Do you ever struggle to get yourself into a creative mindset?
Or do you struggle to stay in the creative mindset and perhaps losing focus is a contributing factor as to why so many people admit they have no time for the arts!
One thing I know I heard from my students over the years, is that they feel that sitting down to create something puts a lot of pressure on them - either from parents who have overly high expectations or teachers who create lesson plans where artwork ultimately is made just to exhibit on walls or enter competitions. Often times, I've taught students who are under pressure by demanding parents who expect me to teach their children to be producing masterpieces in each lesson which simply isn't the way art works or should be treated. Those art students I've taught in the past, who are trying to create successful art portfolios which will result in acceptance into top art schools is certainly an example of too much pressure.
If you can relate to this then I'm sorry that you've been in this situation but I hope I can offer help so that you can get back to creating without putting pressure on yourself in doing so.
Whether you're prepping for an art exam or putting work together for an art portfolio or if you're a parent paying for your child to take art lessons then consider this - art is not the same as an academic course.....in order to sit down to create something we have to get into the right mindset. It's almost like a meditation and something you cannot rush....at all.
I've been a practicing artist since 1999 and have worked in so many different creative capacities over the years as well as teaching but one thing I know for certain is that when I have the time to get in my studio, then this is my time to connect with my soul which means I do not put expectations on this connection. I treat everything as a journey or an exploration, even if I only have an hour to take this time aside, I don't plan anything out. In order to coax out my creative mindset, I play.
I once asked a twenty-five year old art student if she allowed herself to play with art materials and her response was "I'm an adult now and have responsibilities so when I work on my portfolio, I work to achieve my goals.....I don't have time to play".
I'm forty-five and play all the time - I don't think playing has an age limit and as artists or creatives we need to let ourselves play in order to make discoveries which lead to greater successes when reaching our goals.
So here are some creative playful ideas for busy adults to get your creative juices flowing!
When chopping up veg for dinner (save ends and tops and place in freezer bag to try printmaking with later)
Look for your own reflection in the distortions of spoons, ladles, bowls, windows and do a quick doodle on a napkin or dry erase board or printer paper
If you have kids or grandkids or just want to be silly by yourself or with friends then play with your food - mashed potato meadow with clusters of broccoli trees with a river of gravy running through the valley.....be a dinosaur and eat without using your hands!
Allow yourself to make a mess and be in the moment of that mess making - if you struggle with a mess when making art then this is a good challenge for you!
Get a packet of printer paper and without using any adhesive, try building a tower of paper that will touch the ceiling!
Doodle and see if you can use your pencil or crayon or pen in a way that has never been used before!
Try writing your name on a piece of paper using your feet!
Look around your kitchen and see if you can find something that could be used in a sculpture - like toothpicks/cocktail sticks! What can you build?
Can you paint with the stains made by coffee or tea? Some artists have done it already. What can you do?
The idea is to allow yourself to think outside the box - and if you think that your ideas are getting too crazy then keep going and don't let your brain tell you to stop!
Of course you do want to be sensible and not do anything that could hurt you or others so use common sense when thinking outside the box.
But the idea is to play, play with ideas, play with art materials, play with materials not typically used for art, play just to see what happens because this play will usually help you make discoveries and will also help you relax and have fun.
When you're sitting down to make art or be creative, whatever your objective, make sure you don't give yourself unreasonable goals as no one sits down with the intention to create a masterpiece in one sitting!
Just be in the moment when you're creating and enjoy how the materials work and make new discoveries and see what develops. Even if you aren't creating a masterpiece in a specific time period, playing with art materials and making these discoveries will help you grow as a creative person and this will benefit you in so many more ways - you'll be able to think more creatively and solve problems more easily. You'll create a greater sense of calm and will reduce tension in your body.
Playing through creativity can be used as a meditation too and will most definitely ease stress and calm the mind and invigorate the soul. These are "must-haves" for this pandemic year for all of us!
I hope you're able to try some ideas to get into your creative mindset! Follow your intuition and have fun and remember to treat creativity differently than you would academics as art cannot be rushed.
(A selection of examples where I allowed myself to play using all sorts of materials)
Also remember to not give yourself unreasonable goals as being creative is about the journey and not the product at the end. As creators, we're addicted to our creative journey, which is why, when the journey ends, we seek another route to start the process over again. The resulting artwork, if there is any, is just a nice side effect, rather than a goal. In this world of production, see if you can change how you perceive creativity and artwork and note the benefits it gives you in your life!
Share with me on Instagram what you've created using play as I'd love to see! You may already see various things I've played with and shared on my Instagram: @FranceskaDrawsTrees and @Mirmarnia and @Toothpickmuse
I haven't thanked you before but will do so now, Thank you so much for taking the time to read my blogpost and consider my words and I hope this post and others are helpful to you in your life.
Please come back to visit every Monday evening (UK time) for new blog posts!