It’s the new year. That means fresh ideas, cleaning things out, and starting new. Do you have any strategies to help you energize your art in this new year? Today, we’re going to talk about three strategies that will help energize your art.
Experience your art blindfolded
The first strategy I have, I’m actually really excited about it, just occurred to me. If I was still in a classroom environment, I would totally use this. What about experiencing your artwork blind folded? I know this sounds a little weird, but bear with me for a minute. I just read this great article about how museums and the curators and educational specialists are trying to help people like the blind experience the artwork they have on their museum walls. They’ve created special curatorial experiences for people who are blind and, over time, they’ve come to realize that those same experiences are actually quite useful for people with vision as well. It’s not just our vision that helps us experience artwork. All of our senses can actually very much impact our experience of the art.
What if you blindfold yourself and dig through a bunch of artwork on a table without knowing what it is and use your hands and use your smell and see what does it feel like? How do you respond differently to it? That could be really, really informative. I’ve also made sure to share the link to that article here, so that you can read more about the museums that are creating these activities and give you some ideas for inspiration.
Trade your artwork
The second strategy I have for you today is to trade your artwork, your unfinished artwork, with someone else. A good friend of mine name Bethany, hey Bethany, she and I have done this before. It’s really fun. You take an unfinished artwork that you don’t like. For example, she’s a textile artist primarily and this was well before I was doing my mandala work. At that point, I was only really working with acrylic paint so I gave her an unfinished painting and we swapped. We both started playing with the works. The idea is you can use that base as your blank new canvas because there’s so many times we are scared of a white canvas. It can feel daunting: a blank piece of paper, or a brand new, clean sketch book, all those things can feel kind of intimidating. Why not give it a try and use someone else’s artwork as your base and as your starting point? It can inspire ideas. It could inform your color choices. There’s so many things that could come from working on someone else’s artwork. Then, of course, you share the results with each other, so that you see what you’ve done.
I’ve used this in the classroom and I used it primarily with high school aged students and I found people felt really free. A lot of kids who felt intimidated by that blank space and getting started and not having an idea of what to do, they actually were really empowered by starting on this other canvas. I gave them abandoned work from students that had left the school and who didn’t want their artwork anymore, as well as from people who donated canvases that were used. Those pieces then became a starting point and a dialog for those students to start engaging with their own ideas and voice. That can be a really, really fun activity.
Change your orientation
The third strategy I have for you is to flip your artwork upside down or on its side. I want to be clear about this. This isn’t to then paint it upside down and then turn it right side back up when you’re finished. I want you to actually finish it in that new orientation. This could be really interesting if you’ve been doing art that is like a portrait and you’re looking as you are at me now. If you all of a sudden have the orientation sideways, how is that going to change your experience of the work? How can you manipulate and change that artwork so that it feels like the new orientation is the true orientation of the artwork? This could be a great way to challenge yourself and play or also just free yourself up from worrying about that original work, so that you start a new artwork on that surface.
Now, I’d love to hear how you mix things up for yourself when you feel like your art is going stale. A good friend of mine said that part of what she needs to do is to talk to a friend who she trusts about her art. Do you have one of those art friends or what’s another strategy you use like the ones I’ve mentioned today? Comment below this video and let’s create a resource for all of us to use and refer back to when we’re feeling stuck. Of course, if you found today’s video useful, please share it with others. Thanks guys for watching and I’ll see you next week. Bye.
Be Creatively Courageous: Tell us how you spice things up with your art in the comments below.
There is a formula to improve your drawing skills...but are you using it?
Join Drawing Drills: a FREE 7 day art challenge
uncover the research based strategies that experts in every field use to improve their skill.
Draw better, draw faster, draw from your imagination!
Enjoy this free bonus when you sign up for Artist Strong's weekly newsletter.
We honor your privacy - read more here.