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 …

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 — 5 Tips for Better Abstract Paintings

Improve your abstracts

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 .

www.dorischarest.ca

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 …

You are invited to my art show

September Newsletter and invitation to my September show.
Sunflower in the wind Mixed media on paper 9 x 12 in

Time flies and a lot has happened since the last newsletter.
First, let me invite you to my show at the CAVA Gallery
on Sept. 16th at 7pm.
Address: 9103 95 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T6C 1Z4
Phone: (780) 461-3427

The clouds floated by......
The clouds floated by……

The opening night is the best time to visit the gallery. There are snacks and you can talk to the artists. It is a fun time.

I have spent a lot of time in my studio creating for the show coming up. The theme is skies. I love the abstract quality of the colours in the sky and that is what attracted me to this topic. The skies I saw in India last year started me looking at skies here in Alberta. I started seeing colours in the sky that I did not realize were there. One colour leaked into other colours until there was a blanket of multiple colours. I did get carried away with the variety and how they changed every second.
Looking at them, my first thought is that I have become traditional again. I usually like creating abstract work. However, if you focus on the skies, the abstract is there.

Every summer I try something different. This summer, I decided to build a sculpture/sign for the front of our house. My brother built me the form then I filled it with river/lake rock and cement. I put the step by step process on Facebook, if you want to know how it is done. People will now be able to find our house easily. None of the neighbours have a sign like this one. This was a fun project.

Rock sign by Doris Charest
Rock sign by Doris Charest

Shows: The above painting was accepted into ‘Painting on the Edge’ a show with the Federation of Canadian artists in Vancouver. Yahoo! Made me really happy.

A second exciting event happened. I got into the ‘Works on Paper show with the VAAA in Edmonton. This show will be in Edmonton and Calgary. Please check the VAAA web site for dates. Above is one of the three paintings in the show.

Charest 02. The creek by the trees Summer has gone quickly and my studio time limited due to family events but I have taken some great photos that will see me through the winter. We will soon be travelling and I will tell you all about that in the next newsletter.
Up the hill. Graphite, watercolour and collage on paper. VAAA works on paper show.

Charest 01. Up the hill Have a great day and come see me at my CAVA opening. Sept. 16th at 7pm.
Address: 9103 95 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T6C 1Z4
Phone: (780) 461-3427