Making Art Fun: Step 9 – Stop When Done

stop-signHello to all my amazing followers! Thank you for joining me on this creativity and wellness journey. Participating in the 2013 Sketchbook Project inspired me to write down my 9 steps in making art fun and in keeping your creative spirits going. As a seasoned artist, I’ve had my ups and downs in the art world.

Like fine wine, as I age, perspective seeps in. I notice the challenges of working, raising a family, and sustaining a multi-decade, long-term and committed relationship. Keeping up with family, friends, volunteering, and still claiming time for my professional art and writing is a steep order. Yet, I find happiness in inspiring endeavors. Seizing the day keeps my inventive juices ripe and flowing.

Like in baking a cake, you have to know when it is done. Some people use their sense of smell, others, set a timer, or stick a toothpick in the center. We all have our techniques. It’s the same in any innovative project.

Today, I’ll finish this series of posts about making art fun. I’m done! I know it because I’ve said everything I want to, about this specific topic. Being able to share what I’ve learned with you, has been a pleasure. Now I’m satisfied about wrapping this series up, and I am anticipating what I’ll write about next time, here, on my blog.

You can click on each link below to read the last 8 posts in sequence. To recap my barometer on making art fun, and to reiterate, “if it ain’t fun, don’t do it:”
1. Keep it simple
2. Use what you have on hand
3. Don’t reinvent the wheel
4. Lighten up
5. Delete your inner critique
6. Be playful
7. Listen to your inner voice
8. Allow for happy accidents
9. Stop when done

Ding! Ding! My cake’s done!

Creativity and wellness message for today: Trust your own sense of timing. Then share a slice of what you’ve made with others.

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Making Art Fun: Step 7 – Listen to Your Inner Voice

imagesArt + Time = Happiness. This equation sums up the two-day printmaking workshop my family gifted to me. I wrote about it in my last blog. Today’s tip on making art fun is about trusting that little voice inside you. I did that when I observed how excited I was as I anticipated the workshop. Gentle flutters erupted in my stomach each time I thought about it.

At the workshop, I decided to fly without a net. My intention was to enjoy the process of learning a new printmaking technique and not worry about the product or outcome. There I was in a sea of professional, exhibiting artists, all intent on creating pieces for their next exhibit. I chose to remind myself, again and again, I was at the workshop to have fun, explore and experiment. This attitude of abandon held me in a solid place of delight the entire weekend.

Yet, as my creative process neared completion, I had to know when my artwork was complete. Decades of serious art school training and real life experiences in meditation and trusting my intuition honed me well. Sometimes my inner voice was a simple exhalation. I knew when I’d exhaled there was a rightness to the color, texture, or composition. At other times, my inner voice was soft and literally spoke in my brain whispering the word, “Done.”

Click here to view my slide show from the workshop!

Creativity and  wellness message for today: Be adventurous. Listen to your inner voice in your mind, body, and spirit. Then follow through.

Making Art Fun: Step 6 – Be Playful

playful2Hello world! I’ve been focused on saving my beloved library for the last several weeks and haven’t had a chance to write. Phew, I’m glad to be here with you today.

On January 1, 2013, I wrote to you about how to make art fun. Today’s entry is all about the value of being playful. Don’t get me wrong there have been days, months, and sometimes years when my art experiences were anything but joyous. Especially lean economic years when I supported myself as a fine artist and graphic designer. Through it all, I’ve learned what keeps me singing in the shower is lighthearted art making.

Case in point – I’ve been  too busy to even write this blog. I’m lucky if my contact lenses are in the correct eyes and my clothes are right-side-out when I leave the house in the morning. However, I’m taking a break from the maddening crowd in a few weeks, to be puckish with art.

My husband and son gave me a living, breathing gift for Mother’s Day. It’s not a dog. It’s a two-day printmaking workshop, at the Center for Contemporary Printmaking. I’ll be immersed in clay slabs, colorful clay, printmaking paper, and a rolling-pin. I can’t wait!

By taking a fun workshop, I’m not going to worry about technique or product or performance. I’m going to wear my jaunty “It’s an ART THING You Wouldn’t Understand” artist smock. The workshop is my light at the end of the tunnel during a stressful time. It’s cheering me up and lifting my spirits. Be impish with art.

Creativity and wellness message for today: Enjoy how vivacious you feel when you commit to curiosity and whimsy.

Making Art Fun: Step 1 – Keep it Simple

interlocking_pencilsRecently, I wrote about completing my Sketchbook Project 2013. In that How to Make Art Fun blog I promised to elaborate on my list throughout the year.

Here’s Step 1: Keep it simple.

An example of this happened just the other day, as I prepared to submit my artwork to a juried exhibition. The show’s theme was “From Inside Out.” The gallery wanted work that explored the artist’s experiences, either personal, artistic or global with circumstances requiring changes from inside out. Because I followed Step 1, I didn’t create a new piece. I quickly went into my mental Pendaflex folder of past artwork. I remembered a collage, with French postage stamps of a seated nude woman hiding her head behind her arms. My own watercolors and the words, “Friends Lost” completed the artwork. It fit the theme of the show.

Last weekend, I ventured into my musty basement to find that framed piece, but on the way I immediately discovered a totally different image. The other mixed media collage was from the same time period, but was titled, “Good*Bye.” It was a photo-sensitized fabric collage of a picture of one of my old boyfriends sitting on a beach. Along with simple watercolor symbols, I had Presstyped the words “good*bye” beneath his photo. I had forgotten all about the collage! I loved it! In the composition, he was really small on the left side of the fabric, on a large field of tiny arrows pointing off the picture. It was like I was symbolically moving him out of the picture. As my relationship with the above mentioned boyfriend unraveled, I did some soul-searching. I realized I was the one who needed to say goodbye first.

Part of the magic of making art fun is all about understanding the subtleties of time. If we are present, with no anticipation of what is to come, we open ourselves to the mysteries of something better than we imagined.

Creativity and wellness message for today: The beauty of keeping it simple is that you don’t get lost in the details. You stay in the wonder of the creative moment.

Staying Grounded Through Life’s Beginnings and Endings

This is a time of beginnings and endings. Are you feeling it? Big changes are happening. The planets and stars are lined up for seismic shifts. No one and nothing appears to be exempt.

Everyday there is a new change — personally, professionally, or with my loved ones. No organization or group is above the cataclysmic divides. There seems to be a gigantic cosmic eraser that is wiping out the old and making way for the new.

Henceforth, my mantra this summer is “Quiet Curiosity.” I’m curious where all these changes will lead. I’m hopeful, and to stay grounded I’m appreciating beauty where I find it. The photo of the blue hydrangea that you see here, I took it while I was on a 15 minute break from work yesterday.

Since I won’t be going away on an exotic long vacation this summer, I’m keeping a photographic sketchbook of “Pockets of Vacation-land.” Bits and pieces, trinkets and gems from my daily travels. A reminder that you really can find peace in your own backyard.

Creativity and wellness message for today: Be open to finding beauty when it presents itself to you.