Creativity in everyday life  -3 tips to staying sane with artist block

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 — Deciding if you are an artist

Decide then act like an artist.

Artist or not an artist? That is the question.

Deciding if you are an artist is a difficult choice. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you like creating new items (paintings, sculpture, designs, printmaking, etc…)?
  • Do you create without any prompting? Without taking a class or someone else asking you to do this activity?
  • Do you sometimes daydream ideas while waiting for a friend, at the doctor’s office, while sitting there with your best friend or boyfriend who is watching hockey or some show you can’t quite relate to?
  • Do you move around the vegetables you are chopping for supper so that the colours look good together?
  • Do friends or family check with you when deciding how to put together some patterns or colours in their outfit or home?
  • Do you get told you dress in a unique style? or some other comment that is similar?
  • Do you love going to galleries or fabric stores just because you like the colours or patterns?

If you answer yes to a lot of these questions, you have the potential to be an artist. The focus word is potential. Not everyone wants to become an artist but if you do, there are still a few steps to take to get there. Talent helps but there are still ways to become an artist with only a bit of talent.

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My firm belief is that if you want to do something, it counts more than talent. The desire to put in the hours is essential. There is an author and psychologist that says it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill. The 10,000 hour rule — first proposed by a Swedish psychologist and later made famous in Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers — states that exceptional expertise requires at least 10,000 hours of practice. Are you willing to put in those kind of hours?

For more information about Gladwell, go to:

Gladwell says that deliberate practice is essential to learning any skill. When psychologists talk about deliberate practice, they mean practicing in a way that pushes your skill set as much as possible. Like all popular theories, there are people that jump to find ways of disputing the theories. Check out this article :

New Study Destroys Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 Hour Rule
The 10,000 Hour Rule – closely associated with pop psych writer Malcolm Gladwell – may not be much of a rule at all…www.businessinsider.com

Regardless of the criticism, practice makes perfect. There is a need to perfect your skills before you can actually say that you are an expert at a x skill. Are you willing to put in the hours?

People tend to think that artists are born and not made. This is a falsehood that continues to endure. Sure, you may have a tendency to pick up artistic skills easily on the surface but I have found that those surface skills are just that ‘surface’. It is almost like beginners luck. You have a natural skill just like some sportsy types have. Do you want to continue learning that skill? To deeply understand what you are doing, practice and development of skills is needed.

Do you really like the whole process and are you willing to put in the hours? Do you love creating? Do you love the ‘magic’ of creating something out of nothing? What is it you love the most? Are you willing to put in the hours needed? If you say yes to this, you have the makings of an artist.

Life as an artist is not easy. Keep that in mind before you say yes. Personally, I said yes before realizing that a career as an artist was harder than a career as a doctor. As a doctor, you have the benefits of being paid well and a certain amount of status. An artistic career does not guarantee this.

People will not realize the skill you need to be an artist. You need to be independent and say you love it regardless. Do I regret an artistic career? No but I wish someone had told me what I was facing. I might have prepared myself better. I still love art after years of working in it. There is a joy there that I have found rarely elsewhere. In fact, raising my children is the only other place I found this ‘joy’.

There are a few factors to keep in mind. Keep in mind that not everyone that plays piano will become Władziu Valentino Liberace or not everyone that plays a sport will become a million dollar player/earner. You may or may not become a famous/well known artist/internationally known artist in the process but you may become the local ‘go-to artist’. Is that good enough for you? You will be able to make a living but you will not be able to own your own plane on an artist income. Can you accept this?

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 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 — 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 — 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 #1


Go to the profile of Doris Charest
Essentialism for artists. Taking the principles of Essentialism and applying them to artists.

Essentialism applied to artists

Essentialism, according to Greg McKeown (https://gregmckeown.com/book/), is paring down what we want to do down to the essentials and necessary. As artists, we tend to do the opposite, I find. The more painting we create, the better; the more committees we are on, the better or the more busy we are the better.

”Will this activity or effort make the highest possible contribution toward my goal?” This is the question you ask yourself, McKeown says. If the answer is no, you don’t do it. If you hesitate and think about it, the answer is no and you don’t do it.

Let’s look at some ‘artistic’ examples.

An artist friend asks you to join him or her in a collaboration that will result in a show in a year’s time. This happens a lot in the art world. The theme is one that you have never worked on but the theme is intriguing and captures your interest.

Since you have never worked on such a topic, you look at what it might mean to you as you will have to neglect your current topic. Neglect is perhaps the wrong word. You will have less time to spend on your current practice. What do you do?

According to the Essentialist principles, the answer is no if it takes you away from your current work. You know this but the theme intrigues you. The theme would deepen your knowledge of x topic. It possible that it could add to your practice. The artist you are going to work with is also interesting. He or she works in a totally different way from you. Will that be a benefit or a problem?

There is a solution to this problem in the book by McKeown. You can define some perimeters until you decide. You can set a shorter trial period. You can say that you will try a trial period of two months, for example. You will work on it one day a week and you will meet with the artist partner once every two weeks.

At the end of those two months, you both decide if you want to continue. That is an essentialist compromise. Set up boundaries and guidelines to the project. This is good advice in any situation.

Example of possible problem:

Another art example is that a few artists get together to create a group where you will help each other learn about social media. You have a meeting, decide what you want to learn and delegate what we will learn to each other. The second meeting comes around. One of the members has not done their homework but you still share the information. The third meeting comes around. The same participant still has not done their homework. A second participant is missing because of a family matter. You still share.

The Essentialist would say; ‘Dump the group’. However, you see these people nearly every week in other activities. You feel like it would be politically incorrect to flat out dump the group. What do you do? McKeown would say that you find a nice way to dump the group. This is hard!

McKeown agrees but hard choices need to made in order for you not to waste your time on non-essentials. This group is not adding to your growth as an artist so it needs to be eliminated.

An Essentialist would be bold and say that this is disrupting them. This is hard! So you compromise, you put a note on your door saying you are busy and will come out when you are done. This artist still comes in. What now? The Essentialist would do the hard thing and tell the artist to stop coming in uninvited. Can you do this?

These are examples of what could happen and how you would have to decide what to do as an Essentialist. This book is worth reading for any artist. I think we could learn a lot.

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 — Sharing your love of art


Sharing your love of art can occur in different ways. You can talk about your artwork to others. Start with the people around you. Your family. When you start tasks, they suggest that you start with your toughest challenge first. This idea comes from a book called ‘Eat that frog -21 ways to stop procrastinating’. (https://www.amazon.ca/Eat-That-Frog-Great-Procrastinating/dp/1576754227)

If you do your hardest task first, the rest is a breeze. I find family and friends the hardest task because they do not see you as the dedicated artist you are. You are ‘the wife’, ‘the mom’, ‘the friend that helps them out in time of need’ , or ‘the go-to person for help’. An artist has many hats and the artist hat is often invisible to our closest and dearest. They need our other skills. However, teaching them to love art as you do is the first task you need to put on your list.

One way is to stop to look at art and ask them their opinion is one way. Stop and look at a public sculpture, for example, and ask questions like: Is that a good spot for that sculpture? Don’t ask what do you think of that sculpture because you will only get a pat answer like hate it or love it. Ask about a different way to look at the artwork. Is that the right material for that artwork? Is there a colour that would work better? Have them look at it differently.

Show your family and friends your artwork. Don’t say ‘What do you think?’. You will be disappointed. Ask questions like is the ‘peony’ or ‘pear’ in the right place? Or the right colour? If you paint landscape, ask about the texture of the tree. I am willing to bet that most of them have never looked at the texture of a tree before. The next time they see a tree, they will notice. Then they will compare it to the tree in your painting.

Starting to teach your audience to look is the best way of creating an audience. Teach them to see what you see. The average person rarely takes the time to see the beauty of clouds or the colour of a pear. Surprizingly, there is very little information about how to see. As artists, we naturally notice details and how different details are put together but not so for the average person, I discovered. This is a talent that is learned when we become interested in artist work. One photographer discusses how he goes about seeing what is around him in this article: http://www.creativesgo.com/art_of_seeing.html

Visual literacy is not valued in our everyday life. By literacy, I mean, looking at what is around us and really seeing it. One book: The Art of Seeing: An Interpretation of the Aesthetic Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Rick E. Robinson, focuses on the psychology of the aesthetic experience and on the perception and understanding of art, suggesting ways to raise levels of visual literacy and enhance artistic enjoyment.

Both these authors insist that we need to teach people how to see and be more creative in order to have a better work force, one that can creatively solve problems because they are able to see multiple sides to a problem.

The greater the creative side in people, the better they solve problems. Wouldn’t that be wonderful in everyday life. People would not get upset or angry, they would just think ‘How do I solve this problem?’ and go about doing it. I must admit that the theory is wonderful and would love to see it at work.

Visual literacy teaches people to analyze problems and see, understand, think, create and communicate graphically. In order to do all, the student must always carefully observe. Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visual_literacy) tells us that looking at films is a good way to increase visual literacy according to Martin Scorsese.

This involves exploring how ideas and emotions are expressed and the use of lighting to create an emotional or physiological point. He explains how there is a need for children to understand these concepts.

Visual literacy is a growing field. Being able to ‘read’ media, interpret it or even analyze it is growing as a skill. What are people saying when they use a certain kind of font when writing text in an advertisement or what they are saying with colour combinations is important. Without the visual literacy, we are being manipulated by what we see. This is all the more reason for you to start teaching others about art.

When people are able to see what is in front of them, they will better see your own artwork. Starting small, so to speak, with your own family and friends will create a link between all of you that will grow. Won’t it be fun when someone in your family starts actually seeing the sunset everyday and actually notices. Or, if they start looking at posters and say, ‘That could be done better.’ There is a whole world out there that you and only you can change.

I hope this article helps you. Writing about it helped me learn that I have slacked off doing the visual training in my own circle….. time to get at it.

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 – The front yard

Creative moments – The front yard

A few years ago, this was my front yard project.  I made a sign for the front of the house.  Our visitors repeatedly said that they had trouble finding the house.  They could not see the number.  I picked rocks from a lake where we go camping and washed them (Because it was August, many of the rocks had algae stuck to them-an Alberta problem). Thanks to my brother who works with metal, he found a circle from an old machine then made me a small circle.  He welded the three metal rods to hold the little circle inside the bigger one.  Then he added another old part to the bottom to the stand.  I am very thankful to him for helping me with this project. My husband also helped mixing cement for me and I am thankful there too.   I could not have done this project with such ease without them.  Those supports really helped make the project smoother.  Here were the steps:

  1. Get form and set it up in the spot you want. It will not be moveable after you add the rocks.
  2. Collect and wash the rocks you need
  3. Mix cement and put two layers of rocks then let that layer dry.
  4. Add a few more layers and let that dry.
  5. Repeat this process until the circle is full.
  6. Find a number to put in the circle.
  7. Scrub all the rocks in the from to remove extra cement on the rocks. Let dry.
  8. Make some more cement and fill in the back of the piece to make sure all the rocks are secure. I made it smooth-ish.
  9. Varnish the front of the sign.
  10. Add the number and secure it in.
  11. Celebrate! You are done.

Your own project does not have to be this complex.  You can simply plant some new flowers or paint the deck.  The concept it to personalize your space. 

Think about what you would like to do.  Can you enlist some help?  Do not be afraid to ask if you need help.  That is the hardest part for me.  But, don’t be like me, be brave and ask.

In the meantime, are you carving time for your artwork?  At this point, it is time for me to start talking about taking 15 min. a day.  Get up 15 minutes earlier or stay up 15 minutes later.  Plan what you will do before you get there.  You will be surprised how much can be done in 15 minutes.  Set the timer and go!

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 …

 

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