Dare to Share: Giving the Gift of Creativity to Others

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This article is written by Laura Thykeson

As artists, we may have endless amounts of Vision, Talent, Techniques, etc. that we use when creating something magical from nothing more than a thought. Such is the miracle of art! But there is one more piece to the recipe that has to be included in order to be productive, starting from the first time you began creating, all the way through your creative journey right up to the end. It is this particular attribute that I wish to address.

The final item, often taken for granted, is DESIRE! We must have the “desire to create” something physical driving us to take action or we would never complete a creative project! Our wonderful, unique designs and abilities would just drift through our imaginations forever and never see the light of day, much less be shared with others in a physical, tangible form. Desire drives us, compels us, even obsesses us to try capturing that ephemeral bit of idea and create and form it into some substantial, artistic representation that can be touched, seen, shared with others for moments or even decades. Something solid and permanent that will remind the world for years, that “We were here”. This Desire is what I feel we should consider sharing and passing on to others and has little to do with “talent”. It could be that driving  “desire to create” that may be the main quality we should think about fostering in others when sharing our gifts with others. People of all ages and walks of life may be hungry for even the simplest form of self expression but don‘t realize it yet. That is where we come into the mix. We need to bring to others the desire to begin, and a few items to begin with. I have some ideas for accomplishing this, and all it involves is a little bit of effort, things you are going to be doing anyway because you can’t help yourself, and a tiny bit of brainwork or networking with different groups or gatherings of people.

Laura Thykeson suggests we can spread our creativity by giving some mixed media materials to help our friends start their journaling process

First, gather some inexpensive items to include as “artistic desire supplies“. I suggested the items below, feel free to change it up to better suit the recipients. Remember-those receiving the items don’t yet know that they are going to develop the Desire to use them, all they know at first is they received a “gift”. Later, they will realize what the REAL gift is! Anyway, here’s the basic list, all are sold at dollar or discount stores:

A bound book with blank(lined or unlined) pages. (I use plain composition notebooks. They are sturdy and cheap, fun to embellish, handle collage and light watercolor decently)

Mechanical pencil(s) and 2 permanent black markers (Sharpie works great)

Eraser

Glue (gluesticks and/or school glue- I add 1 or more of each.)

Scissors

Children’s pan watercolors (Crayola makes a great set for kids or adults for less than $5)

Waterbrush or 2 inexpensive brushes and a small plastic bottle of water (for the watercolors)

Magazine(s) with suitable words and pictures for collage work

Finally,  you need a container. You can find great used totes from resale shops or garage sales, get blank canvas totes and embellish or leave blank for the recipient to personalize after they are consumed with the “desire to create“! Finally, not fancy but functional, use a large ziplock bag.

Laura Thykeson suggests we can spread our creativity by giving some mixed media materials to help our friends start their journaling process

To jumpstart the creative process, inside the book you included, do a page(s) yourself in SIMPLE collage, combining images and text, done on an easy, colorful watercolor background. Have the collage convey an emotion, or simple theme. Handwrite a word or two on the page in black marker.  Lastly, (do in Word, then print copies), include an artist bio and mission statement, and include your email address, along with an idea of the “real” gift you are hoping to pass on.  A few ideas on using supplies and tips for how to get started are helpful. Then, it won’t be long before the “desire to create“ hits them and off they go! Underprivileged or at risk youth groups, hospitals, assisted living and nursing homes are all great places to put this project to work! You never know whose life you may change!

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Laura Thykeson has been totally immersed in mixed media art for many years. She discovered altered books and art journals about a year ago and have been hooked ever since! She has always loved mixed media art because of the variety and the “no rules” aspect! Laura lives in Granbury, Texas USA.

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Taking the leap from Hobbyist to Full-Time Artist

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This article is written by Keri Sallee

Pursuing a dream is never an easy task. It takes strength of heart, a heap of patience and maybe…just a dash of insanity.

Many people thought I was beyond crazy when I decided to quit my job and try my hand at being a full-time artist in the paper-crafting/mixed media world. And in all honesty, it was never something that I had considered until I met an amazing woman named Cheryl Boglioli. This homeschool mom/medical transcriptionist turned full-time artist and social media maven has become my mentor as I figure out my way in this new territory and today I want to share some of her wisdom and experience with you.

Cheryl Boglioli full-time artist and social media mave

Be practical

So you want to be a full-time artist? Here are some practical tips from Cheryl:

(1) Do your research! Take time to figure out what kind of business is right for you right now. There are LLCs, DBAs and so many others. Seek help from those who know more than you. Cheryl was inspired to take her leap into full-time artist by attending a Craft and Hobby Association (CHA) roundtable discussion with other designers and still uses them and CHA as resources.

(2) Find a mentor. The mentor/mentee relationship can sometimes be misconstrued, Cheryl says. It’s not meant to be someone who does the hard work for you or acts as a business coach. Rather they are meant to be your example of a professional designer and to be your sounding board for questions. This is a very special relationship, so choose carefully.

(3) Be prepared for rejection. You will not get every opportunity you reach for and it’s hard not to take it personally. Here’s what Cheryl suggests: think of it this way…they aren’t saying “no” to you or your art…it is just not what they are looking for. Cheryl also reminds us to be open to critiquing; in the long run, it will make you a better business person and artist.

(4) Be organized and have a plan. Cheryl loves tools such as Google calendar to keep track of deadlines (a necessary evil! LOL), both personal and professional. Being organized she said, also helps keep the lines of communication clear and allows you to be an active member of the art community, both vital to your cause.

Cheryl Boglioli full-time artist and social media mave

The Artist’s View

Getting to do what she loves everyday is Cheryl’s favorite part of her choice to become a full-time artist. In her studio in historic downtown Fort Pierce, FL, she has the opportunity to be surrounded by the positivity and creativity of other artists. But, she says, it can be easy to get bogged down with creating for others, deadlines and the business side of what you are doing. Cheryl’s suggestion is to make time to play. Take time to sit at your desk…in your studio or wherever you create and create just for you.

Be prepared to ask yourself self-evaluation questions. Cheryl says that is some of the best advice she received from Julie Fei-Fan Balzer. Always be asking yourself questions like “Why am I doing what I’m doing?” and “What am I passionate about?” The questions and answers like this will always be changing and will help guide you, so ask them often.

Be inspired by those around you, but stay true to yourself is another great piece of advice from Cheryl. Even as advanced as she, she still takes classes, learns from others and then incorporates it into her own person style.

In a Nutshell

You CAN do it! That is the most important thing that Cheryl has taught me. Yes…there are rough days, but then there are days when you are so inspired there aren’t enough hours in a day to get it all done. It takes planning and faith to move forward, but if others can do it….so can you.

Photo of Cheryl and Keri at Winter CHA 2013

To learn more about Cheryl, check out her website: Cheryl’s Window and for the complete interview, check out my blog: The Creative Life Studios

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Keri Sallee is a paper-crafter and mixed media artist who believes that EVERYONE was made to create. She loves thinking outside the box when it comes to her designs, like her Wizard of Oz inspired high-heel shoe that won her a spot on Graphic 45’s 2014 Design Team. She has also designed for The Canvas Corp family of companies, Susan K. Weckesser, The Craft Warehouse, Authentique Paper, Want2Scrap and The Buckle Boutique. Her favorite artistic quote is by Picasso and it says “Inspiration Does exist, but it must find out working.”

You can see more of Keri’s work on her blog ~ The Creative Life

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Five Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered

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This article was written by Martice Smith II

Use these simple approaches and general advice to get your artworks exposed so others can be inspired and get to know you and your creations. These tips will help both new and experienced artists!

Five Ways To Share Your Creativity & Get Discovered; Illustrated image

1. Above all, be true to YOU

Create what makes your heart sing and be happy doing it!

When you’re doing what’s fresh, interesting, and authentic to you, you make it that much easier for the marketplace to find you. Yes, it’s that simple!

2. Process is messy

Be open about what you’re working on.

Now is not time time for toiling away in your studio with absolute secrecy. Ask for feedback – don’t take it as criticism. Look at it as gathering information.

• Collaborate on a project with another artist…try asking someone whose work you admire but is a contrast to your own artwork.

• Discuss or teach a class, highlighting a simple technique.

• Share sneak peeks of your works in progress, your ideas and even what you’re learning online. Accept that, over time, you will evolve as an artist and learn to embrace change.

• Keep people “in the loop” of the changing influences that relates to what you’re working on.

(For example, show a new color palette of colors you mixed yourself; explain why the #2 fine-liner paintbrush is better for drawing your stylized hair strands; or provide a quick review on chisel tipped paint markers.)

The creative process is messy and should be fun!

3. Document

Even if your eyes will be the only eyes to see it, always take a record of what you are doing.

• Photograph of your work at different stages in your process or shoot a video of you working. (You don’t need to be all tech-savvy – just use what you have and start there!)

• Give people the experience of how you shape your art work by showing them behind-the-scenes; see how they react to it. Sometimes, you really don’t know what you have until someone’s spark ignites a new perspective. You’ll never know what stage in your progress will inspire or resonate with someone else.

4. Celebrate other people’s successes

That’s right – this article is about others just as much as it’s about you… It’s perfectly fine to celebrate your accomplishments but when your friend says that she just sold her painting, express your genuine excitement for her AND take it a step further by sharing her great news with your audience as well.

Teaming up with another artist to spread the word about each others’ recent success, instantly makes a greater impact.

This can work as an opportunity to visually show what inspires or influences your own creations. Not only will you pique the interest of others with this new artist, but your friend will be so grateful that you shared in her success.

5. Let go of crutches and PLAY!

I love covering a journal page with my graffiti handwriting. Seems like I can’t get away from it…or can I?

Lately, I’ve been making an effort to leave the scribble scratch behind (or cut back on it!) just to see what other direction I’d take.

During my printmaking challenge, I used a variety of found materials (sticks, yarn, bottle caps, etc.) to re-create the grungy, uneven texture that I love. What a surprise that was!

• Push yourself to try new tools and experiment with unfamiliar techniques.

In conclusion, creativity is not an antisocial act. Let go of your ego and remember: there is no one-size-fits-all plan for everybody. Flow with whatever’s good for you.

Be open to sharing your process and allow for the possibility of people to have an ongoing connection with you and your work. All you have to do is show your work.

“Give what you have. To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.” ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I invite you to join the Uneek Art Letter, my monthly newsletter, that offers more art biz tips and advice that will keep you in front of the right people.

What are some ways you like to share your creativity?

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Mixed media artist and designer, Martice Smith II

Martice Smith II is creative director of Martice Smith II – Illustration & Design Studio , based in Kansas City, Missouri and owner of Uneek Art Boutique. She established herself as a freelance Illustrator and graphic designer after receiving her Bachelor of Arts Degree. Her stunning illustrations reveals her love for fashion, typography and wildlife- using a combination of analog and digital techniques.

Martice also contributes as an article writer for the Creating Mixed Media Art website.

You can see more of her work via her Facebook page or her blog.

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Decluttering for the New Year; Creative Goals

The start of the New Year has been a good time to get organised and so far in our decluttering process, we have reflected on our achievements (or lack of them) for the last 12 months and we have considered which crafts get us excited and which ones we need to leave behind. From here we have been able to determine which craft supplies we need to create the artwork that most excites us. This allows us to move out everything else, giving us space to store our supplies with some order. Now we are ready to look ahead.

Regardless of where we are on our creative paths right now, there is always somewhere we have come from and where we are heading. To help us get to where we want to be it helps to have an idea of there that is and what it may look like. Goal setting and creating action plans to get there is a huge topic and we won’t even attempt to cover it here.

My suggestion to you is to keep your artistic goals simple; outline how we are going to set aside time to allow our creativity to develop, have a broad idea about which projects we may want to start, and leave the rest to our creative muse. A mind map is one of my favourite tools for creating simple plans where we can use simple headings for each branch.

Here is mine for 2012. The main branches are:

- Time
- Supplies
- Techniques
- Projects

Use a mindmap to outline your crafting goals for the year ahead

From each branch I will outline a few points for each one. And it doesn’t need to be boring but also don’t get too caught up in making it look pretty; we are getting the bones of a plan out there so we can see it and think about it and add (or prune) to it over the coming 12 months.

So what are you waiting for?!? Get sorting, get inspired and start creating!

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