Welcome to the glorious month of May!
There is an eerie stillness descending around the area where I’m staying, and the realization that winter is here has dawned on all South Africans. Most are slipping into a seasonal depression, filled with grumbling and griping. Then, of course, there’s me: joyfully pulling out my woollen garments, and relishing the cold evening air with a cup of tea. (Here is the perfect ASMR tea party: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72woNh5VXHk&t=807 ) The drop in temperature is a reprieve from migraine attacks, and my energy seems boundless.
Because I’m planning my exhibition, from start to finish, I’ve been scouring the net for all the elements I need. One factor that felt mountainous to conquer was putting together a decent-looking press kit. Once you have all the text and photos ready, it is quite simple. The hardest part is making the images fit the document layout. Press kits are not for events only, and many high-profile artists have it available in case someone wants to interview them. I’ve also had to submit one when I wanted a gallery to showcase my art, with great success too. For me, it is a cheaper option compared to printing x-amount of copies of my art in a brochure format. Plus, it’s more eco-friendly. So, if you wondered what goes into a press kit, and if the prospect of putting one together seems daunting, don’t worry, I’ll simplify it for you.
Firstly you need high-quality photos of your artwork, and by staging them with props, you can create dynamic images that also tell an appealing story. For great examples, have a look at @aneamies_welt and @sergiogomezart. Where Sergio posts photos of himself working in his studio and his art hanging on walls, Anne surrounds her art with crystals, her tools and various sprigs of flowers and leaves. Another great example is @auniakahn, who takes photos from unusual angles. Then comes the text. It would be best if you had a compelling biography and an artist statement. A biography is generally written in the third person and highlights your best achievements as well as tell the audience what type of art you make. Here are some helpful websites to get you writing a kick-ass biography:
An artist statement is slightly different because it’s a short paragraph that should describe you or your work. It’s usually between 150 to 200 words. My statement sums up my style, suits my personality, and I chose to write it in a first-person perspective:
My art represents a bewitching decomposition of nature, with macabre themes on the fringe of an absurd daydream. Inspiration finds me at the bottom of a teacup; floating on the colourful stream of a musical note, or dust particles exploding from a fallen leaf. My technique is a trapeze between realism and surrealism. You can find me, living and creating in the heart of South Africa.
If you need a little guidance on where to start, here are some links:
You will also need to caption your art where applicable: Title of the piece, medium(s), and dimensions. It makes it easier for the gallerist or interviewer to write about your artwork. If you had previous exhibits and interviews, list them as well. If you don’t have pages and pages of exhibitions, that’s fine too, list what you did in school or college as well. If you don’t have any shows under the belt, write an additional piece about the process of each artwork you’ve listed, along with some work-in-progress or in-studio photos.
It’s a good idea to add your resume, and here you can list all your achievements if you don’t have too much work experience. Mine has a summary of my work experience, even the admin jobs because I feel that I’m using and applying all that knowledge in my art career.
Finally, you will need to add your contact details and if possible, a good photograph of yourself in your studio or a portrait. Because social media is such a massive part of my art career, I’ve added a few Instagram pics in my media kit.
While I’m no expert in press kit creation, I do feel confident that mine is a decent template to use. To make things easier on you and give you a leg-up, here is a blank template you can use to create the press kit of your dreams:
All the black boxes are placeholders for your photos, and you can change the fonts if you don’t like the ones I’ve used. Both are free fonts you can download here:
My template is designed to catch the eye at the right place and has all the relevant information, but not in an essay layout. Sure, it’s risky to present a more creative-looking resume, but that would also depend on who the recipient is. I definitely won’t be sending mine to a corporate stiff-upper-lip company. Do you have a resume layout that works well for you? You can also download my template and adjust it to suit your needs. I’ve made A4 and US letter sizes, and added a cover letter along with the other assets I used.
People often ask me how I take photos of my art for social media and what apps I use. I’d love to say I use only the best photography equipment, but the truth is, I use my smartphone the most. Occasionally I’ll use a DSLR camera if I want high-quality images, but that is an exception. When it comes to preparing my photos for social media, I use my laptop and apps that have a monthly licence fee: Adobe Photoshop and Envato Elements. But I also use the free version of Photoshop Express on my phone, as well as PhotoDirector. You can download them in the app store. Both are available for Android and ios.
Another trick is to take your photos in natural light, which reduces editing and increases the quality. I don’t use studio lights; I set up next to a window or outside. I also play around with the angle, and I love adding a few props such as leaves, my paintbrushes or sometimes my hand holding a pencil. Sometimes the original photo doesn’t look that good, and that is where a bit of fine-tuning is needed.
Although I’m a huge fan of Photoshop, it is quite pricey and has a considerable learning curve. Luckily, there are alternatives. If you want to try out some photo editing, here are some fantastic free apps for your laptop or pc:
Natural remedies are imbued with magical powers because they’ve been handed down through generations. I still use many natural remedies for minor ailments, especially when I feel a bit of a sore throat coming on. My favourite is a decoction of cinnamon, cloves and honey. It’s wonderfully soothing and always perks me up. Substituting natural remedies for actual medication is never a good idea, and I suggest you consult your doctor or chemist before trying this recipe. If you use a similar recipe, let me know, I’d love to try it.
Especially for my friends in the northern hemisphere, I have a little DIY to keep you fresh during the hot summer months: A cardboard paddle fan. It’s super easy to make, and I’ve added a few macabre touches to round it off.
You will need:
- Plain printer paper
- Glue of your choice
- Thick, sturdy cardboard of about 22cm x 21cm
- Popsicle stick for reinforcement
- Exacto knife or scissors
Simply print out your paddle fan on a standard piece of paper, cut it out and glue it to your cardboard. Once the glue has dried, cut out your paddle and glue the popsicle stick to the back. You are ready to give the royal wave to onlookers as you casually fan yourself.
Thank you once again for reading and please share with your art-minded friends and family. They can also subscribe to my newsletter here:
In next month’s edition, I’ll share some re-useable ideas for social media posts, a DIY I simply can’t live without and so much more.
See you in June!
If you missed out on previous editions, you can still read it and download the resources here.
Welcome to my April edition.
In this month’s imaginarium I’m looking into the practice of art card trading, a simple upcycled DIY tutorial, and what I learned about resumes.
Amidst all the chaos with Covid-19, and lock-down times, there is still some hope: if we work together by curbing the spread of the disease and lending emotional support to those who are struggling will unite the world. I hope we emerge from this with more compassion and tolerance for each other.
I’m reminded of the cycles of life when I see the leaves fluttering to the ground. It’s time to take stock and gather my thoughts for the tasks in the coming months. There’s a lingering feeling of ‘’closure’’ and things coming to an end, which is excellent for tying up projects. I’ve recently completed a year-long project, that’s leading to an entirely new, albeit daunting, project. I’m planning my first solo exhibition. It’s easy once you break it down to more digestible chunks, but the amount of work that goes into it is quite ulcer-inducing. It’s new territory or me, and I’m learning a lot as I go.
How would you tackle an art exhibition?
Speaking of daunting things, another one is polishing one’s resume for a prospective job. After college, I had no idea how to write a professional resume or Curriculum Vitae. Trial and error helped me get it just right. No one wants a boring text-only document with the same old information presented in the same old way anymore. It is imperative to stand out from the crowd and impress the person reading your resume.
A resume in its essence is a summary of your achievements and work experience. A good rule of thumb is to start with your name and contact details. Although I favour a 2-pager, most companies prefer 1 page resumes. Summaries about your application are generally on the page as well, but I prefer to keep it in a separate in a cover letter. The rest of the information is your education, skills, recent employment history, awards and achievements, and even your community involvement. It is preferred to keep the design clean and simple, but a little creativity can also be an asset. So what makes a CV or a Curriculum Vitae different from a resume? CV’s consist of a few more pages, listing your entire employment history and pedigree. It’s usually accompanied by copies of your certificates, diplomas and references from previous employers and educators.
My template is designed to catch the eye at the right place and has all the relevant information, but not in an essay layout. Sure, it’s risky to present a more creative-looking resume, but that would also depend on who the recipient is. I definitely won’t be sending mine to a corporate stiff-upper-lip company.
Do you have a resume layout that works well for you? You can also download my template and adjust it to suit your needs. I’ve made A4 and US letter sizes, and added a cover letter along with the other assets I used.
Something that I recently stumbled upon is the practice of trading art cards. These miniature artworks are traded or swapped and bring artists together, thus creating a global art community. Trades can be done at events or even online. Every medium is welcome as long as it adheres to the standard size of 2.5″ x 3.5″ (6,35cm x 8.89cm). They should be able to fit into a standard trading card sleeve. ATCs originated from the Swiss artist, Vanci Stirnemann back in the mid-’90s.
Vanci created 1200 art cards for an exhibition which culminated in him trading his cards with other artists. It was so popular that the idea spread like wildfire. Some artists opt to sell their cards, which is then called Art Card Editions and Originals (ACEOs).
The benefits of trading art cards include getting your name as an artist out into the world, and this could also open doors for opportunities such as collaborations, group exhibitions and even getting collectors to notice your art. These cards also make thoughtful gifts, and because they’re so small, their carbon footprint is low as well. There are many online groups dedicated to the trading of art cards, and you can join any one of them or start your own. Have a look at these groups if you want to join in or be inspired:
I’d love to start a digital swap group with you, and if you’re keen as well, you can download my trio of art cards here:
When it comes to the simplicity of using technology, we quickly take for granted that there was a time before computers, devices and typewriters. Not to give away my age here, but I remember the first computers, and how exciting it was to type on one of them. I tried out every character on the keyboard, and when I made a mistake, I could press backspace. Now typewriters, on the other hand, are a whole different beast. For a while, my high school offered typing and music as subjects, and because I didn’t have an instrument and typewriters were provided in class, I chose the typing. These were electric typewriters, and not what I had in mind at all. It was a horrible subject, and I suspect the teacher was Dolores Umbridge in disguise, with her grey, bland funeral attire and stern face. Whenever she looked at you, her round spectacles glinted evilly, and you could even hear her lips crack as she pursed them tightly. Even ‘til today I defiantly refuse to apply the principles she taught in typing class. I make a point to look at my keyboard, and I only use my right thumb, both middle fingers, and right index when I type. Vive la resistance! I also have a habit of typing too fast for the computer to keep up, I’ve managed to crash a Mac, various laptops and a pc on a few occasions.
And to think that there was a time when all typing was done by hand. My handwriting is just as fast as my typing and usually indiscernible. When I write thank-you notes, however, I pull off my Sunday-best: All block letters in a straight line. I cannot write cursive convincingly, and I wish I could blame it on being left-handed, but I’ve seen other lefties write cursive, and they put me to shame. I’ve seen handwriting that is so superb; you want to frame it behind glass and marvel at its beauty. Often I wonder what a graphologist would say about my writing.
Graphology, or handwriting analysis, dates back to the 17th century, but the word was only coined in the 18th century by Jean Michon. This method was used to identify the writer’s personality, especially in understanding the minds of criminals. Handwriting is analysed by looking at every element: the pressure of the pen/pencil on the page, the slant of the strokes, the straightness and curvature of the baseline, letter size, as well as the spacing between letters and words. All of this can allegedly determine the writer’s mood, and by comparing the sample to another document, it is easy to spot a forgery. This is good to know if you suspect someone forged your signature! If you want to analyse your handwriting, here’s a handy chart (ahem, pardon the pun) and a quick reference guide:
Boxes seem to multiply whenever I turn my back, and despite my best efforts, they keep cropping up. So I get quite excited whenever I find a DIY to do something with them other than storage. Here is a couple of useful DIYs for those delivery boxes that lurk around the house:
A stand for your smartphone:
A shoebox projector:
Vintage book storage box:
Thank you for reading and please share with your art-minded friends and family. They can also subscribe to my newsletter here:
In next month’s edition, I’ll share which desktop and mobile apps I use to get my images Insta-ready. I have another cute DIY and a template that got me noticed by a gallery.
To celebrate Ostara, here’s a yummy lemony sweet recipe for you to try out:
Until next month, #daretomakeart and have an inspiring April, and stay safe. Lisa If you missed out on previous editions, you can still read it and download the resources here.
Welcome to the March edition of my imaginarium.
Although the heat is still relentless, there is a shift in the air and a slight whisper in the leaves that say: Autumn is coming. In the northern hemisphere, the hope of spring and warmer weather is around the corner. These in-between seasons always remind me of a doorframe. There is such a thin barrier separating one season from the next, and it is easy to stand one side and see the other side.
In this month’s edition, I’m sharing my thoughts on navigating through life when we find ourselves on the threshold of change: Which way to go when indecision is gnawing. I’m looking at ways to incorporate the Pantone colour of the year 2020 into our everyday lives, as well as certificates of authenticity. Well, let’s jump right into it.
Every year the Pantone Colour Institute releases the colour that they predict will resonate with that particular year. This year the Pantone colour is Classic Blue 19-4052. I’ve always been a fan of blue. It’s such a soothing colour and reminds me of the ocean and our expansive evening sky. If I could sample the colour blue, it will taste like a piercing peppermint icicle. What makes blue such an appealing colour?
Blue has been a highly sought after hue by artists and monarchs alike. Some of the most prominent paintings in history has traces of ultramarine in them: Gérard David’s Virgin and Child with Female Saints, and Johannes Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring. Ultramarine’s less expensive cousin, Cobalt blue, was famous in the use of porcelain ceramics and jewellery. Artists such as J. M. W. Turner, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Vincent Van Gogh used it in their works. Then came cerulean blue, followed by indigo. Blue used to be cultivated from lapis lazuli, which wasn’t easy to come by, and the Indigofera Tinctoria plant was discovered, creating the perfect Indigo pigment. It made is much less expensive to use indigo for textiles and paints. Navy blue, or marine blue as it was known, was essential in the uniforms of the British Royal Navy. Prussian blue, came about accidentally when a German dye-maker Johann Jacob Diesbach while working on a new red colour. Due to a chemical reaction with animal blood, this vibrant blue was born. Yves Klein experimented with blue to create a matte version of ultramarine. He even registered International Klein Blue (IKB) as a trademark. More recently a new shade of blue was discovered: YInMn. In 2009 Mas Subramanian and Andrew E. Smith found this unique shade of blue, made up from yttrium, indium and manganese. It is used commercially since 2016, which makes it a very young colour.
But blue is more than a colour, and I associated with relaxation, peace and loyalty. It corresponds to the throat and third eye chakras, making it a tone for clear communication and vision. We all can do with a bit of peace and relaxation during these stressful times.
Find out more about this fascinating colour of the year here:
How can you incorporate Classic blue in your everyday life? You could use it in the kitchen. Blueberries, red cabbage, and butterfly blue pea flowers make interesting accompaniments in salads. Wearing blue jeans will also bring more blue into your daily routine. Blue reminds us to do the simple things that bring us joy, such as looking up at the sky and breathing and dipping our toes into the ocean. We need to play more and worry less.
Therefore I’ve conjured The Mighty Kraken articulate paper toy in the colour of the year. You can cut him out and find creative ways to stick his tentacles onto him. I’ve printed mine smaller and threaded elastic through either side of his body to fasten his limbs. For a paper critter, he is quite posable, and I can take him everywhere to add a little surrealism and whimsy to my day. Think of him as a paper version of Elf on a Shelf. He can go on adventures and conquer new worlds with you. He is a reminder that it’s okay to have some frivolous fun.
Creative block is a nightmare artists try to avoid at all costs. But what happens when it hits you hard and you have no idea where to go? Even mundane tasks such as cleaning, deciding what to eat and what binge-worthy show to stream online can become difficult. It is a feeling of being stuck in a tin room surrounded by hundreds of doors. Which ones are locked, where should you go, and what should you draw? Seeing other artists churning out masterpieces one after the other doesn’t exactly help your sense of well-being at this stage.
When I’m creatively directionless, I turn to my crystal pendulum. I ask it simple yes and no questions in the hopes of dislodging a seed of an idea. It is similar to a compass. , that can guide you the right answers if you know how to use it. I needed more insight and felt like I haven’t been utilizing my pendulum to its full extent. That gave me the idea to design a pocket-sized chart with some more easy questions I could ask. Just to be sure, I also added an Ouija board-inspired card. Now I can gain more in-depth insight and find my inner supply of creativity.
If you haven’t used a pendulum before, or need some more insight, Ashlee Morgan breaks it down entirely:
You could also make a pendulum instead of buying one:
You can find some gorgeous ones on Etsy, as well:
Using instruments to guide us, is something earthlings have done since the beginning of time. Ants use the sun as their compass, and pigeons use the Earth’s magnetic field to find their direction. Compasses ranged from crude bowls filled with water to the well-known magnetic instruments we use today. It is believed that they were first used during the Viking age.
In the Icelandic grimoire, Galdrabok, the symbol of Vegvisir is imbued with magic and used to ensure the traveller does not get lost. The sigil is typically inscribed in blood on the forehead, but in modern times we opt for less conspicuous methods, like a tattoo on the arm. If you look closely, you will see it is similar to a compass with its directional markings. I like to draw Vegvisir symbols behind doors and drapes as symbolic protection.
If you’re like me and fascinated by ancient cultures, you can read the transcription of the Huld manuscript here:
“Carry these staves with you, and you won’t get lost in storms or bad weather, even though in unfamiliar surrounds.” – Geir Vigfússon
When I started as a full-time artist, I researched everything I thought made an artist legitimate. I spent months documenting and cataloguing my art. After completing each piece, I sat down and looked at it from a different perspective and described my thought-process behind each piece. All I needed was certificates to authenticate my work. Obtaining such documents sounds much more official and intimidating than it is. You don’t have to obtain a certificate forged by Certificate Daemons in the nether realms. You can make it yourself. The most important thing is information.
There are hundreds of templates online, some are free, and others are quite pricy. I looked at so many certificates and designed so many different versions that I could probably start my certificate emporium. Some COA’s are small strips of paper stuck to the back of an artwork containing a signature, date and embossed stamp. Others are elaborate sheets with gold foil and an entire history of the artwork. Starting, I didn’t have gold foil or a seal, I had a printer and a golden pen. That just had to do. By adding unique elements makes it harder for thieves to forge your certificate.
Why is it essential to authenticate your art? Certificates of authenticity are a way for collectors to ensure the artworks they purchased are original and not knock-offs. It also gives information about the artworks such as: who is the artist, when was it created, what mediums you used and any other information that could identify the artwork.
Here are the elements that typically go into a COA:
- Artist Name
- Title of Work
- Year of Completion
- For originals: mediums, for prints: editions as well as mediums
- Photo of Artwork (optional)
- Statement of Authenticity: A short sentence stating that the artist created the artwork
- Use and care for the artwork (optional)
If you don’t know where to start in making your COA, you can download a copy of mine. It is in a Microsoft Word document, and you can alter it to suit your needs. Of course, you can use it as is.
Thank you for reading and feel free to share with your art-minded friends and family. They can also subscribe to my newsletter here:
In next month’s edition, I’ll discuss artist resumes, the importance of trading art cards in a digital age and a bit of DIY as well.
Until next month, #daretomakeart and have a beautiful March!
Welcome to my Leap Month newsletter.
In this month’s edition, you’ll find a creative business card template, some time-saving DIY’s, and amazing arty things I’ve seen on the web. If there’s anything you’d like me to look into in future editions, let me know, I’m open to suggestions.
Let me, ahem, leap right into it (#sorrynotsorry)
Leap year always seems to overflow with superstitions, magic, and odd customs. Some countries believe that February 29th is bad luck. I think it is a day filled with potential, and it’s up to each individual to do with it as they please. Having said that, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to attract a little good luck, or to add some positive vibes to your day, so let’s dive into some esoteric insight.
This year’s Leap Day falls on a Saturday, during a waxing moon, which is quite positive, in my opinion. Saturdays have long been associated with the supernatural because people born on a Saturday can supposedly see spirits. My grandmother firmly believed it was bad luck to clip one’s fingernails or to do laundry on a Saturday. Saturdays are my cleaning days, and I firmly believe it is a day to banish dirt and negativity. It is also a day to focus on creating prosperity or harmony in your living space. Do you have any family superstitions around the days of the week?
The waxing moon is perfect for drawing positivity, prosperity, and happiness into your life. The easiest way to harvest these possibilities is by being focused and dead-set on achieving your goals. I find it helps to sit in a quiet space, focusing on what I want the day to attract and by visualising the outcome. Having a few corresponding crystals lying around couldn’t hurt. Plain old clear Quartz scattered about your space works perfectly fine, but I prefer the black stones like Obsidian, Onyx, or Jet simply because I adore them.
Want to know more about the magic of La Luna, this page is quite informative:
If you’re like me and not very good at meditating, this 10-minute guided meditation is perfect for focusing on your ideas and dreams:
Each crystal/stone has its list of properties and if you’re interested in finding out which one is perfect for any occasion, here is a fantastic website that breaks it all down:
Essentially, it is best to pick out your crystals by hand instead of ordering them online. It helps you connect with their energy. But if you’re in an area where it’s challenging to find esoteric shops, Etsy has just about every kind you could dream of, and most of them ship to anywhere in the world:
The best way to keep your vibes positive is by making something. It gives a sense of accomplishment, which is excellent for keeping yourself motivated or taking a break from daily stresses. We all have a few things lying around that needs some organisation, and mine is cables. Those annoying things get tangled and mixed up so badly that it can take me forever to sort them out. Especially if they’re attached to earbuds. I needed to do something about it once and for all. To go and spend money on a gizmo that keeps them clipped in place or to design some elaborate holder seems a bit counter-intuitive. Out of pure frustration, and with only a piece of scrap cardboard at my disposal, I spent less than a minute creating solution that works perfectly:
- Cut a piece of cardboard (about the thickness of a cereal box) to 9 x 5 cm (3.5 x 2 inches)
- Punch three holes in it: 2 opposite each other and one at the bottom
- Make three incisions to slot your earbuds and cable into
Now that I’m on the subject of DIY, I thought of making a pencil extender for a little pencil I just can’t throw away. Pencil extenders aren’t too expensive to buy, but if your budget or time is tight, and you want to save the environment, rather make one yourself instead of buying a plastic one. Here’s what you’ll need:
- A piece of scrap paper roughly 10 x 10 cm (the size of a post-it)
- Your short pencil and a longer buddy of the same thickness
- Glue or sticky tape
Roll your piece of paper around the longer pencil roll it into a tube around your pencil. Just make sure enough of your pencil sticks out. Glue the edges or tape with sticky tape. Replace the long pencil with the short one. It should fit snugly to avoid it falling out.
There are better ways of doing it, but if you’re in a hurry, this method works just fine.
Business cards are a handheld advertisement for you or your brand. In China, a business card exchange is usually handled with the greatest respect. The way this exchange is conducted, may seem almost ritualistic to onlookers, because every detail matters: the way you present yourself, the way you carry and transport your business card, the design, the correct way facing up and even how you hand it over to the recipient. It boggles my mind that designers often neglect something so important. I’ve seen my fair share of poorly designed business cards, and I visibly cringe at their sight. But if someone hands me an immaculately designed card, I feel so much more respect for them.
Something that fascinates me is how unique and clever some designs can be. I’ve seen cheese grater business cards, tool kit business cards, holographic ones, dreamy watercolour palettes, and even easels. I wanted to design my version of an easel business card, that didn’t infringe on other designs. It took me a couple of tries and a few mishaps to get the proportions right, but the result is 100%. It’s a simplistic design that leaves space for you to create something that resonates with your vision and style. You’ll see it’s slightly bigger than your standard business card because when it’s assembled, it fits perfectly in the palm of your hand.
So, here is the template as well as instructions I’ve put together especially for you. It’s easy to print, cut out and assemble, but if you need some pointers, let me know. I can’t wait to see how you make this business card your own. Let me know via email or social media.
Travel with art, but travel lightly
Inspiration strikes at the most unusual times, and during those times, we rarely have something with us to capture it. For me, neglecting to write down my ideas is a sure-fire way to forget them. Taking screenshots or photos on my phone feels like cheating, and I hardly ever look at it again. My phone doesn’t always translate the idea the way I envisioned it, and this is where a tiny sketch will do just fine.
I’ve been looking at art travel sets with this purpose in mind, but they are relatively pricy. I like a good DIY challenge, so, I dug through all the makeup I’ve hoarded over the years, and emptied a few containers. I fully Frankensteined some brushes by fusing paintbrushes with makeup brushes. They had to be small enough to fit into an old metal tin. I shortened some cheap pencils and chopped down my eraser. I still had some space in the tin, so I glued watercolours to my empty eyeshadow pans and stuck them to the lid. Perfect. I cut a few squares of paper and voila. Now I’m ready to pop my mini travel set into a bag and set out to find inspiration.
Making your own travel kit is easier on the wallet, but there’s nothing wrong with drooling over these spectacular sets:
Do you have a trusty kit for travelling? I’d love to hear what your go-to art set is.
With so many art challenges to choose from, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. It’s disappointing when you start a challenge only to give it up because you don’t have time or your creative muses decided to go on holiday. Challengers seem to come up with these ideas only seem to cater to the full-time artist or art student. For instance, the wildly popular Ink-related challenge in October took up an entire month. They’ve since made it more sustainable by releasing prompts throughout the year. It’s a great idea because not everyone can work in a studio all day long without a care in the world. The reality is that most of us have jobs or side hustles that take up most of our time. Every moment we have to create becomes crucial, and every bit of practice helps us as well. That is where mini-challenges come in. They’re doable in short amounts of time and can wake those sleepy muses to fire your creativity. If making art becomes a slog, and no longer brings you joy, something has to change. Burning out during or after an enormous challenge is a sure-fire way to give up art altogether. Too many brilliant artists are lost to the rat race because of this, which is tragic.
This reminds me of the poem by Dylan Thomas:
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
And you, my father, there on that sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
This poem has nothing to do with art, in a literal sense, but art is essential in the human experience. Giving up one’s passion is like giving in to old age and succumbing to death. Instead of fading into the night, we should find ways of making art sustainably.
I’ve rounded up some ideas for art challenges befitting this leap month. They can be used throughout the year, and at any pace, you feel comfortable. I’ve chosen them because they can be helpful in fine-tuning your skills. The great thing is that it’s universal, you can use them in illustrating, painting, sculpting, photography, writing, even interpretive dance. The sky is the limit.
Practice on a small scale and copy different textures as carefully as possible, pay attention to the materials you’ve used to create the texture as well as the colour combinations. What emotions do these textures evoke? What do they remind you of? What would they taste, feel, or smell like?
2. 1 minute:
Give yourself 1 minute to draw an outline or snap a series of photos. Sculpting and painting might not be ideal for this challenge, but you can take the minute to brainstorm a new piece and jot down the idea. This exercise is not meant to be perfect, so don’t judge the result too harshly. Let it feel like meditation, empty your thoughts and breathe through it.
3. Colour Apps:
Sometimes we need a little break from making art, and a fun way of doing that and centring your mind is by colouring. There are so many apps you can use on your phone or tablet, and they can be relaxing. These are my top 3 favourite apps:
- Pixel Art: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.europosit.pixelcoloring&hl=en
- Pigment: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/pigment-adult-coloring-book/id1062006344
- Colorfy: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.fungamesforfree.colorfy
February is also the month of love, so if you want to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a bit of Gothic drama, I have just the recipe for you: Black Vodka.
That concludes my February Newsletter. Thank you for reading and feel free to share with your art-minded friends and family. They can also subscribe to my newsletter here:
In next month’s edition, you’ll find a little Kraken, some ways to navigate through life in magical ways, and an in-depth look into certificates of authenticity.
Until next month, have a fabulous February!