Thursday, September 30, 2010

Finding the Time

External blocks to creativity come in many, many forms. Especially for those of us who are parents and have young ones at home. I try very hard to be an involved parent. I believe its the best foundation for my daughter's future success and I believe that family is of paramount importance.

I've pretty much always kept my weekends and evenings unscheduled and dedicated to family time. I actually can paint with my daughter around, but not when my husband is home. Not sure why, but he feels more high maintenance maybe.

So, I keep family time sacred and meet all my other obligations, but I am not nearly so protective about my art. Why is that? And how do we nurture our creative selves when the schedule is as full as it can get? How do we make time for art?

I carry a sketchbook with me and at least practice my observation skills with quick gestures during tae kwon do or at a Brownie meeting. Those don't really contribute to paintings, but they keep my eye and hand alert. And are a fun chronicle of my days. And I mustn't discount them because they aren't a gallery quality painting.

I have found that one of the best tools for my studio is a timer. When I have a little bit of time, I set a digital kitchen timer for 30 minutes and do a paint sketch (if I haven't wasted all the time trying to find a subject.) Its a great way to start a painting too. Give yourself a short time to mass in the whole scene.

A wonderful book I found at a used book store is Craig Nelson's 60 Minutes to Better Painting. Its all about the advantages of quick studies. I highly recommend it if you can find it.

How do you carve out time to create? Share your ideas in comments below!

-- Robin

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Education at Home

I've noticed recently that a number of artists are offering online classes, workshops and even mentoring online. It seems like a logical next step in our computer savvy world.

Today, I had a note from Vicki Ross who has been working very hard with some very talented people to offer just such an educational outlet. What better way to stretch yourself when you are in a rut!? Work at your own studio, in your jammies if you like, and save on travel expenses. I think its brilliant.

Check out and also see our growing list of instructors who offer online classes and videos in the right column.

-- Robin

Monday, September 20, 2010

TED Talks for Artists and Designers

A friendly reader, Emma, shared a link to her recently published article listing some of the best art/creative focused talks from TED.
See her list here - “20 Awe-Inspiring TED Talks for Artists & Designers

For those who don't know, TED is a group devoted to "sharing ideas worth spreading" and they host speakers from many different fields. I've enjoyed listening to some of these in the background while I paint. They have really excellent presentations from some of today's best authors as well as scientists, engineers, business leaders and innovators.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Creating Challenges

Today I wanted to talk about the idea of the monthly challenge group I am involved in. The very creative Diana Moses Botkin decided to get a group of artists together to focus on a certain challenging theme each month. She can tell us later about the particulars of her choices and such, but I wanted to just talk about how good the challenges have been for me personally.
For one thing, I find that every time I approach my easel I feel this pressure to create a masterpiece. I treat every start as "precious" and I don't allow myself to play or experiment enough. The challenges have been that for me - a chance to paint a subject I wouldn't normally do, or use a palette I haven't tried. It helps to loosen me up and relax and get the creative juices flowing. I've really enjoyed it and I've found that those experiments influence my "precious" pieces and give them new life.
So I encourage anyone to try the same thing - sometimes a small group is necessary to get yourself motivated and committed! Team up with an artistic friend or small group, pick something obscure and different to do and loosen up.
-- Robin Cheers

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Moving On

Well I did finish the book. And I was certainly inspired by much of the wisdom it contained though like I've said before, it seemed geared towards those "closet" artists who have ignored or hidden their creativity and want to start to explore it again.
When I began the reading and exercises, it was after going through another of those blocks where just nothing sparked for me and I needed help working through the block. Those blocks come and go for all of us creative types and we all need some inspiration, ideas and support to get through them.
That brings me to my point here. I am going to make this blog more geared towards just that. A forum for many artists to share some ideas, be they specific to working through or accepting a block, or ideas for managing time, business tips, and other things to get our creative juices flowing. I have asked some and will approach more artists to join me here and share with us.
So join me and your fellow creatives and share any ideas you care to contribute! I will post things with links back to the contributors and certainly give all due credit. And look for it us Facebook, I will create a page for us there.
Keep in touch!
-- Robin
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