My Blogging and Art Resolutions

Coming to a new year always makes me think of all the things I wish I had done last year and what I’d like to accomplish in the coming one. So, here is a list of my New Year’s Resolutions for the world to see. If you’d like to read more about making art resolutions click here.

Blogging Goals.

  1. Blog consistently every week.
  2. Start a series of blog tutorials about the basics of drawing.
  3. Make a guest post.

Art Goals.

  1. Sketch or doodle every day.
  2. Paint a series of mountain paintings.
  3. Have a show of my paintings in a gallery.

 

Seven Tips for a Successful Work day at home

 

computer

 

Whether I’m blogging, painting, making soap, or cooking dinner, most of my work is done at home. It’s been a process learning how to be my own boss and not getting sidetracked with the many distractions at home. Here are a few tips that will help you make the most of work hours at home or help you transition from your day job.

  1. Find your productive hours. I’ve always been a morning person but I don’t judge the night owls. No one time of the day is better than the other but there may be a better time for you.  Determine when you work best, either at night, in the morning, or in the middle of the day and focus your work hours then.
  2. Set work hours for yourself. I know how hard it can be to stick to regular hours when you have a toddler in the house, so, I work when my little guy is happiest or when he is taking a nap. You may not always be able to work these hours every day, but if you don’t set any goals you hit them every time.
  3. Make a list of what you need to get done every day. More about making those goals! It always helps me to see on paper what I need to get done and when. A day planner is great for organizing your list.
  4. Dress for the job. Wear something that will make you feel productive and confident. It’s tempting to stay in your pajamas all day if no one is going to see you but getting dressed will make you feel more like working. Have old or protective clothing designated for those messy jobs!
  5. Create a productive work environment. It’s great to have a designated work space in your home but if that isn’t possible, at least keep your materials neat and organized. I personally can’t concentrate in a messy house, so, I must clean before I can work.
  6. Get in the zone. Background noise is a great way to get to get your mind in the zone. Play something that isn’t too distracting like a book on tape or some music without emotional lyrics.
  7. Take a break. The breaks you take are just as important as the time you spend working. When you start to feel frustrated with your work or too tired to keep going take a break to drink some tea or do anything unrelated to work. When you feel refreshed, get back in there and finish the job!

Painting with Your Toddler-Five Keys to Success

 

Wile teaching and painting with my son I’ve learned a few thing that really help when you are working with a toddler. If you follow these few steps you can help your toddler create something really wonderful that you will be proud to hang on your fridge.

#1. Protect your Creative Space.   This means putting down plastic or newspaper over everything your child may be able to reach with their paintbrush or messy hands. Don’t expect a toddler to keep the paint on the paper or off themselves. Leave your child in just their diaper or put them in some old or already stained clothes. With these precautions in place, you will be ready to really enjoy painting with your child without worrying about colors getting on them or the surrounding area.

#2. Limit the Colors.  Most paint sets come with the primary colors which is great but not very practical for toddlers. My little boy tends to just mix all the colors together until they make a strange brown. This is why I choose just a couple colors at a time for him to experiment with. It also helps to choose colors that are close to each other on the color wheel and gold is always a great option to make the painting shine.

micah-painting-gold

 

#3. Determine when to Stop. My little guy will paint some beautiful abstracts in a few minutes, but he loves playing with paint so much that he will just keep going until all the colors turn into a gray blob. It’s a good idea to watch your toddler paint until it looks good. Then replace their work with another piece of paper and gently take away the painting they were working on.

#4. Provide Quality Materials. I can’t tell you how many times I tried to paint on printer paper and had little bits of it roll up or had it tear all the way through. There is no need to provide professional materials for your toddler, but some watercolor paper or canvass will really make their work look great.

#5. Be encouraging. If you want your toddler to keep creating art, please, offer lots of encouragement. There is nothing that will stifle creativity like criticism from parents. Remember, art should be fun, especially for toddlers!

 

 

Turning “I can’t” into “I can”

i-can
Photo credit, Cassia Abbott

 

There is nothing like a migraine in the morning to get you thinking about what you can and can’t do. As I lay in bed today, I began writing this blog post in my mind to get it off the pain in my head. I’ve always been a bit pessimistic about what I’m capable of, and there have been many things that I have failed to do because I didn’t think they were possible. I have listed a few of these mental obstacles I have gotten through and a few I am still working on.

  1. “I can’t ever be as good an artist as…A, B, or C.” Most of my young life the A, B, and C were my family members. This is one of the downsides to being the youngest with several talented older siblings and an artistic mother. In college it was easy to compare myself to my teachers and, of course, my classmates. The fact of the matter is, that no matter how good of an artist you become, there is always someone else that will be better than you at something. The key is to learn from other artists instead of comparing yourself to them. Strive to do the best art you can do, not the best art some other artist can do.
  2. “I can’t do art after I have a child.” Several people implied that a child would bring a halt to my creativity and to be honest, I believed it. I did six paintings during the pregnancy of our first child because I didn’t think that I was going to be able to do any art for a long time after he was born. I also didn’t do any art for a year after my son was born because I didn’t think I could. It wasn’t because it was impossible, it is because I believed it was. I will admit that doing art with a baby is more difficult, but once I started painting again, I realized that it is completely possible.
  3. “I can’t do art because of my living situation.” We are currently living in a small camper and that provides some unique hurdles to overcome when you are doing oil paintings. I didn’t think that I would have adequate lighting or that I had space to keep my paintings safe as they dried. Because I couldn’t do oil painting easily, I gave up on all art and watched way too much Netflix all summer. I could have done more sketches or watercolors during this time but I didn’t. This fall I finally had enough of not painting and found some creative solutions so that I can oil paint in our camper.

There are a few things that we just cannot do, but they are very few. Maybe they are things you can’t do without help. That doesn’t mean they are impossible, it just means that you need a community around you to support you emotionally or physically. Involving others in your creative process adds to your work instead of taking from it.

Maybe there are some things you can’t do, yet. Don’t give up. Believe that what you want to create has purpose and meaning and is worth doing a few times in order to get it right. As Zig Ziglar said, “Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly–until you can learn to do it well.”

I’m learning that I should never say that I can’t do something if I haven’t at least tried to do it first. Please comment on this post how you have turned “I can’t,” into “I can.”

Art Books I Love

Reading is right up there on my favorite list with doing any kind of art. I could spend all day reading, in fact, I have. So, books about art, I just can’t resist. Learning from and being inspired by other artists is so important, and the artists that wrote these books are some of the …