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Dealing With A Creative Funk

July 8th, 2020

Dealing With A Creative Funk

This time last year (2019), I was starting work on a solo exhibition, held and organized by myself. The intended date of the show was March 2020.

The planning of the even and working on pieces for the show was a magnificent ongoing stream of creativity. Inspiration was abundant and tearing myself away from my studio was a difficult task.

As they say, "the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry," and everything came to a grinding halt with the worldwide pandemic.

Initially, I thought that I would be ok. I mean, what more can an artist whish for then to be able to spend all their time in the studio, with no interruptions.

In my case, after going through the process of cancelling the show and rescheduling if for August 2020, it was as if a flame was blown out. I just lost all motivation and energy to want to work on pieces. I felt that perhaps it is just a short little creative checkout, especially after all the work for the March show.

We are hitting month 4 now and I was still struggling to feel any creative flow until recently. So, here is the question? How do you pull yourself out of a creative funk?

Usually, when I do feel a bit of a creative funk coming on, I will go to my studio and start cleaning and reorganizing. However, this time I don't even have the motivation to do that.

Since I know I am not the only one who may be struggling with this right now, here are some tips I have on how to get out of the funk:

* Clean and re-organize your studio
* Read through art magazines
* Go on a nature walk and take some photos of potential reference materials
* Listen to art related Podcast - I listen to two different podcasts; PleinAir by Eric Rhoads and ArtBiz Podcast by Alyson Stanfield
* Speak to close artist friends - Mine is MaryBeth Schiros, find out from them what they suggest you can do to break the funk
* Go to stores - I also go and wander through art supplies stores and just look at the different materials

I just had to reschedule the show for the third time. It will be on April 24,2021 - third time is the lucky charm as they say.

So, I have promised myself to be positive about this and I have mentally redesigned my whole show! I have decided to take this opportunity to create a whole new show for the next year.

With the show rescheduled and after a wonderful camping trip in Northern Michigan, I can already feel the creative juices stirring.

Keep an eye on this space for updates about the show.

Happy Painting!!

The Importance Of Developing Drawing Skills

May 22nd, 2020

The Importance Of Developing Drawing Skills

As an artist and a private art teacher, I have been asked many times "why is drawing an important foundation to develop?" or students get frustrated when their paintings do not materialize as they envisioned it. Often it is due to the lack of being able to draw.

Learning and practicing the basic foundations such as value, tone and composition of drawing is very important to developing your skills as a well-rounded artist.

Yes, it is true that each experienced artist has very different ways of teaching the drawing basics, however we all get the same finished drawing in the end.

I find that it is very important to always learn from other artist, no matter how accomplished you are or how new you are to the world of creating art. Learning from different artist helps in processing the same technique but in a different ways, and some people have very different learning and processing capacities. Widening your range of teachers and instructors only adds to your own experience in making art a pleasurable experience.

In today's world it is so much easier with technology. You are able to see so many artists teaching techniques on YouTube, online private lessons, and traveling has made it easier to attend workshop and shows.

The following YouTube video by Mark Fehlman on "Design Strategies for powerful paintings" is excellent.

He really rakes the time to explain the different composition techniques, and I like the uncomplicated manner that he uses. He also takes the time to explain tones and value and the important role it plays in a good painting.

Being a self-taught artist, this is just one example on how I have been improving my artistic skill over the last 20 plus years. I received the basic drawing skill during High School and my teacher at the time was a practicing artist. And he really took the extra time to focus on our drawing skills. However, I continued to practice regularly what I have learned and watched and learned from other artist.


A Reflection

May 2nd, 2020

A Reflection

I have struggled for 20 years to understand what my place in the art world is and what voice I have.

I always thought that my art had to be about some cause in the world, some deep-seated, inner turmoil. I thought I had to develop a style that looks like another artist style. An impressionist, surrealist, realist - which one am I to follow and master? All of these styles seem to creep into my work in some way. Even when I had a brick and mortar store, and successfully thaught art.

However, about three years ago things changed. I had a career as an Interior Designer, loved the job, but was not happy. Art became a hobby and my studio stood empty for days on end. That's when I realized I had to really take the time to think about where I want to go and what I want to do.

I realized I wanted to be a full-time artist. I want to be in my studio for hours on end and create. I want to share my knowledge with students. I want to show my work to the world. I want to do good with my work.

Create art that makes me happy and other happy. I wanted capture the beauty of the world. I will only create for certain causes if commissioned to do so and, even then, I will have to feel passion for that cause. I realized I want to learn from other artists and apply what I learned. I finally understood that there are no rules that cannot be broken. I could take conventional ways of doing things and find a different way to do them.

Create my style to be like another artist. I did not want to focus on the negative in life but only show the positive. Avoid learning more about the business of selling art.

Once I re-focused myself and figured all the above out, I felt like a different person; however, it was still a long haul.

All of those art books on how to become an artist were taken of the shelve, dusted off, and read. I watched all sorts of YouTube videos on other artists and their styles, and I was hooked on PleinAir painting. The studio was revamped and loaded with positive energy.

First obstacle, no gallery wanted to represent me. I really struggled. I send loads of applications out. Some came back with long waiting lists other did not answer. In the meantime, I kept on painting and improving. Four hours on a daily basis in my studio and I painted and explored and I loved it!

One day, my daughter came home from work - she is a victim advocate at the local YWCA (Young Women's Christian Association) and we talked. After a long conversation, I realized that I want to do something to help. The only way I can do that is through my art.

I approached the YWCA and offered to do several paintings (inserted above Title: United we stand number 11 of 11). They loved the idea and they loved the work I did. This was a huge confidence booster for me. I realized I don't have to do things the conventional way, I don't have to have a gallery showing my work. I can do this myself.

I started thinking about doing my own one-nigh exhibition, what the purpose of this exhibition would be and who I would want to attend this exhibition. What would the ultimate goal be? Then I started working on paintings, drawings, venues, invitations. Everything was lined up, then COVID-19 hit us (obstacle #2). The exhibition was cancelled. Luckily the venue worked with me and I was able to move it out to August 2020. Hopefully I can have it then. By then, I will have a whole new collection to show, which is a fun thought.

Initially this did bring me down a bit, but in the end, I realized that there is a reason for things to happen. Who knows, I might only really find out when it happens.

The most important thing is that I realized I need a change. I finally made peace with the fact that I might not be completely be like any other artist, but I am different in my own way. I have built enough confidence to realize that I don't have to do things the conventional way.