I’m Still Fighting – Dealing With Artist Block

Do you have feelings of self-doubt, or do you feel blocked in relation to creating? I do.

When we moved house in 2009 I finally had the space for a dedicated art desk. I was so excited!! But I ended up spending very little time there. I went through quite a few years of feeling too scared to create. The inner negative voices were just too strong. Until one day I just felt like I couldn’t continue this life of not creating.

I’m lucky enough to be at a point now where creating is a habit (it wasn’t an automatic process though! This was hard work pushing through a lot of ‘Urgh, I suck’ thoughts). I usually like what I create even, but I find I do still experience an almost continuous feeling of blockedness.

Don't Need Anything Else | mixed media in A5 journal | www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow

When it comes to being an artist and sharing online, you often see the finished product. You see the stuff the artist wants to share and it gives a bit of a false impression of having it all figured out. You don’t see the struggle. You might even assume there isn’t one.

I struggle. Even accomplished artists struggle as I was surprised and relieved to find out on reading this post by Flora Bowley (she offers some helpful tips for getting unstuck too!).

So I just wanted to let you know that even though I’ve come a long way, and I’m very proud of what I’ve achieved, I am still fighting. I am fighting with the block and negative feelings. But I am also fighting against them and continually trying to push through.

These Thoughts They Keep Growing | mixed media on 12x10" canvas board | www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow

My blocks and challenges change over time. I work through one, and another comes up. I come out the other side with more experience, learning and confidence.

Push against those blocks. Challenges are where we grow. This is where the magic happens.

How do you cope with feeling blocked?

What Makes You Come Alive? Go Do It!!

I’ve been having some major learning experiences lately with regards to listening to my inner voice. However, it’s funny, I tend to reach certain conclusions about things, like major lightbulb AHA! moments, and then as life goes on I completely forget them and start making the same mistakes again! So then I have to become conscious of what I’m doing again, to get more in line with my true self aaand the circle continues. Hopefully at some point something will stick, right? So, my recent learnings, let me share them with you!

One of the MAIN things I’ve learned these past months is that when it comes to anything you do creatively (painting, blogging etc) you need to do what makes YOUR heart sing. Not what you think other people want to see, what you think you should (such a dirty word!) do or what your parents want you to do. The quickest way to burnout and not feeling enthusiastic is doing stuff that isn’t true to what your inner wisdom is telling you is RIGHT for you. Do what YOU want and your passion and enthusiasm will be infectious and people will be interested because YOU’RE interested (and therefore interesting).

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.Howard Thurman | www.iris-impressions.com

Last week I was in such a dark mood. I wasn’t feeling any of my paintings. I spent a lot of time doing social networking stuff and watching TV shows because something was stopping me from getting into the studio. (To be fair though, I was rewatching Dollhouse, which is very very worth every minute spent on it lol) Every time I sat down to work on my paintings I just ended up sitting and staring into space, or telling myself it wasn’t any good, or that I couldn’t come up with the right ideas.

Until I realised that I was expecting myself to create other people’s art! I was berating myself for the fact that my intuitive paintings didn’t look more like Flora Bowley’s work. I thought MY intuitive paintings should look like SOMEONE ELSE’S otherwise they wouldn’t be intuitive enough… BATSHIT INSANE RIGHT?!!! Seriously, looking back on it it’s so obvious where the flaw in my thinking is, but these thoughts really go through my head when I’ve inadvertently given myself over to my inner critical voice.

And then this happened:

Scared Inside | mixed media intuitive painting on 12 x 10" canvas board | www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow

Scared Inside – mixed media on 12 x 10″ canvas board

I gave myself permission to DO MY OWN THING. I’m sure you can still see other people’s influences there, but I wasn’t actively trying to make it look like anything, apart from what was already inside me. I also gave myself permission to make similar shapes to ones I’d already done in previous work. I tend to tell myself that I can’t do the same thing twice or I ‘won’t be original’. It’s not like the masters ever worked with the same themes or imagery..oh wait.. Again with the crazy inner voice!

Part of the ‘problem’ is that there is so much amazing work out there being created by so many amazing people. I love looking at the stuff my artist friends create or things on Pinterest. It’s absolutely inspiring and makes me want to get into the studio (and when I start thinking “I’ll never be as good as…” I quickly try and shoo that voice away!). Where it goes wrong though is when I think ‘Wow what they do is amazing, I must want to do that too’. That’s where there is a really fine line between being inspired by what other people do (totally awesome!) and wanting your work to look like theirs and trying to achieve that (not so fulfilling).

I’ve realised that “What I like” and “What I like doing” don’t have to be the same thing!

What makes you come alive? Let me know and then GO DO IT!!

Sit With The Quiet

Sit With The Quiet | Blog Post About Intuitive Painting | www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow

You guys, I just had a bit of an epiphany!

I’ve been diving into intuitive painting this past week. As a perfectionist control-freak this is HARD and super scary. But I’m doing it, because I feel ready and I want to push myself out of my comfort zone.

Sit With The Quiet | Blog Post About Intuitive Painting | www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow

I noticed whenever I did art I’d find it difficult to deal with that feeling of ‘not knowing what to do next’. This would lead to a lot of negative feelings, so I devised a way of working where I would plan my paintings in advance with a sketch and a colour palette. With the initial background stage I’m quite free & loose, but once that is done I will sketch something and from there on I pretty much follow a plan. It works quite well for me, I feel comfortable and the process is enjoyable. This is how I usually work.

BUT BUT BUT as you know, I’ve been falling in love with beautiful abstract-y intuitive paintings. I wanted to try that! Talk about an arena where you NEVER know what comes next, because there is no planned outcome at all.

Sit With The Quiet | Blog Post About Intuitive Painting | www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow

I’m working on 4 paintings at the same time at the moment, and I noticed I was coming up against a lot of this ‘not knowing what to do next’. And I was feeling crappy about it. And I was feeling negative. And I was feeling that maybe this intuitive painting is not for me, maybe I’m just not one for tapping into my intuition, maybe it just doesn’t really ‘flow’ for me the way it does for others.

That’s when I had my moment of clarity… It’s OK not to know what to do next. I am so afraid of the quiet, so afraid of sitting without doing something… actually so afraid of truly connecting with the current moment, especially if that current moment consists of quiet… But the quiet can be listened to, I can be with it, and it will last a little while or a long time AND THAT IS OK.

Sit With The Quiet | Blog Post About Intuitive Painting | www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow

It’s kind of like when you’re with someone you don’t know very well, and silence feels SO uncomfortable that you feel you need to fill every little gap, and that’s how I’d been approaching my painting. WHOA, major realisation time! Now all of a sudden it’s like I’ve given myself permission to sit with the quiet. So I sat with the quiet… and I felt a new sense of allowance, of peace and of trust.

I urge you, next time you create and you feel uncomfortable or lost, sit with the quiet. (And then come and tell me about it afterwards!)

Am I An Artist?

am-i-an-artist

Am I an artist just by virtue of calling myself one? When I create art, does that automatically make me an artist? Can I even call what I create ‘art’? Why is this word ‘artist’ so important, and what power does it hold over me? These are questions that occupy my mind often and I think are important to pay some attention to in order for them not to become obstacles on my journey of creating art and being an artist.

am-i-an-artist-detailHas anyone ever given you a compliment on your art, only for you to quickly dismiss it or downplay it? For example I often find myself saying “Oh it’s only a hobby”. As if my art is not as arty as someone else’s, simply because it’s not my day job. If I accept that compliment, truly, it becomes a scary tentacle monster with lots of expectations. It becomes a gateway for judgement, because WHOA if I call myself an artist then I must tick the boxes of what other people think an artist is or should be.

I don’t know what other people think, but I know they’re out there, ready to judge, ready to trample my fragile budding artist soul. Better to not call myself an artist at all actually and crawl back in my cocoon of safety where I never risk anything or put myself OUT THERE. Isn’t it funny though, because I have no such problems with calling myself a mother. I became a mother automatically when I gave birth to my first son. I might be concerned sometimes with being a good mother, whatever the hell that means, but a mother I am, for sure, no question. So why is art so special that I feel creating it doesn’t automatically make me an artist? Whose permission am I waiting for to call myself an artist?

Face it, in order to reach our potential and be fulfilled we need to take risks. It’s the easy option to let your fear of what other people think inhibit you being yourself. That way you never have to face your fear, you never have to own up to it, and you never have to truly admit that it is PART OF YOU. The roots of your fear may lie in other people in the past (don’t we all have those childhood scars?), but the change lies with you right here, right now. Stop externalising your fear, OWN IT!

am-i-an-artist-quoteHave you ever noticed that people tend to treat you in accordance with how you present yourself? A confident person gets treated with respect. A shy person gets ignored. If you meet someone new and you ask what they do and they say “I’m an artist”, are you going to ask for their qualifications to make sure they’re really an artist? No, you’re going to accept it just as you would have if they’d said they’re a teacher or an architect or a mother.

If it doesn’t sound too cultish (lol), then please join me in saying that: From this day forward I will call myself an artist and not apologise for it.

Butterfly Whispers – Permission to Grow and Learn

I’ve been excited about doing a new art video for a while now, so on Tuesday I sat down to create a new art journal spread and recorded the process to share with you. Voila, here it is, I hope you like it!

By doing so I’ve realised something. I find it hard to create when I’m feeling watched (i.e. recording myself). Recently I’ve been working in my art journal with such freedom and wild abandon. I work quickly, intuitively, grab colours, don’t stop to think. I wanted to share this intuitive, fast paced process with you. However, when recording I feel inhibited, not free, I get stuck in a ‘what to do’ or ‘what to do next’ thought. My mind is partly on the painting, and partly on the camera, how much battery life, is the angle right, is the lighting OK? I cannot immerse myself and lose myself into the painting.

The next thought in my mind is self-critical. Why can’t I just be myself on film. Why can’t I share what I want to share. Why can’t I get ‘in the zone’? Then I started thinking that this process is like any, I haven’t done it much before so it requires practice. My first video is not going to be the best super amazingly awesome one. Neither is the second. But it’s never going to get better unless I keep doing it!

I was encountering some harsh self-criticism while working on this spread. The proportions on the face were off. She looks weird. Then I took a step back and tried to look at it critically. Not in a ‘I’ve made a bad art piece, I suck’ way, but in a ‘how could this be improved, why am I not enjoying it as much as I could?’ way. And I realised that the placement of the nose and mouth is slightly lower than ideal. Aha!! Lightbulb moment. Wow!!

It transformed my experience of the piece. I know what to change next time (or what to do if I were to want to create a similar face – after all, if it’s on purpose then I can call it style! =p ) and in the meantime I can enjoy the piece for what it is. I love learning lessons like these through process!

Thank you for reading & watching! Share with me the lessons you’ve learned through your art recently lovely you!

2014-04-Butterfly-Whispers

2014-04-Butterfly-Whispers-Det1

2014-04-Butterfly-Whispers-Det2

2014-04-Butterfly-Whispers-Det3

Materials used:
2B pencil
2B graphite crayon
Scrapbook paper
Caran d’Ache Neocolor II
Dylusions spray inks
Craft paint
Matte medium
Gesso
Salt
Posca paint pen (white)
Sharpie paint pen (black)
Blending stump
Stamps (border, music & butterflies)
Crown punch
Cardstock

It Can Be Simple

it-can-be-simple

I love art supplies. I have a LOT of art supplies. The choices are endless when I’m creating something, but I often have to remind myself: it can be simple.

When you have a lot of tools available the temptation is to want to use all of them, which can be to the detriment of the art piece. I love complex pieces with many layers that make you wonder ‘how did s/he do that?’, but sometimes it’s OK to pare it right back. Minimalism can be tasteful, it draws attention to the important elements and lets the piece breathe.

I have the same thing with blog posts. I feel they have to be long and in depth. So instead, I will stop writing now and leave you with some works in which I have tried to simplify.

2014-01-06-Pages

2010-08(Aug)-Worthy

2010-09(Sep)-Growing

Top 5 Tips For Doing It – Motivation and Art

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After my post the other day about having found motivation for doing art I thought I’d share these tips for getting down to business and doing it. Just in time for the weekend to put them into practice!!

There are many reasons why we might not do something we want to do. I wrote the tips below with art in mind, but with some modification they can apply to pretty much anything. The important thing is to find something that works to enable you, to do what you want.

1. Take A Course

Willowing Online CoursesCourses give you an external motivation to do art. They will give you more practical skills, which in turn will increase your confidence. There might be assignments or exercises which walk you through new techniques. This is a much safer way to start something, because there is already a blueprint for doing it: you don’t have to make it up all by yourself.

It can also be motivating to be in a group of like-minded people and to share the results of the lessons and discuss them. By the end of the course you will have completed work you can look back on, feel proud of and see your own progress in. It will be a jumping off point to keep creating.

Places you can find courses: local college (in London you can try City Lit or Morley College), art/craft shop or online. I’ve taken online courses from Tam @ Willowing, Suzi Blu and Adriana Almanza.

2. Distract Yourself

Occupy your conscious mind to access your subconscious mind. I overthink what I do ALL.THE.TIME. My inner critic works overtime when I’m creating a painting. It’s hard to be free and create art from the heart when my mind is so present all the time. Something that can really help is to distract your thinking mind so you free your creative mind to do what it does best. I do this by watching TV while painting (or you could listen to an audiobook, music or have a conversation with someone etc). Following the storyline and dialogue distracts me just enough to let my hand move freely and helps me make organic choices rather than getting stuck on things like which colour to use.

3. Copy Your Favorite Artists

OK this might sound controversial but bear with me. Ask yourself what you like. Whose art makes you happy or evokes strong feelings in you? Create a folder on your computer (or a board on Pinterest) with art that makes your heart sing. Then copy the hell out of it. When you copy something another artist has done it is called a study. Obviously you don’t sell these works or pass them off as your own, but what you are doing is slipping on someone else’s shoes for a bit and in so doing it will help you develop. You are practicing, you are learning your own likes and dislikes and it will spark your own original creative side and eventually develop your own style.

4. Limit Your Options

This world of ours has limitless choices and if you’re anything like me you’ll have an abundance of art supplies. I get almost as excited about buying new art supplies as I do about creating art. I find myself getting overwhelmed and scared when I think about all the supplies I have sitting around waiting to be used. So much potential but how best to use them, in what combination and what to use in this particular painting?

So strip it right down, reduce! Don’t leave the choice open to all your art supplies available. Pick a limited number of supplies you will use. For example I would choose: 4 colours, 2 patterned papers, 1 stamp, gesso & brayer. Then as you gain confidence creating paintings with limited options, you will find you automatically know what other supplies to reach for because you know what your painting needs.

I give a bunch of limited supply suggestions in my art & inspiration guide, so go and download that if you haven’t already. You can also check out some art journaling videos where I created journal spreads with limited supplies.

5. Acknowledge Your Fear

I left this one to last as it’s the most important one and the crux of a lot of motivational problems.

You have finally carved out some you-time to do art and you find yourself with a compelling urge to tidy your desk, or alphabetise your DVD collection, or clean the kitchen or [fill in the blank with your particular distraction]. You don’t actually need to do any of those things, and they certainly have nothing to do with creating art. This is your fear in the driving seat. Your fear is there to protect you, perhaps you’re trying to avoid disappointment or you don’t want to fail or you’re afraid of what other people will think. But for all its noble intentions, your fear holds you back and stops you doing what you actually set aside time to do. Tell yourself ‘thank you very much fear for trying to protect me, but I’d like to do some art now please, so piss off’.

I admit I wrote that last line for comic effect, but the point I’m trying to make is that by acknowledging your fear you bring it into the open. If you see your avoidance behaviour for what it really is – fear – then you can try and move past it or work with it and turn it into creative opportunity. It is also helpful if you can try and identify exactly what is it you are afraid of. Personally I fear creating something ugly and ‘failing’ at being an artist (I hardly feel I’m even allowed to apply that word to myself, a topic for another blog post!). I fear other people’s criticism or lack of interest. I feel I have to be perfect and create perfect art. So for me it helps to acknowledge these issues. I try to give myself permission to practice, see what I’m working on as a process to getting better and try to create things for myself in the first instance.

The fear is always there and sometimes it is louder than other times. It is likely that it will never go away, but you have to arm yourself with techniques that will help you do art despite your fear.

Finally, just try and get on a roll. Start so you may continue. I find that ideas breed ideas and creativity breeds creativity. The more you are doing it, the more you will feel like doing it.

I would love it if you shared in the comments what your top tips are for doing art or any other activity you feel passionate about.

On Change – Motivation To Do Art

on-change-motivation

For years I have been in love with mixed media art and art journaling, but for the longest time I have suffered from some kind of creative paralysis. I would look at other people’s art or read mixed media books or watch art videos or buy lots of art supplies and get crazy excited and inspired. I might even attempt to do art myself but I always ended up disappointed. It wasn’t GOOD enough, I didn’t ENJOY creating it, it was a labour (and not one of love).

So I have a number of art works spanning from about 2008 until early 2013, but there are always big gaps in between. There is no thread, no consistency. When I look back at them I am far less judgemental than I felt at the time of creating them (“How crap! Why should I ever make art again?”), but there is still something lacking. Like they exist in a vacuum. Strange, disjointed one-offs.

Then in the summer of 2013 something changed. It wasn’t a lightning strikes or epiphany moment, but probably more of a gradual shift that culminated at that time. I can’t know for sure the exact reasons, but two things played an important part. The first was therapy. I started seeing a therapist towards the end of 2012. On a short term basis I didn’t notice anything, but as the months passed I slowly started feeling differently. More empowered, more in charge, less confused or clouded (sorry to be so vague! I find it hard to put into words!).

The second thing was having Zephyr, my second son, in June 2013. It gave me confidence, as stuff like that tends to do, but it also marked an important next phase in my life: the chance to start thinking about myself. What do I want, what do I want to achieve, who do I want to be? A sort of awakening after being solely in the ‘mother/pregnant’ role for quite a few years.

So it was in August 2013 that I started doing art, not necessarily every day (circumstances prevent that), but consistently and with joy. What a change! What a difference in how I feel towards it! I haven’t stopped since!

Now at this point in time I’m starting to get to a point where I actually quite like my art, I enjoy doing it, I feel confident about it and I enjoy the result. Sometimes the doubts set in though. As long as I’m in my art room creating art I’m fine. But then I visit some blogs and expose myself to other people and I’m like: SO MANY other people are already doing this, who am I to think anyone is interested in what I’m doing. There is no space for me.

Or I’m thinking about a video I want to do and then it’s like.. it’s been done before. And I KNOW that it’s never been done by ME and that I have a unique voice blablaba, but it STILL stops me in my tracks and makes me feel like everything I do is useless…

However, I am also counting my blessings and remembering the fact that a year+ ago my inner critic was preventing me from making any art regularly. I’ve got past that now. Yay progress! Currently it’s making me feel scared of sharing it or trying to carve out more recognition.. So maybe a year on from now… who knows.

I’d love to know if this experience resonated with you or hear your story if you’ve experienced something similar!

My 10 Favourite Art Supplies

10-favourite-art-supplies

I looove art supplies (and have spent way too much money on them over the years, probably a lot on useless stuff) so I thought you might like to know my favourite supplies. As a consequence these are supplies I use all the time and in almost all my work. This top 10 is in no particular order because it’s never just one thing that is the greatest, with mixed media it’s all about the effect things produce in combination.

Caran d’Ache Neocolor II Watersoluble

10-fav-neocolorI looooooooove these babies! They come in so many different colours. I like that you can buy tins as well as single ones. I’ve got the tin of 15 and have got about 20 more loose ones of various shades for faces and vibrant backgrounds. I especially like their versatility, you can use them as a wash for backgrounds or use less water to make them more opaque; you can use them to paint faces and figures and other more detailed things; you can use them undiluted as a regular crayon. Almost every single piece of art I create, whether it’s an art journal page or a full blown painting on wood or canvas, has me using at least one of these.

10-fav-gessoWhite Acrylic Paint / Gesso

So simple but absolutely essential. I remember being so disappointed when I was a child when I was told white was not a colour! Nevertheless I love using it. Acrylic paint is especially nice to create texture with by building it up really thick (heavy body acrylic paint is good for this). Gesso is lovely for brayering onto the page and create texture that way. Acrylic paint has more of a plastic-y sheen to it, whereas gesso is more matte.

Gel Medium

10-fav-gelmediumI use Golden which I love, it’s expensive so other brands might work as well, I haven’t tried any others. Gel medium has many uses I’m sure, but I use it mainly as either a glue for three dimensional objects or to create raised texture. It is great for gluing because it dries clear AND remains flexible. That means things are less likely to fall off over time which is always a plus. It’s nice for texture because it retains its shape when it dries (if you layer it on thick it needs quite a long time to dry though!) and you can mix it with paint for colour or you could even add other fun things like glitter or coloured sand. You can pretty much go wild and gel medium will stand up to it!

10-fav-heattoolHeat/Embossing Tool

Also called a heat gun or embossing gun this one isn’t very exciting but it’s so so nice to have. I dislike having to wait for things to dry, it interrupts my creative flow. Having a tool to speed up the drying of your paint so you can continue your work is easily overlooked but to me it really makes the process much more enjoyable. The one I have has two settings, a ‘low heat’ one (still very hot though, like a hair-dryer on the hottest setting) for speeding up drying times and a ‘high heat’ one (incredibly hot, handle with lots of care!) for embossing.

I don’t do much embossing but I have noticed some areas to take care: one, if you point it at any acrylics for too long, they start bubbling which may spoil your work (or on the other hand you can use this effect to your advantage and create awesome texture!) Two, it will melt beeswax in a heartbeat (and may also ‘blow’ it into a different direction from where it was), which is great if that’s what you’re after but if it’s not just make sure to apply your beeswax only after you’re finished with any embossing.

Beeswax

10-fav-beeswaxIt smells GORGEOUS! I find working with beeswax very soothing. It smells so nice and adds a dreamy look and texture to any piece. You can add little elements inside it like glitter or other small objects. Do be aware that if you layer it on very thick it becomes opaque. I use a quilting iron to melt the wax and smooth it over my work. Then afterwards I either leave it like that or sometimes I scratch into the surface (you can use an empty ballpoint, the end of a paperclip or anything else that creates interesting texture). Sometimes I cover a whole piece with beeswax as a final unifying step, and other times I just put it in select areas. Another fun way to use it is to create a ‘resist’: beeswax will resist most products you put on it, so you can drip some beeswax on your piece and then spray walnut ink on top, the ink will stay on the wax-free bits but rub off the parts where the wax is (as long as it’s smooth, if you created texture into the wax the ink will settle in the crevices which creates a more grungy look).

10-fav-stampsStamps

I know that’s quite a broad category there but there are so many out there that are wonderful! I love using floral or grungy stamps as an element in creating a complex layered backgrounds. At least one set of alphabet stamps are integral to art journalling, they really add to that recognisable art journal aesthetic.

I love acrylic stamps, they are unmounted stamps made of acrylic (they are seethrough) and you use an acrylic block to mount them (they stick to it automatically and come off easily, no glue needed). The fact that the stamps & block are seethrough helps with placement and you can also mount more than one stamp on a block at a time which is handy for lettering or adding a group of elements in one go. You can wash them in soapy water to clean them (they won’t lose their stickiness!) which is another plus.

Uni Posca Markers

10-fav-poscapensThere are a lot of markers that promise to write on anything, but few actually deliver. These are the best I’ve tried! They even write over (watersoluble) oil pastels, as long as you are careful and don’t press too hard. When you write with them the flow is quite ‘inky’ (so be careful because they will smudge before they’re dry!) unlike felt tip pens or some other markers which can be really dry, and thus don’t write on textured or more complex surfaces.

They are quite expensive but investing in at least the black and white is well worth it. Even the lighter colours go on opaque. They are great for adding text to pages (the thinnest size is nice for writing and doodles), adding accents around elements or filling areas in with colour. They are waterproof when dry, which is great because they won’t smudge.

10-fav-bookpagesBook Pages

I use a cheap paperback I knew I wouldn’t read again, but you can also use newspaper, phonebook pages etc. The small dense lettering can really add interest to a page, either as part of a complex layered background or perhaps as a shape cut out from the paper. Printed papers tend to absorb paint very easily which makes it very easy to integrate them into a background and give them colour. Book pages tend to already be slightly brown/yellowish which is much nicer on the eye than black text on a white background.

Wood

10-fav-woodI love working on wood as a surface. It can be a bit challenging due to the texture, but at the same time that is exactly what is so great about it. The wood grain and imperfections add to the overall look of the painting. It’s a very forgiving surface for using a lot of materials on, especially when you’re working with wet paint and mediums. It’s also very solid so you can attach 3d or heavier objects more easily. And you can drill into it either for artistic purposes or to attach ribbon/twine to hang it with.

10-fav-embellishmentsEmbellishments

A broad category but they are so much fun! Embellishments can really add something to a piece, either used sparingly as a focus point or used in abundance to add complexity and texture. Because there are so many of them it’s a lot of fun shopping for them as well (or finding them in your house, like bottle caps or dice!) and then integrating them into your pieces. I’m not into scrapbooking but I always find scrapbooking embellishments can work well in mixed media art: brads, eyelets, glitter, confetti, rub ons, raised stickers, ribbon etc

OMG You’ve Ruined It!

omg-youve-ruined-it

I have such a big fear of spoiling things. Either spoiling things for myself of a fear of external things spoiling things for me. It affects pretty much all areas of my life, for example I find it very hard to order off a menu, in case the choice turns out to be ‘wrong’ or disappointing.

Similar with art. What if this colour is the wrong one, what if this stamp makes things look ugly, what if I ruin the pretty face I’ve sketched once I add colour to it? It is so stifling as it always imbues the next thing with so much risk. I recognise that this is once again my fear trying to protect me from disappointment. If I don’t take the risk, I can’t ‘spoil it’ and can’t be disappointed (order the same thing off the menu every time… wait ages to create another art piece in case the next one is going to be super horrible).

I watched an art video by Tamara Laporte recently in which she draws with black marker pen on the face she’s just painted. My initial reaction is “OMG no! That’ll ruin it!”. Except, it turns out that actually it doesn’t. I learned from this.

  1. The next step is the next step. It does not inherently hold ruining power.
  2. If you don’t like it, you can paint over it. Mixed media is all about layers. The ‘flawed’ layer can become a building block to a more complex finished piece.
  3. Your latest art piece is not you. It’s an expression of you, but it does not personify you. If it is ‘bad’ (such a subjective concept anyway!), it doesn’t mean you’re destined to make ‘bad art’ forevermore.
  4. You’re allowed to practice. Make mistakes. ‘Ruin things’. You may not have created something you like, but you have learned about what you do not like. Next time it will be better.
  5. TURN THE NEXT PAGE AND MOVE ON!

Ahh fear.. my misguided frenemy. Thank you, but not this time please.