Saturday, March 14, 2015

Inspire Your Heart with Art

7 Ways to Inspire Your Heart with Art
1.  Make a decision

My son is a high school senior now.  But, it doesn't feel like so long ago that I was a working mother of a youngster, with all those demands on my time.  I enjoyed art so much but I remember feeling that it was, I don't know, selfish or something if I took time to be creative.

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 find I have to be intentional about infusing art and creativity into my everyday life. I've trained myself to be that way, mostly by paying attention to beauty -- something I learned from my late friend Michelle.  When you start looking for it, you see ways to be add beauty to everything you do: with your food, in fabrics, in shadows, the way you wrap a gift, or address an envelope, or dress yourself.  Michelle would buy a broom to use for house cleaning, and paint a flower on its base before she used it.  That's what I'm talking about.

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

I cannot stress enough how important it has been for me to connect with other women (mostly) who appreciate the same artistic aesthetic as I do.  For me, this happened through attending markets and craft fairs, and classes -- even art retreats that I save all year for and travel to. When I find someone who is a member of my creative "tribe", I know it immediately!.

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!



But even if you're not able to connect locally, you can find your tribe online  by shopping for the things you love, and then learning a bit about the artists who create them -- by reading blogs and following links to similar items whenever you find them.  Fewer people are blogging these days, but you can also follow folks on Pinterest, Instagram, or Facebook with similar results.

4.  Inspire each other
Once 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.

5 comments :

Lynette Hammit said...

This is a great post Laurie! I am sorry to see less people blog; forces me to spend more time on Pinterest! I am now inspired to add feather stitiching to my current project of piecing Goodwill scraps and finds into an art quilt.

Linda said...

Thank you Laurie for the inspiration you provide. I love shopping in the "FREE" boxes at garage sales, lol. The stuff that I find makes me use my imagination. And, should the piece I'm "doing" not work out I don't feel bad in tossing it into my "FREE" box of Freecycle items. You never know who might find inspiration in my "junk".

Mind you, there are times that I must indulge myself and buy an odd little treasure, or two, okay maybe three!

Thanks for 'talking to my heart'. I thoroughly enjoy your blog.

The Junque Seeker said...

You inspire me to do more creating, and I appreciate that. I'm still an avid blog reader and hope people will continue to share via their blogs.

One of my favorite possessions is my Patience Brewster Basset Hound figure. I didn't know of her work before I found it, but am a big fan now.

Claudia E said...

Oh, Laurie, you are such an inspiration! I love reading your blog and seeing all of your artiness. Your 7 rules are so right on. Thank you for inspiring us with your words and your art.

Kathy said...

Laurie, this is a beautiful post and every single thing is so true. Thank you for reminding us to stop and remember that!