It’s easy to get the so-called “winter blues” – even living in a sunny, beautiful state like Colorado. I don’t like fall; I like winter even less. I love warmth and summer and cold drinks and flip flops. So, I find it necessary to keep my spirits up in my least favorite seasons. We are lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the country, so it’s not difficult to find inspiration.
I find that creativity helps me feel inspired, refreshed, and uplifted, even when the weather outside is anything but cheerful. I find myself most fulfilled when I’m actively creating: whether writing, painting, doing photography, or even simple crafts with my kids.
I’ve compiled a few ideas to keep the creative juices flowing, even when everything outside is frozen. These are just what works for me – I’d love to hear your ideas!
There is beauty to be found in every season, and there are some photographic opportunities afforded by winter that you just can’t get in other seasons. Snow, frost, and ice can create some amazing photos. Think about looking at winter from different vantage points and perspectives: instead of taking a sweeping photo of a snow-covered landscape, get up close to the elements that make winter beautiful, such as snow hanging on an evergreen branch or light shining through an icicle.
Remember: you don’t have to be a professional or have a professional-level camera. Everyone has their own perspective, which is why I love photography. You can have ten people photographing a scene and get ten very different creative inte
rpretations. Also, with the technology of phone cameras today, you can take amazing shots just with your phone camera.
Take a walk – even just in your yard – and try to take ten winter-themed photos. Give your family members a similar challenge and compare shots!
The shot above was taken in November; it’s a frosted-over lightbulb on my back porch. I thought the patterns in the frost were beautiful.
One of my favorite things to photograph is bubbles that are in the process of freezing. Take a pane of glass outside and let it get
to the outside temperature. Then bring out some bubbles, a bubble wand and your camera. Blow bubbles onto the glass, then quickly start shooting. The pattern that the frost forms in the bubble are simply incredible!
Even if you don’t want to photograph them, this is a fun thing to show the kids.
I’ve found it needs to be VERY cold for this to work. The most success I’ve had is when it’s been below zero.
Paint by numbers
If you’re thinking that paint by numbers is just for kids, then you’re thinking what I used to think. Though I’m inherently a creative person, that doesn’t mean I’m inherently talented at all things creative. Ask me to freehand paint something and I’m at a complete loss, and I get overwhelmed at a blank canvas. For a long time, that kept me from painting. But then I found these complex, intricate paint by numbers kits ON AMAZON, and I’ve absolutely loved doing them. I can paint while watching a movie or listening to Audible, and just follow the color guidelines.
For not very much money, the kits provide hours of fun painting and a beautiful finished product. I’ve found ones I love – like the one pictured – on Amazon.
I’ve gotten less complex kits for my kids, and it’s fun for all of us to sit at our kitchen table, painting together.
A few years ago, I got bitten by the furniture-painting bug. I absolutely love it, and love seeing outdated, beat-up furniture get a new, fresh look. If you’ve never painted furniture before, start with something small like an end table. You can find gorgeous, solid wood tables at thrift stores, garage sales, and on Facebook Marketplace.
The great thing about furniture painting is that it doesn’t have to be perfect: you can give the piece character by distressing certain areas and even embracing flaws that the piece might have. Good paint can be expensive, but if it’s a piece you’re going to have for a while, or is going to get a lot of use or abuse, it’s worth the investment.
You can go as simple or complex as you like with furniture painting: the piece is your canvas and it’s incredibly freeing.
One of my favorite things to do is to be creative in a group of friends. It’s a lot of fun to get together with my friends and paint, make teachers’ gifts, or go on photo walks.
My friends and I have gotten wine glasses at the dollar store, then painted them with glass paint and given them as teachers’ gifts.
I’ve also hosted a girls’ craft night where we made ornaments, coasters, hand warmers, and other handmade crafts to be given as gifts to friends and family.
You could also host a painting party at your house: buy some blank canvases and some paint, pour some wine, and see what you and your friends create. There are also businesses that do this very thing – my friends and I have gone to Picasso and Wine in Windsor and had a great time – and you’ve got a skilled instructor teaching you how to create that night’s painting.
The key for me is to stay open to creativity. It can be sort of like exercise: at first, you don’t really have the energy to do it, but after you’re done, you feel great. Being creative can help nurture your soul and stave off the winter blues.
Show me how you stay creative in the winter!