Appreciation and kindness are funny things. They can turn someones day completely around in an instant, They can change an outlook and make someone smile. They can bring peace and ease to the soul. They can stop the battle of the inner critic raging in the mind. All it takes is a kind word or a thoughtful note letting a person know you noticed and that you care. Yes, that's all it takes. Take a moment today and let someone know you notice, and that you care what they do and who they are.
What if we did that for ourselves too? How often do we acknowledge and appreciate all the things we are doing? This is not selfish this is saying hey, good job buddy! You are recognizing your own self worth and softly telling your inner critic to step back for awhile. I love how making art gets me out of my head, silencing the critic, letting me just be. Having a creative practice is a way to show appreciation for yourself. There is no need to be an expert or know how to do everything perfectly. All you have to do is get out those art supplies and make something. It doesn't have to hang on the wall, be in a gallery or splashed all over social media. It can just be yours.
Enjoy the colors spreading over the paper or the brush marks swooshing across the canvas. Making art can be your time and it can also be time you share with someone you care about. Be in the moment. Play. Laugh. Let go of the worries and lists. What a gift art is!
Appreciate the time you give yourself to be creative and treat yourself with kindness. We are all beginners at many points in our lives. If a piece of artwork doesn't turn out as you expected set it aside and start something else. You can always go back to it and decide to change it or simply learn from it. Let us be grateful for ourselves, the creative process and those who nurture our souls.
February is the month of love, candy and sweet things. This month I challenge you to share what you love about art!! You can use these prompts to inspire your social media posts or use them as inspiration for pages in your art journal. An art journal? What is that you ask?
An art journal is simple really. It is a sketchbook, preferably one with heavy weight paper, like watercolor paper, that you create in. Your pages can be painted with watercolor or acrylic, you can draw, use markers or pens, stamps, stencils, scrapbook paper, or even stickers! Pretty much anything goes. Your art journal is a visual journal just for you to play in, explore, record your thoughts, feelings, hopes and dreams. You can use it to practice new art techniques. You can use it to record a travel journey. There are so many possibilities with an art journal! The best part is, it is yours. You can keep it all to yourself or share, only if you want to.
If you are interested in getting started with an art journal but not sure where to start here is a list of supplies on Amazon. Just click on the words: Art Journaling Supplies.
I have also included some photos of pages I have created below..
If you really want some inspiration I also have downloads, available on my website, that are full of prompts to inspire your pages. January's prompts are all related to dreams and February's is called How Sweet It Is. You will find in January's download a list of suggested supplies, tips on how to start a page and 15 motivating prompts! On February 1 How Sweet It Is will be available and this art journal download will have a list of suggested supplies, a step by step photo tutorial on how to create a page, and 10 inspiring prompts inspired by the word Sweet! How sweet is that?!
I hope you will be inspired to start art journaling. I love to art journal. It is relaxing and energizing and even healing! Do you have an art journal? If so, What do you love about it?
I also hope you will try out the February social media challenge! Be sure to include the hashtags #ILoveArtChallenge and #CreativeArtsOasis so I can follow too!
January Art Journal Prompts Download
Looking for inspiration for your art journal? This fun downloadable guide is filled with tips for supplies, how to start a page and 15 inspiring prompts. Each prompt will help you start creative art journal/mixed media pages. Sometimes all you need is a seed to let your creative ideas bloom. Happy Creating!
This quote speaks to me this year and has at different points in my life. This time I feel like it is giving me permission to keep going with my creative dreams. Especially the ones that have been simmering in the back of my mind. The ones I have been afraid of pursuing for fear of them not working or not being good enough. I have had set backs and challenges these past five years and loads of regret. But, I have come to a place where I feel like, if I do not pursue these ideas and dreams now, when will I?
What dreams and ideas do you have that you've been putting off for fear of rejection or not being good enough, or that they might not work?
For me the dream of writing a book has been with me for a looooong time, since college, maybe since childhood! I finally feel like I have the ideas, the knowledge, the experience that I want to share in a book. The first few weeks of the new year has been extremely productive and I am excited about the ideas taking form and coming to life.
My first written creation that is available for download is called Find Your Focus. It is a guide of activities to help you find your focus and set achievable goals for any area of your life, but especially your creative dreams. You can find it in the SHOP section of the website! I am super excited about this as it combines my knowledge and experience as a life coach and education as a counselor and teacher.
My other books in the works are also How To's...
How to Teach an Art Class: for Artists and Crafters
This one is also super exciting to me, well they all are! I am creating this to share my years of knowledge and experience as a teacher to help creatives share their craft with others. In person art classes are a great way for artists to diversify their income. This will be the definitive guide!
Another book in the works is Diving Into A Creative Life: a book of encouragement and practical exercises to dive into a creative life, keep going and not give up on yourself and your creative dreams.
I am also working on step by step drawing books for kids and a How to Paint Expressive Flowers in Acrylics for beginner painters.
All of this requires hours of brainstorming, writing, sitting at the computer and lonely hours in the studio. Creating something tangible feels amazing but my inner critic still loves to jump in and pull me down. When this happens I take a deep breath and say,"I won't know what will happen with any of this unless I give it a try." So, here I sit at my computer writing each morning from 9-11 and then I head over to my studio for a couple hours every afternoon. All I can do is let myself dream and do the work, fear be damned!!
May you pursue your dreams and goals!
Encouragement. We could all use a little more of this in our lives I think. Too often we have ideas, hopes, dreams, things we would like to try but they fall flat without a little nudge from someone else.
Every year I choose a word for the year, my touchstone, so to speak. A word I can turn to, to inspire me and keep me focused. This year, if you haven't guessed yet, my word is Encouragement.
I had a hard moment last week when a family member said to me,"It isn't always about YOU." And that got me thinking, when is it ever about ME?! That's when I realized what I need and that is some encouragement. I also realized I am not the only one who could use some encouragement either!
My hope and intention this year is to provide you, my creative friends, encouragement, inspiration and hope. And I can do this through writing blog posts, providing classes in person and online, posting art tutorials, and I am starting some book ideas: step by step drawing and painting books, a How to Teach an Art Class book, and a book to encourage us all to keep going and not give up on our creative journey. I hope all of these things that I share will encourage you in your creative endeavors to try something new, explore ideas, and just keep going.
In return I am encouraged when I receive comments, questions, students, readers and kind words of support. I encourage you to take a class. Make time to create. Find a supportive friend to share your creative journey with. Start a written journal to record your thoughts and feelings. Be gentle with yourself. Give yourself time to rest and play. Encourage someone else! That is the best feeling of all!
May your New Year be filled with hope and inspiration.
I would love to paint, draw, write, (fill in the blank)______, but I just don't have the time.
This is a common statement for many people who wish to explore creative pursuits.
Our days are filled with obligations of work and family which creates an obstacle for many in regard to finding time to be creative.
Being creative gives us so many gifts isn't it time we gave ourselves the gift of time to create?
Our lives are over-scheduled as it is so creating another schedule may seem overwhelming. Or you may be newly retired and have so much time on your hands you just do not know what to do with yourself.
Having my own business creates many blurred lines between work time, errands, chores and other have-to's.
I thought I would share with you some ways I have found to find time for creativity.
First of all, have your creative materials ready to use. If you are fortunate enough to have a dedicated table, room or work space set it up so you can walk in, sit down and create. If you share work space, such as the dining room table get yourself a pretty basket, crate or container with your creative supplies in it ready to go. Making it easy for you to create will help to motivate you to do it when your precious time is available.
You have your supplies ready now set an easy, achievable goal. This is different than a schedule in that a goal will help you feel motivated to make time to do your creative work.
First of all ask yourself, What do I want? For example: I want time to practice my watercolor painting.
Now create a goal following these guidelines: Make your goal specific, Give yourself a reasonable time frame to accomplish it. Make your goal measurable.
Example goal: I want to complete 10 practice watercolor paintings by the end of the month.
Now ask yourself: Can I see myself really doing this?
Now create a flexible schedule. Where can I fit this into my daily routine? 15 minutes after everyone goes to school or work in the morning. In the evening after dinner and the kids are doing homework or playing. After breakfast. On Sunday afternoon at 2.
Mark it on your calendar: Creative Time Do Not Disturb
Yes, it is a schedule but it is flexible, if you miss your time that day it's ok, life happens. Give yourself the next available time. At the end of your timetable be sure to check in. Did you accomplish those 10 practice watercolor paintings this month? Maybe you only did 7. That is great, you did 7! Isn't that 7 more than you did last month? Celebrate your accomplishment and create a new goal for the next month. Maybe this time it will be: I will complete 8 practice watercolor paintings by the end of the month.
Be flexible, be forgiving, be thankful you are giving yourself the time to be creative, that is your ultimate goal!
This week I thought I would ponder the gifts that art gives us. This quote by Pablo Picasso pops into my life quite often and I think it is a great starting point in discussing art's gifts.
When frustration and disappointment settle in I often ask what is the point of art. Why should I keep making it if no one is buying my art, commenting on it or liking it on social media? Every artist and creative person feels this at one point or another. But, then I take a step back and a deep breath and maybe a walk, and I realize that's really not why I make art or why art is important to me. Sure it is amazing when someone says they love something I made and when they buy it I literally dance around and shout Alleluia! Art IS important not for the recognition and money it can bring but for so many other reasons.
Making art makes me feel like I have accomplished something. "I made this!", is a great feeling!
Art gets me out of my head. When I am in the middle of creating there is no room for worry and ruminating!
Art calms me down, makes me happy, inspires me, gets me energized, and makes me think different thoughts.
Art makes me feel connected, dare I say it? to God! Yes, for me there is a spiritual aspect to making art. I feel connected, peaceful and content.
I can create no matter how I feel. This is very helpful on days my joints ache and my muscles hurt and I feel very down. Just dabbling with my watercolors for a few minutes can ease the pain and frustration.
Whether life is overwhelming, stressful, depressing, painful or frustrating I can always turn to creating art to wash away the dust of everyday life to feel renewed and hopeful once again.
Wherever you are on your creative journey I hope you have found the personal gifts that art has for you. I would love to hear what they are! Please share your thoughts on art as a gift in the comments below.