Welcome back to my easel, friends:) I've got a lovely family portrait drawing for you today. This is actually an old friend of mine with his two super awesome kids so this portrait was a really special one to draw. Enjoy!
Today's post is something I am especially passionate about because I firmly believe that we all have creativity within us, from visual, music or performing, to culinary or entrepreneurial, and with the right circumstances and surroundings our inner creator soars!
Since I am a visual artist, I want to share with you 10 ways that I have found to tap into and excite that specific part of your brain to get it bubbling and overflowing with new ideas. And honestly, a lot of these tips could be slightly reworded to satisfy all kinds of inspo cravings for various creative enterprises. Hope you find some fodder for all your right-brained activities to come!
(And stay tuned because next week I'll have an accompanying YouTube vlog that delves into each of these ideas a bit further!)
Here we go!
1 - Visit art in person: I know saying, 'Hey, look at art in order to be inspired to make art' can sound like a cop-out, but there really is something to experiencing artwork in person versus online. Go to a local art museum or gallery either alone or with another art-loving friend and really mull over any pieces that catch your eye, making sure to notice the brush strokes, scale, composition, chroma, and subject matter. Try to figure out what specifically about those works speak to you. Take photos if you're allowed and/or collect artist info for further artsy research. (Even though I'm a realist painter and this was a conceptual collection, I still had great sparks of inspo on my visit to the Honolulu Biennial)
2 - Pick up a new medium: This should be totally just for fun. It's really daunting to pick up something relatively new and make "good" art with it, so don't even try. At least at first simply approach the new medium like a first-year art student. You know, like just poking around with line work with a Chinese ink brush or doing tonal exercises in pastels. Same is true for 3D work as well. Make a pinch pot in clay or carve a spoon in wood. Doing an uncomplicated task that no one will ever see will jog your mental and physical muscle memory and open you up to feeling more confident when you do get that creative idea.
3 - Take a hike: Go outside and experience a little energetic awe as well as some of Mother Nature's most vibrant hues. If you're on the coast, take a beach walk; in the city, find a nice atrium or park or try to go camping for a weekend. Do whatever you need to do to be in nature mindfully. Just like when visiting artwork in person, the absolute best way to do it is either alone or with someone who shares that wavelength. Trust me, it's no fun to go on a soulful inspiration quest with someone who's uninterested or gets bored with these precious activities. Even as a predominantly figure and portrait artist, I still garner so much artistic inspo from being outdoors. (Photo from my Kuli'ou'ou Ridge hike a few months ago - #luckywelivehawaii for real!!)
4 - Play artistically with a child: Kids are little original-idea factories! I used to teach after school art classes to kids aged 4 to 16 and, especially with the younger ones, I was always delightfully floored with the wacky creatures and scenarios they would come up with when painting or drawing, or even journaling and sculpting!
A really good way to get those creative juices flowing is by active storytelling in which the child/children are illustrating a story that you are making up together. Kids are the best for trying new mediums together too because whatever you make will look incredible to them! A built-in cheerleading squad will help you get your feet wet!
5 - Give it a break: That's right, a good way to get artistically inspired is to stop trying to get artistically inspired. Go read a book or do some yoga or organize your studio or learn to juggle. Maybe even for a few days. Sometimes forcing the next 'great idea' will actually do the opposite since our brains can freeze under too much pressure.
That being said, any professional artist will tell you at some point you must 'paint through the pain' and keep working in order to maintain all the hard work flow that goes into being a successful artist, but little breaks are ok. Hopefully you'll have some emails to send, blogs to write, or art supplies to shop for that will make your time away from the studio productive still. (I'm an avid hula hooper in my free time; it's a wonderfully meditative yet energetic way to free my dancing spirit!)
6 - Check up on your favorite artists: Assuming you have favorite living artists still producing work, go pop in on their websites and blogs. See what they're doing these days as far as subject matter, themed group shows, workshops, or possibly even changing up and evolving their styles a bit. If you don't have favorite living artists, go find some!! There are sooooo many incredible people creating so many great works in this day and age.
Some good ways to find new artists are by following up on any works that stood out from shows you've seen in person, by following and subscribing to contemporary art mags (like Juxtapoz, Art Collector Magazine, Aesthetica, or ARTnews), and by surfing social media like Instagram to see what your like-minded friend folks are liking (find me on there too! @caleighbirdart).
7 - Go somewhere new: Plan a trip to someplace you have never been. It can be anything from a week in Tuscany to an afternoon stroll through those local botanical gardens you've been meaning to see. Anything that gets you out of your usual element or routine will help rejuvenate the creative flow. If you embark on your new adventure alone, feel free to bring some contemplative or relaxing music along. When I was able to spend four whole days at the Louvre in 2015 I listened to just about every piece Chopin ever composed!
8 - Join a creative crowd: Put yourself around other creative people. Help a fellow artist with a project, attend an art lecture or art opening; join a book club or attend a poetry slam. Just be in the same space while other artistic ideas are being discussed, performed, or shared and you will soak up tons of inspo like a sponge. And not to mention, you might even make a new artsy friend!
9 - Watch your favorite visually beautiful movies: Enough said, really. We artists are emotional and visual creatures so digging down deep to tap into those heartfelt passions and buried feelings should absolutely stir our love for creation. For this exercise stick with movies that are shot and edited so gorgeously that you have to catch your breathe every single time you watch them. A few that come to mind for me are Hero, Avatar, Fantasia, and basically everything directed by Wes Anderson.
10 - Attend a new kind of art class: This one is similar to trying out a new medium, but in this case you might use a familiar medium but in a different way. I'll use myself as a figurative oil painter for an example. If I wanted to change it up, maybe I would sign up for a plein air landscape painting course. Or focus on my drafting skills by taking a still life painting workshop. The difference between this one and Number 2 is that since you're actually paying money to sign up for a class, you will hopefully be challenged over an extended period of time and will gain new skills to go along with your new inspiration.
Well, I hope this list helps :) I know after I enjoy any of these activities I come back to my studio bursting with color or design or subject inspiration, whether or not I was even seeking it to begin with!
We really do live in an amazing time on an incredible planet surrounded by epic adventures and glorious people. Each of us has the ability to focus our energy into learning how to tap into that higher creative vibration which is absolutely there for the riding! Woo Hoo!
What are some great ways you have found to tap into your inner artist? Leave me some tips in the comments!
Today's dreadlock tutorial is one of my more informative ones, I do believe, because I talk about what I'm doing in real time as well as speed demonstrate with music. I really like this way of presenting since I get to teach something, and then my viewer gets to see that method in action right there.
Here are the paints I used specifically for her hair:
And the small brushes too (three sizes of round and one filbert):
Enjoy the show! Feel free to let me know what you think of it in the comments here or on the YouTube comments :)
PS. High quality giclee prints of 'II Kaya' available here
I've been wanting to start giving back in an important way with my artwork, so I've been doing a bit of research into charities who do work that I not only think is totally crucial, but that also aligns with who I am as an artist and the vision of empowerment, care, and inclusion of all the beautiful people of this earth that I portray within my own work.
I don't want to give too much away because I'm just barely starting to brainstorm, but here are two groups that I think would be right up my artistic ally. They raise funds to help empower and educate young women and girls in impoverished areas in order to prevent teenage pregnancy, HIV, and families too large to support. It's incredible when one understands the entire positive chain of events that happens when you give girls and women choices and autonomy over their bodies and minds.
Click on a photo below to learn a bit more about each of these great organizations and how exactly they use their funds to strengthen entire communities simply by focusing on the education of young girls.
It's wonderful to give back and I'm excited to use my artistic abilities to make a positive impact in others' lives. Are there any especially good ways you have come across to use fine art for helping community betterment?
I've been doing more and more children's portraits recently, which I love 'cause kids are so sweet and adorable, and I realized I had yet to feature any not-yet-born little ones. Luckily two fabulous hula hoopers I've gotten know through social media are both beautifully, blissfully pregnant with their firsts, so I figured what better way to help them celebrate while also helping to round out my custom portrait website than to draw their pregnancy portraits?!
'Hope' (top) and 'Keeah' were drawn using my standard pencil variety and white conte on 9x12 inch grey toned paper. To see more about my process, have a look here.
If you know any mamas-to-be looking for a creative pregnancy portrait make sure to send them my way:)
Hello there friends! I have a special artist diary vlog for you today. I've been so incredbily busy lately and I didn't want to half-ass a blog for yesterday, so instead I figured I'd film a vlog and let everybody know why I may seem a little behind. In the vid I share my recent art business building steps as well as three new pieces of art in my collection of other artists' works (including a super funky portrait of yours truly!).
PLUS as a big fat juicy bonus, I attached a hula hoop video at the end. It's a super fun, unchoreographed hoop dance of me jamming out to one of my most favorite bands ever, Ratatat. Hopefully you'll find it amusing, dear reader;)
Oooooh I am tooo love with all these gorgeous new prints I just received from my printers in the mail this past week!! I chose the thickest 290 gsm 100% cotton rag paper and they really came out looking so vibrant. And the best thing is that these paper and inks are supposed to last 100 years!
There was only one image that I had to toss because she came out looking like a zombie (blah!), which happens form time to time. Most folks don't realize that it can be tricky to get a correctly colored print, especially long distance! Computer screens vary the colors so unfortunately what you see is not always what you get.
I've been pretty fortunate so far, but any artist knows that they'll need to order at least one or two rounds of any print before selling just to be sure. It's an expensive endeavor, let me tell you!
And of course you know the first thing I did was put my special authenticity stamps on them:)
Go ahead and pop on over to my Patreon page too because I'm going to do a print giveaway for my Patrons at the $10 tier for a July reward. Yay!
Welcome back to the studio! Ever wonder how to draw a set of sweet dreads in pencil? Well wonder no more! I've the tutorial just for you today ;)
I am so enamored with the gaze of this knotted muse and I feel like this portrait holds more questions than answers, if you get my drift. At times it seems I can almost get to know someone through the connection of drawing them....
So sit back and enjoy the show! And check the show notes below the YouTube video for info on my specific supplies.
Hello friends! Most likely you know my name if you've made it to my blog, but I have yet to really give a full introduction to my readers anyway. Sooooo, Hi! Nice to meet ya!
Obviously, I'm an early 30's contemporary figurative artist living in Hawai'i... duh, but just in case you wondered how all that came to be, I figured share a brief(ish) personal history with you today. This vlog mostly hits on where I'm from, where and what I studied in school (spoiler alert: art always), what steps I've taken to explore the world around me, and how I wound up in Hawai'i, all set to the rhythmically soothing sound and sight of waves crashing on mighty volcanic rocks in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
This little Intro Vid was filmed while I was chillin' on Makapu'u Beach, which is about 25 minutes from my house, on an absolutely perfect Spring day. Enjoy!
.... Using only blue painters tape!
Enjoy this super sweet little artist hack that will enable you to use your pencils right down to the teeniest tiniest 'lil nub, and, as with most of my hacks, both your wallet and Mother Earth will thank you.