The Zone

Here I am trying to pose for painting of a Jester Ballerina. I’m not angry, this is my “focus” face.

The “zone” is this special place where artists go when they are really focused on their work. I have been thinking a lot about this special place and what is needed to get there. Surely it is different for each one of us, but there may be some general similarities. Here are some of the requirements I have for getting in the zone:

  1. It is important to be physically able, meaning moderately comfortable, well-rested, and fed. If my body is unduly uncomfortable, there is no way I am going to be able to make art. If I am so tired that I cannot see straight, I will probably have difficulty making anything amazing. However, it is important that I make sure I am not just making up excuses. (The question here could be: Why do we make up excuses that keep us from doing what we love?)
  2. Freedom from distractions. Distractions can come in any form. Maybe my phone is buzzing, or there is a sink full of dishes. If your studio is in your home, there is always the chance that life will creep in and pull you away from your art. Lately, I have been leaving the house early in the morning and painting before anything from life tries to take over the day.
  3. It is good to be inspired by the subject, or at least like it. Sometimes inspiration comes after liking.
  4. Music is sometimes helpful. As I discussed in the post about sound, music can be very helpful. However, I have found that there is a certain stage of the zone where silence becomes necessary. I am not sure why this is exactly. It is almost as though the internal dialog needs to be heard, but it speaks without words. Perhaps, I am listening really intently to something that does not use words. This sounds odd, but if you create, you may know what I am talking about.

This article talks about how to focus using scheduling, “work zones,” and distraction zones.”  I hope to try some of these techniques to stay in the creative zone more regularly.

What do you need to stay in the zone?

How do you know when you are in the zone?

What time(s) of day are you most likely to be in the zone?

Is the zone important to your creative process?



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