A dear friend of mine is a professional self-taught musician. He performs with a handful of bands, playing multiple instruments, crossing over from string to horn, and he even sings. He feeds his hunger for songwriting by exploring far beyond his original talent for guitar playing. While he may have a favorite, each instrument has a place in his practice and performances, and this helps inform his decisions about how and when to play them as he’s writing new songs.
He applies the types of practices that Jane Dunnewold addresses in her new book, Creative Strength Training: Prompts, Exercises and Personal Stories for Encouraging Artistic Genius. (Note that it’s now available with the Creative Success Starter Kit, with a digital issue of Artist Inspiration and a pack of CST Art Prompt cards!) Jane encourages us to step out of our comfort zones by trying this exercise. By doing so, I’m sure you’ll discover more about your art, and yourself.
One of my favorite prompts from Creative Strength Training is to create some type of mixed-media art using 100…of anything. This might lead you to create larger art than you’re accustomed to, depending on which direction you take. The prompt reminds me of one of my favorite art projects, when I yarnbombed a honeysuckle bush-turned-tree in my yard. It took me more than a year, and I didn’t keep track of the skeins or hours, but every single one was well worth the results. I sold that property two years ago, and the public art, as it were, is still displayed in the front yard for all to see. Pretty satisfying!
That’s just one example of an outside-of-the-box idea that you can do. What do you have (or can get) 100 of, that you can use for your next mixed-media art project? Sandy Kunkle, whose work is featured in Creative Strength Training, shares how she created a collage based on this exercise.
“I began with a plastic box full of fabric scraps, mostly small ones, backed with fusible adhesive,” Sandy says. “I began pulling out narrow strips. I work primarily in earth tones so there was no need to think about color. I just began laying them on the paper, and when I had a few rows, I ironed them down. I continued to work intuitively until I had used 100 strips. There was some obsessiveness counting the strips, but the real obsession came when I decided to stitch them all down!
“What did I learn? Play really allowed me to move quickly into the zone, and then I was lost in time. As a super planner and organizer, this exercise told me that working intuitively can be freeing. I have been having brief insights about working intuitively all winter, and it’s exciting to have those insights build toward a practice. This little tiny voice is getting louder, telling me that I might find that elusive center deep inside me, from where I have always sought to work.”
Take a moment to consider how a prompt like this can affect your mixed-media art. If you’re ready to have a breakthrough, then click here to get the Creative Success Starter Kit. I’ll leave you with one more thought–it’s a cliche, I know, but my dad said this to me when I was contemplating buying the house I now live in, and I wouldn’t change my decision for anything. I also apply his words to some of the more audacious projects that I do on the side, like writing a novel or managing a vineyard: No guts, no glory.
I hope you find boldness for your creativity today!
Yours in art,
You know I love to tell you about the latest offers at the Interweave store–today only, use the promo code SUN40 for 40% most purchases!
Learn new mixed-media art techniques in this free eBook when you join our newsletter for daily tips, special offers, and more!