“Creativity is the process of having original ideas that have value. It is a process; it’s not random.”
Sir Ken Robinson
Creativity is one way I process life, ideas, questions, faith, dreams, goals and all other random thoughts. I think engaging in the creative process as a practice is eye opening, life giving, life affirming, freeing, and fun. There are so many ways to practice being a creative soul. My initial experiences in my practice have been in nonfiction and song writing. I’ve dabbled in very amatuer painting and drawing over the course of my life but never for long periods of time and without formal instruction. In recent years that has changed, and I now find myself practicing and playing at different art forms. Today I want to share them with you. I think there’s a special kind of magic in art marking, and maybe that’s because it’s so hands-on.
First I want to tell you I love color, paper, writing, and art that makes me feel good and purposeful. For those reasons, I gravitate toward creative practices that allow me to express hope, courage, faith, and sometimes a swift kick in the pants. In 2014 I began art journaling. I had never heard of it before, but I had several friends who used art journals, and they lead workshops. I took several workshops and haven’t stopped art journaling since then. While I don’t art journal as consistently as I used to, it’s something I still do because I think of it as a healing practice. I’ll tell you more about my art journaling process in another post. What I like most about it is that there are no hard and fast rules you have to follow. Art journaling is where you get to be all you, and there’s no critic telling you can’t. One off shoot of art journaling for me is altered books in which you take a book and use it as your art journal. It’s like having built in prompts and inspiration.
In addition to art journaling, I was introduced to gluebooking – paper collaging in a journal, notebook, or composition book. I love it because it’s very low cost and a fun way to repurpose paper, magazines, mail, flyers, and other paper products. I like to think of it as a create-your-own-art adventure. All you need is time, glue, and paper. I’ll be sharing more on that in another post too.
A few other creative practices I enjoy are found poetry, blackout poetry, and cut out poetry. All that’s needed is a favorite text, markers, and scissors. I think it’s a good segue into writing poetry without the stress of creating from a blank page. This kind of poetry is one of my go-to things to do because it doesn’t require a lot of space or time. I actually like the word hunting and pulling words together to form a new idea.
Painting and mixed mixed arts are my favorite things to do. I may not be the best painter, but mixed media gives me freedom to try new things and take artistic risks. Since I was not an art school student, mixed media was a way for me to learn about color, techniques, and exploring. The nice thing is there are so many of these kinds of artists to follow and learn from. The internet makes learning art affordable and feasible for many of us.
I think what I like most about making mixed media art is how it really is mixed – you take things that may not go together and marry them together (cloth, paper, beads, paint, found objects); they become something beautiful. It’s a grittier art form where I can express more of myself. Sometimes I use mixed media to practice sketching and drawing. If I don’t like it, I can always paint over it or find another way to make it part of the piece. You can’t do it wrong.
My last, but not least, creative practice is hand lettering. I have a lot of fun lettering and trying out new ideas. I have found lettering to be a good way to encourage myself and others, and maybe that’s because it is not time consuming to letter. It’s also about the words and sharing messages to inspire. You can letter anywhere and anytime; it’s a versatile practice. While I’m not quite yet ready to teach anyone how to letter, I am more than comfortable sharing with you what I’ve discovered and learned about it.
So much of creativity is just showing up, trying, doing, making, and accepting that it doesn’t have to be perfect. That’s good news. Just show up. Grab pen, paper, paint, or whatever you tools you have on hand and use the margin you’ve made to do it all for the process. Maybe you’ll discover something new and wonderful about yourself that’s been hiding. Something about art making unearths and reveals our own hidden treasures. I think our world needs more of that today.
Be encouraged friends. There is no competition; there’s only showing up and seeing where your creative practice will lead you.
In the month of October, I’m participating in the #Write31Days challenge. I’m focusing creative practice in the ordinary everyday mundane. Each day (or whenever I write) for the series I will post the link on my page for my #31DaysOfCreativePractice. Come along and read.