the magic of getting started

What do you think is the hardest part of the creative process? Getting started or to keep going? Although both are hard, I argue getting started is always the hardest and there is a magic in just starting.

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it~ Goethe (tweet this)


One of the reasons I am in love with collage is because I know I can always just start collaging – gluing down my inspirational bits- even when I am uninspired knowing that during the process the inspiration will find me.


Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.~Picasso (tweet this)

I believe that it is a great creative truth that inspiration will find you…but only if you are working. you cannot wait until you are “inspired” to start your art. You just have to begin.
I use this tenet to get my teenage son to do his homework. I know that getting started is always the hardest part. He cannot wait until “he is in the mood.” Who was ever “in the mood” to write a paper about to Kill a Mocking Bird? Yes, it was a great book- but to write a persuasive essay- well pigs fill fly before a teenager will be “in the mood” to write that.
However, once he writes that first sentence, he may be in the mood to write another and then another. And one more until the creative well runs dry. So we put it away and then I have to force him to the kitchen table the next day to get started.
It is the same with art. Many make the mistake that because art is enjoyable that they can wait until they are “in the mood” to paint. But to make great art you have to work at it often because not everything you do will be a masterpiece. Like a writer, you will scrap many sentences and throw out rough drafts. Like a scientist there will be many failed experiments- canvases that you will not want to ever display. (don’t be tempted to list these on ebay or give to your mother. If you don’t like them, you should paint over them with something better.)

The Magic of getting started…

But we know that once we start we will happily be reunited with our muse… it is also like exercise.. the hardest part is getting to the gym. I liken it to the first peck the chick makes in her shell.
Are you surprised to hear me compare my art to writing an essay or exercising? The creative process takes discipline and the magic is in the hard work.
In this blog post I share the secrets behind this poppy painting… come and see.
The secret behind the vibrancy of the flowers are watercolor markers. The watercolor markers are transparent color. Since it is a marker, the color is applied as pure pigment and not diluted with water. I used shades of red and pink to create the poppies. The transparent watercolor allows you to see through the color and enjoy the luscious layers underneath.
In order to make the poppies “pop”, I white washed the background with diluted white acrylic paint. The paint was diluted with glazing medium. not water. You can still see the layers peeking through the white veil but they no longer compete with the flowers. I teach all these techniques on my free youtube channel SchulmanArt plus I also offer online classes at 

Mixed Media Madness is probably the best class to learn most of these techniques. If registration is not open now, then you can get on the waitlist here.


Some details you will notice in the collage layers are piano music. I love adding music to my collages as the music brings in an energetic force to the piece. You will also notice words and other snippets of pattern.


Bringing complex art in your home means you will have art that you never get tired of looking at as you notice something new every time you study the artwork. The colors are intended to cheer you up while bringing you a sense of calmness at the same time. →collect this art
The finished painting measures 20×20″ and comes with a black floater frame. The original mixed media canvas comes framed and ready to hang on the wall so you can enjoy poppies all year long.
Here the painting is shown displayed over a Pottery Barn bed. All furniture, linens and accessories are from PotteryBarn. You can collect the painting at

Want to save on this art right now? 

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Want to learn how to create your own art like this?


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In Case We Haven’t Met Yet…

Art Journaling Inspirations →

Hello! I’m Miriam Schulman and I create mixed media art to tell stories. I also teach other people how to craft their stories with art. I give them the techniques they need to get the results they desire which brings more joy to their lives.

My art has been published by Somerset Studio, Art of Man and the New York Times among others and collected by an international audience. When I’m not working on art in my studio, you’ll find me in a museum spending time with friends or family. Explore my art at or join the fun at


Let’s Discuss!

What do you think is the hardest part of the creative process? Getting started or keep on going?

0 thoughts on “the magic of getting started”

  1. I have never really tried to do collage, but this made we want to give it a try. I'm normally an oil painter/drawer, I don't have any acrylics to play with…YET! I can't wait to give this a shot. BTW the poppies are beautiful! I love the combination of the image with the texture. I feel like it photographed well, and would be even more interesting in person.

  2. This is great information. I've always waited around for the "mood" to hit me. I thought that was the only time I was able to be creative. I'm new to Miriam's classes and fairly new to art. I want to succeed so I'd better just begin. I think I have a quote by Picasso that says something about just begin. Thank you again Miriam!

  3. Thank you for this post about getting started. I am totally new to art. Doing tons and tons of Youtube videos and Facebook groups and spending hundreds of dollars on supplies and looking at totally white pages because of the fear of getting started. You are so right in saying once we get started we keep on going and it keeps on coming to us. I needed to see this today and plan to get up now and go to my desk instead of watching the next youtube. THANK YOU. (signed new to art)

  4. I love your poppies and the technique. I find that getting started is the hardest part, but once I get going the creativity starts to flow. I have a hard time coming up with ideas. I've accepted that my brain is wired differently from those who are instinctively creative. I find inspiration in others' work and then modify it to make it my own.


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I’m Miriam Schulman, your curator of inspiration.

I inspire art-lovers to reconnect with their creativity and profit from their art. Whether you paint simply for the joy of it or you’re serious about selling your work, and you’re ready to stop putting yourself on the back burner...You're in the right place. I've done it and I can inspire YOU how to do it too.

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