My Virtual Studio: Creativity: On Trying New Things

One of the things I get lots and lots of comments on is how I am always doing something different. New mediums, new techniques, trying things that are basically out of my wheelhouse. In just the last few years, I have begun so many new things, and just thinking about it boggles my own mind!

  • Learning to watercolor. I only started painting in 2015. At first I tried being a self-taught painter and that got me nowhere so I started taking classes. In person classes are always recommended; I know, I say that as an online teacher! But there’s something about the 1) pressure to do the lesson right there, right then, and get help with it and 2) the creative environment. If you don’t have local crafty stores, step outside the box – see if a local art store has classes. Often they have classes for utter beginners – or you can take some drawing classes if you want to arrive with at least a little knowledge to your credit.
  • Joining groups. I joined my local watercolor societies, some national groups, plein air groups, urban sketch groups. I’m kind of a wallflower in real life so it’s been hard, but I’m finding now that I’m meeting new people, getting help and feedback from them, and finding people with whom I can share my limited knowledge with too. It challenges me to get out and do art, not just hide in my studio!
  • Plein air painting. I haven’t always been an outside painter – it always seemed too hard and I didn’t know what to pack! Other students in indoor classes that I took would pound the teachers for info on what they take, and I started realizing they all do their own thing. All I needed to do was DO IT. The challenge of painting outside has gotten me to work quickly, since standing in the weather can sometimes be, well, let’s just say a pain. (Mosquitoes!) And painting faster means I am less fussy with unnecessary details.
  • Urban sketching. I’ve also been out sketching with local sketchers in towns all around, even visiting groups in towns far away when I saw they had an event. Tons of fun to get out and do quick sketches, and it keeps the skills sharp.
  • Charcoal and pastel. I’m learning that getting messy like I did back in art school isn’t a “childlike” thing – it frees me up! I am more willing too make mistakes when trying other mediums, because I honestly have no idea what I’m doing anyway. In my studio-cleaning before shooting the “tour” video, I kept coming across box after box after box of pastels and charcoals, some purchased for classes, and a ton provided by my mom when she began clearing out things to move into a smaller apartment. I’m digging in and having fun even if I’m not coming up with art worthy of sharing yet!
  • Trying craft things I never had. Like felt! I had missed out on the trend years ago (this is written in fall 2019), but when I saw a new felt line come out, I bought a bunch and started playing – and had so much fun. I found myself making scenes and telling stories with felt pieces in the same way I do with card scenes – and there are so many other things to try! I won’t jump on every band wagon, but sometimes it shakes things up for a lot of fun and excitement.

Why do I put myself through all that? Some of these things have been super scary! I don’t do it to impress anyone. I do it to keep my creative soul alive.

Becoming stagnant and doing what you’ve always done is one way to assure that the creative brain cells lose their elasticity. Your mind forgets what play feels like. You start to think about what someone else created and how you can recreate it, rather than analyzing it to see what you can learn from it and then go make it your own. That way of making the conscious decision to start thinking out of the box stretches the imagination and leads to that being a very normal way of living your creative life!

One thing I started in 2019 and plan to do more of is sharing a few of my out-of-the-box fine art pieces. I know many of my YouTube followers are all about craft projects, but….I do all of it. So why not share more? Hopefully even those videos without instruction help to shake up people’s thinking! I had one commenter say she tried to work out how I did it and was able to — if I had told her how I did it, she wouldn’t have ever used those brain cells to consider how much she already knows and could figure it out!

Here are a few videos of things I’ve tackled out of the box in the last year or so – hopefully some of them will get you thinking of different things to try as well!

Join our creative community! Our Student Facebook Group is for all classes here …and while there are no finished projects in this class, you’re welcome to join the group and get an idea of what kind of beautiful works can be created from learnings in classes on this website!