Creativity in everyday life- Tips from my grandmother #1

6 Tips I Got from My Grandmother 

My Grandmother, whom we called ‘Mémère’, was a big influence on me but I did not realize it until later. Going to my grandmother’s was my ‘zen’ moment. She liked or loved me as I was and in the moment.. In hindsight, I was probably better behaved at her house than elsewhere because she allowed me to be the person I was. These are the things my grandmother taught me before she passed away…From her, I learned:

1. I am a person worthy of being listened to. She listened to everything I said. She never interrupted. She would smile and give me positive feedback on my questions. She always slanted life towards the positive. I learnt that the glass is always half-full.No matter where you are, or what you’re doing, always believe that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Do the best you can to control your circumstances. Learn to accept that you can’t always control everything. Once you’ve done all that is in your power, if it’s meant to happen — it will.

As an artist, I take the time to be like my grandmother and listen. Clients like it because they feel special. They listen back, most of the time. Just listening and adding positive comments changes people’s attitudes towards your creative practice. They see you as a nice person and therefore your creative practice is a positive.

2. Focus on one thing at a time. Invest energy into that activity. Don’t get distracted. You don’t have to do it all, and you don’t have to do it right now. Be present, be active, do the best that you can.

As an artist, this took me a long time to learn. I tended to work on painting and sculpture at the same time. A little bit here and a little bit there until it was done. As time went on, this became more and more difficult. I learned to do less and focus on what I was doing. This did not mean that I stopped doing sculpture. I did sculpture in blocks of time and painting in other blocks. I focussed on one media at a time.

3. Don’t change yourself to suit others. Be true to your own personality. Always say what you really think, even if it’s not the popular opinion. Be gentle when you say it. Don’t hurt people if you can help it.

As an artist, you will be asked to create artwork that is not in ‘your style’. Be careful with this temptation. You do not want to loose your reputation for your own style. I am not saying that you should not do these commissions but be careful that you do not get known as the artist who will paint in any style and then your clients will forget that you have a style.

4. Everybody changes. You travel, get a new job, learn new information and therefore change. Every day we learn something new which changes us in some way or another. Sometimes we realize we’re not who we used to be, but that’s perfectly normal.

As an artist, your style will change. Your style will evolve at the same time that you experience new things. This is also normal. Rarely do artists keep with the same style. Some gallery owners will ask that you stick to a style. You can stick to a style and still change. You can incorporate new elements into your existing style. For example, add a new color or a bit of collage to your paintings.

5. Being happy is important. Don’t accept a job just because it will pay you big bucks. Make sure you like this job. In this way, when you’ve reached old age, you’ll understand that the best things in life are things that money can’t buy — love and friendship. Take the time to be nice.

As an artist, you need to balance your creative side with your personal life. Relationships are important so try not to work marathon type hours too often. Don’t forget your family. Learning to balance home and career is one of the hardest parts of having your own business as an artist.

6. There are happy moments in life but not ‘happy forever after’ endings. You will always have challenges to surmount. Never be afraid to leave everything and start anew, no matter how old you are.

As an artist, you will get great commissions or sales that make great happy moments. These will come and go. If ever, your work is not making you happy, don’t be afraid to change. If making sculpture in plaster is no longer selling or you are no longer inspired by it, change to something else. If you are not inspired, it will show in your work. The work will begin to stop selling. Change now while you can.

I hope this helps you.

Doris’ website: www.dorischarest.ca

I have creativity courses and art courses online at: https://www.udemy.com/user/dorischarest/

For more information on mixed media by Doris Charest:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCltBfqSMAK0OOWeXaKGud6Q?view_as=subscriber

https://www.facebook.com/dorischarest

https://www.pinterest.ca/dalinec/

https://www.instagram.com/dorischarest/

https://www.udemy.com/user/edit-profile/

https://www.skillshare.com/user/dorischarest

All photography and artwork by Doris Charest

Thanks for reading, and please do recommend, like, share, comment, etc. Thanks.

Till next time …

Creativity in everyday life – 5 tips for abstract paintings

Creativity in everyday life — 5 Tips for Better Abstract Paintings

Go to the profile of Doris Charest

Abtract painting is hard. People are often surprised how hard it is to create a great abstract painting. You can maximize your chances of creating great paintings by following your these steps;

1. Plan and plan so more. Decide what materials you will use, what size the final product will be and what style you will use. Abstract painters, I find, love to work on large canvases. I am one of those artists and because the canvas can cost several hundred dollars to actually buy the canvas and supplies to create this work, planning is essential to endure success and to make the whole experience affordable.

The next step is deciding what style you will use. Will you pour paint? Will you work using pointillism? Will you use only a big 6 inch (15 cm) brush? Will the work be detailed or have large areas of bold colours that are brushed on?

Will you use acrylics? Oils? Collage? Decide on your materials. Buy what you need to buy for the project. For the moment, put it all in the corner and get to your desk to plan the next step.

2. Choose your colours before you start. Your main goal should be to limit the amount of colours you use. Simplicity is best. Ten colours in a painting, all competing with each other, can be overwhelming to the viewer. Three main colours with small amounts of other colours is easier on the viewer.

3. Value sketches. This is essential. If you are not sure what a value sketch is, check out my youtube video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6WMWmPBYWQ&t=0s&list=PLPUZqAc8UwZILqfVxiRjoyYIfqYOgoFjF&index=9

4. Do a practice run on paper. This is where you decide where the colours go. Is the red for the background? Is gold an accent?

One important detail is that your practice paper should be the same shape as the final canvas. There is no sense in practicing on a different shape. When you work on a paper of the same shape, you can work out proportions of where the lines or colours go.

5. Chances are that you will want to make some changes to your practice run. Re-evaluate your practice run. Feel free to do more than one practice run. Work out the basic shapes until you are happy. When you are happy with the basic shapes, you are ready to work bigger.

A great way to ‘sketch’ the basic shapes in on your larger canvas is to use a watercolour pencil. A blue or a yellow are nice and pale. You can block in where the shapes go, paint then take a wet cloth and wipe the pencil line away. This is a wonderfully easy way to ensure that you have a guide when you start painting.

I hope this helps you .

Doris’ website: www.dorischarest.ca

I have creativity courses and art courses online at: https://www.udemy.com/user/dorischarest/

For more information on mixed media by Doris Charest:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCltBfqSMAK0OOWeXaKGud6Q?view_as=subscriber

https://www.facebook.com/dorischarest

https://www.pinterest.ca/dalinec/

https://www.instagram.com/dorischarest/

https://www.udemy.com/user/edit-profile/

https://www.skillshare.com/user/dorischarest

All photography and artwork by Doris Charest

Thanks for reading, and please do recommend, like, share, comment, etc. Thanks.

Till next time …

Creativity in everyday life- 3 things only artists understand

Creativity in everyday life — 3 Things only artists understand

Go to the profile of Doris Charest

I find that ordinary (non-artists) people see the world differently. They do not perceive what is around them with their eyes or senses as much as artists. Artistic types see the world in greater detail and with eyes that notice more. Here are three differences between artists and the rest of the world.

1. The world is a visual feast. We see details others do not. For example, I was walking with my husband along this stone wall of an Inca fortress that went for at least half a kilometer with a tour group. The wall was beautifully made. Each stone was perfectly chiseled and put into place next to another stone. The wall did not seem to have any errors in it. It leaned at a 5 degree angle, we were told to prevent erosion and the weakening of the wall. Once in a while there was one stone that was a darker red color. The placement of the red stone seemed to be intentional. That was interesting. In the crevasses of the rocks, will plants grew. There were delicate ferns, tiny plants that looked like ground cover with white flowers and one plant that was blooming with a tiny red flower that looked like an orchid. As I took pictures of these, I got further behind the group. When I caught up, the guide thought that I was lagging behind because I was not fit enough. He said we would have to pick up the pace. I explained that I was taking photos and told him all that I had noticed. I asked about the orchid. He gazed at me and said no one had ever asked him and he didn’t know. He didn’t know about the red rock either. He had been a guide for 8 years.

I am a visual artist so I perceive more with my eyes. I have noticed that musicians hear more information than I do. They make connections between sounds that I have to work really hard to even notice. I have noticed the same with writers and words. We feast in the sights or sounds we notice. The non-artists are missing out….

2. Wearing bright colors makes you happy. The psychology of color says that colour influences perceptions that are not obvious, such as the taste of food. Colour can indeed influence a person; however, it is important to remember that these effects differ between people.Color has long been used to create feelings of coziness or spaciousness. However, how people are affected by different color stimuli varies from person to person.

Blue is the top choice for 35% of Americans, followed by green (16%), purple (10%) and red (9%).A preference for blue and green may be due to a preference for certain places to live.There is evidence that color preference may depend on ambient temperature. People who are cold prefer warm colors like red and yellow while people who are hot prefer cool colors like blue and green.Some research has concluded that women and men respectively prefer “warm” and “cool” colors.Some studies find that color can affect mood. for more information, check out: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_psychology

3. Ideas come out really looking at what is in front of you. Once, I looked at some skidoo tracks in the snow and got an idea for a painting with embossed-like textures in it. The way the snow covered up the back door of a big truck gave me an idea for an abstract. Seasons were created so that there is new information for you to look at all year round. Each seasons brings out new information that needs noticing. I visited Prince Edward Island in the spring. The red soil with that beautiful spring green led me trying out that particular color combination.

I hope this helps you .

I hope this helps you .

Doris’ website: www.dorischarest.ca

I have creativity courses and art courses online at: https://www.udemy.com/user/dorischarest/

For more information on mixed media by Doris Charest:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCltBfqSMAK0OOWeXaKGud6Q?view_as=subscriber

https://www.facebook.com/dorischarest

https://www.pinterest.ca/dalinec/

https://www.instagram.com/dorischarest/

https://www.udemy.com/user/edit-profile/

https://www.skillshare.com/user/dorischarest

All photography and artwork by Doris Charest

Thanks for reading, and please do recommend, like, share, comment, etc. Thanks.

Till next time …

Creativity in everyday life – Artist and CEO

Creativity in everyday life — Artist and Studio CEO

Go to the profile of Doris Charest

When you start in artist business, you have no one to guide you and decide what you will do every day. Some artists end up unable to get themselves going. What you need to do is to think like a boss. Be your own CEO.

First thing in the morning, put on your ‘boss’ hat and decide what your workers (you -the artist; you -the social media expert; you -the marketing agent and you -the framer) will do. Make a list and give each of your workers a job to do for the day or the week.

Often what I do is take out my journal on Monday morning and sort out what needs to be done that week. Some artists insist that this should be done on Sunday night so that you get a head start on your week but personally, Sunday is a day off for me. There are times you need to rest so that you get those good ideas when you do get working and Sunday is my day.

Being a boss means making a plan for your business. There are all kinds of advice columns that you can search out. There are even free guides on the internet but my personal favorite is to just take out my journal, open it up to two blank pages and write down absolutely everything that I think I would like to do that year (or six months, if you prefer). I write down everything that comes to my mind. I also write down what I no longer want to do. This takes a while. I write until my brain can’t any more, go make art, write some more, make art and write some more. If need be, I give myself two days. Then, I put the journal away for a week.

The next week, I open up my journal and sort out what I wrote down. Sometimes, I am surprized what I did jot down. I take all the information and make lists. There is an art production list, a social media list, a list for applying to shows, a list for marketing, a list for activities that I want to eliminate or downsize and a list for whatever topic came up.

Some years there are new topics. Last year, I decided that I wanted to create an installation. I had a separate list for that one. Then, I break down each list into what I will do first, second and last. Prioritising is important. You cannot do it all at once. For the first month, I take all the number ones and they become my list of the month. Even that is overwhelming sometimes so I break down all the #1s into smaller steps that I can take.

All the items that are first on your list are the most important to you so don’t set a time limit on them. Chances are that you will be doing these activities a little bit all year long. Just because you start them on month #1 doesn’t mean you have to finish them before month #2. I find that the important items tend to be longer commitments. For example, one of mine was to blog more regularly. This is an activity that I have to do all year long.

I also find that the last items on my list rarely get done. They are the ‘nice’ ideas or ‘should do’ ideas that you really don’t want to do or you are not ready to do. For example, two years ago, my goal to create an installation was at the bottom of my list. I didn’t work on it but I thought about it a lot. I wanted a good idea, not just a ‘get it done even if it is not good idea’, so it stayed on the back burner. By the next year, I was ready. The same thing will happen to you.

Be your own CEO and get yourself organized. Start now. You can start planning now and don’t wait for the ‘right’ moment.

Hope that helps,

Artist & CEO of Doris Charest Studio

I hope this helps you .

Doris’ website: www.dorischarest.ca

I have creativity courses and art courses online at: https://www.udemy.com/user/dorischarest/

For more information on mixed media by Doris Charest:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCltBfqSMAK0OOWeXaKGud6Q?view_as=subscriber

https://www.facebook.com/dorischarest

https://www.pinterest.ca/dalinec/

https://www.instagram.com/dorischarest/

https://www.udemy.com/user/edit-profile/

https://www.skillshare.com/user/dorischarest

All photography and artwork by Doris Charest

Thanks for reading, and please do recommend, like, share, comment, etc. Thanks.

Till next time …

Creativity in everyday life – Abstract Art

Creativity in everyday life — 3 Things that you didn’t know about abstract art

Go to the profile of Doris Charest

Creating abstract work is more difficult than you think. Abstract work is emotional, intellectual and conceptual. These are elements that touch our basic, primal emotions. Here are some basic points about abstract work to think about:

1. Abstract art can be about emotions. With abstract art, you are trying to create an impact. You want people to notice your work and react to it. This means touching their feelings. In contemporary work, the goal is not always to make a pleasing painting; it is about creating a reaction. This reaction can be positive or negative. If someone reacts and says ‘That makes me feel frustrated’ or ‘That makes me feel happy’ or ‘That makes me feel like…’, you have achieved your goal. You want people to react and comment. You want them to feel the emotion that you put into that painting.

You can create that painting by expressing your inner feelings or you can totally plan that feeling. When you make certain kinds of marks on a canvas like bold black calligraphic strokes, that provokes a kind of feeling that is different from marks made with soft pastel colours. Think about what you want to express. Do you want a relaxing feeling or an edgy one?

2. Abstract art can be about color and how colours react when near each other. There are artists that have spent their lives working on this theme. If you look at the work of Jack Bush and …., you will see that their work is about color. When one sits next to another color, a certain vibration is created. Try it. Put yellow next to purple then put yellow next to orange. You get a whole different feeling with each of these.

The impressionists were the first to experiment with color. Monet, placed dabs of color next to each other on his painting and expected the eye to do the blending. If you look at his water and garden series, you will see how he did this. Rather than put down a green, he would put down a yellow and a blue next to each other. The eye would read it as a green. Since his works a large and meant to be seen from far, this works really well.

3. Abstract art can be about the materials. Some artists like texture. Some artists like the way paint drips, blends and semi-covers other paint. The whole experience is about what the materials will do. Elements of composition are important too but what happens when thick paint goes over thin or vice versa is what is really interesting to some artists.

One artist to look at is Willem de Kooning. He was a Dutch abstract expressionist artist. He was born in Rotterdam, in the Netherlands. He moved to the United States in 1926, and became an American citizen in 1962. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willem_de_Kooning He loved the paint and the way he could layer different colours, cause it to drip and layer some more.

I hope this helps you .

Doris’ website: www.dorischarest.ca

I have creativity courses and art courses online at: https://www.udemy.com/user/dorischarest/

For more information on mixed media by Doris Charest:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCltBfqSMAK0OOWeXaKGud6Q?view_as=subscriber

https://www.facebook.com/dorischarest

https://www.pinterest.ca/dalinec/

https://www.instagram.com/dorischarest/

https://www.udemy.com/user/edit-profile/

https://www.skillshare.com/user/dorischarest

All photography and artwork by Doris Charest

Thanks for reading, and please do recommend, like, share, comment, etc. Thanks.

Till next time …

Creativity in everyday life – A 30 day challenge reflection

 A 30 day challenge is just that, a challenge.

I readily agreed to a 30 day challenge thinking it was going to be easy to do. We were to create small, 8 x 8 in. drawings or paintings and post them once a day. How hard could that be? I would do this first thing in the morning as a warm-up. The goal of this exercise was to experiment.

As it turned out, this is a harder exercise to do than I thought. The first few days were easy enough. I worked through ideas I had been wanting to try. I normally work in an abstract or semi-abstract manner but something happened in the last few months. What was coming out was landscape. The work was abstract-ish but definitely landscape. I surprised myself because I had not worked in a ‘realistic’ manner for years. Why was this coming out? 

Landscape was a subject matter that I had touched on and off for years but always just as one tiny element in a larger more abstract format. Every time that I went back to my ‘old’ style, I created a mess so I decided to go with the flow and work this element out of my system. Maybe I could incorporate some of these realistic elements in my abstracts. This challenge would do the trick for me. 

The goal became a blending of two loves. I would combine abstract and landscape; abstract landscape. I hate roller coasters and this seemed like one. My landscapes turning abstract. Sounded good at the time and a possibility. 

So I started. I started with graphite powder. These happened when I sprinkled the powder on the paper then hosed it down. What was left was an abstract background where I often looked for hidden imagery in the marks. Landscape seemed to come out most of the time. Now I wanted looser, bolder results. Could I do this? I added bits of collage with mixed results. Perseverance is the key, I knew. Make a lot of work and the work would evolve. I kept going. I added watercolour in some then acrylic in others. I splashed paint and I rubbed out the graphite. 

I kept telling myself that it was only paper. These bits of paper were just that, bits of paper. One of my past instructors had told us once that ‘Nothing is precious’. You can always redo the work. At the time, I did not believe him. This work was so ‘magical’ to me. Every time that an artist reaches a new level of achievement, he or she hangs on to these new ‘greater’ works for fear of not being able to do it again. The fear goes away. Your work continues to grow. Slowly, you let those first works go. You even realize that they are not that great…anymore. You have moved to a newer level. You have gotten better. 

I kept repeating my advice in my head and slowly, I made progress. I added elements that I had not done before and the result was occasionally pleasing to my eye. I made small micro elements of progress towards my goal. Days passed and the pile of paintings grew. 

The thirtieth day arrived. I stopped. Looking at the pile, I decided that I would leave the paintings alone for a few days then look at the work more objectively. I kept worrying about my progress or lack of progress. I worked on other projects and time went by. Two weeks later, I looked. Laying out all the work on a large table, I examined the end result. I saw a bit of collage here and acrylic there. This part was good and that part certainly wasn’t. I made a list of the good parts that I liked then picked out my favorite paintings. I put away the others. 

Looking at just the work that I considered successful, I made a plan of what I could do with future work. This is what I discovered:

  • I kept only about 20% of my exercises from the 30 days. 
  • I was pleasantly surprised that I had made progress towards my goal of combining the abstract and landscape themes.
  • The work took a turn that I had not expected. This is not a negative. The result pleased me. 
  • Working consistently changed me and my work. I gained confidence in my overall plan. My work surprised me. 

Convinced that a challenge is good? Here are some links for you to look at:Why You Should Do an Art Challenge
Have you guys ever done an art challenge? Will created the Draw 50 Things Challenge , it’s a design challenge where you…www.svslearn.com
Why join an art challenge?
We are currently in the middle of a 10-day art challenge in our Facebook group community called The Soulbrush Sessions…www.artiststrong.com

A challenge is a way to grow and change your work. Why not give it a try.

I hope this helps you .

Doris’ website: www.dorischarest.ca

I have creativity courses and art courses online at: https://www.udemy.com/user/dorischarest/

For more information on mixed media by Doris Charest:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCltBfqSMAK0OOWeXaKGud6Q?view_as=subscriber

https://www.facebook.com/dorischarest

https://www.pinterest.ca/dalinec/

https://www.instagram.com/dorischarest/

https://www.udemy.com/user/edit-profile/

https://www.skillshare.com/user/dorischarest

All photography and artwork by Doris Charest

Thanks for reading, and please do recommend, like, share, comment, etc. Thanks.

Till next time …

Artists Teaching Art

Teaching art is rewarding in ways that I did not expect.  You create a love of art and an appreciation for the basics in art but there is more to teaching than you think. Students teach you, the teacher, something that you may not expect.  Read more… Monet IMG_9160 small A sample of one of the assignments I gave at Ella  –  Painting in the style of Monet

Many artists end up teaching. Some prefer adults and others children. I don’t think it matters who your favorite students are, sharing your skills with others is a reward in itself.

When I teach, my favorite moment is when a student discovers they can create ‘something’ all by themselves. I call this the ‘aha’ moment. Out of drops of paint and a scrap of canvas, they have created and captured a moment in time or a piece of their psyche and creativity. Whether the work is realistic or abstract, capturing something that pleases the eye and the soul is a magic moment. It is equal to the ballet dancer executing the perfect movement, the baseball player hitting a home run, the musician capturing the essence of a piece of music or a hole in one golf shot. A perfect moment.

These moments come out of us in well spaced moments in time. The trick is learning the skills to create the magic moment more frequently. As a teacher, I find that teaching the students the skills to do this and getting the effects they want consistently is my ‘magic moment’ as a teacher. Seeing the students develop abilities that were not quite there before and gain confidence makes my heart warm with joy.

I had one of these magic moments when teaching at ELLA (Edmonton Lifelong Learning Association). For three weeks every year, Ella puts on courses for anyone ages 50+ to enjoy. You can take up to 4 courses a day in a multitude of subjects. There are courses on topics ranging from archaeology, history, music, politics, writing, fitness, using technology or art. There are interest group meetings and lunch hour speakers.

I was teaching an art class called ‘Introduction to Contemporary Painting’. We started learning about Klimt, Monet and Picasso in the first week then created paintings in those styles. Later we went on to try Pop art, Ready-made art, Abstraction, Minimalism, Sociological art, Linear Minimalism and our final project was an installation.

I had a great group of students.  My youngest student was 55 and the eldest 84.  There is one thing that I realized and that there is no age difference when it comes to creating art.  We all create at the stage we left off the last time we did artwork.  Then, we go on from there.  Skills have no age.  

You can learn them at any time.  The one important ‘skill’ you need is bravery.  You need to create without fear.  What comes out of you is your own particular interests in colours, marks or shapes.  The way you put it out there is totally formed by all your unique experiences.  Those life experiences will always differ from the person next to you.  What you create will always be unique.  What you need to to be brave enough to accept this, be content with it and go on to carve out your own uniqueness.

This is what I have learned from my students.  They have taught me more than I can ever teach them.  Teaching gives back more than you ever give to others.  Remember this fact.

Below are some of my student’s projects.  I have permission from my students but I have kept the names off to protect their privacy.  Enjoy the variety and quality of this work.  I had a great class! IMG_1059 sm IMG_1060 sm IMG_1061sm IMG_1063sm IMG_1064sm IMG_1065sm IMG_1066 sm