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.

How to Make Art Fun

2013_sketchbook_project_coverHappy Creative New Year everyone!

Well folks, I just finished my 2013 sketchbook for The Sketchbook Project. The deadline is 1/15/13 and I am way ahead of schedule. Art House Coop started this really cool project – “Together, thousands of creative people from around the world are forming a traveling library of artists’ books.” I participated last year and wrote about that experience in the Fairfield Writers Blog.

I love combining words and pictures. This year I used watercolor paintings juxtaposed with memoir in-the-moment-of-life writing. I had great fun making my book. Being a professional artist for so many decades has taught me a lot. Most importantly, enjoying myself is my barometer for making art. If it ain’t fun, I don’t do it. Listed below are hints for having fun with art (kind of like makin’ whoppee with life). Over the next several months I’ll write longer blogs about each one in more detail.

Adair’s List for Making Art Fun:
1. Keep it simple.
2. Use what you have on hand.
3. Don’t re-invent the wheel.
4. Lighten up.
5. Delete your inner critique (and delete again and again as needed).
6. Be playful.
7. Listen to your inner voice.
8. Allow for happy accidents.
9. Stop when done.

Creativity and wellness message for today: Ring in the new year with joyful artistic creations!

Art Show Gifts

Recently I entered two paintings in a local art show. Mind you, I hadn’t submitted work to an exhibit in two years. Life just got in the way. Concentrating on choosing the right framed watercolors from my studio (a clean corner of the basement), I felt my excitement mounting at the thought of showing my work again. I used to eat, sleep, and breathe art before I got a real life. Yet, every time I step back in the stream of art my pulse quickens. I’m in my element again.

The art opening was glorious, and I was thrilled when one of my watercolors sold. Validation! Joy! Connection! All those feelings mixed together into a cocktail of delight. I was still on a creative high, when one month after the show ended a second watercolor sold. Sometimes it’s the smallest thing that turns into the greatest gift. The first gift of connection between artist and collector was wonderful then to have a second one follow was the tastiest icing on the cake.

Creativity and wellness message for today: Accept the gifts of recognition in honor of your creative expression, let them fill your heart.