Making Art

Bringing Art Making Into Your Life

The urge to create is always there – 3 tips to helps you scratch that itch.

I was talking to a guy the other day; we don’t know each other well but we are both artists and we were joking about the fact that sometimes we get so waylaid by other activities that we just haven’t made anything at all. But that urge to create is always there.

Every single day, even the crummy days, my busy little brain comes up with all sorts of ideas for things I should make; beautiful, stupid, sublime, glimmers that tickle my brain and leave me wondering from whence they came. Lots of the ideas will be un-doable. Un-doable because they are: too stupid, too expensive to make, or too huge to undertake. But quite a few of them will be good. And sometimes one of them will be really good.


Above: a while ago I sat down in front of my sewing machine and grabbed some tracing paper and just started sewing. I made this translucent little dress. It’s about 15cm [6 inches] tall. I looked at it for a while then realised how nice it would look lit up from within. Now I don’t have particular idea [yet] of what I will do with this. But I can imagine lots of little figures all it up from within, in a darkened room, and how ethereal it could be. So I will store away this little moment until I know what to do with it. You don’t always have to have a finished idea in your head before you start making it. Play with it and just see where it goes.

Now the whole point of this blog is to encourage people to make art. Especially people who haven’t made much before and those of you who used to make art and are trying to get back into it. But the thing is it’s not easy actually being an artist. [I know I have talked about this before! I am like a broken record if any of you can remember what that is.] There’s not  much money in it [for most of us anyway], and you don’t get a lot of  kudos. Perhaps if  I were a truly good person, I would instead encourage you to study business or accountancy, so you could get your finances in order. But we all know that wouldn’t work. Why? Because we will always have that urge to create. It doesn’t go away if you don’t scratch it, it  just stays there building up until one day it explodes and you decide you need to move to the country, when all you really needed was to let yourself be creative.

Now don’t go round telling me that just because you are an accountant it doesn’t mean you are not creative. I know you are. I know a lot of people with regular jobs who need to be creative and let the art out in order to be happy. A university lecturer in international studies who paints, a psychologist who does ceramics, a change management star who draws and paints, a tradie who does cartooning, a mathematician at an international bank who wants to do a painting course, a  doctor who does collages. I even know a gallery owner who has taken up pottery. His creative urges have not been satisfied by being around other people’s art all day long. He wants to let his OWN creativity out.These people make art because although they are busy, financially successful people, they are not satisfied with their lives unless they are being creative too.

When we are little kids most of us spent a lot of time making things and drawing. By the end of primary school this urge has been dampened down and by the end of high school, almost eradicated in many people. Or is it? Maybe it is just really deeply buried and if you dug down a little you might find a great juicy well-spring of creative goodness just waiting to flow. Often times it’s not that the creativity gets entirely crushed rather that it gets re-routed. Sometimes it turns evil and you find yourself stencilling the bathroom tiles or scrapbooking. Sometimes it is used for good and your family benefits from the 6 hours you spent making them a meal. My husband went to art school. On Saturday he will spend several hours making hand-made-soft-corn-tortillas.

And of course there are other ways to be creative, make some music, plan a garden, write a haiku. Invent something. But take my advice. The quickest way to satisfy that urge is to make some art.

So here are my tips:

  1. Don’t worry about whether the idea is complete, just start it no matter how simple or small it may seem. You don’t have to show it to anyone, you can keep it to yourself until its fully formed.
  2. Make it out of whatever you already have. If I had decided I need to make my translucent dress out that schmancy  see-through parchment paper I probably still wouldn’t have made it. Just start now with what you have. Want to do a big drawing, but don’t have supplies? Steal your kid’s textas [ felt tip markers].
  3. If you are overwhelmed by ideas then sit down and spend half an hour jotting them all down in a note book, or make sticky notes for your computer, or whatever. The important thing is to listen to your own ideas and remember them for later. [Read more about this here.] This way you avoid the classic ‘I want to make something  but I don’t know what moment’ when you finally find the time to make something.

Off you go now. Make something.

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This entry was posted on June 17, 2013 by in Artists, being an artist, creativity, Inspiration and tagged .
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