Sketching is good for the soulAt least it's been good for my soul lately. So it makes sense to sketch more.
Pablo Picasso said,
"The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls."So let's wash some dust off and get more art into our lives.
Draw/paint/sketch/photograph something that inspires youBe inspired by the ordinary, by the light on the patio after a rain, or by something you already love in the corner of your world.
I love that my phone is my camera and always with me. I love taking pictures of the ordinary and elevating it to art by finding an interesting composition, color, angle, or close-up. Then I sketch it. Right then or later from the photo.
Inspiration is anything that makes me say "that's cool" or "that's interesting", or "I'll bet nobody has really looked closely at that." Maybe you like flowers, cats, architecture, lemons or cars. Draw it. You'll see it in a new way and love it more.
Let goIn another life I used to paint and craft, but other priorities took over for a time. I so missed being creative. I didn't realize how much until I started in again. So, I recently let go of a few things...a long to-do list that was never done, house-cleaning expectations, home cooking (not my thing), too much media, others' ideas of how I should spend my time and the need for perfection...to take up the pen and paint again.
Let go of anything that doesn't feed your soul. (And, no, sleep doesn't count...get your sleep.)
Start smallI bought a cheap sketchbook and a travel set of paints and a water brush and began to work the dustiness away, by doing small sketches. Use what materials you have, try different pens and pencils and paints. Do several small studies. And embrace wonkiness, and imperfections and learn from them.
Share with friendsBegin sharing with social media friends on Instagram or Flickr or Facebook. Your friends will say encouraging things or "like" it and that will give you a boost. Share the good...
... the bad and the ugly. It keeps you humble and learning.
Sign up for an online class
I signed up for an Alisa Burke online class, Flower Power, last spring to do something simple and unintimidating. She explores so many different styles and is full of never-ending creativity. Her classes are reasonably priced to get started with.
I know that my motivation comes from a class-type setting where lessons and assignments give me something to look forward to and goals to meet.
Find inspiration in unusual placesThese reading notes from a (rather dry) book on the golden ratio, The Story of PHI, just had to have a sketched illustration. I love math, and combining it with art made sense to me. I definitely looked very closely at this sunflower as I was drawing it, and even counted the spirals of seeds. Yes, 34 going one way and 55 the other.
Draw something you love already, but might not be related to art.
Make something you'll see everydayStretch beyond the paper. Make a craft. Use different paints. Paint big. Paint on wood or fabric. Bloom where you are planted.
Get away from home
When you travel you get a bump in creativity. Neuroscientist Jonah Lehrer, in his book, Imagine, says "when you escape from the place you spend all your time, the mind is suddenly made aware of all those ideas previously suppressed. You start thinking about obscure possibilities." My mind is definitely in a good place on vacation.
So this makes sense now too..."a relaxed state of mind allows us to look inward toward a stream of remote associations in our right brain...insights come in the shower, when we are in a positive mood, when we are not looking for an insight."
But really it's just that "Life is better at the beach". --Kitschy sign from the beach bum store
There's nothing to do but sit and listen to the waves and the wind, and enjoy the sun. (Ah, letting go of that to-do list again.) Get away to a new place and sketch what you see.
Experiment with a different technique
White sharpies are thing? Yes! This is just a piece of cardboard with drippy sloppy colors (let dry), and then a crazy white doodle on top. Batik-like. Just for the fun of it.
My birdhouse gourd (that has yet to become a birdhouse) was a last minute purchase from the farm market. It's done with acrylics base paint, then black paint and Sharpie used to make the look of lace.
Commit to sketching oftenIt wasn't until a friend encouraged me to #sketchmore during the month of November in support of her NaNoWriMo goals, that I realized how much I could get done, how it's helped me improve, and how good it really is for my soul. Do something every day.
Bonus tip: Do what you likeBe yourself. Enjoy your own style. Don't care what others think. Choose a quote from one of these philosophers to remind yourself...
Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. --Oscar Wilde
Wanting to be someone else is a waste of who you are. --Kurt Cobain
Where is your will to be weird? --Jim Norrison
Just be yourself, there is no one better. --Taylor Swift
This one is my favorite because I'm my own worst critic.
If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced. --Vincent Van Gogh
So silence the inner critic, dust the daily life off, see how it feels. Good for the soul?