This is quite a day for me! My first blog post… am I a bit mad starting this? Possibly. I have been mulling this over for the last year because blogging is the thing to do apparently. I personally like reading blogs but only if they have a clear purpose or subject. That led me to the inevitable question, what’s my subject? What do I have to share or contribute? Those are intense and terrifying questions and made me retreat back into my ironic ‘safe’ space of diffidence.
I’m halfway through an introductory course to Art Therapy in Cork, it has opened my eyes to how the act of “making art” or image making can help us process our thoughts or get us through trauma; how it is beneficial to our physical and mental self. This blog isn’t going to go into Art Therapy because I’m not qualified and I have only been exposed to the tip of the iceberg.
I feel passionately about Art, it’s more than my profession, it’s integral to my being and happiness. Saying that, it took me years before I had the confidence to even admit that I am an artist… I am self-taught, didn’t go to Art College and my experience of art was from school and home. My experience in school with art wasn’t bad but it also wasn’t great and it did nothing to inspire creativity or nurture it. Everyone has a different experience so I don’t want to generalize.
I thought my first blog post should be about where to start. If you haven’t picked up a paintbrush or a colouring pencil in a while, if ever, but would like to start drawing, painting, collaging and creating then this is the blog for you!
A blank page… is there anything more intimidating? There you are sitting at your table behind a blank page, you had a great time in the art supplies shop (heaven) bought whatever took your fancy and some practical bits. Stop right there! Here are some simple steps to make it easier on yourself:
- Buy what you Fancy: Go to the Art Supplies Shop (or online) and buy some colouring pencils/oil pastels/inks/acrylic paints whatever you feel drawn to, a tip is to buy your favourite colours to begin with. Many people feel under pressure to buy expensive sets of boring primary colours and while you need to learn how to mix colours, this could become expensive and it isn’t your aim to start with something complicated. Your main aim is to find the joy in creating an image for yourself! You will build up a nice supply of materials over time. I recommend you buy a good quality paper that can absorb the quantity of paint you will put on it. A hot Pressed watercolour paper, I use the Aquafine Daler Rowney watercolour paper.
- Wait until you have some time to yourself- The kids are in bed, the animals are fed and you have your few minutes to yourself without interruption (in an ideal world, right?) or the closest you can manage.
- Get Comfortable- Put on some music that you like, then make yourself a cup of tea, nestle in and get comfortable.
- Start with your Favourite Colours- Chose your favourite colours, simply pick the ones that make you happy or that resonate with you. They don’t have to match or follow any rules.
- Fill that Page- Put them in blocks on the page, or shapes. Start anywhere, in the corner, in the middle wherever you instinctively want to go.
- Take a break- Try to have a little break every so often if you feel tired. Remember its for fun that you’re doing this, its me-time. If it is stressing you out or making you feel tired then it will become a chore.
- What do you think?- Once you’ve finished, look at your piece. See how you feel about it… what would you do differently? What does it remind you of? Would you put something else on top of it? Did you enjoy it?
- Research- You could try and follow some artists who’s style you’re drawn to and see if you can use some of their techniques. *You can copy some aspect of their work as long as you don’t try to pass off their work as your own* That is Plagiarism...
Remember this is a starting point! A means to get you excited and enjoying the creative process without feeling under pressure to create a masterpiece straight away, although you probably will! Art-making is therapeutic and it is a valuable way to spend your time because you never know where it might take you. It is good for your body and mind and a beautiful way to spend time by yourself or to spend quality time with your children.
I will continue to talk about this subject in my next post. I also plan to share which Artists I find inspiring and what techniques you can try yourself at home. Feel free to ask questions or leave comments. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading and that this post encourages you to give art a go or another chance!
Some useful links: (not sponsored to share these, these are what I use...)