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 — 4 Things great artists do differently

Four pieces of advice

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I came across some points that are bound to help any artist. If you are just starting out or have been working at art a while, these are great points to ponder.

  1. Focus on a special subject. Choose something that you can do for a long time. This doesn’t mean that you cannot do anything else. It means that you show your specialty but once in while, you work on a second subject. That topic is your ‘relaxing’ moment. You may or may not show later when you are more adept at it or have enough for a series. Again, the choice is yours. You can have it as a fun moment or a series that you are working towards in the future.
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One artist I know solved her dual interests by showing her flowers in one city and her figures in a different city far from the first city. Overall, you do need to become an expert in one area. Make your speciality stronger by saying no to anything not in your line. An artist that did this well is Robert Bateman. He worked on animals with a mostly abstract background most of his career.

2. Step away when you are stumped, the answer will come. Go for a walk. All artists get blocked once in a while. Each artist needs to develop their own rituals that will help them break out of their slump. Many artists, including Claude Monet, Andy Goldsworthy and Robert Bateman choose nature as their way to relax when they are stumped. They spent and spend long periods of time outdoors. Other artists go dancing, go swimming or go to concerts. Find the element that helps you and go for it!

3. Be consistent in one element related to your topic or style. Let’s say that you work with the same three colors all the time but after a while, you are totally done with those colors. Don’t drop all three colors. Drop one and add ONE different one. Your audience will notice the change but the colors will still be typically yours. If you still want to change it up, get your audience used to your one new color then and only then change a second color.

An artist that has done this well is Kandinsky. Wassily Wassilyevich Kandinsky was a Russian painter and art theorist. He is credited with painting one of the first recognized purely abstract works. For more information about him, go to: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wassily_Kandinsky

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4. Adapt your subject when you tire of it. If you painted trees for years but now you need a change, look at something related to trees. Maybe you will do only foliage or the trunk of the tree with what is at its base as the seasons change.

Make a gradual change towards something different. An artist that did this well is Mondrian. Pieter Cornelis Mondriaan, after 1906 Piet Mondrian, was a Dutch painter and theoretician who is regarded as one of the greatest artists of the 20th century. He painted his abstractions with a few colours at first then gradually changed colours and linear elements.

Doris’ website: www.dorischarest.ca

For more information on mixed media by Doris Charest: Udemy.com

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.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

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


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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 …