Creativity in everyday life  

3 tips to staying sane with artist block

Artist block. Why it happens and ideas about what to do when it happens. 3 ways to help yourself when getting artist block.

Artist block happens to everyone. Here are 3 tips to help you stay sane with artist block. The first time and to be honest, every time, I panic. Will I never get any good ideas again?

What are the signs or artist block? You sit at your easel or drawing board and you cannot find a single thing to paint or sketch. You draw or paint without thinking or worst, feeling the joy of putting different elements together.

You paint the same thing over and over again without changing anything or making it better. You sit there and cannot move. You feel a mini depression coming on because nothing is going well. Whatever you paint is coming out muddy or just plain bad.

When you get artist block, you mind needs a break. It needs time to think and reflect on what you are currently doing. Quite often you are on your way to moving your art to another level. Your mind has not yet figured out how to move to the next step.

So you need to take a break. You need to stop what you are doing and do something different for a short time. This does not mean that you need to stop making art. Here are three ideas for you to try:

1. Try a new product. When visiting the art supply store, there’s always something new that the shop is very willing to show you. If something catches your eye and it won’t break the bank, try it. Add it to your current work and see if it adds anything to your practice. It may or may not.

Quite a few times, I enjoyed trying out the new product, had a lot of fun making something with it but by the time I used up the sample, I was done with the product. I had no urge to incorporate it in my repertoire. The odd time, I did and the change or extra product made my work shine. It is worth a try.


2. Visit a gallery. We get lonely in our studio and often we miss the visual stimulation of seeing other people’s artwork. Seeing new work, work painted or sculpted in a different way or seeing new color combinations is exciting for artists. After one of these art walks, I often feel happier and excited about art.

Double your joy by bringing a friend (who likes art). When you bring a friend, I find that the discussion of the artwork adds an extra bonus dimension to the process of looking at art. Your friend will also see the artwork in a different way and get you looking at the artwork differently. This doubles your intellectual stimulation.

3. Host a critique with other artists. Chances are that you are not alone in your ‘artist block’. Invite your friends to come for an afternoon of critiquing each other’s work. You may have to provide coffee, tea and a few snacks but I can assure you that the other artists will come willingly. We all have one or two paintings that we get stuck on and welcome help.

There are a couple rules to follow in order to have a pleasant experience when hosting. One is that no one is allowed to make negative comments. You are looking for solutions to the problem and that is the goal. A second is that only two comments are allowed each per painting. You don’t want to overwhelm the artist who puts up their work for critique. For more in depth advice, check out my online class on critiquing :https://www.udemy.com/course/1848512/manage/basics


Overall, you need to break up your routine. Routine is an excellent way to create product but a change of routine will jazz up your day and add a lot of new ideas or stimulation.

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: www.dorischarest.ca

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 — Essentialism View #3

Ways to focus on your art

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Essentialism for artists based on the book by Greg McKeown. Third in a series

Focus on what is important now and create a routine to enable it — this is a third take-away that I have gotten from Greg McKeown’s book on Essentialism. One way to focus on the important is to decide first tand foremost what you want.

Do you want to finish your current project?

Do you want to join a board?

Do you want to volunteer some time a the local shelter?

Do you want to spend more time with your family?

Do you want to have more time to learn to play the flute?

Do you want to travel?

Do you want to spend more time with your aging parents?

Make the longest list you can of all the things you want to do. Fill multiple pages if you want to. There is no limit.

Pick the top three items ONLY. Under each category write down three things you need to do to achieve this goal.

Make a second list of five items to do after you finished the first three.

All the other items go in storage for later.

Prioritizing is a main proponent of Essentialism. You have now prioritized. You have three items to work on.

One of the things I like about McKeown’s book is that he says you need courage to follow your goals. This is true. First you need the courage to pick then the courage to follow your love of art. If you do not follow your own loves, others will fill your time and you will never get to your art. Making athe decision is the hardest. Your family will get needy and your friends will suddenly really need you.

You will need to be firm. You need to say that you will do art from x time to y time. Nothing will deter you. Then, after that time, they will have your time. Complaints will arise and whining will happen but it will stop. And, you will get your art time.

Routine is the key to achieving any amount of work according to this book. You create a routine, you will get work done every time. Even if the routine is only a half an hour a day, you are half an hour closer to your goal. Make a point of showing up to your work space and work will get done.

When you have a routine, your brain kicks in that it is time to work on YOUR work. And, it does. Creativity and great ideas come with a routine. Do not answer emails, facebook or even phone calls.

When I first started working in my studio space, there was no telephone line, no internet, no access by visitors to the doors to our studio. The studio space was uniquely ours. We went there and we were guaranteed to not be disturbed. I loved it. I did not have many hours in a day but I could work solely on what I wanted during that time.

Over several years, my studio space expanded to include many artists. We now have cell phones and internet. The space, to me, is still a haven for quiet. I shut my cell phone off, I deny my opportunities to surf the net and I close my door to visitors still. I have more hours in theory but I find that the greater socialization that is happening because the group has grown leaves me with the same small amount of hours.

I work as much as I can with singular purpose. I value my time by myself where I am uninterrupted. With the practice that I have with focussing on a task because I don’t have a large amount of time, I can get a lot done.

I agree with McKeown. Focusing is important and it is possible to achieve results by showing up. Overall, I have to recommend this book: Essentialism by Greg McKeown.

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:

All photography and artwork by Doris Charest

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

Till next time …

Doris

Creativity in everyday life — 5 tips for an artist to succeed

Success tips for any artist

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Success with art depends on you and your ability to let people know that you are there and willing to sell your artwork. Otherwise, they will think that your art making is only a hobby. In the beginning of your career, it may have been a hobby but now you are ready to transition into a proffessional. Here are some tips that may help.

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1. Focus on a special subject. Choose something that you can do for a long time. I love mixed media landscapes and have yet to run out of ideas. If you love portraits, concentrate mostly on portraits. Do what you love.

One artist that did this really well is John Hamilton “Jack” Bush (20 March 1909–24 January 1977). He worked on his abstracts for years. His style varied little. He just loved the painting process and he was dedicated to Abstract Expressionism. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Busha

2. Work with similar colours over and over again. Learn what those colors in a variety of combinations will do together. Once you have mastered those colours, then move on to different ones.

One artist that did this really well is Mark Rothko, born Markus Yakovlevich Rothkowitz. He was an American painter of Russian Jewish descent. He worked the ideas of colour vibration and what happens when one colour is next to another colour. Simplicity was his mantra.

3. Start with only one color plus black and white. Once you have done everything there is to do with those three, add one more or change to a different color plus black and white. Master your craft in small increments and you will always do well.

One artist that did this really well is Tony Onley. Toni Onley OC was noted for his landscapes and abstract works. Born in Douglas on the Isle of Man, he moved to Canada in 1948, and lived in Brantford, Ontario. Among his works are many watercolours depicting the northern Canadian landscape. He simplified his colour palette and kept painting the most beautiful landscapes. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toni_Onley

4. Go for the ‘big’ idea. Work on one basic idea and make it work really well. Make your work a jaw dropping moment. One artist that did this really well is Helen Frankenthaler. She was an American abstract expressionist painter. She was a major contributor to the history of postwar American painting.

Having exhibited her work for over six decades, she spanned several generations of abstract painters while continuing to produce vital and ever-changing new work. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helen_Frankenthaler

5. Once you have an idea, don’t overly perfect it. Just do it. You need to enjoy the process not plan every miniscule detail before starting. There nothing wrong with planning. I encourage that but you need to allow the possibility that ‘happy accidents’ might happen for the better.

One artist that did this really well is Oscar-Claude Monet. He was a French painter, a founder of French Impressionist painting and the most consistent and prolific practitioner of the movement’s philosophy of expressing one’s perceptions before nature, especially as applied to plein air landscape painting. Monet’s ambition of documenting the French countryside led him to adopt a method of painting the same scene many times in order to capture the changing of light and the passing of the seasons.

From 1883, Monet lived in Giverny, where he purchased a house and property and began a vast landscaping project which included lily ponds that would become the subjects of his best-known works. In 1899, he began painting the water lilies, first in vertical views with a Japanese bridge as a central feature and later in the series of large-scale paintings that was to occupy him continuously for the next 20 years of his life. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claude_Monet

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 check out her website and Udemy.com

5 tips for success as an artist
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Creativity in everyday life — 3 Mistakes Artists Make

Mistakes you can avoid

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Being an artist is challenging. We are people and people make mistakes but here are three mistakes you can avoid with just a little bit of planning. You want your art career to move along in a positive direction.

1. You don’t record the work you do. When showing your work, you want to make sure that you know what painting went to which gallery. Not all galleries are honest. Some ‘forget’ your work and pocket the money. I have had that happen to me and if I had not documented my work, I would not have been able to prove that I had brought the work to that gallery.

There are thefts in galleries too. They and you need to know what you placed in that particular show. I do two things. I have an inventory list of the work I am handing over to the show. I work hard at having a photo of the work included in that inventory list. This means that you need to be prepared AHEAD of time.

You cannot be painting until the last minute. I also take a photo of the work once it is up in the gallery. This is proof that it was in the show and it is also a record of the show. There are times when you will be asked for photos of the work on site. You will be prepared and already have the photos this way.

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2. You don’t update your artistic resume. I struggle with this mistake. Sometimes, I am so busy that I forget to update the resume. Forget some shows and you insult the gallery because they are not on your list. Get the dates wrong and other galleries will think you invented the show. All kinds of unkind theories will surface.

Other problems occur when you don’t update regularly. I end up with mistakes on my resume because I rushed at the last minute to add the latest show. Once I even forgot to capitalize the gallery name. This is thoroughly unprofessional. Your goal should be to be a professional artist with up to date information and a well-honed resume that is ready upon demand.

3. You don’t create a series. Working in a series is a great asset to your career. You decide on a theme and then work on that theme for a minimum of ten to twelve paintings. This is not only a good way to work out your ideas but it is also a good way to improve on what you do create. I find that the first painting in a series is just the ‘bud’ of the idea.

As I create more in the series, the idea expands and grows. By the 12thpainting, my idea has matured, changed and blossomed. The paintings get better and better. Occasionally, there is a ‘needy’ one that doesn’t make the cut but generally, I find the concepts get better and so does the work.

If you show your new work to a gallery or show It on your website, the presentation of a dozen works creates a better impression than one or two works with a promise of more. From the professional viewpoint, you are a solid artist with work behind you. You are a serious artist.

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People that create only a couple of paintings in a series is viewed as amateur. That being said, there are some of my ideas that never made it past two paintings. By the end of the second painting, I was bored and did not want to continue.

You keep these paintings in the back. I found that the idea stalled because I did not think it out enough before starting or I just had fun with the materials. Once I had mastered the material, I had learned what I needed to learn.

These paintings go in the back as paintings that are part of my learning curve. Not all work needs to be shown. You can consider these works for private clients or charitable donations but not as part of a show.

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:

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 Moms Are the Scariest Moms

Advice for young moms

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Artist moms are generally more permissive than most moms. Making a mess is not such a big deal. Children have access to art supplies. They paint. They make things with food items. They make noodle necklaces or marshmallow people then are allowed to eat them even their fingers are dirty. They are allowed to pour red and yellow Cool Aid together so that they not only find out that red and yellow make orange but they can drink the result too.

Being an artist, I had access to all kinds of supplies that they could play with. These supplies were not allowed in their homes usually. I allowed them to glue and paint. When my children were little, my children’s friends loved coming over to our house. Their moms often viewed what I did with the children with horror.

Colouring book of different locations in Alberta Livre a colorier de différentes endroits en Alberta

We had field trips to the creek to find plants or sticks that we glued onto paper. We hunted in the garden for gluing material too. I set up a table outside where they could paint papers to their hearts content. The whole deck was full of colors after. In the evening I just washed off the deck with the hose and all the evidence of mess was gone.

Artistic moms inspire:

Art and parenting
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Art is related to science. There is a lot of ‘let’s see what will happen when….’ activities. This is a safe way to experiment and practice fine motor skills too.

Now my children are grown up but when their friends come over, they talk of the fun they had doing these artistic activities. A memory was created and hopefully when they have their own children, they will allow them to have fun with art supplies

The best advice that I can give is that you should find your ‘niche’. Find a spot you excel at and become an expert. Become the ‘go-to person’ in your area. No matter, if you love art, you will drawn to it and keep going back to it whenever you can. You will be drawn to artistic endeavours over and over again until you get the hint and make it your career. This is a prediction….

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:

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 Better Abstract Paintings

Improve your abstracts

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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 .

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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:

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 — Wearing your art

Another way to promote your art….Wear your artwork.

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Wearing your artwork is now possible thanks to sites that take your designs and put them on t-shirts, leggings, computer covers, blankets and even shower curtains. This is a good way to advertise your artwork.

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Sadly, my artwork did not look good on t-shirts or blankets. I did not go that route but I have a friend that did. Her name is Patricia Lortie (https://www.redbubble.com/people/PatriciaLortie) and she put her work on a site called Redbubble (https://www.redbubble.com). Here is a sample of her work.

www.patricia.lortie.ca

There are other ways to publicize your work. You can look for companies that will make prints of your work. They can be a good way for people to buy your work when they cannot afford the ‘real’ painting. The price point is much lower and your average person can afford a print more easily than an original work.

There are also sites where you can set up a website and sell your prints. Look for Society 6 or Fine art America. You can put up to 25 prints online for free that people can make prints from if they wish and if they know about it.

With these sites, you need to create your own publicity to send people there. They claim that they will promote your work, but keep in mind that there are thousands of artists doing the same thing. They will promote to the best of their ability. You need to help them.

They will also promote people that have more work on their site and that also have a website there… This is normal business procedure. The more popular site will get the most attention. There are a few things you may have to consider before you choose.

Do you want to be in that particular pool of artists? Can you shine in that group? Is this the site that is really for you? What can the site do for you? Can you do something that is different that will make you shine in that pool of artists? Think about all those questions.

If you like creating patterns and designs, there are companies that are looking for artists that can create designs for them for fabrics. These fabrics can be for furniture, curtains or dresses. Companies like: https://designyourfabric.ca/?redirect=true let you create your own designs and sell it too on their sites. This is similar to the Redbubble site for t-shirts.

Other sites include: Dexigner: https://www.dexigner.com/directory/cat/Textile-Design/Companies are looking for designs and if they use your work, you get paid. There are many companies like this and a google search will help you there if you are interested.

This article is to give you different ideas on how to earn income from your artwork. Look carefully at your work and see if it matches what the company is creating. Often artists think that offering them something different will make them stand out but this does not work.

The companies are looking for something that is in their ‘line’ or style. They want something like what they have but different. Study the companies before making your offer.

That is good advice for anyone approaching art galleries too but that is a topic for another time.

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:

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 — Essentialism View #2


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Essentialism for artists. A second look at what this book has to offer.

According to Greg McKeown, focussing on what is important and only what is important is part of being an Essentialist. As an artist, this is really important. We tend to work on multiple projects at the same time and are multitasking experts. This is wrong according to McKeown.

Focussing on only one task at a time is the best way to get things done. Sometimes that is not possible. We commit to more than one thing and then we need to follow through. There is a solution to this problem. You commit to each item one day a week.

This is a work week only. Weekends are for families. The five day week is the maximum you can work. So, if you work on your main project on Mondays, on Tuesdays you work on the group project with your friend, on Wednesdays you do your social media, on Thursdays you work on your committee meetings and Fridays you are dedicated to your new installation project.

So what happens to your marketing time, your time to fill out grant proposals, your time to meet with artist friends or your time to think about new projects or figuring out the problems from Monday’s day? You are overbooked. What do you eliminate? What do you do?

According to the Essentialist, you need to take out what is not essential to you. What helps you the least in your artistic path? Take it out now! A true essentialist needs to eliminate whatever is in its path.

First you need to decide what is important to you. Is it the project from Monday? The group project? What is really important. Inside your gut, you know what you really think as important. Follow your instinct. Can you eliminate the least important?

You may be able to do this instantly but you may also have to ease into the elimination. You tell the group that you will attend only three more meetings, then you will have to let it go. You will finish the project with the friend, then not take on any more projects so that you can spend double the time on YOUR project.

You still don’t have any time for marketing your project. That’s a problem. Why create and then not be able to find places to show your work? That is not right. What can you eliminate next so you can promote your project or at the very least finish it.

Remember: Focussing on only one task at a time is the best way to get things done. Work on your project first. Get it done. Market it. Show it in as many places as you can then move on to the next project.

Often artists love creating so much that they create non-stop and even forget the marketing part. One idea leads to another and we work on them so that we don’t forget them. That is best for artists- in our heads.

We need to treat our work with disrespect if we do not take the time to show it somewhere. If the work has enough value for you to spend the multiple hours on it for many weeks, why should it not be shown somewhere?

The Essentialist has a point. If we worked on less items, we could finish the work sooner and then market it properly. Like most artists, I like creating more than marketing. I leave marketing to the last minute.

If I took the time to do it well, I would be showing more places. I would be less stressed because I would not be doing things at the last minute. I am going to try to put this principle into practice in the new year. Why wait for the new year, do it now!

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:

All photography and artwork by Doris Charest

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

Till next time …

Creativitiy in everyday life — Resistance or psychological blocks

Sometimes, people resist commitment. Are you resisting? Even in minor ways like waiting to the last minute or making your goals smaller and smaller. Reasons vary. Did you make your goals too ambitious? If lack of time is a factor, break down the project into segments.

Sometimes, the odds of achieving the goals seem overwhelming. There is a way to trick yourself into actually doing something for yourself and your goals. Here is what you do:

1. Make a list of what you want to change or creative element that you want to add to your life.

2. Break down each goal into small parts. The parts should be small enough that you can do each step in 5–10 minutes.

3. Pick only one goal (of the list you made). Rewrite the goal and the list of steps on a separate sheet of paper. Use bullet points.

4. What is the first step in the goal? Can you do this today?

Here is an example of one of my own goals from long ago.

Goal: To make myself a space in the house where I could paint in watercolours. Just to put the moment in context, we had just moved to a new city and the house was full of boxes that needed to be unpacked. I had two small children (a needy 3 year old and a six year old that was bored because there were no friends to be had).

I worked on the house every day but I really wanted my own space in this new house. I also wanted time to paint again. I had just started again before we moved. Moving had put everything on hold. I had a doctor to find for the kids. A school to find for my eldest. A play group for my youngest. The box with their clothes got lost in the move so clothes to buy. No food in the fridge and dirty floors from the movers bringing the boxes because it had rained the day we arrived. It just doesn’t rain, it pours….

I arranged the children’s rooms first so they would have a place to sleep and play. I arranged the living room furniture and kitchen furniture. Where could I set up a space for me? For the first time, we had a family room and a living room. This was a bigger house than we had before. We only had enough furniture for the family room. This left the living room empty and free.

My eldest kept doing gymnastics in the big space that looked like a gym so I decided that we didn’t need living room furniture yet. I set up a small table in the far corner of the living room and separated it with a standing screen that hid (more or less) the table from view. At least the children did not pay attention to it since they could not see the table with interesting things on it.

My first step was to set up the table for my painting. Period. That’s all. I unpacked boxes again. The next day I found my box of supplies. I did not open it –just placed it next to the table. I unpacked boxes again and looked up doctors. After about 15 calls, I found one that would take patients. The next day, I found my references (this is in the days of printed photo references) and placed them in the spot. I unpacked again.

I am sure that you get the picture now. Now the rest is up to you….. Ready, set, go!

Remember to break it down into small steps….

Start today towards your goal to be an artist.

Doris’ website:www.dorischarest.ca

I have creativity courses and art courses online at :https://www.udemy.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 — Take time off

Doris Charest

Taking time off is as important as working. That is what all the literature research says. I did not believe this in my early days. I kept working when I had two minutes here and five minutes there. I ended up getting work done this way, but I could not find the main goal in my minutes. I could make work; in this case, paintings. They were good and they sold but I felt like I was missing something. I could never find time to make the one year or five year plan. I wanted to have a main purpose to this creating that I loved to do. The purpose or main goal to my work did not exist. I did not have the time for it.

One day, the kids were at the pool with friends, my husband was away and there I was, sitting with nothing to do. The laundry was done. Supper was in the crock pot. There was no precedent for this in my life and I did not know what to do with myself. I could have rushed to my painting table but for some reason, I did not. I sat there. I started thinking about my artwork and what I loved about it. What I did not love about it. What did I want to do with it? I had a gallery that liked it. I was selling. My friends loved it. My husband put up with it. I had a lot of good elements going. But and this was a big BUT, I was not happy. Creating the product gave me joy but I wanted more. I wanted a longterm purpose.

So, sitting there, I picked up a piece of paper and a pencil. I wrote down what I thought would be the best longterm goals. I came up with creating awareness about art and creating the best product that nobody could resist. Then I stopped. This sounded like something I was doing for others. What did art do for me? Why did I like it?

I loved creating something out of a blank piece of paper, a pencil and a bit of paint. It was a bit like magic. I found it hard to believe that this magic came out of me. The creating also made me feel good. I did want that. What could I keep doing that would make me happy and provide something more to society. What did I want to provide? I was stumped here. I sat there and thought.

My list grew but I kept rejecting everything almost as I wrote it down. I did learn that brainstorming meant writing down absolutely everything that came to my head so I kept writing down. I was still writing down items when my kids came home. I had to stop. I knew that I was not done so I grabbed another piece of paper and tucked it in with my ideas. I had to keep writing.

Several days later, I was still writing down ideas in my minutes that I had to myself. I even volunteered to babysit some kids I found badly behaved in my babysitting coop because I wanted more time off. Their mom agreed to trade with me eagerly because no one liked babysitting her kids. They turned out to be well behaved because when they first came into the house, I told them the house rules.

I had learned this trick to babysitting from my mom when she had come to visit once and I had some of the kid’s friends over. They started not listening when they realized that the two adults were busy having a chat.

She stopped all the playing, sat them on the sofa and sternly told them the house rules in THIS house, right now and forever. The consequences of bad behaviour were included. I adopted this technique in my repertoire and it has worked ever since.

The time came for my children to go to her house. I took out my list and scanned it. None of the ideas of why I was doing art spoke to me. I did not know what to do. Did I need to stop doing art? My gut said no. Persevere! I started adding to my list. By the time the kids came home, I had decided.

In my art career, I had done portraits, still life, animals, landscape and designed logos. I liked it all up to a point. I could do portraits if I put my mind to it but I did not love it. The same was true of still life. I liked the arrangement of shapes to create a pleasing effect but again, up to a point. What I did really like was landscape.

There were all sorts of reasons not to pick landscape. Landscape was ‘out’ in the contemporary art world. Issues like abuse, poverty or politics were in. Again, I did not love ‘issues’. They just made me sad that the world was out of sorts. I loved texture, colour and light. I could find all of that in landscape. Landscape had enough variety to keep me interested. I could do different themes; trees, water, skies or even erosion.

Those were all the good reasons to say yes to landscape. What I needed to do now is decide how I wanted to treat the theme but that would have to wait for another long thinking moment in time. I felt happy. I had decided my purpose.

The kids came home and life started again. I wonder now what would have happened if I had not had that period of time to think about my work. Would I have gone on creating without a goal? This period of time changed my art life.

To come back to the beginning, take the time to think about your work. What do you really like doing. You have a limited amount of time, if you are a working parent and you need to use it wisely. I found out later that this moment of ‘aha’ is called flow. Wikepedia says:

Flow — the mental state of being completely present and fully immersed in a task — is a strong contributor to creativity. When in flow, the creator and the universe become one, outside distractions recede from consciousness and one’s mind is fully open and attuned to the act of creating. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is the king of flow. He wrote several books on the topic and I strongly recommend them. Flow is what happens when you create and when you get those wonderful ideas. Look at these videos:

These videos will help you learn how to enhance your creative side and be even more productive.

They helped me a lot. I hope it helps you too.

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:

All photography and artwork by Doris Charest

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

Till next time …