Dispelling the “I can’t do it” Myths of Creativity

This article was written by Michelle Brown

It is so hard to find that extra time in the day to fit in a little crafting and creativity into our lives. By reviewing where our time goes during the day and making a determined effort to have time to practice and learn new skills, while getting together the materials we need, we are able to open up the opportunity for us to be creative.mixed_media_art_collage

I have been creating cards and paintings and mixed media creations for many years; from when I was in High School, through studying at university, working full time, then having kids and working full time.  Because mixed media arts and papercrafts are my passion, I will find time and space to create, fitting it in as and when I can.

I am always very interested when I find others who are amazed at what I make, and by their excuses as to why they could never make such nice things. It seems to boil down to one of three reasons (or a combination of all three):
1. I don’t have enough time
2. I don’t have the talent / skills / know-how
3. I don’t have the equipment or materials

I see these are the three “I can’t do it” Myths of Creativity. Let’s look at each one in detail.

Don’t have enough time
While working and children and keeping a house does take up a lot of time, it is important to understand where our time goes. Every person on this planet has 24 hours in a day and seven days in a week. It is how we choose to use our time which determines if we have enough time for creative pursuits.

If you are one of those people who doesn’t know where your time goes, it may be time to do a “time audit”; keeping a written record of the tasks you do through a normal week. Even a simple breakdown into categories of Kids, Household, My time, Working, Computer, Garden, Television will help you to see where your time goes. At the end of the week, summarise where the time goes each day.

Then it’s time for some real thinking. Are you surprised as to where your time goes? Are you seeing proportionate results for your effort? Now you can take stock and consider if how you are spending your time is in line with your goals and values.

For me to fit in my crafting, I concentrate my housework into a limited number of hours in a week; what gets done, gets done, what doesn’t will either get delegated or left for next week. Then I schedule in time to create. At times it has only been for half an hour (an hour at the most) in the evenings, after the children are in bed (or at least playing in their rooms). By planning my crafting activities (Christmas comes around at the same time each year) and allowing enough time, I can get these projects done by spending a little time, most days, completing each project bit by bit.

Don’t have the skills
Wanting to create is enough to get started; developing the skills will happen in line with the creative process. Especially with the Internet these days, we all have access to so many different techniques and other artists, that reading up on the basics is enough to get you going. Then there are courses and classes with your local stores or crafting groups. All of the people I have met across many crafts are always happy to share what they know.

More advanced skills will be developed as you get more practice in while you are creating. Many techniques are dependent on the latest crafting fashions and these can be developed the same way as your basic skills. And these are the more tangible skills.

The intangible skills of colour mixing and knowing just where to place things can also be developed through practice and consciously looking at he work of others. By consciously, I mean that when you think “oh that’s nice” then begin to ask yourself why – it is the colours, the techniques used, the placement of embellishments? Becoming more analytical will built your skills.

My talents are mostly developed through practice and seeing other people’s work, with a few classes thrown in. I tend to stick to safe colour combinations. For collages I follow the steps I have outlined in other articles. Then the placement of images and embellishments are done until it feels “right”.

Don’t have equipment or materials
As we have seen across the Mixed Media Arts site, there are many things that we already have around the house or borrowed from the children that can be used to start creating. Card form cereal boxed, glue sticks or sticky tape, basic paints, pens and note paper – if you don’t have these hidden somewhere, a trip to the local variety shop will help get you started. Remember that you don’t need every colour or size or shape to begin with. Stick to some basic colours and multi purpose stamps and inks. You will find that your artistic tastes will change as you create more artwork and learn different techniques. Your materials and equipment collection will expand as opportunity presents itself.

I have had many years to collect my craft supplies. I have things stuffed into many corners but I just don’t use them. Unless I go through the drawers on a regular basis, then I forget what I have. So not having lots of supplies is not the only aspect that will keep you from crafting.

Creativity is a skill like any other that needs time doing it to get better at it. Finding the time to spend creating is where the challenge is in our modern busy lives. By being aware of where we spend our time we can make decisions about how we use it and if crafting is a priority for you, the time slots will present themselves. All the wishful thinking that you had more skills or time or materials will only help you if you use it as motivation to change what you were doing yesterday, and try something different today – that is the only way to create lasting change in your life.

So get creating!

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Using Mod Podge in Making Trading Cards

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This article is written by Kim Bailey

In May of last year I joined a 365 Day Challenge and for this challenge I decided to go on an art journaling journey. During my journey, I explored new ways of expressing my creativity. One of the ways I did this was making Mixed Media Art Trading Cards; bite sized pieces of art that you can trade or just keep for yourself. Below is what you will need to make your own.

Materials:

Card stock or junk mail post cards, magazine clippings, acrylic paints, markers, embellishments, (and your other favorite crafty/artsy materials), glue, foam brush and of course Mod Podge.

  1. Cut (2) 2 in. x 3 ½ in. pieces from your card stock or junk mail post cards.
  2. Now it’s your time to be creative. Using the magazine clippings, acrylic paints, markers and embellishments create pieces of art on these 2 tiny canvases.
  3. Once you have created your 2 pieces of art, glue them together. You’re finished product should be one decorated card. (The card should actually be the size of a standard business card).
  4. The last step is to Mod Podge your card. To make this step easier and less messy, use your foam brush to apply the Mod Podge. I suggest doing one side at a time so that it dries evenly.

Trading Cards made from Mod Podge

Trading Cards made from Mod Podge

Trading Cards made from Mod Podge

Not only can you use this idea for trading cards, but if you’re really ambitious it’s also a great way to put a spin on your business cards for special events.

Happy Mod Podging!

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Hello Mixed Media Art Addicts! My name is Kim and I live and create in New York. As a lover of all things crafty and creative I decided to start a blog about 2 years ago to document my obsession. My blog was called The Creative Addiction Blog - it’s not around anymore (sorry!). Currently, I work as a Creative Art Photography Support Assistant within a retail store.  My job helps to fuel not only my creativity, but also my love for photography.

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Mixed Media Art Backgrounds

This article is written by Linda Giese

For the past year I’ve been putting papers over my plastic covered workspace. It began when I found a roll of thermofax for a dollar at a thrift store.  I put it on my workspace and soon it filled up with random stamps, paint splatters, doodles and notes.  I tore off another sheet and saved the first for collage fodder. I progressed to large sheets of newsprint that came as packing material in boxes.  A friend even gave me old architectural plans she was going to throw away.

Backgrounds

This is an easy way of making original collage papers to make your art unlike anyone else, and it won’t even take extra time!  Now I glory in messing up my surface papers with ideas and oversprays.  Since I teach at my dining room table, there are class notes and ideas for what my students want to learn next.  I test out new stamps and “stamp off” ones I’m using.  There are scribbles trying to get a pen to write or see what color it is.  Sometimes there is even a random fruit label!

Backgrounds

I’m not likely to run out of clean papers to mess up, but thought of an idea if I did.  I’d take sheets of junk mail with clean backs and tape them together.  Or as I’ve done, use sheets of scrapbook paper I don’t like that perhaps came in a stack of paper.  If you take a class, perhaps you can mess up newspapers under your work there too!  Good luck and happy splatters!

Backgrounds

Materials I used for my canvas:
Underpainting is blended background of Americana orchid, butter and baby blue
I applied the torn collage papers with Americana DecouPage as well as the Dover clip art woman image
I used the above paints plus Americana cad red, bright yellow(to make the flesh color) and true blue for shading

Backgrounds

Backgrounds

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Linda Giese encourages comments, questions, and sharing your art journey at linda.giese@yahoo.com

She teaches classes privately and at a local scrapbook store, The Stamp Addict

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Homemade Stamps by Francesca Albini

This article is written by Francesca Albini

I wanted to do a little booklet of imaginary landscapes and thought it would be fun to use only stamps and stickers. I have a large collection of stickers that I find in children’s books and magazines, or that I buy when I travel. Most of the stamps I used in my booklet are homemade. All you need is some lino carving knives, scissors, a brayer, some kind of plastic sheet to spread acrylic paint onto and… a trip to the pound (or dollar) store. There you will find lots of things that can be used to make stamps – flip-flops, erasers, foam sheets, gardening mats, etc. You can find novelty erasers in the shape of fish, frogs, triangles, that can be quite cute. Also don’t forget the small erasers at the back of pencils, they make lovely dots. After a while you’ll develop an eye for what items make interesting patterns.

Homemade Stamps

Normal white erasers are ideal for carving simple designs, like my palm trees, the bird and the sun. I draw the (mirror) image with a marker on the eraser and then carve out very carefully all the bits that I don’t want printed. I ink the stamp and do a print, if it needs tweaking I carve some more and test it again. I use both sides of the eraser, so I get two stamps out of one eraser. Tips, sides and corners of erasers can also be used to print lines and rectangles.

Homemade Stamps

I cut the fish and the waves from a foam sheet that came from a children’s card making kit. I cut the foam gardening mat into blocks, and with a double sided sticky tape I attached a thick windy string on one, some paper clips on another and buttons on a third.

Homemade Stamps

To ink my stamps, I use ink pads, stamping brush markers and acrylic paint. When using acrylic you have to wash your stamps straight away, before the paint dries. Sometimes it helps to put a foam sheet under the page where you want to stamp, so that you get a better print (with the buttons stamp, for instance.)

I like the idea of a theme, like landscapes. I guess one could also make portraits out of stamps, compositing hair, eyes, hats. The possibilities are endless.

Happy stamping!

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Francesca is a visual artist using pretty much everything she finds around her to record and relive feelings and memories of places and emotions. She collages, paints, draws, photographs. Francesca loves mixing modern technology, such as mobile phone apps, with the simplest of tools such as glitter glue, crayons and other children’s art supplies. Read her blog at Frans Journal Blogspot.

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