This is what I know about momentum:
With a good running start, you go further and keep going. When you stop, all momentum is lost.
That’s what happened to me in November with this blog. I went on vacation and when I returned, I just lost momentum. Weeks went by and then the holidays hit and then by the new year I was so disgusted with myself I couldn’t even consider it.
And then I realized something:
The trick is to get that running start again.
And I already have it! All this time I wasn’t posting, I’ve been gleefully immersed in art-making.
So Ready. Set. go!
Ten projects and practices
1. Project Tag
Inspired by the 52 Tag Project, I decided to fill my year with tags that each express one of my favorite words. These small “canvases” make for quick projects and allow me lots of room to experiment. Not one to stick to a consistent routine for just about anything, I still aim to make 52 tags by the end of the year. So far, each tag I make leaves me:
2. Following Intuition
I think one of the most difficult challenges of art-making is to trust yourself. To listen to your intuition and make the next mark—a splash of paint, a technique, a word, an image. And then the next and the next. To just believe that something inside that says “try that.” As I started down this art-making path, I began to see how hard it is for me to trust that voice when creating something. And I began to notice something else. I don’t often trust myself in life either.
Like the other day. I pulled my car up to a red light at an intersection and I had to think. When the light turns green and I come to the entrance to the freeway, will it be to the left or the right?A very quiet voice told me to move to the right lane, that there was still time before the cars behind me would catch up and block that option.
I stayed in the left lane—and of course the entrance was on the right. I had to push my way through the traffic to make it. That’s just a trivial example among many small and larger decision-making moments.
With that growing awareness, I realize that my sole purpose in art-making is not to make something pretty or “good”, but to follow my intuition. To consciously listen to what my inner voice tells me to do–and to do it.
My hope is that as I learn to take inner guidance with paint and ink, I’ll take that voice more seriously in life as well.
3. Experimenting with supplies in my art journal
Do I like acrylic paint or watercolor or pan pastels? What kind of art journal suits me? (What kind of binding and paper? What size?) How do I like to use markers and stencils and stamps? What about ephemera? Found objects? Metal? Fabric?
As a recent newcomer to this wide world of mixed media, I want to try everything! So I do — in an art journal I devote to experimenting with supplies. I call it my “L” journal because I LOVE working in it and I LEARN so much! To experiment is to embrace failure as much as success, so each experiment offers a LESSON for future art making–although nothing that serious. I end up LAUGHING at myself a LOT!
4. Experimenting with techniques and processes in my art journal (and other projects)
When I first started, I thought it would be a good idea to list all the possible techniques for making backgrounds for my art journal pages. Like such a list is finite! Hah. The more I learn, the more I see how much can be done–and not just when making backgrounds, of course. Truly, we are only limited by our imagination. (and just in case you’re like me and think your imagination IS limited…don’t believe it for a second.)
So now I’m passionately interested in learning new techniques and processes that I can use to combine and recombine from art journal page to page, and in other art-making projects, too. I am so grateful for the generous art bloggers out there (see my sidebar) who offer tutorials and classes and and posts upon posts of wonderful ideas. Every new page I create disproves the false theory of limited imagination.
I wrote a post last year about my breakthrough in learning to draw thanks to a class based on the book, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards. Since then, I started a practice sketchbook that I didn’t work in nearly often enough. But recently, I discovered Daniel Gregory’s book, Creative License, and I’m joyfully recommitted to sketching practice nearly every day.
My purpose is to improve, of course, but again, not so that I can become a “good” sketcher. “Drawing is learning to see,” Gregory reminds us. And the better I get at seeing, the more beauty I see and the more delight and awe and gratitude I find each day.
6. Creating my Messages Personal “Bible” (art journal)
This art journal project was partly inspired by the wonderful artist, Leslie Avon Miller who made this suggestion on her blog. Fill a book with all the wisdom we most want to remember (drawn from any source). So I’m doing that. My “Messages” art journal is where I try to visually express powerful truths. So far I’m really enjoying this journal. I have a feeling I’ll need more than one journal for this project!
Here’s the first page. The words are difficult to see against the background (note to self: lettering needs improvement), but I like the full effect. The full quote (around the globe and on the right side reads:
“This is what we need to do: play close attention to the world and track what we notice for whatever we notice is a glimmer of the blueprint of our glorious subconscious realm. And this is the only reason to write [make art].” Nick Flynn
I especially like the central images/collaged elements that arrived to the page as I worked:
7. Collecting Stuff
I am a collector from way back. Long before the internet I clipped articles from the newspaper and magazines and kept them in binders. Now I keep digital clippings in Evernote. I also collect rocks and shells and seaglass whenever I hike or go to the beach. And lately, my new passion is to collect found metal objects (the rustier the better) and other interesting man-made ephemera. My plan is to make something from all my collections. I’m incorporating some into my art-making projects now (like in the tag at the top of this post), but I hope to really make more stuff soon. In the meantime, I keep finding the COOLEST things!
8. Photographing Stuff
As a medium, photography attracts me–but also repels me, to be honest. On the one hand I’m not all that driven to documenting my life (thank goodness for other people in my life who do!)…or taking the time to learn the technology…or following the art-making path of learning photographic techniques and processes. It’s just not my medium of choice.
On the other hand, it is like sketching in that I am learning to see and I think I have a decent untrained eye. So I continue to take photos for this blog as well as when inspiration strikes. And I have to admit, I really like to frame images with my camera…
9. Getting Inspired
Speaking of inspiration…it’s everywhere, isn’t it? I love to read blogs that inspire me to learn and try new things. I love to get out in nature and immerse myself in the miraculous canvas of living things. I love to be with people who offer new experiences and new insights. I would definitely say a lot of what I do these days is get inspired!
And with all that inspiration, I have a huge desire to express what I see and feel and learn. (My intuition tells me to move forward on that path!)
10 Connecting to spirit
Last but definitely not least, the more I engage my own creativity, the more I sense the greater creative force of the universe. And that IS my art practice…and what I’ve been up to lately.
Art is as deep and high and wide as the universe. There is nothing but art, if you look at it properly. It is almost banal to say so yet it needs to be stressed continually: all is creation, all is change, all is flux, all is metamorphosis.” Henry Miller
Thanks for letting me share. It’s good to be back!
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