For so many reasons it is important to take care of your creative life. Here are a few suggestions for new year resolutions to make 2014 happy, bright, and creative.
1. Take Mystery Trips
Inject a little mystery and excitement into weekend outings. Be excited, curious, willing to go with the flow. Pack the camera, your sketchbooks, and take off to places known or new. Your trips will no doubt get more creative as the year progresses.
Get out and about – go for a walk and enjoy people watching. Look closely at people & their interactions, animals, nature, everything! The way the water glistens, the deepening shades of blue in the sky. Take what you observe in different worlds to nourish your creativity.
3. Look at Art
Visiting local art galleries can be so inspiring – regular trips are an easy way to fuel your desire to create.
Try keeping a diary or journal and writing or sketching every single day. Record what happened to you that day, or something interesting you saw, or a good turn of phrase you’d like to save. Writing takes discipline, so start training up with a regular writing habit. Sketchbooks come in all shapes and sizes. Buy one for your handbag or back pocket – and have another larger one to fill when the mood hits. A sketch a day could be your resolution.
5. Start a Blog
Did you know that blogging can boost your creativity? It promotes reflection, helps organize your thoughts, and provides daily motivation to create.
Many people don't discover they are artists until later in life. Why limit yourself now by not trying new things? Cezanne didn’t realize he was a talented painter until his late thirties. Your new year resolution may be to finally try painting/drawing/mixed media/pastels/glass blowing/sculpture/journalling or even life drawing! Mix it up. If you like to draw, try painting a few pictures, with no pressure on yourself - it doesn't have to be amazing, just try it out. Where to start?
Time poor but want to create more? What better way to commit to a creative year than by deciding to produce one piece of art or craft, PER DAY!
Yes, that’s 365 works. Document your creative journey and share your trials and tribulations with others. This could be the answer making creativity a daily part of your life, no excuses. You will end the year with an incredible body of work you never thought possible.
Any topic is up for grabs, and any medium - that's why this project is so much fun.
What have you always wanted to try? 2014 is your year to do it!
How will you make 2014 your most creative year to date?
I delight in rainy days and nights I'm able to spend in the studio.
I also love paintings, photographs and any other type of art that conveys wet weather. You may be familiar with Rue de Paris: temps de pluie (Paris Street; Rainy Day) by French painter Gustave Caillebotte? Umbrellas, grey skies and shiny wet cobblestones abound.
Check out how others have done rain differently. Inspiration with every droplet.
Today I stumbled on an image of a drawing created by a mother and daughter.
Okay, so mum is talented illustrator Mica Angela Hendricks (see her page here). But the concept is surprising and gorgeous. And guess who learnt most from the collaboration?
Back to classes here. The first drawing class is always exciting. Kids are delightfully unaware of what their drawing ‘lacks’. But what about the simple lines? Lack of tonal variation? Crazy proportions? Nah, the kids are just drawing, and loving it. The adults, however, often hesitate. Pencils hover above sketchbooks. They are almost apologetic as they lament “I draw just like a child!” How do we get unstuck? How do we let go of the thoughts that turn our pencil into a hovering, hesitating tool? And why are we so hard on ourselves and our drawings?
Perhaps our initial frustrations stem from a hopeful (but unrealistic) expectation of a positive correlation between drawing skill and age. Surely we ‘should’ be better at drawing, now that we’ve clocked a few years under our belt? But drawing is a skill like any other. It’s like not exercising for years, then expecting to run a marathon. Skills develop through training and practice, it's that simple. Or is it?
Back to the classes here. The weekly practice begins. The beginning of the journey is filled with hope. Each class is an opportunity to experiment with a range of drawing activities and materials. Direct observational drawing in particular, strengthens the ability to see what is there, not what is imagined to be there. At times we aim to draw realistically. This means moving away from drawings that look like ‘a child drew them’. We are trying not to rely on drawing symbolic representations of objects.
Then, after a few weeks of classes, something interesting happens. The confidence playing field begins to shift.
Students start to SEE like an artist. Sketches now take a little longer to complete, because new details are noticed. Students want to add the texture on the object they are drawing, or the shadow cast underneath. I quietly celebrate whenever my students then find discrepancies between what they’re observing and what they’ve drawn. No one likes finding 'mistakes' but here, they are not mistakes. They are just areas of the drawing that could be rendered more accurately! As students learn and grow, they are not worried about 'wrecking' their drawing. They know they can make changes until they create something they are proud of.
For me, it’s important to give each child the tools and confidence so they’re more likely to continue to enjoy drawing, and anything creative, and persist with it, even when their inner critic emerges (this often happens around 8 or 9 years). Otherwise, these children who start off being so enthusiastic about art can end up giving up.
However, as adults, our inner critic is already there. Right between us and the sketchbook we're drawing in. So I think we need much more than just drawing instruction. To really make progress, we all need take a step back. We need to let go of the idea of perfection. As Salvador Dali said,
'Have no fear of perfection, you'll never reach it'.
We can remind ourselves to return to that playful space that kids effortlessly slip into when given art materials. We need to give ourselves permission to play with art. We need opportunities to create with such abandon that our inner critic can’t keep up with us! We need to keep drawing…And drawing! And celebrate that we have given ourselves the space and time to draw, learn, experiment and create. Enjoy the process! And hand your sketchbook over to a child one day, and see what happens. x