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 …

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