Updated: Nov 27, 2020
Happy Valentine's Day! I thought today would be a perfect day for a short post regarding loving what you do when it comes to art.
Many times, students of mine have been plagued with "blank canvas syndrome." Not knowing where or how to start for fear that they might mess up or not be able to replicate something to their liking, or that of their peers.
We have all been there. Even the best-laid plans when preparing to create artwork can sometimes fall by the wayside when we get into a creative flow and start making those first marks on our surface. But the real question is: are you enjoying the process?
The picture may not always turn out the way we plan, I mean, life doesn't either at times, but did you learn something from the process? Develop on a technique or discover a new one? Sure, not every piece of artwork that we create is going to take up residence in the Louvre. But why as artists are we so hard on ourselves? We are our own worst critics. We see the outline that isn't perfect, the color that is just not quite as warm or cool as we would like or a hair out of place in that portrait of a loved one. But all that aside, maybe this one piece is getting us one step closer to our ultimate goal of bettering ourselves or our skills as an artist. Maybe the stress of creating or wanting to create a perfect piece has made you put your materials away, feeling you were not as good or worthy of merit as someone whose work you saw in a Facebook group or Instagram. But we all had to start somewhere. I personally don't believe there was ever an artist who picked up materials, made one piece of work that was a world-renowned masterpiece and called it quits. Many famous artists had their artwork rejected or struggled to sell their work, even Van Gogh! We don't have to be classically trained or even call ourselves "Artist" to create art. We just have to love what it is that we are partaking in--the process of creating something by hand. Maybe art can just be a vehicle for processing thoughts and emotions or giving yourself a breather from an otherwise chaotic schedule to let your mind channel that energy or stress through calming creativity.
Like any other skill, practice will allow you to hone your ability to develop a style and better your technique. You'll begin to produce pieces quicker and more in line perhaps with what you visualize for the end product. Experimentation is also key. Don't put so much stress on yourself and instead allow time for your mind to "play." Why do we lose that sense of fun and joy we had as kids playing with the multi-colored scented markers, crayons and paint in art class? Maybe it's not too late to rediscover that joy. My challenge to you is this. Set out with a goal of just experimenting with an art material in a new way or perhaps a new material you have been holding off on because you just weren't sure what to do with it. Set no expectations or goals but instead set a timer- 15 minutes, 30 minutes. Doodle, sketch, scribble and swatch! You may just surprise yourself with the results.
When you become frustrated or begin to produce work in a machine-like state for deadlines, often times it is your work that will pay the toll. Try out some fun monthly drawing competitions or sketchbook drawing prompts, break up some of the monotony. Plan to create something-anything, just for the fun of it because it is something you love or have always wanted to try. Get a small sketchbook and push yourself to create art, just for you. You don't have to share it or post it, but you can have it as a record to look back on in the future. Not every drawing has to be great but it will be yours. Sketch on your lunch break, a plane, a day at the beach, the train or coffee shop. It is a uniquely portable set-up requiring minimal supplies. Give it a try to get back to what made you connect to art in the first place. Rekindle the love.
Some suggestions to kickstart your creativity:
-Colored Pencil Magazine, monthly contest: https://coloredpencilmag.com/challenge/
-The Sketchbook Project: https://www.sketchbookproject.com/
-Inktober-draw every day for the Month of October
-Drawing Prompts- search Instagram for monthly challenges set by different artists
-Monthly art material subscription boxes: artsnacks, sketchbox, Indigo Artbox
Do Something Creative Today!