Ok, so now you know you CAN be creative, if you are willing to spend some time and try things. The first step in being more creative is to learn to observe really well. I've been realizing that I'm not always very good at this. My brain is stuck in its own little world, and not always noticing things around me. I always say my husband would make a good detective or spy, he's really good at noticing things. I'm so bad sometimes that even if I notice something is different, like someone coloring their hair, my first assumption is that I remembered wrong what it was in the first place!Kindergarteners usually draw trees and grass green, sky blue, and the sun yellow. I get stuck on what color my brain thinks something is and don't notice what it actually looks like. Here are a couple of great examples: birch trees and swans are white, right?
When you starting looking closely, there is very little actual white on either the swans or the birch bark. If you were going to create a piece of art from these pictures (which I did with the swan one, click here to see it) you don't have to use the actual colors, it's just very helpful to know what they are. What IS important is the lights and darks. Getting the right amount of contrast is always hard for me.
In the photo of a quilted flower at the top, (which is artwork from the cover of Susan Brubaker Knapp's DVD workshop "Master Machine Quilting", available here) I was startled when I first realized that she used both pure white and black threads in this "yellow" flower. Once you see it, it's obvious, and really helps add depth to the artwork. I can't use my own artwork to illustrate this, I haven't mastered it yet :-)
The great thing about learning to observe is that you can practice it anytime, anywhere. If you are ever just waiting somewhere, look around and see how many things you can notice about the world immediately around you. Look at both the big picture and tiny details. Look for shapes and colors. If you have kids, train them early to pay attention! It's a valuable skill in other areas of life too. Think how nice it is when someone else remembers something going on in your life and thinks to ask about it, or remembers your name! It's all the same thing, observing and paying attention. It even helps you remember things if you make a point to notice it, like someone's name. It's a good brain exercise for anyone, not just artists.
Here is a quote from the book I'm reading (see yesterday's post):
"You think that when your eyes are open you're seeing, but your brain deceives you, reporting stereotypes instead of the image your eyes actually see. Your logical brain gives you a quick and easy symbol-the tree looks like a lollipop, the eye looks like an almond-so it won't have to work so hard searching for individual differences. You must trick your brain to see what is really there."
Again, when it comes to artwork, you don't have to recreate what is there, but it's extremely helpful to recognize it.
So, you can start right now, look around wherever you are and see what you can notice, and have fun!
Well, my first blog on becoming more creative was delayed a bit, first by me sewing with a seven year old friend, then by taking my kids to the new Thor movie… Now we’re home watching it snow, although it’s not quite living up to the forecast yet….
Anyway, the book I’ve been reading, “The New Creative Artist, a Guide to Developing Your Creative Spirit,” by Nita Leland has been really fun and encouraging. There are lots of practical tips in it, a few of which we will get to over the next few days, but most of all she is a good cheerleader! I have noticed when I teach free motion quilting classes that I spend a little time on instruction, and a lot of time encouraging students to overcome their fear of it. I think the same applies to being creative. I have lived in several different places, and I have noticed a correlation between the number of artistic people in an area with the amount of adventurous people, the two seem to go together. It doesn't seem like being an artist should generate the same amount of fear as climbing a mountain, but apparently it’s enough to keep most of us from doing it...We assume we were born without the artist gene…. Nita Leland claims that anyone can learn to be more creative, which makes me hopeful! One important thing to remember is not to compare yourself with other people, just strive to keep improving yourself!
She claims that the main differences between people who create and people who don’t are that people who create are willing to take risks, and willing to put in time. I tell my free motion students that I can give them instruction, but not experience, that can only come with spending time doing it. It’s a little like learning a language or an instrument, you can learn the basics, but there’s no substitute for lots of practice.
So that’s it for today, two things to remember: be willing to take risks and try things , and be willing to put in some time. As far as risks go, what are we risking, anyway? Putting ourselves out there for others to see is a risk, but really only to our pride…. Then there is the risk of wasting time or materials, I’ve had to really work on that one. I have to see using materials and time as being kind of like the cost of taking a class, just that I am teaching myself. It’s not a waste at all if you are learning something!
Here’s a quote from the book that I really liked:
“Creativity is not a magical ingredient of personality granted to a chosen few. Creativity is an attitude you hold toward the choices you make in life, as well as in art. There is always a better way of doing things, and creative people are out there
looking for it.”
I mentioned in a previous post that I am reading a really fun book about becoming more creative. Starting tomorrow, I am planning to do a short series, probably about 6 posts, with some of the things I am learning from this book. The book is called "The New Creative Artist, a Guide to Developing Your Creative Spirit" by Nita Leland. I've always loved to make things, but I don't think of myself as creative. I can copy things I see, but I have a harder time coming up with original ideas, and I'd like to get better at it. The author of this book claims that everyone has the ability to be creative, and there are some steps we can follow to help get us there.
If you would like to follow this series, 'like' my facebook page if you haven't already. I'm still learning too, I'm just trying to take as many people as possible with me!
The photo is a Kindle bag I made a few years ago.
I entered another quilt in the Quilter's Show and Tell contest this week too, (The Moose Madness one from a few posts back) click on the purple box to go vote for your favorites, and see how easy it is to enter your own quilt, this contest is held almost weekly. (If it's not there yet, it will be later today. This week's theme is Quilting Close Up)
I'm having a nice quiet week recovering from a busy few months! I'm still reading my new art book and planning a short blog series on it, but I think I will wait a couple more days to start it. I worked on a design for a little wall quilt today, hopefully I can make a few of those before my next bazaar in two weeks.
The card pictured is a really easy one, I found the ornament in the bead section at JoAnn's.
Well, I survived bazaar weekend. Against my better judgement, I went back for a second day to see if I could get a cancellation table, which I did. My family all pitched in to help, and it turned out to be worth going again. Now I'm resting and catching up on all the things I haven't been doing for weeks.... :-) I started reading a really fun book about improving our creativity, I think I'll do a series of posts from that. Anyone can be creative, but most people think they can't, I'll try to prove you wrong :-)
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The ravens in these cards are made with a silk screen, except for the feet, which are stitched.
Off to what I call my "annual day of work" :-) Amazing how many days it takes to get ready for it, but bazaar day itself is really fun. There are lots of really creative people here, so it's fun to see what other people are doing, and fun to visit with so many people coming through! I usually do another smaller one or two, but this is the biggest one, it's quite popular. Due to renovations on the usual location, it is being held somewhere else, that part should be interesting!
Almost ready for the bazaar! My husband built me a new rack, which I think will be great. My goal was 200 cards, I have a few to finish up, then I'll have about 230, plus what I scavenge from the shops in town, I always borrow them back for bazaar day.
Beret Nelson's On The Trail Creations Blog Page
I am a homeschooling mom of three fun kids, who are now old enough that I have a little time to pursue my passion for sewing! After several years of making quilted cards and art quilts, I'm now designing kits and patterns. Some of them have even been in Keepsake Quilting! I teach classes at local quilt shops, and would love to do more traveling and teaching eventually. I also have many tutorials, including some on YouTube. I am blessed to live in Alaska where I am surrounded by the inspiration provided by the beauty of God's creation!
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