Something pretty major the last year has taught me has been to chuck all major plans and dreams out the window in favor of art at the speed of life. In return, I have landed among my dreams, ministered through art, and am fueling my creativity like never before. Hear me out on that because you're probably still back on the words "chuck my dreams out the window."
When it comes to the inner-workings of my soul and art it's no secret I write from the heart often. You've heard me describe the ups and downs of trying to get somewhere as an artist, have read my best-laid plans, and have journeyed with me on the map to my wildest dreams. But I've learned something through a lot of trial and error and that is making a dream plan and living one are two entirely different things. I find myself between the popular phrases of "More love, less hustle" and "Your dreams don't work unless you do" more often than not.
It's ok (even brilliant) to have God-given dreams. I look around at the leaves that look watercolored, falling from the trees, listen to the chorus of bugs outside the window, and watch the sky fill with heavenly shades of pink and purple and just know God is a dreamer.
But I wrote this on Instagram this week and I want to share it here:
"Decorate, read, make, paint, learn, sketch, give….INSTEAD."
If you're finding yourself in the middle of la-la land with tons of notebooks filled to the brim with the dreamiest of dreams, yet never actually stepping into them, I challenge you to make art (whatever form that looks like for you) at the speed of life.
If you're buying art supplies and feeling so crafty, tear open those packages with fierce determination to actually make something today.
If fear is keeping you from even dipping your toe in the creative waters, make something and then put it away where only you can see. Sit with that for a while until you're comfortable sharing. Or maybe you're not ever comfortable sharing with the masses, but how about sending a friend a piece of your work? What an honor that would be.
If your life is as full as mine (in such a wonderful way) make art at the speed of life. Leave notebooks in places where you can easily see them in your house. Sketch here and there, make lists of gratitude, write down ideas and then try a few. Maybe even just one a month.
Last, if the nag of a voice comes along that says "What's the point?" kick it straight to the curb. Is there a point to me decorating my mantle or filling up art journals or painting? YES. A BIG YES. I need art like I need to breathe like I need God. It keeps the most important part of my body going and connected to God, my soul.
Do I still have dreams? Oh yes, an embarrassing amount. I still wake up with way too many ideas, buckets of them. But instead of planning my life away with them, I'm actually doing them. I'm tucking art in among my day to day stuff and finding out my creative life is full.
Wondering how to actually heed all that advice? Well, somedays I am tired and the laundry piles high and the girls and I are running about so a good chunk of art time is simply not to be found.
Even on those days, I find or make at least five minutes to do a tiny creative activity, like styling these items on top of my art journal to create a sort of autumn mood board.
Another idea are art journals! Last week I was feeling like I wasn't getting anywhere with my art and immediately rebuked that thought by having Brett take these photos. I am so proud of myself for these journals. There are page after page filled with paintings, collages, my thoughts, and sketches. Occasionally a photograph will make its way on to the page. Some of the pages I adore, some I don't like at all. But they are my story. These journals span the last two years of my journey as an artist.
One of my favorite things to do is sit down with a cup of coffee or tea and simply browse through these. Often I'll get a new idea for a canvas but sometimes it's just good to see my art in real form in front of me. It's like stepping into my own thoughts for a minute and seeing the hand of God on my life over the last two years.
(a special visitor while I was photographing these came along!)
Here's another quick idea for you, which I got from the creative network of Jeanne Oliver, that I mentioned to you yesterday. It is free to sign up and while she has plenty of paid classes to sign up for, she also offers many free videos! I find that incredibly generous.
To make this leaf/feather (whichever your eyes see) I simply sketched it first with a Stabilo pencil in black.
Next, I took a small paintbrush and went over my sketch with gesso.
Within the first brush stroke, I was hooked.
There is just something about the simplicity and rawness of it I just love. I also love you only need two supplies to make it happen. I can see myself quickly making a mini canvas or art journal page with this method on the days where my time is limited. I'm warning you, many more paintings in this style to come!
Decorating is also a huge part of my creative life as well. I simply love to make a house a home.
Like somedays Brett and I kid that I need a whole different house to simply "play" and decorate, just for fun, in addition to my own! (lol)
Naturally I thought my mantle wasn't quite full enough so in addition to adding the feather painting, these yellow pops of color got to come along too. They are from Hobby Lobby and found for 40% off!
There, that's better. A few little touches (like the pumpkin, feather painting, and yellow balls) were just what I needed to put the finishing touches on my autumn/maybe winter mantle. Almost all of the pieces on this mantle were free, foraged, or found at the thrift store.
We'll see how long I leave it like this or I may add a garland underneath the mantle out of book pages or brown paper bags. #cantstopwontstop
The greatest reason for creating art at the speed of life?
So that my little ladies can jump right in with me.
Anna Ruth's most favorite thing ever to do is come in the craft room while Betsy is taking a nap. She tells me exactly which art supplies she wants out and goes to town, never planning list after list before even starting or second-guessing herself.
I can learn so much from that and I am.
On the flip side, these girls are watching me. I pray they grow up knowing their Mama was a true artist, first for an audience of One, then for her family. When I receive a compliment from my girls on my art, it's worth a million sales to me. There is a way to put your family first and still follow the rhythm and pounding of your creative soul.
Now it's your turn.
How will you infuse art at the speed of life in the upcoming week?