In 2020, the focus was "how" I was going to get the creating time in and creative projects done. This was before the big C word hit, I was traveling nearly every week for my day job, and "creating in the margins" was more of a challenge than it is now.
In 2021, the focus shifted from how I was going to get creative time in to how to stay creative. I was less concerned with productivity and more focused on pushing away fatigue and weariness. Is it safe to say we were all feeling a bit weary as 2021 started. We dared to hope it would be different yet realized the end was not quite as near as we wanted.
So, this year, 2022.
The focus turns to keeping the creative spark alive and strong, to connecting to others in creative ways, and using creative gifts to gather and serve and plant seeds of restoration. It's the long game that counts.
2022 is the year to connect and create together, even start some creating groups like book clubs, monthly painting gatherings, and writing groups. Who knows what good things we may be able to plant and see growth from this year?
The goal is to change things up (gently), bring creative projects outside, and do some local exploring for inspiration and ideas.
Here is my list of ideas for keeping the creative spark going in 2022.
1. Paint / create in a different medium – markers, watercolor, acrylic, gouache, pencil, crayons, pastels, collage
2. Re-discover the library and check out a new painting book, writing book, memoir. Flip through the magazines. Check out an audiobook. 2b. If you have a "friends of the library" bookstore associated with your library, check out the sales. Some of the old décor and gardening books can be bought very inexpensively and are great sources for cutting, collage, etc.
3. Take more walks, both in the morning and the evening.
4. Watch a sunrise or sunset and paint the colors the sky shows off that particular day. If using watercolors, let the paint dance together.
5. Do something creative with a friend – take a cooking class, learn a language. I'm typically someone who creates on my own, but whenever I create in a group setting, there are "sparks" that leave me with ideas and energy for days.
6. Not quite ready or unable to participated in in-person gatherings? There are so many online courses. Bethany Joy just released her first course and it looks bright, happy, and fun! Check it out here.
Bethany is blending acrylic painting with embroidery on canvas- it looks delightful!
7. Teach someone else to paint or create. Even if you do not consider yourself to be "an expert" or a "teacher," something happens when we mentor a craft to someone else. We learn where our own gaps are, we figure out where we thrive (or don't!), and we spread the gift of creating on to others.
8. Paint through a beloved garden book. Remember the movie "Julia and Julie" where Julie cooks and bakes through the entire volume, Mastering the Art of French Cooking? Why couldn't I do that except instead of baking through a book, I could paint my way through a flower book?
9. Create your own creative "challenge". There are several "paint a hundred paintings in a hundred days" challenges over the years. A hundred is a bit intense, but what about painting a painting every day for a month? I'm challenging myself to embroider one full design each month.
10. Create your own sticker from one of your pieces of art. I love Sticker Mule for creating vinyl and paper stickers from art (look for the sales!), but there are other options out there too.
11. Visit a local gallery you've not been to before.
12. Host a season of paint nights/ creating nights with friends. Share hospitality by meeting in someone else's space for the monthly gathering OR meet at a park when the weather gets lovely and warm-ish.
13. Paint something different than whatever your 'norm' is. I'm stretching my creative muscles a bit by painting several landscapes in the new series, "A Month of Mountains." Its been fun to paint something "bigger" with less detail, but not let it get bogged down in a mass of solid color! Paint with me in the video below.
14. Cut up pieces of art that perhaps are not favorites...or need a "home" to gather and create a collage. I did this last year with one of the Psalm 23 projects. The sum of the flowers together turned out more lovely than they were on their own (see image below).
15. Read a book about an artist, writer, florist, or other creative you've been intrigued by.
16. Start a monthly writing club. I find writing and creating are very close relatives. Most of us who like to create have some capacity for writing as well. There's something very, very energizing about a writing group. I'll be sharing more about the writing group I was a part of in the near future. It was quite a varied group, but we all loved to write and we all loved to encourage each other – it was a pivotal time in my life.
17. Take a local creative class from an artist: cooking, painting, ceramics, gardening, whatever sounds fun and exciting!
18. As the seasons change, pick up leaves, branches, flowers and press them between wax paper until they are dried. Create a collage with your name – or a friend or family's name. Put it in between a glass frame and gift it.
19. Frame your artwork and put it up. Or give it away as gifts. How many of us create and then put the art in a drawer? Gift it, give it, hang it, share it, send it in the mail. Others will be blessed, and your home will be more beautiful!
20. Bake or cook something new. I've found the creative senses tend to cross-pollinate. Baking and cooking while listening to inspiring music will set me in a mood to create, if not that night, then the next morning. Something about the sight, smell, touch, tastes, and sound that all work together. It might not work for you, but it's worth a try 😊
21. Paint a watercolor portrait of your pet or family member. This is such an intimidating idea for most of us, yet once we've done it, something good happens. The nice thing about painting pets is that they aren't bothered in the least if it doesn't turn out so well.
22. Take your calendar and plan 6 "Creative Dates." The details are all yours- by yourself or with others, local or a bit farther out, museum or botanical gardens, vintage art fair or used book store, cooking class or creating at a park...the goal is to get these dates on the calendar. If a few get canceled, not a big deal! The point is we did some of them, got out, got inspired.