I can't stop doing art - I create things compulsively and joyfully! Let me share with you how you too can do this….
Here are 6 simple strategies that will empower YOU to create - and to be overtaken by joy in the process.
Bring a sketchbook with you wherever you go. If you're off on a walk, a bike, a kayak adventure or a road trip - make sure you have with you the tools you need to make notes and sketches about what you see, and the ideas and inspirations that strike you. Words alone will not help you to remember what you see, you must SKETCH it too - right away. A quick drawing captures the visual feeling, the essence of what you see. If it's really impossible to stop and sketch, take photos to remember and then do a sketch at home. The sketching begins to build traces from your eye and brain to your hands, and creates a more lasting memory.
Learn to observe everything around you with interest and attention; the colors and textures, the funny things that surprise you or make you happy. Watch for the things that fit together. Pay attention to sounds too! Look for patterns and light even in man-made forms; buildings, pipes and mechanical objects. Actually, this is really not unlike the practice of mindfulness, and will help you to be more centered and happy in general.
Spend time looking at the work of other artists; in class, at the art museum, at galleries, on Instagram. Don't copy what they do, but go ahead and allow yourself to be inspired by them.
Choose a place you love, go there and just sit for some hours. Spend the time simply looking around. Watch the light at different times and see how it changes throughout the day, and how it plays with everything. I have favorite places that I kayak to at different hours; early morning, late afternoon or early evening. I like to watch what the birds are doing when, how the sun rising and setting changes the surface colors in the water, and which animals emerge when.
Use clay to tell a story from your childhood, or from a book you love. I use stories from everywhere - from my life, from books, etc. The Just So stories of Rudyard Kipling are tales I personally never tire of, and I read them over and over. I'm always fascinated by the pure crazy imaginativeness of The Elephant's Child, for example - or How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin. They make me laugh out loud as I read them, and they inspire me too. Find a story YOU love and turn that lump of earth into something that expresses it or re-tells it.
Go ahead and put things together that don't normally GO together! Juxtapose and re-invent. The resulting quirkiness will surprise and delight you. I'm particularly gleeful about my Turtle-Armadillo and my Armored Rhinoceros, and in fact all my steampunk work. Sometimes I think that it's actually the re-invention of nature that makes artists like me happy! But I also get pleasure from watching people look at my work and "get it" because it triggers a memory and delights them too
The advice I give to my students is this: follow what you love and do what your heart leads you to do. Don't try to dig ditches or make the same sort of things everyone else does - do what makes YOU smile. If what you create makes you laugh - lucky you! I hope one day to see you laughing aloud in one of my classes….