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 …

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 …

Online classes

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Quiet on the water Online class demo

Developing online classes has been one of my biggest challenges in the last year.  I had to learn new programs and develop some ‘tech’ skills.  I so missed my computer wiz son for help.  However, they do have to grow up and go away, get jobs and lives.  I actually took an online class on how to develop an online class….

I  developed a series for beginners or the ‘new to art’.  I already teach a ‘for beginners’ class at the University for the Education faculty so I am using a lot of what I developed for them as the basis of this series.  I started with watercolour.  I love watercolour and a lot of people do too.  These are simple, easy lessons that any beginner can do.  I added a couple of acrylic and collage.  These are all meant for beginners.  I also have two advanced courses; one on mixed media and another on ‘how to teach an art workshop’.

Developing them was a steep learning curve and I have enjoyed the process (sometimes).  The first videos look very amateurish to me now and I almost want to redo them.  Almost is the key word.  This whole process occurred over 7 months and I put most of them out lately.  I kept fine tuning and fine tuning until I got advice from another online instructor.  He said; Get them out there!  Then I did…..that was another learning curve…..

If you want to get started, time is what you need.  It will take more time than you think to get everything done.  If I had a bit of advice to give, it would be to take your own online class on how to develop an online class.  I followed mine step by step and it worked.

Here is an image from my new series on chalk pastels.   To find this series go to:  Udemy.com or Skillshare.com.   In the search feature, put my name in and you should be able to find the class.

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Sailing away Online class demo