Looking back at 2019: Establishing an art practice

Establishing an art practice

Unlike in previous years, where I tried and often failed to stick to a formal art practice {like aiming for a finished piece of art each day or trying for a set number of pieces each year}, this year I decided to let my art practice be organic.

What the past few years taught me is that art – and indeed creativity – is cyclical. There are months when I am much more prolific than others. There are times when I get obsessed with a certain style or a particular art supply. And there are times when I don’t pick up the brush as often, and that’s ok!

 

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It also taught me that I don’t like creating art for art’s sake. The painting a day practice doesn’t work for me because my pieces take time. Layers upon layers go into most of my paintings – be they on canvas or paper – and drying time is crucial. I like being able to walk away from the piece while it is drying instead of blasting it with a heat gun and continuing on. The drying times help me look at what’s happening and come up with different ideas to try or new directions in which to take my art, which wouldn’t have happened if I rushed the process through.

 

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What I did differently when it came to establishing my art practice this year, is that I took away all expectations and shoulds from the creative process. I came to the painty table, did as much or as little as I felt like, and called it a day.

And this has worked brilliantly. I’ve spent time at the painty table much more consistently. I’ve also spent entire weekends lost in the painting process. And I’ve finished 73 gorgeous pieces of art so far this year, which makes me indescribably happy!

 

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What this has taught me is that when it comes to establishing an art practice – or indeed any practice – it should be a unique expression of who you are. While there is a lot to be said for a daily practice, life happens, and missing a few days here and there doesn’t make one any less of an artist. Having goals is also a good thing, but knowing how you tick and how your practice works is even more important. At the end of the day, it isn’t about how much art you create, but how much fun you have creating it, and how much you allow yourself to experiment, play, and learn along the way.

 

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How do you establish a regular art practice?

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We can often get caught in the comparison trap. Our gremlins can try and convince us that being an artist means working in a particular way or having a body of work in a “style that sells”. We may see other artists finishing a page a day and wonder why we can’t do it. We may see people bragging about the art goals they’re slaying and think we are less of an artist because those goals just don’t work for us, damnit!

But I’ve found that “you do you” is a fine motto for life and for art.

Do what you can, when you can, with the tools that you have on hand. Forget the shoulds and musts and what other artists are doing. Focus on what you can do. Have fun doing it. And sooner rather than later, you’ll find your own unique creative rhythm and your own artistic vein of gold.

Before you go, tell me this: How did your creative practice progress this year? 

Posted in Art tutorials.

5 Comments

  1. That’s so delightful to hear. When you allow your creativity to lead the way, with little to no expectations, it’s incredible how much you grow. And 73 pieces is an outstanding achievement! Hope 2020 brings even more Art your way.

  2. A BIG hug to you, Shnijini, for saying this! These have been my exact feelings since I took that break from blogging couple months ago. I suffered from a burnout, a writer’s block and a general feeling of ennui because I was following other’s goals, the shoulds, the musts, and not focusing on ME, or my creativity, or if I was indeed enjoying what I was doing. I was doing it all because everyone else was doing it to get ahead in “the race”. and look where it got me!

    Last month, after thinking a lot (along the same lines as you have mentioned here) I decided I would do what I was good at, what I enjoyed and whatever stoked my creativity. And, that’s when things fell into place.
    I began writing more, enjoying the process and feeling so good about it, about myself and my work. I began a new blog for non-fiction, began writing more of fiction, too, and am enjoying sharing information related to health on my wellness blog, and all of it as and when I feel like it. It’s what gives me the satisfaction that I so craved earlier.

    I agree, there are days when you feel like doing a particular activity, and some days when you don’t want to even look at your books/artwork/laptop and just chill in front of the TV. And, it’s all okay. What’s not okay is to compare ourselves to others and feel bitter about ourselves. RIght?

    SO so happy to read these words, S! These are the thoughts that go through my mind almost everyday, these are what keep me going and feeling good about myself. 🙂

    Hugs!

  3. ” it isn’t about how much art you create, but how much fun you have creating it” – This has been my motto for sometime now and this is going to be my motto for 2020. I want to be able to enjoy what I am doing. Deadlines help, but not all the time. Sometimes we just have to give into our moods, I guess.

    That Zentangle hair is just superb. You are very talented my dear! 73 pieces of art this year is quite an accomplishment! Kudos to you.

  4. It is so easy to fall into the trap. I think social media did it to me earlier this year when I wanted to draw as much as possible, but I slowed down and realised I enjoy drawing more when I don’t have the unnecessary pressure of coming up with something everyday. I have always wondered how other artists come up with artworks every single day and yes, it does sometimes make me feel inadequate. But art is not about that. It is about enjoying the textures, the colour and how a blank paper transforms into something completely different. I absolutely admire your artwork and love how focused you have been this year. You came up with so many stunning pieces.

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