Developing Your Creative Practice – Part One

Whenever I’m about to learn something new, I always ask myself “SO WHAT?” I need to know how this “something new” fits into my life, where the application lies, and how it makes things better.You may, after glancing at the title to this article, have asked yourself:

“Why should I care about developing a creative practice?” 

Quite simply, when we indulge in creative pursuits and seek out positive influences, we are taking care of ourselves. Haven’t we always been told “Love Yourself First”? Taking action and indulging in a creative past-time we enjoy or are curious about encourages the release of endorphins, those “feel good guys” that put us in a positive frame of mind and make us more resilient. This isn’t just talk, it’s supported by research. Speaking from my own experience, I have found that creating art is transformational and healing.

We are truly spoiled for choice

Notice I said to choose something you enjoy or are curious about, not necessarily something you do well, at least not right now. We are not splitting the atom or painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel—it’s all about getting lost in the experience and escaping the daily stresses of life. There are so many creative outlets to choose from– visual art such as drawing or painting or media art such as photography or film/video; performance art such as music, dance, or theater; the culinary arts which includes cooking, baking, wine-making or gardening. Or, you may choose to write. The choice, my dear, is all yours and we are truly spoiled for choice.

Getting Started – Seek out Inspiration, see with “new” eyes

It may seem overwhelming to make a decision, but it need not be so. Look around you and see with new eyes—what are you drawn to, what are you curious about, what are you passionate about? Are you a visual person? Can you sit still or do you need to move around? Are you a closet foodie? Take stock, narrow down your choices. Then rip of the band-aid and make up your mind!!

Begin at the beginning and not with the end in mind

So you’ve made a decision—CONGRATULATIONS! Just remember to allow yourself to be a beginner. It’s all about the process. As stated in “Art & Fear”,

“the overwhelming majority of your ‘creative products’ simply teach you how to make the small fraction of work that soars.  Even the failed pieces are essential.”

Commit yourself to consistent and committed practice and, with time, you’ll find your stride. In the meantime, enjoy the ride.

Quotes 1. Art & Fear: Observations On The Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking. David Bayles & Ted Orland, 2001.

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