Earlier this summer I bought a Groupon deal for a one-day ceramic hand-crafted cup workshop and I got it for more than half price – such a great bargain! The workshop was with Gina DeSantis Ceramics at the Screw Factory in Lakewood and not having touched clay in 4 months, I was looking forward to it all week.
I learned really quickly that hand-crafting is very different from wheel throwing, which has been my previous experience. Everything is in your control, as you mold and form the clay, trying to get it to submit to the vision you have in your head. The slightest bit of pressure leaves a fingerprint and for my unlearned hands, I found it a bit frustrating. It takes endless patience and I can’t say I was exceptionally great at it during my first attempt.
But it was also therapeutic, the soft, moist clay bending and shaping to my will between my hands. There is something inherently satisfying in creating something from nothing. Forming kneading, shaping with precision, it can become anything I wish it to be. Ah, the power of art… 🙂
A new revelation: I enjoy working in oil pastels. They are almost like a glorified crayon, which bring back so many memories from my childhood.
Oil pastels are so easy to work with and easily manipulated to achieve whatever aesthetic you were hoping to go for. They are so not an intimidating medium and something I believe everyone can use. The colors are vibrant, concentrated and flexible. Using different color papers and backgrounds lends to experimentation with negative space and the colors look different on the various shades, giving a different outcome with each attempt.
The best part is – it is easy for me to get lost in the work and color away – the best kind of therapy!
Today was my favorite kind of day. With the frigid temperatures (Cleveland’s high was 3* today), the kids and I spend the morning warm and toasty away from the cold. I knew ahead of time that it was going to be a long day inside, so I woke up this morning determined to have lots of activities ready to avoid the inevitable cabin fever syndrome (which we seem to be reaching now at 7:30pm).
We started off making a Valentine’s Day garland decoration for the kitchen window with everyone’s name on it. My daughter helped decorate the heart cut-outs with markers, paint, crayons and stickers. Her favorite part was using the hole punch on each of the hearts and she was so patient while stringing the hearts – great fine motor skills practice! Such a simple but sweet project.
After Sesame Street, we moved onto salt dough and I found this super easy recipe with 3 simple ingredients that every kitchen is sure to have. The best part is it’s a really safe, non-toxic mixture that if your kid ingests, which my 1-year old did, there’s no worries. Both my kid enjoyed making all kinds of shapes with the dough and I tried explaining numerous times to my daughter that these weren’t cookies but things that we could paint and decorate because they turn hard has they bake.
- 2 cups of salt
- 2 cups of flour
- 1 cup of water
Directions: Mix all ingredients together and form shapes. Line cookie sheet with aluminum foil and bake shapes at 250* for 2.5 hours. Let cool all the way so they have a chance to harden completely before decorating with paint, glitter, etc. I would recommend an acrylic paint but since my art supplies are in storage, all we had to use were my kids’ washable paints, which are a bit watery – not the best paint to use but it worked. Enjoy!
I love this list of ways to stay creative. Really, it’s more of a list to keep you fresh and prevent burn-out…which to me, always leads to creative sessions anyways. So many people are scared of being creative and taking chances because they are afraid of going out of their comfort zone to try something new for fear of looking silly or even inadequate. But that’s the thing about art and creativity that I love the most…there’s no wrong way to express your imagination!
- Try more that what is asked of you.
- Take a time out.
- Do something new.
- Be open to criticism.
- Be a curious person.
- Notice details.
- Write down your ideas.
- Enjoy what you do.
- Hang out with other creative people.
- Don’t give up.
“We find the works of nature still more pleasant, the more they resemble those of art.” –Joseph Addison
Art and nature – two of my favorite passions. Often times they go hand-in-hand, compliments of the other; but I struggle to reconcile the peaceful serenity of nature with the vibrant, colorful complexities of art. Yet, art yearns to imitate and capture the pure essence of nature – the colors, the warmth, the space. The great painting masters have attempted to imitate the best of nature, each mind seeing it differently and giving us a snapshot masterpiece of their view.
No one is just one thing. Sometimes I want everything in my life in bright, bold colors. Having taken numerous studio classes in college, color affects me and I understand it. It fills me up and my mind doesn’t stop creating. I am a walking artist. Other times I want nothing but mud. I empty the color and see my world more clearly in earth tones. Nature is where I find peace and the grass between my toes is like a soothing balm.
And yet, art and nature both give me energy, inspire me, want me doing more with my time and talents. I want to find a way to merge these passion into something I can put my time and energies into.
I am in a particularly artsy mood this evening, so I dug up my acrylics and brushes and plan on spending the evening painting whatever comes to me. Colors, shapes, textures – creating can be so therapeutic, like I’m clearing my thoughts by extracting them onto a blank canvas. Maybe I’ll have a masterpiece to show tomorrow…or maybe not.
Shot indoors | shutter speed 1/1.3s | aperture f/4.2 | ISO 200 | no flash | 26 mm