I’m guessing that there’s at least one “rule” that you’ve imposed on yourself when it comes to your art journal and mixed-media art in general. Maybe you only allow yourself to create when you have a whole day to yourself, or when your workspace is neat. Read Carolyn Dube’s self-imposed rules to see if you relate about allowing at least one little thing to hold you back. Don’t worry–Carolyn leaves us with motivation for breaking those rules.
Fair warning: You’ll want to have your art journal handy, because this advice will hit home and inspire you to create! Get the exclusive Art Journaling Adventures collection today for an extra boost of mixed-media art techniques and inspiration. ~Cherie
Why It’s More Fun to Break The Rules, For Your Art Journal and Beyond
by Carolyn Dube
What’s the most important step when it comes to making art? It’s the very first step. Every piece of art ever created began with a first step. Without it, there is no chance at a second step, or a third.
That feels like a lot of pressure to put on that first step. That’s why a blank canvas or art journal page paralyzed me for so long. Making that first mark was terrifying when I began creating art years ago. It was like hitting a brick wall over and over again. As my creativity was bruised and battered from hitting that wall, I noticed something. I built that wall, brick by brick, with the rules I had imposed on myself. Rules like:
• I have to have a plan, and I must follow that plan.
• I have to have an end project clearly envisioned before I start.
• I have to finish everything that I start, so I can only start things I’m sure I can finish.
• I have to have all the right supplies before I can start.
• I must have a practical purpose for anything I create.
• I have to love every step of my creation, every layer, and every mark from start to finish.
• I have to be sure that what I’m making is going to be good enough before I start.
Thanks to a mouthy, attitude-driven inner teenager, I decided it was much more fun to break those rules than live by them.
• Who needs a plan?! This isn’t brain surgery, it’s art. I don’t use a scalpel. I use paint and paper.
• Why do I have to know exactly what I’m making before I start? It’s not like I’m building a nuclear power plant. This is mixed media, just add another layer!
• I can start a piece and leave it. I don’t have to finish it if I don’t want to. It’s not like my mother is telling me to finish all my Brussels sprouts before I leave the table.
• I can use whatever supplies I have within reach. So what if I dug it out of the garbage?
• I can create and make just for the joy of the process. I’m not presenting it to the Queen.
• I can call it ugly. I can be horrified by it. I can paint right over ugly because those ugly layers underneath make the top layers shine!
• Most importantly, I now know that whatever I make is good enough. How can I brazenly say this? Is this arrogance? Not at all. Every piece of art, no matter how big or how small, is more than good enough–it’s valuable because it’s an expression of its artist.
You can see these attitudes in all my mixed-media art workshop DVDs. For example, in Fix it Fabulous, a blindfolded Amy Jones randomly hands me some of the ugliest papers that are turned into a collage on camera. Here she’s reaching into a bin of junk papers, scraps, and what others might call trash. And yes, it was a very ugly layer. That doesn’t bother me at all, because it was a start, and it’s mixed media, so I add more layers until I love it.
So break free from all the rules that are holding you back. Take that first step and the second and the third. ~Carolyn
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