Tapping in to Your Creative Side

Have you ever decided you would try to create something and then felt reluctant to get started?

We all have a creative side that can be expressed in many ways.  When we allow ourselves to relax from the busy-ness of our days, our muse has a chance to come out, tap us on the shoulder, and say, “it’s okay…give it a whirl.”  Your whirl may be expressed through music, writing, humour, art, gardening, drama, cooking, crafts, building things, or a myriad of other ways.  Sometimes we are afraid to try because we might not meet our own expectations, or think others will criticize us, (is your 5th grade teacher watching over you?) or not be successful according to some nebulous standards.

It is actually the “doing” that gives us countless moments of pleasure and the ability to say to ourselves, “I enjoyed that,” without requiring a polished end result.

Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.  ~ Mary Lou Cook

A few weeks ago, my daughter asked me to paint a big picture of a horse for her home.  I have more experience in watercolours than acrylics so it was something I was a little hesitant to do.  She knows horses…rides several times a week, enters competitions, and loves to be with her horse. Although I go to her horse shows, I have to admit that I am a bit scared of horses….they are a lot bigger than me and because I don’t know much about them, I think their movements are unpredictable.  So, needless to say, I am not tuned into the “way of the horse” let alone the anatomy.

Luckily my daughter wants an abstract image so it’s a lot easier than trying to paint a horse that has a realistic quality.  I started with a quick sketch on paper using an 8B graphite pencil…of course, any pencil will do. I know I’m taking a risk showing you my drawing…but I wanted you to see that it’s about the process more than the result.  (Horse lovers…please be kind.)rough draft

I am somewhat challenged by proportion and my spatial perceptions are not as good as I would like them to be.  I find making a simple grid a helpful way to get the image on the canvas similar to the one on the paper.

a simple grid helps get the proportions on the canvas

A few years ago, I converted part of my garage into a little studio so that I wouldn’t always be cleaning up the kitchen table and putting craft supplies away. Now I have no excuses for avoiding pulling out the paints and brushes and giving it a go. It was time to face the canvas…not always an easy task…and it took a leap of faith especially since I haven’t painted in a while.

To get started,  I pinned a large drop sheet to the wall to protect it and the floor from paint spatters, unwrapped the canvas, and set it up on my easel. The canvas, 4 feet wide by 3 feet tall, was all pristine and eagerly awaiting paint. I got out my largest brushes and even my happy face water bucket was smiling…I wonder what it would say if it could talk.

blank 3x4 foot canvas

I danced around the canvas several times trying to prepare myself to commit…for me, there is no going back once I start. Yes, I know you can sand it down, cover  it with gesso and start over…but my style is to keep going.

Last night I finished the under painting and tackled the hardest part…sketching the horse on the canvas. I used yellow chalk ’cause it makes a faint line and it’s easy to erase.

background for the horse image

After I get the horse head painted out, I will put a glaze over the green and gold panel to help it blend in more with the whole painting.  I’m thinking of using a purple-ish brown colour.  I will experiment a little until I find a few shades I like.  That’s one of the neat things about creativity…there are no rules you “have” to follow.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to post a picture of the finished canvas in a few days.

Now, think about what you can do in the coming weeks to get your creative juices flowing.  The first flowers of spring are begging to be photographed, try out a new recipe, put on some music and dance, write a poem for someone you love, rearrange your furniture, paint that old “treasure”  you found at a garage sale, buy a sketchbook and doodle in it everyday….okay…enough ideas from me….just get going…you’ll be amazed at how refreshing it can be when you lose yourself in the process.

Art washes away from the soul, the dust of everyday life. ~ Pablo Picasso

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