedia and you don't even know why.. (never feed your dog a grape by the way). Next thing you know it's 2 hours later and you haven't done anything. You need your inspiration served to you 50/50. Half the time it needs to be unexpected. Other half of the time you have to go to your stash. Your stash is a place where you have saved all things and thoughts that have inspired you in the past. It can be a group of links on your bookmarks, it can be newspaper cut outs. So If you don't have a stash.. MAKE ONE.
I hope this helped some of you out.
-If you need help starting a stash use the links on my page. There is a list of names on the right hand side on my homepage Click any one of those amazing artists names I guarantee you will find amazing work. Alberto Ruiz has good stuff and so does Enrico Casarosa. ALL OF THEM have good stuff. I have sites right above the names that are also amazing. I also just recently posted new work on Youtube and Vimeo. Be sure to check it out.
So now you have no excuse to not being able to find inspiration. Go buy a sketchbook. and Let me know what you do to stay motivated I'm sure others would like to know as well.