I especially recall one holiday season where I set aside one single Saturday to do some crafting with a friend. I looked forward to it for weeks. It wasn't easy to wrangle a day away from "real life" but I did, and planned all kinds of Christmas decorations and projects to do with my hoard of craft supplies. We crafted from morning until evening, and I remember saying over and over again how happy I was to be doing it! It surprised me how full of joy and intensely satisfied I felt -- it was like a breath of fresh air to someone who has been cooped up for too long. The glow of that day of creating lingered for the entire season.
It taught me I was starving for creativity, and I made a decision to not to starve myself anymore. It didn't mean I had to devote many hours to it every day -- but I did decide to make time for art and not to deprive myself.
Now, I consider an art break a healing, soul-enriching thing and I do it whenever I feel the need -- with wonderfully satisfying results.
2. Find a way to instill art in your everyday life
I remember once I was part of a team of women who were all given matching T-shirts to wear for an event. No sooner did she have it but my friend Deborah tore out the collar on hers. It made it look so much better, but I was so surprised because it never would have occurred to me to alter my shirt. She was expressing her style and I have thought about that ripped collar many times over the years as a way to make something everyday into something that reflects your creativity!
3. Locate your tribe
One day I was on my way to meet a member of my tribe, Jeanelle, for lunch and ran into some people I used to work in an office with. They were puzzled by the roll of wallpaper I had sticking out of a bag and so I began to tell them it was a gift, and that we love to use old wallpaper in our art, because there's nothing like the feel of really old wallpaper...well, you can imagine the look on their faces. That's one way to know when someone is not in your tribe!
4. Inspire each otherOnce you've found your like-minded friends, connect with them, encourage them, keep up with them and in doing all of this, you will inspire and be inspired by them! Even if you live far away from each other, photograph your art and send it to your friends! Or blog about it and post it on your blog, and when you hear or read about something they're doing, comment on it to let them know your thoughts. Every blogger LOVES getting comments.
I was once told that getting together to create with friends makes you more creative -- that there is sort of an energy or synchronicity that occurs. I believe in that and have felt it myself, as well as the less-mystical and more practical aspect of creating with friends: you teach and learn from each other. Everyone's muse could use a little company now and then. Inspiration is contagious.
5. Use the good stuff
Many artists including me struggle with "saving" our best materials for "someday." Use the good stuff is a mantra I've borrowed from Karla, and it means simply that if you are going to spend your time on art, use the best of your materials. You can always get more of the good stuff -- but you'll never get back the time you spent on your art.
6. Surround yourself with art and evidence of your creativity
Have you heard the expression, Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful? Put your work out where you can see it, or give it away, or if you have too much of it, rotate it by seasons so you don't get tired of it. Don't be shy about showing it off or giving it away...or selling it for what it's worth.
An aside: I remember when (long ago) I used to be the queen of decluttering. I read a tip that really helped me to think outside the box about what to save and what to let go of: it said if you're having trouble parting with something that you know you don't need, or that is weighing you down, take a photo of it and create a simple journal of the memories. A journal takes up much less space than a lot of stored objects you never take out and look at. I carried that a step further when I decided, If I don't love the thing enough to take the time to do that, I don't need it around at all.
7. Have fun
If you're not having fun -- you're doing it wrong. Art can be hard work, too -- but in my opinion the end result must be joy, healing, satisfaction or pleasure. Otherwise, spend your time doing something else that gives you those things.
I'm writing today about inspiring your heart with art. There was a day set aside celebrate that very subject this past January 31. You may remember reading or even writing about it yourself. I missed posting on that day, but was later asked by Patience Brewster to blog on the subject. Do you know of Patience Brewster? She has the most unique and whimsical art, and I have been a fan of her style since the early 1990s when I first discovered her Christmas ornaments. They were right up my alley! You can imagine, it was a treat to hear from her daughter and be asked to do this blog post! All the photos that appear in this post are examples of my art.