Friday, February 7, 2014

Loving - and FEEDING - Your Inner Artist

Valentine's Day is a week away.  It's the one day each year that we are reminded to let our sweethearts know that we care, usually with big boxes of candy, flowers, stuffed animals, greeting cards, romantic dinners . . . well, you get the idea.  We have a lot of days like that in the United States: Mother's Day, Father's Day, Veteran's Day.

But for the people who matter to us, we need to show our love more than just once a year.  Chocolate's great (truly - don't get me wrong on that one) but a relationship also needs really nutritious things on a regular basis.

And the same holds true for your relationship with your inner artist. New art supplies that you don't know how to use - yet?  Yummy like candy.  That week-long art retreat?  That's like a once-a-year candlelight dinner extravaganza. But what does your inner artist really need to be cared for on a regular basis?

Probably what most of us need to feel loved. Time. Attention. Affirmation. Encouragement. Support. We need to do things with our inner artist, spend a little quality time.  Make sure the artist feels like a priority.  Engage with it, do projects with it, listen to it. Sure, gifts are awesome, but the artist needs that hands-on time with us. 

So how do we go about doing that?

Over the years, I've tried a lot of different things:
  • Sketching almost every day
  • Making collages a few times a week (the square collages in this post are an example)
  • Spending 5 minutes a day in my studio
  • Committing to spend at least 15 hours a week in the studio
  • Journaling or freewriting almost every morning
  • Taking a photograph almost every day
  • Sharing an image of my art on facebook almost every day
  • Learning a new technique every month
  • Joining in a postcard or ornament swap
  • Making three artist trading cards a week

Some worked better than others, and some have just become part of my regular routine. Of course, my inner artist loves exploring, figuring stuff out, and learning new things, so I switch it up a lot.  I have a hard time doing something every day, so I give myself a break here and there, and I've found I can successfully do something almost every day. Or, I can commit to doing something every week or for a certain amount of time every week. 

Here are a few keys for finding and doing those things that will feed your inner artist:
  • Find a way to be consistent Be realistic about your schedule and what you can fit it in, but find a way to do something on a regular basis.
  • Keep it short and simple to start Make it easy to succeed. Begin with something you can do in 5 minutes, and then build up from there.
  • Go for action not perfection  You just have to do something - it doesn't have to be a great something.
  • Make it a priority put it in your calendar and make it as important as putting out the trash or picking your kids up from school
  • Have accountability tell someone your plan, have a buddy doing the same thing, or post your results on social media. 
  • Do something that meets a need or fulfills a desire  this is key: whatever you decide to do, it needs to be something you actually WANT to do. 

And what happens when you feed your inner artist?  It grows.
If you're interested in getting regular tasty ideas and exercises to nourish your inner artist delivered to your inbox, try my 8-week online class "The Creative Conversation: Finding Your Voice" that opens February 10, 2014.