One of the things that I became really excited about when I started creating again is the discovery of online workshops/classes. I’ve been reading blogs for quite some time and always noted the art retreats and workshops happening around the country, sometimes around the world. I wished that there was something a little closer for me to attend. Don’t get me wrong – a creative vacation is a dream getaway, but not always feasible. So when I discovered online art courses, I felt like it was a dream come true. What I like most about the online workshops/classes is that most times you can take the course when it is convenient for you and work at your own pace.
Initially, it can be difficult to find what you want when you are not sure how to look for it. I stumbled upon my first online course and I am finding more and more over time. For this reason, I am creating a list of links on my sidebar of online art courses that I have discovered.
I haven’t been able to put together my little montage of happenings from the last month, but hope to do so this weekend. In the meantime, I decided to begin a recurring post to share things I love and would be hard pressed to live without.
First up is Read it Later (RIL). RIL allows you to save videos and articles to watch and read at anytime. RIL can be used on various devices and in a number of applications. I have been using RIL to save blog posts that I find inspiring and wish to revisit or I want to read later when I have more time. I use Google Reader to keep up on all my favorite blogs. A Read it Later button appears on the heading of each blog post for ease of use.
I have been using Read it Later on my iPhone and web browsers, which is incredibly simple and user-friendly. If you are interested in using Read it Later, head over to www.readitlater.com to set up an account and follow the instructions for adding RIL to your phone or web browser.
Have you ever experienced an intense creative block? A creative black hole so deep, you feel as though you will never emerge. For well over a year, I experienced a creative block that left me feeling uninspired and frustrated. When I had the occasional moment of inspiration, I would pull out all the materials required for a project, but I would lose the desire to create as soon as I had everything out. Without cutting, painting, or writing a thing, I would put my materials away. This went on and on. After a while I just didn’t bother to pull out the materials. If I had an idea, I would jot down or sketch the idea in my sketchbook and that would be it.
Eventually, I forced myself to work through this period. I had an unfinished mixed-media piece that I wanted to finish for a friend. I worked on the piece in intervals and over time I was able to complete the piece. Working on something that was already started relieved the pressure of creating something from scratch. This experience changed my perspective regarding unfinished projects. Instead of a waste of time and materials, unfinished projects are merely intended to serve a purpose at a later date.
I thought a lot about what got me into that creative block. During this time I was struggling with certain events in my personal life. Instead of turning to art, I turned my back on it. I feel stronger than ever that creating can be a great source of healing and refuge. In fact, as I was slowly recovering from my block I discovered Tam of Willowing. Tam offers a wonderful selection of online art courses. One of Tam’s online classes is titled, “The Heart of Art”. The free class focuses on using art for healing. The class is broken down into 4 weeks and allows you to go at your own pace. It is a great way to sort through your thoughts and emotions.
I think another contributing factor to the creative block is my tendency to go into creative overload, mainly by trying to cram in too many projects at once. This leaves me feeling overwhelmed and burnt out. In an attempt to prioritize and manage my projects more effectively, I have started creating bullet lists of projects that I would like to accomplish. I continue to jot down and sketch ideas in my sketchbook for future brainstorming.
I have recognized my need for developing better creative habits. Earlier this year, I purchased Art at the Speed of Life (book) by Pam Carriker. Pam has a great chapter titled, “So Many Supplies, So Little Time”. I found the Pyramid Scheming exercise very useful. Immediately after reading this book, I set to work at purging my art supplies. I kept all the materials related to the media I enjoy most and gave away everything else. I felt so renewed by performing this act. I have better focus and I can actually find the supplies I need.
As agonizing as my creative block was, I learned a lot about myself and my creative process. The new and improved me is glad to be back in the creative world.