Creating better habits as an artist

 The summer was a frustrating one for me due to the heat. Acrylics have always been my favourite painting medium and hot weather makes them hard to use due to the rapid drying time. Pyrography was also problematic because I need to wear a mask and it's not a nice experience on very hot days. So I felt pretty stuck in terms of what I could do.

It's very easy as an artist to go down the route of feeling everything you do must have purpose to become a finished piece. I'm generally pushed for time so it's been a while since Ive done any sketching just for the pleasure of making marks and trying things out. That is a huge mistake.

Part of progressing and creating new ideas comes from freedom to play. Trying things out with no pressure for it to be anything, or for you to show anyone. A lot of people assume art is latent talent where really it's acquiring a skillset and lots of hard work. Creativity is a bit like a rolling snowball - the more you do the more self sustaining it becomes.

So due to the heat I rediscovered my love of drawing just for the exploration of the subject and making marks on paper. This has translated into me getting a sketchbook I'm painting small studies in, just to explore different things. It helped to remind me of the joy and wonder I used to get from art.

Pressure is a weird thing as an artist, very often it's instilled at a young age there's a "right" and "wrong" way to do things, that certain things aren't as good, or as perfect, as others, and we carry that into our art. It's a very difficult thing to get out of. If you don't have to show anyone what you do it gives more freedom. We criticise ourselves enough without the self conscious feeling of others seeing our rough work.

I've also started playing with watercolour and gouache, neither are mediums I've liked very much previously, I've always gone back to my trusty acrylics, but due to the necessity that I couldn't paint with anything else I've actually started to enjoy them and plan to be doing a series of works in them.

So there was a silver lining to this particular cloud - I've learned I need to make time to do art for the sake of just enjoying playing, and to try new media rather than stay in my comfort zone. I think both these practices will ultimately help my journey in art.

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