Tuesday, January 8, 2013


Not much space required for this starter, or travel art kit

Get Creative This Year
When I get into conversations with people about being creative, I often get a list of things that stand in their way. The reasons are valid, but if you want to add creative time and space to your life, it is not going to magically happen; you need a plan. This piece is about painting, but the same principles apply to crafting, writing, photography, music, sewing, cooking, DIY projects, etc. 

Obstacles. Feeling blocked or uninspired?  This often happens when I have 37 other things running through my mind, which doesn’t leave space and focus for even a small creative project. A wonderful book that I often recommend is “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. A helpful exercise she recommends is spending a few minutes clearing your head through the power of writing. When I lead art workshops, we always start our session spending 5 minutes with a sheet of paper and a pen. Each person then writes down anything and everything on their mind, a mental laundry list. The things that need to come out are all those TO-DO items, how you are feeling, the misunderstanding you had with someone yesterday, a prayer, a complaint, excitements, difficulties, etc. Get it out! The things on the paper are private. You can keep the paper or throw it away, whatever is most helpful. Once your head is a bit more clear, you can be present in your creative project. Seek inspiration in a change of scene, a favorite magazine, or toss around ideas with a friend. JUST DO IT! You are practicing, playing, experimenting... don’t worry if it’s not a masterpiece. Have fun and enjoy the process.  

Time. It’s tough, I know. None of us seem to have enough of it. If engaging in more creative projects is a priority for you, then you might have to schedule it the way you would a doctor’s appointment and make the necessary arrangements to keep the appointment. I have two friends who get together once a month and do something creative, often a project from Pinterest. I love this, as they are able to spend time together, catch up, and share creativity. I often get up early and paint a little before the madness of the day begins. It’s all about what works for you.

Space. Here in Southern California, space is expensive. Square footage is at a premium. My house is small and it seems every last corner accounted for. A few years back, I finally convinced my husband that our car didn’t need its own bedroom, and that our garage could really benefit our family as a workspace, and playroom. This has changed our lives. We inherited some furniture, a TV and DVD player, and bought a rug. We can have a group of kids over and they have a spot to watch a movie, play games, do crafts, eat snacks, and be loud! Better still, my large easel, and box of paints and brushes also have a permanent home. They are set up 24/7, ready for me to work. If I only have an hour to paint, I don’t have to spend 20 minutes of it setting up. Yes, I do share my studio space with dolls and legos, but that’s OK; it works. Do I dream of having my own beautiful studio? Of course, and maybe one day I will...but until then I will be content with the space I have. I have found myself waiting for the time when I will feel inspired, have more space, move to that new house, have more time in my schedule, etc. I realize that my dreams will pass me by if I wait for the ideal circumstances, so I am trying to move forward with what I have today.

Art Kit
Back in my 20’s, I never went anywhere without a mini paint set, pencils, and a small pad of art paper. New places inspire me, and I would often sit for half an hour and do a quick sketch or painting. Somewhere along the path of marriage and motherhood, this wonderful practice got lost. A few months back, I was fortunate enough to take a quick trip to Santa Barbara with my sister. She was working, so I had a day to myself and remembered my old practice of plein air painting. I decided to put together a travel paint kit to bring with me. 

If you are just getting started, and short on time and space, this art pack may be the perfect starter kit. It is small enough to squeeze its way into one of your cupboards. It is easy to take out, set up on a table (a small folding table is ideal), and use for a quick project. It is easily cleaned up and put back away. 

Necessary items*:

Basket or container 
5 paint brushes, various sizes (brush case is a good idea)
Small canvases, boards or stretched
Water container
Palette for mixing colors (a disposable plastic plate works well)
Small drop cloth 
Paints -small tubes of acrylic artist colors, or small jars of acrylic gloss craft paint (the less expensive choice, and fine if you are just starting)
Colors: red, blue, yellow, green, violet, orange, brown, black, white
A more technical list of colors: Ultramarine Blue, Cerulean Blue, Medium Red, Violet or Magenta, Medium Yellow, Light Green, Phthalo Green, Medium Orange, Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna, Raw Sienna, White, Black

*All items are available at Michael’s, or art supply stores

1 comment:

  1. I've always loved doing crafts. Thanks for the encouragement to keep going!- Jere Carlson