Wednesday, February 29, 2012

VIDEO: Play, Laugh, Grow

This is a piece I made while attending an Ace Camp with Sabrina Ward Harrison in Price Edward Island, Canada. The pages are made from a collaborative painting the group did together. So many fond memories! The music is from

The photos you see in the book are of my grandparents! They were so cute. :) 

Thanks for watching!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Artist Interview: Samantha Kramer

Out of everyone I met in college, Samantha Kramer is by far the one I love the most.  I first met Sam in a college printmaking class, where we bonded over a mutual dislike for a certain terrible professor and a serious love for working in the studio's darkroom all night long.  I have so many great memories of the two of us giggling the night away...  We have been super close ever since then, and even though Sam lives in North Carolina now, we still keep in touch very well, Skype all the time, and visit each other at least once a year.  Since graduating from college, Sam has always had jobs in the creative industry, but now she is working for herself and sells her awesomely funny and creative note cards and prints in her very own Etsy shop, Near Modern Disaster.  She also sells shipping supplies & vintage postage stamps at her second shop, Pack and Post.  Sam is super successful and awesome, and I am proud to know her.  Whenever we chat, I feel motivated and ready to work on my creative business, and I think you will feel that way too after reading her interview.  I am extra excited to announce that, for the next three days (Feb. 28 - March 2 at 11AM EST), you can purchase her products at a discounted rate through this link that will take you to her sale.  Hooray!

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.  What kind of art do you make?

I’ve been working under the name “Near Modern Disaster” since 1999 when I was a photography student at the University of Florida. I’ve moved on to illustration since then but photography never completely left the picture. I still use it as a basis for most of my work.

For readers who aren't familiar with, how would you describe it?

Etsy is a combination of the world’s largest craft fair, the world’s largest antique mall, and the world’s largest art supply shop wrapped up in a nice one-URL package. It’s certainly the best place for anyone looking to dip their toes in the craft or vintage retail pool.

You studied photography in art school...  What do you think are the differences between a snapshot and an art photograph?

On one hand, it’s all about intent. On the other, it really comes down to marketing. If you say it’s art, who’s to question you?

How are computers changing the way we interact with our personal photographs?

I don’t think computers have changed our interaction as much as smart phones have. They’ve made the personal public. And with all of the retro camera apps, they’ve made “snapshots” more interesting. It’s pretty difficult to take a boring photograph if you run it through a fancy filter.

How do you personally go about making art?  (Tell us a bit about your process, your creative routines, your inspirations, etc.)

As I mentioned before, I use photos as a basis for most of my work. Most of the time I use my own photos but in the case of a piece like my Hipster Deer, I’ll spend a while scouring the internet for the best taxidermied deer head photo I can find.

I use the photos as reference, drawing in Adobe Illustrator with my Wacom Tablet. I’ll usually do a few versions of every image - changing colors, adding and taking away certain lines, etc.

I keep a “to draw” folder on my desktop with different images I’ve taken as well as a Word doc with different ideas. It’s hard to really pinpoint where the ideas come from. Mostly, I just draw what I like. The Hipster Deer are sort of an exception. My boyfriend was on the phone with his sister who told him that the previous night she had almost hit a deer family with her car. I asked how she knew they were a family – did they have matching t-shirts? I actually started drawing deer wearing Mickey Mouse t-shirts and then decided I’d like some hipsters instead.

What are some of your creative aspirations for the future?

My main “end products” right now are note cards. I produce them all myself which is MEGA TIME CONSUMING. I’d love to get to the point where my order numbers were high enough that I could affordably send everything off to a local print shop.

I’ve done quite a few custom pieces over the years and I’d love to continue with that. My most requested illustrations are custom “Make Out City” portraits. I’d love to branch into wedding stationery using those portraits as a starting point.

In your opinion, what is the difference between art and craft?

I don’t think the terms are mutually exclusive but I suppose I’d err on the side of craft being more functional and art being more decorative?

To you, what is bad art?  What is good art?

This question is basically impossible to answer. Art is so subjective. There’s loads of work out there that I’d consider garbage – but some of my favorite illustrators draw things that would get a “my kid could’ve done that” response. To each his own! Then again, we can all agree that everything on Regretsy is crap, right?

What is your current favorite piece of art that you have made?

I feel like the most recent pieces are always the favorites. I just (finally!) did a Make Out City portrait of my boyfriend & I for Valentine’s Day. Is it too nerdy to choose that one? I also just finished a custom Make Out City portrait of Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels for a friend as a birthday gift to her husband. It’s pretty magical.

What are some of your current art obsessions? (artists or types of art, etc.)

I’m a ridiculously huge fan of Mia Nolting and Kate Bingaman Burt.

I’ve also been really interested in collage artists lately. No one in particular, just finding myself drawn to images on tumblr, etc. I spend so much time on the computer that I start to lose touch with the art of “making” things by hand. Definitely have “experiment with collage” on the bucket list.

What do you collect?

I’ve been on a vintage stamp kick lately. So much so that I’ve opened a second Etsy shop to sell them. ( I’ve always loved sending mail and have always been particular about the stamps I’ve used. Growing up, my father collected so I suppose it’s a hobby that was lying dormant since childhood. Now I’m putting together collections for other people to use on their wedding invites. Who knew collecting for others could be so fun?

Recommend some inspiring books/websites/music/movies to us...

Husband and wife duo Something’s Hiding in Here are a constant source of inspiration. Relatively certain that everything they touch turns to gold. (

“The Ballet” from Brooklyn, NY is your new favorite band. You’re welcome. (

I’m a huge fan of everything Rick Colado does. He currently performs under the name “Rickolus”. His latest EP “Coyote and Mule” was released on cassette (I know, I know – it comes with a digital download, settle down.) with beautifully illustrated screenprinted artwork. You can get it here :

On the business end of things, I learned TONS from Meg Mateo Ilasco’s books “Craft, Inc.” and “Creative, Inc.”.

Also, I’m a Pinterest junkie. If you aren’t using that site, you probably have more free time than I do but SERIOUSLY, follow your favorite artists and bloggers as well as your friends and be prepared to lose days at a time.

Do you have any advice you could offer to someone who wants to start making art but doesn't know where to begin?

Just do it. And put that shit on the internet. ALL. OVER. THE. INTERNET.

Thanks so much for such an awesome interview, Sam!  :)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday Photo Dump

1. Miss Ruby Roo, the cutest...
2. Just a portion of all the artwork I need to take photos of and list on Etsy...
3. Pretty pink and gold glitter nails!
4. Ruby Roo on my crazy rag and yarn rug from Urban Outfitters.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Saturday Quoteable

“The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.”
-Henry Miller

Thursday, February 23, 2012

People You Should Know: Tania

I met Tania through my blog, and I have had so much fun getting to know her via email that I thought I would introduce her to you, my dear blog readers, as well! She is very insightful and inspiring, and I think you will love reading her answers to my questions in this interview about creativity, getting stuck, and how to stay motivated. 

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am a Certified Life Coach with a background in mental health. My coaching focus is in Health Management including fitness and nutrition, and Work Life Balance. I love connecting with people and supporting them to become healthier and happier. A part of being healthy and happy is having and maintaining the motivation to function at your best. Coaching is a great way to stay motivated and can be useful with creating a satisfying life. More information about coaching can be found on my website:

I love art and all things creative. I love philosophy, poetry and spirituality. I love colour and beauty. I admire people who go against the grain and stand up for what they believe in; those who challenge our way of thinking.

Why do you think creativity is an important part of life?
Creativity, in the broad sense, is an important part of life because it can be a tool for survival. I have worked with people with severe mental health issues who have found creative ways to cope with their illness in order to recover and regain mental wellness. Some of them have been homeless - surviving the streets requires creativity.

As a mental health professional, I am constantly challenged with the task of coming up with creative ways to negotiate outcomes with clients themselves, their families and their health care team to support the recovery process.

It’s also important because it challenges how we view the world. Our upbringing, culture and society have shaped our worldview and the way we look at ourselves. This can lead to powerful inspiration that may end up changing the world for the better – perhaps begin a movement of some sort. The internet has been a platform for putting ideas into motion, particularly with social media sites. Online businesses are an example of creative thinking, as this technology has opened up a new world of opportunities.

The act of being creative also gets us in touch with our emotions. It can be a cathartic process to express our feelings through creative means. Our favourite songwriters seem to create their best work when exploring their deepest feelings such as those associated with personal heartbreak, and report the therapeutic benefits of expressing their pain through music.

Creativity is important because it is beneficial in so many ways...

What are some of your favorite way to express yourself creatively?
I like to sketch. It’s so basic but I like the simplicity of pencil to paper.

I also like to change my living space with new pictures, art and centrepieces from time to time.

How can we fight against our fear of failure and of disappointment when it comes to making artwork?
Eastern philosophies explain that it is good practice to observe our fear of failure instead of indulging the feeling. In other words, try to notice how the fear affects you, where it comes from etc., as though you are an outside observer of yourself. But steer away from criticizing yourself for having this fear – that won’t help you! Failure has been the ingredient for major success for people like Walt Disney and Henry Ford:

Our perspective can determine whether we will experience disappointment. If our artwork does not turn out as planned we can feel disappointment, or we can choose to view it as a learning curve.  I believe that we should embrace any outcome with our creation – again, observe the result and try to be more flexible with it, perhaps letting it take us on another creative path and therefore creating something different (something unplanned) and maybe better than we imagined!

Perseverance is the key – stick with your project and work through those fears and expectations. And most of all become your own biggest fan. Your confidence in all that you create is most important – regardless of others opinions.

What are some things we can do when we are stuck on a creative project and don't know what to do next?
The act of being stuck and the process of finding a solution to that problem, I believe, is part of the creative process. We should look at every moment of the creative flow, as well as hindrance, as inspiration. I believe those ‘blocks’ are signs that we should be paying attention to some part of the creative project that needs some fine tuning. Or perhaps we simply need to walk away. Take a break, do something completely different. And return to your project refreshed, with a new outlook.

What are some of your current obsessions? (Art, craft, musical, or completely random.)
I love Candy Chang’s ‘Before I Die’ project. She put a chalkboard on the side of an abandoned house for people to list the things they want to do before they die. She created a toolkit so that other communities around the world can take part in this. The responses to this statement divulge our true feelings of what matters most to us – very simple yet extremely powerful.  

I think spirituality of any kind can be inspirational. It can help to make sense of a nonsensical world helping us ground ourselves and move forward with inner balance that helps us to be more creative.

Do you have any advice you could offer to someone who wants to start expressing themselves creatively but doesn't know where to begin?
Talk to people. Look at art. Look at everything in the world as art! Look at yourself as a work of art. We all view and experience the world in a unique way, so essentially what we produce is slightly different from the next person as it has our “touch” to it. 

Thank you for your allowing me to interview you, Tania!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Take an Art Class with Me!

I am so excited to announce that I will be teaching several classes at Sew Make Do, a new sewing and crafts studio here in Gainesville, Florida!  Here's a list of the classes along with links to their descriptions and more information.  I hope you can take a class or two if you are in the area!  It's going to be a lot of fun. :)

Art Journaling:


Printmaking: Fast, Cheap, and Dirty:

Experimental Drawing:

Experimental Painting:

I hope to see you in class! :)

Monday, February 20, 2012

My Top 5 All Time Favorite Art Supplies

I recently asked Mindy Lacefield what 5 art supplies she would bring if she were stuck on a deserted island when I interviewed her, so I decided to tackle the question myself!  I hope you enjoy finding out about my very favorite supplies.
I go through gallons of this stuff fairly fast, since I love gessoing just about anything and turning it into a canvas.  It is thick and perfect, and I am totally obsessed with it. 

What is gesso?  Gesso is an acrylic primer that is used to prep surfaces for painting.  It comes in white, black, or clear, and it creates a ground that has very fine grains in it, which means that when paint is applied, it is able to hold it better than just a plain wood or canvas surface.  Colors appear bright, paints are easier to control, and the paint do not soak into the wood or canvas when gesso is applied over them beforehand.

These are dark-tipped synthetic filament brushes that work great for both watercolors and acrylics, my two favorite mediums to paint with.  At under $3 a pop, they are certainly well worth it and are a great option for those of us who are trying to save some money. 

I used to swear by only using the cheapest brushes that money could buy – you know, the sets of 10 for $5 at the craft store.  Well, then I ended up with brush hairs all over all my paintings that I would have to pick out later, and that got old really fast.  I learned that if I invested a bit more money in my brushes, not only would they not shed into all my paintings, but they would also last longer.  Be sure to wash your brushes out with a good brush cleaner like "The Masters" Brush Cleaner and Preserver. I have been using that stuff since high school, and I still have a lot of the same brushes I had in high school because of it!

3. Cheap Acrylic Paint

I don’t have a favorite brand with this stuff.  I usually buy Apple Barrel, or FolkArt, or CraftSmart paints or whatever is on sale at the craft store.  I do have a large container of black paint and a large container of white paint, and for those I use Blickrylic Student Acrylics because they are cheap and come in large containers.  I don’t use any fancy mediums or anything else usually.  I just thin the paints down with water.  In fact, the painting below was painted entirely with cheap acrylics and water:

 Tessa McSorley
"She's Not There"
Acrylic on board
3' x 3'

4. Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolor Sketcher's Pocket Box Set:

I have had this set since college, and I use it all the time, but I there is still plenty of life left in this set!  I love taking this with me when I travel, and there is even a little brush that folds away that comes with this set.  The little pans of color are so cute…

5. Old T-Shirts:
Yep, old t-shirts.  I can’t paint without them.  I use them for blotting and for wiping off my brushes between colors.  I usually keep a spray bottle of water on hand, so if I am painting with acrylics and make a mistake, I can spray the mistake with water while it is still wet, and then I can wipe it off with my old t-shirt.  Sometimes I use paper towels for this too, but I prefer the t-shirt.  I also love how the tees look after I use them for this:

Thanks for reading about my favorite supplies!  What are some of your favorite art supplies?
Leave a comment below, and tell me!

Don't forget to have a creative day! :)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunday Photo Dump

1. New little group of paintings.  One of them is already up on my Etsy.  I need to list the next few soon!
2. Miss Ruby Roo.
3. Jewelry by my nightstand. Vintage ballerina ring holder.
4. New boots! They are from ModCloth.  Dress from Ruche.  I decorated the mirror myself and will do a DIY on how to do that next week!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Saturday Quoteable

"I challenge you to make your life a masterpiece. I challenge you to join the ranks of those people who live what they teach, who walk their talk."
-Tony Robbins 

Friday, February 17, 2012

The “How to Draw” Series, Part Six: Embracing Your Unique Drawing Style and Non-Dominant Hand Drawings

Thanks for stopping by my blog for another Friday "How to Draw" Lesson!

Embracing Your Unique Drawing Style

I think a big part of learning to draw is also learning to accept the way that you draw.  It may not be the way you want to be drawing, at least not yet, but you may start noticing a style developing with your drawings at this point. 

You might be starting to notice all of the little things that make your drawings look like your drawings.  Do you have a light or a heavy touch when you draw?  Do you draw in a sketchy manner with lots of little lines, or do you tend to draw with dark, even lines?  Maybe when you draw faces, they have a certain look to them so a friend can always tell that they are your drawings and not someone else’s.  

If your drawings don’t have a consistent look yet, that’s totally ok!  We are just beginning, and the more you draw, the more consistent your drawings will get.

On the other hand, if your drawings do have a consistent look, that’s great, but don’t get too boxed in by trying to make all your drawings look the same if you are just starting out learning to draw.  Be sure to still allow yourself to experiment and continue to try new things when you draw.  You might learn a thing or two by branching out.  You can read more about this idea by visiting my friend MacKensie’s blog.  I did a guest post on her blog yesterday called 5 Ways to Let Your Creativity Take You Wherever It Wants to Go.  It was such a fun article to write, and I hope you will enjoy reading it! 

Everyone’s drawing style is wonderfully unique.  Remember: no one can make marks exactly like you do, so be sure to share your unique drawing skills with the world and let them out by creating your artwork.  It’s exciting to see your drawing style change as time goes on and you begin to grow as an artist! 

Non-Dominant Hand Drawings

You are about to create a very odd and unique drawing – don’t forget to be proud of it when you are done…

Now, we are going to draw with your non-dominant hand.  Your dominant hand is the hand that you write with, while your non-dominant hand is, well, the other guy.  The one who doesn’t get to draw or do creative stuff as often…  Well, today is your non-dominant hand’s chance to shine! 

Grab an object or a photo to draw from (or you can draw straight from your imagination), your pencil, and your sketchbook or a sheet of paper, and let’s see what your non-dominant hand can do…

You will also need something to time yourself with – maybe you have an app on your cell phone for that?  Or a good old-fashioned egg timer will work just as well.

Set your timer for 30 seconds, and do your best drawing of object with your normal drawing hand.  Here’s how mine came out (I drew from my imagination):

Now set your timer for another 30 seconds, and do the best you can while using your non-dominant hand.  This is what my version looked like:

You may notice that your non-dominant hand will do some strange things while it draws.  Simply put, it may do things differently than your normal drawing hand does.  We tend to draw the same way every time we draw with our normal drawing hand, but drawing with our non-dominant hand shakes things up a bit and does not allow you to rely on your same old bag of drawing tricks.  Maybe you can learn a trick or two from your non-dominant hand!

I learned that my second drawing seemed a bit more soulful and honest than my first drawing, and it definitely gave me something to think about!

I hope you enjoyed today’s lesson!  What did you learn by using your non-dominant hand?

This post is part of the “How to Draw” Series, a free E-Course I offer on my blog with new lessons every Friday.  I create these totally free of charge in order to help get people making art and enjoying their creativity.  If you like these lessons, please leave a comment below or help me grow my audience by clicking the orange Stumble Upon icon below.   

Thanks so much for joining me!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Artist Interview: April Bowles-Olin

I first heard about April Bowles-Olin's work from a good friend who attended the Etsy Success Symposium in NYC last year.  My friend said that April's talk was amazing, and that I should watch it online.  I did, and I was seriously impressed and inspired by what April had to say about handmade businesses.  (You can view April's talk by following this link and scrolling down to her name.)  Ever since I watched her talk, I have followed April's blog and watched a ton of her videos on Vimeo.  Check out her website, The Blacksburg Belle, to learn more about her and to gain some new ideas about how to run your creative business.  I think you will love reading what April has to say in the interview below!

Please tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.
Sure. My name is April Bowles-Olin, and I work with creative entrepreneurs to help them build businesses around their dream lifestyles. I’m twenty-nine years old, I have three lab-mixes, I’m allergic to gluten, and I’m happily married to a man who’s over a foot taller than me.

What did you do before you started working for yourself?

I got my master’s degree from NYU in social work, and practiced individual, family, and group therapy.

What are some of the ways that you express yourself creatively?

The better question is how don’t I express myself creatively. I write, cook, scrapbook, make jewelry, knit, take photos, paint, and sew. I have a lot of creative hobbies which sometimes drives my husband
a little crazy.

A beautiful piece of jewelry made by April.
What inspires you?

I get inspired all the time by books, movies, magazines, conversations with friends and family, walking down the aisles of craft and fabric stores, and listening to music.

What completed project (business or creative) are you most proud of in your life so far?

ARTrepreneur. It’s a membership site for creative entrepreneurs who want to get all the information they need to build a successful business in one place.

You mention about the book, The Renaissance Soul, by Margaret Lobenstine, in one of your videos. How do you personally deal with possessing a “Renaissance Soul” and having so many interests? How do you divide your time between them?

I narrow my focus to about four things at a time. That doesn’t mean that I only focus on those four things forever, but I focus on them for a while. For instance, right now I’m focused on my business, writing, photography, and knitting. In a couple months, I might switch out knitting for painting.

I’ve come to realize that I can do all the things I’m interested in, but I can’t turn them all into a business which is what I used to want to do. There’s my business and everything else falls into the hobby category. I spend the majority of my time on my business, but I always leave time for other things I’m interested in. I’ve also figured out ways to incorporate other things into my business. For example, I use my own photography in my blog posts most of the time.

Staying on the topic of books, if you could recommend just one book that really gets you motivated (whether creatively or business-wise), what would it be and why?

Just one?!?! You’re killing me. Okay, I guess I would pick Switch by Chip and Dan Heath. It’s an amazing book for people looking to make changes in their lives. It’s informative, entertaining, and actionable.

How do you stay motivated and productive, even when sales are down? What do you do to keep your momentum going?

I’m all about marketing all the time. At this point in my business, I feel really blessed because I don’t have a lot of down-time. If I do, it’s usually planned. I got to this point by constantly marketing. I probably spend about one to two hours on marketing each day.

What are your plans for the future as far as your business goes?

I just started a new round of ARTrepreneur which lasts six months, so that’s what I’ll be focused on for the next six months. I haven’t really planned past that time. When I get excited about a new business idea, I have to put it into action as soon as possible, so I usually don’t plan products/services more than six months in advance.

Name a few creative individuals you admire and explain why.

I admire Marie Forleo, because she’s honest, funny, creative, and a really good dancer. She also gives out amazing business advice that rocks my world.

I admire Mayi Carles, because she seems like she can do it all. This lady can draw, paint, make the cutest hair accessories, teach, give out awesome business advice, and more.

And, I also admire Kris Carr, because she turned a life-threatening disease into something positive. She’s started a health revolution, and her book, Crazy Sexy Diet, honestly changed my life.

What are some of your current obsessions? (Art, craft, musical, or completely random.)

Dystopian young adult fiction. After reading The Hunger Games series this past summer, I can’t get enough of these types of books. Some others that I’ve read and loved are Birthmarked, Divergent, Legend, Matched, The Maze Runner, and Delirium.

Do you collect anything?

Do books count? I don’t know if you’d say that I collect them, but we have an entire wall that’s a bookshelf and it still isn’t enough room to house all my books.

Do you have any advice you could offer to someone who wants to start a creative business but doesn't know where to begin?

Do what you love. If you start with something that you want to build your life around and you’re super passionate about it, you can make it work.

If you’re selling products, you probably want to start by setting up an online shop. I suggest using Etsy as your first selling platform.

And purely for fun…

What were you like when you were in high school?

I was a little rebellious—nothing too crazy—I got good grades, but I definitely have some of those moments where I think to myself, “Oh my gosh. If my teenage daughter did that, I’d be sooooo mad.”

How did you and Mr. Blacksburg Belle meet?

One of my college roommates was dating one of his really good friends. The funny thing is that my roommate was trying to set up Kris {Mr. Blacksburg Belle} with our other roommate. We all met up at a bar, and Kris and I ended up talking all night. The rest is history.

How do you get ideas for all of your great video backgrounds?

I get a lot of my ideas from Anthropologie window displays, pinterest, and magazines.

What is your very favorite Gilmore Girls episode?

It would have to be the one where Rory calls Logan a buttface miscreant after he barges into her classroom with Colin and Finn while she’s hosting a prospective Yale student.

I want to leave you with April's latest Wednesday Wisdom Video, where she explains the positive things about having a day job, and she shares ways you can prepare to leave your day job to work for yourself.  She is so inspiring!

A huge thanks to April for such a great interview!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

VIDEO: Snippets of Home

Here is a little tour of where I live.  I hope you enjoy it! :)

What is your favorite thing about where you live? Leave a comment below!

I also wanted to let you know that I have a guest post about how to make a DIY Coffee Love Sugar Scrub over at Amy's blog, A is for Ampersand.  Please check it out, and don't forget to pamper yourself this month! 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

12 Ways to Make Space in Your Busy Daily Life for Art

I have been getting a lot of wonderful feedback on my blog, and I love it!!  Keep your amazing emails coming; I am truly touched by each one of you that takes the time to write to me!  Your emails and comments on my blog are what keeps me coming back here every day and thinking of things to share with you.  You are a huge source of inspiration!

One question that keeps coming up in emails and comments is: How do I make time for art?  I have a full time job, kids, a husband, other hobbies, etc.  

Below are a few ideas I came up with based on what I used to do when I worked a full time job and making room for creative time was a struggle.  They might not all work for you, but pick and choose a few and experiment to see what works best for you.  

Remember: creativity can be anything from writing to drawing to painting to doodling while you’re on the phone. Journal, sketch, play with some clay, write a poem, sing a song, and don’t be afraid to try something new.  Don’t keep all your creativity inside of you!  Here are some ways to help let it out, even on the busiest of days:

1. Stop Keeping Up with the Kardashians.  I know, I know - I have mentioned that I love crappy TV, and I often watch the Kardashians myself, but if you are trying to make room in your life for creativity, perhaps all that time spent in front of the TV should be the first to go. I read somewhere that Americans typically watch 2 hours of TV per night.  What if you spent that time doing something creative instead, even just for one night a week? What if you split that time in half and watched TV for an hour then painted for an hour?  I know it is tiring at the end of a work day, but you will feel so much more energized by expressing yourself rather than by vegging out in front of the TV.  If you really can’t miss your favorite show, maybe you could bring your art to work on in front of the TV and have the best of both worlds? 

2. Stop Keeping Up with the Joneses.  I also noticed a few years ago that I was spending way to much time reading and keeping up with gossip blogs, so I cut that out of my life so I could spend more time making my art.  It’s been about three years since I logged on to one of my favorite gossip bloggers’ site, and you know what?  I don’t even miss it.  Celebrities are just people like me and you, so why spend so much time learning about the details of a stranger’s life?  I’d rather focus that energy on being creative and spending time with the people that I love and know in person.

3. Log off of Facebook for a Night.  Facebook is definitely a lot of fun, but whenever I log on, I often spend way more time on there than I meant to in the first place.  Do you have the same problem too?  I also know that a lot of people tend to compare their lives to the lives of their friends’, which can leave them with feelings of inadequacy.  If you’re one of those people (I used to be.), that means Facebooking might have become a bit of a negative thing in your life.  Why not turn the time usually spent on Facebook into something positive and make art or music instead?

4. Quit Aimlessly Wandering Around on the Internet.  I know that, at the end of the day, it’s easier to hop on the Internet and get sucked in than it would be to take out a piece of paper and draw.  Believe me, I’ve been there.  But when I had a day job, I’d often force myself to close the computer and draw something for just 5 minutes.  If I wasn’t feeling it, I could stop and go back to my Internet wanderings.  But more often than not, I would end up totally feeling it, drawing for an hour or more, and feeling my stressful day just slide away from me through all that meditative drawing time.  Such a great alternative to online shopping…

5. Take Meaningful Showers.  What do I mean by this one? Well, when I had a day job, I’d often do my best creative thinking in the shower.  It seemed like, in my daily life, a shower was as close as I could come to taking time to meditate and be alone with my thoughts.  Even if I didn’t have time to make art on a given day, I’d always take the time to shower, and I’d try to think of creative things while I’d shower: ideas of things to write about, ideas for my next art project, ideas of subject matter to draw, etc.  Value your creative thoughts just as much as if you were to actively spend time creating.  It’s the thoughts that count sometimes, and on a super busy day, sometimes they are all you have.

6. Microwave Your Dinner.  I know microwave dinners are totally gross most of the time, but think of all that time you could save by microwaving your food one night every week.  The average meal takes 45 minutes total to prepare and eat when you are cooking something from scratch.  Why not pick up a microwave meal (test a bunch of different brands until you hit on one you like), cut 30 minutes off of that 45 minute total, and use your extra time to make some art?

7. Bring Your Sketchbook or Notebook to Work.  Do you get breaks at work?  Do you take a lunch?  Well, there you go – perfect time for sketching!  And it’s probably going to turn out to be way more rewarding than a water cooler chat with your co-worker, Alice, who always wants only to talk about what happened on American Idol last night.  Not that there is anything wrong with that or with Alice, but maybe you can skip the water cooler conversations once a week and go outside and draw instead…

8. Make Coffee/Tea Time Synonymous with Creative Time.  While I was working at my old job, before I’d leave the house, I’d always make time to sit for a minute and drink a cup of coffee.  I needed coffee to function (yup, I’m one of those people) before my morning commute, so I’d usually spend at least 10 minutes sitting and drinking it.  I’d usually spend that time sketching in a little book while I sat and drank.  The nice thing about this is, since you are making time for creativity early in the day, you don’t have to spend your whole day worrying how you will fit in some creative time.  You’ve already got some artwork under your belt right off the bat in the morning!

9. Exercise with Heart.  Exercise is something that we usually make time for in our day to day life.  How about downloading some Podcasts that inspire you, whether they be art related or just motivating in general?  You can also use your exercise time as a time to think about your creative plans and what you will do next art-wise.

10. Talk About Creativity.  I love hanging out with friends, and I’m sure you do, too.  Good food, good friends, and a bottle of wine…  Maybe you could try a few of these conversation starters next time you have a get together, and you can gear the conversation into some creative areas that you wouldn’t normally talk about with your buddies.  It may give you some ideas and get you thinking in a way you haven’t before…
            *What do you think the world would be like with no design or art?
            *If you could be an accomplished painter, musician, or writer, which one would you choose to be?
            *What is the best piece of art/song/movie that you’ve seen lately, and why did you love it?
            *What kind of art do you like?  What do you dislike?
            *What do you think is the difference between art and craft?

11. Pencil In Some Creative Time with Yourself.  Grab your planner, and schedule a date with yourself!  This idea was inspired by Julia Cameron’s “artist dates” from The Artist's Way (which I highly recommend if you haven’t read it already).  Just find somewhere open in your schedule and write in “Artist Date, 2 -5 pm.”  Ask your husband to baby sit the kids, and go out to a museum or gallery with your sketchbook.  Sit and draw some of the art you see there for a little while.  (Sculptures are really fun to draw.)  Or just wander around absorbing some inspiration.  If your town doesn’t have any good galleries that you find interesting (as is the case for me where I live), head to a bookstore instead.  Grab all of the art magazines that you find inspiring (My favorites are Hi Fructose and Juxtapoz, and I also love Uppercase and Frankie, but I can’t always find them in stores.) and take notes on what you like in the magazines.  Jot down names to look up later and sketch a few of the ideas that you have as you look at some inspiring work.  Remember: artist dates can take any form you wish.  Maybe you just want to sit in your backyard and read something you find nourishing.  That would be a great artist date!  Even though you scheduled in this special time with yourself, don’t put too much pressure on yourself to get a lot done during your Artist Date.  Be gentle with yourself and enjoy your artsy solitude!

12. Make Creativity a Priority. Use these cues about to inspire you and to help you think of other things you can cut out or shorten from your life in order to spend more time being creative, whatever that means to you.

I hope my suggestions helped!  Can you think of more ways to be creative during your busy days?   
Leave a comment below – I’d love to hear what you have to say!