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Category Archives: Art

Finding Unique Art Style

Experiment with Different Medium and Different Art Techniques

When I first started, I used acrylic. I also tried water-soluble crayons and pencils, color pencils, and soft pastels. But the minute I touched oil paint with my brush, I knew oil would be my medium. It felt magical, as if we knew we were made for each other.

Experiment with different art supplies and Different Art Techniques, and when you meet your Mr. or Mrs. Right, you would know it.

Look at a Lot of Art

If you can’t visit museums often enough, one great online source is The National Gallery, London, where you can zoom in to observe the brush strokes. When you look at the art you admire, don’t just say you love it and stop there. Examine the paintings. Is detail carefully treated, or loosely? How important is tonal value? How important is color? Are the colors saturated or earthly? Did the painter plan the composition carefully or was it more free and intuitive? What about the use of narrative or symbolism?

As you examine each piece of art, write down your answers to these questions. Once you have done so for at least 5 paintings (the more the better), think about where you want to be on each of these categories, namely, treatment of detail, value, color, composition, narrative and symbolism. This will give you a concrete idea about your preferences, which inevitably determines your style.

Get a Mentor

If you are still be somewhat confused, get a mentor. What seems like an unsolvable puzzle to you, very often, is crystal clear to an experienced mentor. You need one who doesn’t just teach you techniques, but who is also knowledgeable in art history and the many genres of art.

Keep Evolving

After you think you’ve discovered your style, you will continue to grow and evolve. So stay open, keep looking at great art, keep learning, keep drawing and keep painting!

Triptych Art Painting

Initial doodles- The first thing you need to do to create your painting is to simply doodle. Work with different styles, themes and ideas, when you have a number of different doodles. You can then choose your favourite from them, and then move on to doing it for real.

Sketching- Now that you have chosen your theme, you can begin sketching your painting for real. Try and develop the triptych canvas painting further than the doodles. Expand your ideas and add different dimensions to it.

Choosing your paint- Either acrylics or oil can work here. Note that oils will take a lot longer to dry than acrylics, making them better for longer projects. Choose which pain works best for you and apply it to your triptych canvas painting.

Applying the paint- Now it’s time to paint. Carefully choose your colours, based on what you are trying to achieve. If you are planning on painting flowers, bright, pretty colours may be the best idea. However, if you are trying to tell a grim story, darker colours will work better. It’s all about making sure your triptych canvas painting matches the thing you are trying to portray.

Black outlines- This may not work with all paintings, however it is a personal preference for me. Adding black outlines adds dimension to the painting, making it come alive and stand out clearly.

Doodling Unleashes Powerful Passionate

Following your artistic passion is a decidedly regulated enjoyable practice you may undertake by an act of will. But, it will require of you passing through of threshold marked clearly and visibly, “Enter at Thy Own risk.” Unleashing inborn artistic gifts involves risks. Those risks demand stepping out into the land of embarrassment in some way or another. Every human being is an artist accompanied as his/her birthright, but not necessarily comfortable with this idea. The innate artistic treasure holds an inestimable value but one that is not easily recognized or appreciated. In fact, you may be totally unaware of the unique artistic contribution you will offer while alive. These unique contributions are often masked in pain, delay and disappointment.

The vital importance of your artistic contribution to mankind can not be overstated. You have a supreme gift which should be redeemed, acknowledged and recorded for your own sake. That unique unstated purpose, hidden in you, along with your energetic sensual presence will not go unnoticed. But unless you make an attempt to draw it, (start by doodling) you will in no wise ever be able to see it. That’s right! I said doodle! Make a mark, line, circle, star, square, jagged lines running into one another, a distorted face or crooked box,; whatever suits your fancy, doodle it.

No one else can give you the unfractured peace (closure) you seek. No one can design for you a life which does not originate from deep within you. You carry the unearthed version of your special vision. Rapture’s Repose inhabits you. But, it is singularly up to you to show ‘you’ the Billboard. Your life’s story told through ART represents immeasurable value and laudable merit in the entire divine scheme of things.

It’s all a matter of coming to that place where you can appreciate the sacred messages hidden behind, above, underneath and beyond the simple artistic representations hidden deep within. Every mark you make matters, considerably. For example, just look carefully at how you construct the first letter of your first name. That letter alone says so much about whom and what you are here to do. For a brief esoteric experiment, doodle that one letter as much and as often as you can. Watch how it evolves.

It will, IF you pay attention, develop into that cosmically therapeutic place where assumptions are forfeited and preferences are discarded. How can that be so? Because your hand, used as a sacred tool, is energetically inspired to capture and display inner truth. For the sake of distributing indisputable cosmic truth of the realized divine essence of spirit upon the earth, while being briefly held in captivity of flesh, we are encased in a ‘temporary artistic doodled form’ for all to behold and interact with. Bottom line: It is you telling part of God’s story [It does not matter in the least how you refer, believe or interpret the concept of God] in and through your personal ART {relationships/careers/romances/businesses/educational pursuits/achievements/aspirations etc.}!

Your individually conceived revelation, no matter how poorly constructed or elaborately devised is but a whiff of the exhilarating aroma that points to something far more spectacular in motion. Through each man’s ART, we are allowed the opportunity to expand our horizons. From beginning to end, we are privy to see into the eyes of experience of the multitudes of unnamed and unnumbered artists, simply by opening to the natural sensual Colorful flow. By using the seemingly inconsistent and disconnected principles, methods, routines prompted from within, we come to really appreciate, value, and honor the stroke of our own and the other’s exclusive mark.

Our emotionally rigid minds are encouraged to explode, breaking down the prejudiced barriers we maintain. We become fully present as we stop to contemplate the suppleness of each man’s divine purpose demonstrated in his simple ordinary work. If we would but stop long enough to acknowledge the divine’s presence in the ordinary things, we may just open ourselves to receive and participate in a life filled to overflowing zeal and enthusiasm. An emblematic merging occurs as the onlooker is allowed to ingest the vision of grandeur so wittily covered up. A reassuring feeling of comprehension takes hold as we, the viewer, along with the other artists, embrace the interconnectivity revealed in all things. Take up thy pen and stroke!

Pick Art Materials

If you are interested in a certain form of art, you should not hesitate to take it up more seriously. The first step should be determining what type of art form you prefer, be it painting, sketching or drawing. Once you have that settled, you can start researching on the types of art materials available for that art form. Never hesitate to try anything as you would not know what you might be good at if you do not experiment. Some people are simply gifted about being artists, but that does not mean only they can draw or paint. If you feel like you are not gifted, frequent practice and patience can turn you into a good artist.

If you are planning to take up sketching, you do not need to use very sophisticated drawing material. A pencil, sketch pad and eraser are all you need. Start by sketching simple things and as you practice more often, you can go on to sketch anything that you want. You can even look up at the internet to watch tutorials and learn the right techniques. As for painting, you would want to purchase water colors, paint brushes, easels, drawing boards and any other type of materials that you would require to paint. The steps again are simple, start out easy and as you progress, you can try anything you want. You can visit art galleries or surf the internet to get inspiration. Drawing is similar to painting besides the slight differences on the tools. There are unlimited techniques one can use when making art pieces. You can even merge sketching, painting and drawing if you want to. It depends up to your creativity and the possibilities are limitless.

If you are a parent and planning for your child to take up art; make sure you understand what form of art your child is interested in. If you are not sure, you can let the child experiment and focus on one when he takes his pick. Ensure that the materials you buy for him are safe and wouldn’t pose any threats to them; such as sharp edges of easels. Children sometimes end up biting their art material. So, if you can’t keep a watch on them all the time, make sure you buy materials that are non toxic.

Healing of Art Therapy

Art therapy is used in hospitals, clinics, rehab facilitites, schools, private practice and in senior centers. It is used with children, teens and adults, older adults and with families and couples. It is used to promote and enhance physical, emotional and mental health by using creative expression. Taking part in artmaking helps decrease anxiety, stress, depression and increase self-awareness, self-esteem, relationship difficulties and behavior and developmental delays while providing insight into one’s life. I explain that art therapy is not an art class though the process might inspire a person to pick up pastels and draw on their own. Children gravitate towards the use of art and approach creativity with imagination and freedom and play without judgment or self-criticism. They enjoy experimenting with new art materials and soon discover creative tools to handle difficult emotions such as anger. Art therapy is beneficial in helping children diagnosed with ADHD, autism, learning disabilities, fear, and the challenges of living with a chronic illness. As we age, we begin to seek perfection in ourselves and, through creative expression, clients can learn to silence the voice of the internal critic and become more self-aware of their negative thoughts and irrational beliefs. I invite clients to let the page hold the feeling(s) where we can explore them together. I suggest to clients that, instead of letting the feeling fester inside of them, why not allow the art to be the container.

If a client has a reaction to an art piece, I provide a safe place to explore the feelings that surface. Many adults are surprised how art can facilitate the expression of feelings and emotions easier and quicker than traditional talk therapy. I explain that when we look at an image of a loved one or a visual image of a place that we have strong feelings for, we many times experience a physical response. It is the same when we create expressive art and images. In the last few years, scientific research has discovered how fear-based emotions, negative thoughts and suppressed feelings can trigger physiological stress on the body in turn directly affecting the immune system. As we begin to heal emotional wounds, the body begins to heal also. One of the goals I have when working with a client is for them to find balance between the right and the left brain. This way, not residing completely in the emotional brain or living stictly in the analytical brain. Through the creative process, I assist baby-boomers better move through life transitions and discover acceptance and peace with the aging process.

Art therapy is a master’s level profession with training in psychology and visual arts. When seeking an art therapist, it is important to work with someone who is trained in the field of art therapy or expressive arts. Many therapists claim to use art, though they are not trained specifically in art therapy. When asked how I work, I explain that I invite clients to take part in an art directive. For instance, I might ask, “What might that anger look like if you put it down on paper?” “What color, shape, or size might it be?” I might suggest that they use their nondominant hand to draw or that they create an image out of clay that represents how they feel that day. Even the simple act of doodling can provide a relaxing and contemplative experience. For people that suffer from anxiety, I many times recommend keeping a doodle journal with them. This way, when they begin to experience worry or anxiousness, they can doodle. If a client feels uncomfortable drawing, I offer alternative art forms, such as collage using magazine cutouts.

Must Relax and Draw

Fast forward to today. A mere 100 years later, how many people can read even their own handwriting, let alone make a simple sketch if they had to? Conversely, stress, anger and rudeness are everywhere in our high-tech, impersonal world.

Art, and the emphasis and value of drawing has gone the way of the dinosaur as pre-schoolers grow up on computers, text on hand-helds, and take photos with cellphones. In the crush of time, a fine “hand” and seems relegated to art museums, and seem worlds away. The high-tech world gives us no break from workweek stress as we are increasingly attached to laptops at home. Hours of computer/video screentime leave us stressed, frustrated and wondering why.

The connection between daily hand-creations and daily work has been lost as computers have become the silent partner of everyone’s job. As much as they have helped progress, even the word “stress” seems to have entered our vocabulary holding hands with the computer, whose “downtime” and ‘glitches” are part of universal parlance.

In search of peace and individual meaning, our computer generation has run themselves ragged with jogging, thrown out their backs with yoga, bicycled until they are gaunt, etc., but, until now, ignored the complete and perfect mind/body enhancement which was the delight and accomplishment of our ancestors.

Want to stop the world and get off for awhile?

My suggestion is to try what has worked for 20+ years in my evening courses for adults: take a drawing class! A class extends the brief vacation you feel when doodling during a lecture. A good class will encourage you, will take you wherever you are in your art journey and make the most of your unique self-expression. It can help in other ways. Students have experienced major life transitions: widowhood, moving, etc. and have told me that the class was a real brick for them during this time.

Connecting to your own creativity has huge and lasting benefits which won’t leave you exhausted and reaching for aspirin:

1. You will reconnect with your own ability to create. Always wanted to do a collage that matched your dining room decor? Do a portrait? Create a children’s book?

2. You will see how focusing on drawing a simple flower or seashell is immensely calming and stimulating at once.

3. He who teaches, learns twice. Have you ever visited someone, perhaps in the hospital, but didn’t know what to say? Take your sketchbook along and have a laugh as you both create pictures.

4. Finally, see how stress shrinks and goes away when your interest in creating takes over. You are taking control, doing something new and positive, and having fun doing it.

Art Easel For Kids

The fact that the table top art easel is compact and therefore more portable than larger, heavier models makes it the perfect entertainment item to take with you on trips or to visit a playmate. Many of these easels include a magnetic surface for playing with letters and numbers which makes it a great learning tool as well as portable entertainment. You will find a variety of options such as chalkboards or whiteboards for dry erase markers as well as the traditional paper roll or clip-on paper pads for painting, drawing or just doodling.

Table top easels are great starter models for kids that are not old enough for a standard floor standing model and they offer the additional benefit of being a less expensive way to introduce your child to the exciting world of art and personal expression. Most children will have a ball creating works of art and you may have to find a way to make room on the refrigerator for a constant supply of freshly painted or sketched masterpieces.

To find out if your child would prefer a table top easel, you might want to let them be involved in the selection. It’s amazing how much pleasure they get in being able to participate in choosing the art easel and art supplies for themselves. They may well have likes and dislikes that you would not discover in any other way. It would be much better for all concerned to find what your child prefers before making a wrong choice that ends up with a toy that is not what they wanted and therefore does not get used.

In addition to the hours of fun you child can have with an art easel, there are some wonderful benefits of both a physical and mental nature. Table top easels are a perfect tool to develop upper body strength, hand/eye coordination and a whole range of fine motor control and handwriting skills. The seemingly simple process of choosing which art supplies to use for a project, how to express an idea or which colors to use in making a painting are all exercises in decision making and expression that they will use for the rest of their lives. An art easel for kids is far more than just a toy and entertainment device. It is the perfect tool for building and exercising a wide range of skills and discovering talents and abilities. All that while having fun too…what could be better?

Mixed Media Art

We can flick through magazines to look at techniques and colours

But it is so easy to become overwhelmed by the glossy photos and the gorgeous pieces with lots of layers and put together with such mastery that we would never be able to copy it, let alone create an individual piece – before you know it – time has passed but no art has been made

If we are looking for inspiration, there are times where new techniques and seeing what others have made is important; it feeds our minds and allows our clever brains to put an idea together with a colour scheme we saw with a technique we haven’t done in ages..

And to get it done – we need to sit down at our art tables and DO IT.

If inspiration doesn’t hit when we have the time, I often start by gathering up the left over pieces on my table (sorting as needed, throwing away *cringes* if I must). Sometimes a colour will catch my attention, then I will go in search of other similar colours I have, or images that will match or fit my mood

This is where the inspiration begins to get momentum.

Sometimes that’s all that I need to get an idea; gathering like colours.

If that still hasn’t got me inspired, when I’ve got some leftover pieces of paper and some matching colours, I will find some blank card and cut a few ATC’s (2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″) or a greeting card base and put things together without too much thinking, as I usually would.

In most cases, by now I am MAKING art in full swing with ideas pouring out of my head.

Then there are other times where inspiration still hasn’t hit. That’s when I need to evaluate if making art is going to happen today – am I too sick or too tired or just my head is too busy thinking of other thinks?

At these times I will dig out my sketchbook (a term I use loosely, as doodling book is more accurate) or a piece of paper and my coloured pencil (a simple 12 pack) and put colour on the paper. I’m not a drawer or fine artist (that’s why I love mixed media art) but I can do squiggles and lines and attempt to shade. Some times I just write words, letting my mind wander…

And I may not end up with a masterpiece, ready for the next glossy mag edition, but I have given myself permission to create something simple, giving myself a rest and hopefully added ideas to my brain to sort into inspiration for another time.

Word Balloons As Art

This piece of cartoon art is how people talk to each in comics: the balloon simply points to its speaker. But as we all know, we are capable of much more complicated emotions than those that result in words. That is, how can we represent three different feelings (say, fatigue, hunger, and anger) all in the same balloon? Answer: you make a complicated design in the word balloon that represents that complicated feeling.

Why should these bloated shapes that represent speech be limited to just containing words? Think out of the box (or out of the balloon, so to speak) and treat the word balloon as the frame of an illustration. Word balloons can be totally whimsical: just enjoy the process of drawing.

The Surrealists called it “Automatic Drawing”. Automatic Drawing is actually with doodling is: it’s drawing with the mind turned off. That is, the aim is the draw freely, in a way that doesn’t allow the conscious mind to censor or edit the work. Once you feel relaxed enough, and you’re able to persuade yourself that you drawing is just a sketch, the it’s okay to “make a mistake”: that’s when your artwork will look the best!

But remember, we’re not just drawing anything: we’re drawing something very specific! So draw a word balloon–go ahead! But then go back into it and doodle all over it; through it, in it, around it…have fun with it! As you go back into your drawing, scribbling and doodling, you’ll notice that your drawing will start to remind of things: mine reminded me of a turkey with its tail feathers sticking up.

Get Out of an Art Slump

1. Just play. Do not set out to create a masterpiece. Play with your colours and shapes and ideas. Play a lot. If you are creating and enjoying, that is a reward in itself. Inspiration comes from there. Setting out to make a masterpiece is the fastest way that I know of to fail.

2. Doodle. Take a pen and paper and go sit somewhere where you can doodle without an audience. Start with a word drawn on the paper. Fiddle with it. Join bits. Add twiddles. Illustrate it. Relax and let the doodle happen. If you stretch your creative mind every day, inspiration will be plentiful. Colouring in a mandala is one of my favourite versions of this, obviously.

3. Complicate things. Choose two random concepts and find ways that they are similar. How is a banana like an airplane? How is a cat like a harvesting machine? How are you like a light bulb? Now illustrate that in a way that makes you smile.

4. Limit yourself. Tell yourself that for this creation, you can only use one colour or you can only use a toothbrush to paint with or you can only use images of cats to create the image of a dog. There are an endless number of variations on this theme. It makes your brain leap sideways a little to make it happen.

5. Say something. Find a very meaningful statistic and find a way to illustrate it so that people can “get it”. For example, the USA uses about 60 million plastic straws every day – how can you make that number into a picture people might understand and then take action on?