As a life-long creative, I’ve dabbled here and there with many a medium, yet I struggled with building consistency in my artistic practice for YEARS. In 2018, I began to build a daily practice. Something sustainable and simple. Knowing that every time I make space to create, my heart, brain, soul are a little lighter. A little happier. A little more me.
I borrowed an approach from Julia Cameron’s, An Artist’s Way. In her book, she teaches the value of morning pages. Three, long-hand pages done first thing in the morning as a way to free up your creativity. To unburden your mind, to push the practice of writing, daily. I applied this same methodology to my artist pages, taking 10 – 15 minutes first thing in the morning to just create. No rules, no expectations. Only a dedicated time with a few simple tools and one 5” x 7’ cardstock to embellish as I wish. I started this for me to just play and make art, but am surprised by the unexpected lessons I’m learning along the way.
A boost of confidence.
Surprisingly, I found that carving out some space for me to try new things freed me up to take risks in my art that I previously shied away from. Daily practice breaks down the barrier of making art, taking it from precious to play and has opened me up to try new mediums, techniques, and applications. Treating my art as play reduces the fear and pressure around being perfect, helping me to just settle into the practice and have some fun. Approaching art as play and trying new things has bled over into other aspects of my life as well, I’m taking more risks and putting myself out there in ways I would have never thought. I have to think taking a few moments to connect with myself and create daily plays a big role in that.
My skills have improved.
I started this practice for the mental break, never thinking of myself as an artist. When I look back at the work I’ve done recently against when I started – I can see a great improvement in my abilities. I’m still a long way from calling myself an artist, but forcing myself to practice daily has improved my work in ways I didn’t expect. As my skills have improved, so has my curiosity for learning. I’ve recently begun taking workshops both online and IRL to help me refine and hone my craft. Being exposed to new ways of creating has made me more vulnerable and more excited at the same time! I look forward to much more learning and experimenting in 2019.
The JOY of play.
I am a lover of color and pattern and have always styled my home and wardrobe in creative combinations. These days, my favorite part of my creative work is choosing the color palette and playing with interesting combinations. Some work, some don’t, but again because I’m doing it every day – I love taking risks and trying new things to see what sparks joy.
Bad art is still good.
When I first started this project, I felt like my time was wasted if I made something I wasn’t proud of. Now, I fail more than I succeed because these morning moments aren’t about the work. Rarely do I make something I like on the first go round, but I’ve learned to embrace that I’m doing it for the process, the joy and the calm it brings to my day. The art, good or bad? That’s not the point. The process, that’s the point and it keeps me coming back day after day.
I started this practice as a way to get my hands busy and invite play into my daily routine. I’m sticking with it for the happy, the learning, the peaceful pace it brings to my days. My wish for you as we discuss all things creative this month is that you too find a practice – something just for you – that brings you joy, purpose, and peace in the days ahead.
Jill Elliott is an artist, wallpaper designer and writer constantly seeking inspiration and balance. You can find Jill’s wallpaper and original art at Color Kind Studio. She can often be found making art and messes alongside her daughter and puppy.
BY Jill Elliott - January 9, 2019
Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.