Art Inspiration: Essential Elements of a Creative Life

As I read through the September/October 2015 “Into the Dark” issue of Cloth Paper Scissors, I dogeared some pages to come back to, making a mental note to gather the materials I’ll need, and think about how I’ll put my own spin on the techniques. Cover to cover, I found plenty of mixed-media art projects to get the creative juices flowing for Fall.

Editorial Director Jeannine Stein explains: “We chose Into the Dark as the theme for this issue because it implies what happens this time of year: sunlight wanes, the deeper colors of fall emerge, and the spooky fun of Halloween begins. We may not be able to stay outside until late, enjoying the warm breezes, but that’s OK. The studio is calling.”

As many of us begin spending more time indoors and in the studio, I thought it fitting to feature Theresa Hutch’s article about living a creative life. She shares what she has learned about making her art and her life work together. Every issue of Cloth Paper Scissors has plenty to choose from, but the fun is in selecting the projects that speak to you the most–those that inspire you and move you to make new art.

Artwork by Theresa Hutch

Art Inspiration: Elements of a Creative Life by Theresa Hutch

Although creativity has always been a part of my life, only recently have I been lucky enough to start a career working as a mixed-media artist and yoga teacher. My line of Yoga Sutra Cards was spawned from a commitment I made four years ago to create a new, small piece of art every week. Along the way, I discovered four key elements to creating an artistic life and continuing to grow as an artist.

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First, I surround myself with my biggest fans. My husband is by my side as I pursue my dream of becoming a working artist. Other friends and family support me by giving feedback on my work and buying my cards for their own use. Of course, there will always be people who judge this decision by saying things like, “Sure, who doesn’t want to quit their job?” I try not to take these comments to heart. Instead, I choose to fill my life with people who believe in me and who look at what I’m doing in a positive light.

The second important element is practicing every day. Carving out chunks of time to understand why my craft is essential, yet finding that time is not always easy. I like to work small, with a lot of handmade materials nearby to help spark the layers in my work. I always have a sketchbook in my purse, because I never know when the perfect opportunity to practice might arise. My creative process happens everywhere, including museums, coffee shops, and park benches.

Setting challenging, concrete, and attainable goals is also essential. This element ties the first two together. For the past four years, I’ve made a new, small mixed-media piece every week. I create images with acrylics on watercolor paper. I add handmade paper, and I use a 1960s-era manual typewriter that I purchased on Craigslist to add inspirational words. I share a copy of the painting with my yoga students in every class, and I post my work to my social media networks. I promised to share a new art piece every week, and my students hold me to it!

Lastly, my yoga practice and teaching remind me that in the end, it is all about finding balance life. I try to take in every part of this journey–the good, the bad, and the ugly. I would by lying if I said that the life of an artist is perfect, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. ~Theresa

Do you already follow these creative practices? Do you aspire to finding this creative balance? Post your comments below and tell us how you live your creative life!

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