Years ago, I decided to make a small painting every week for a year. My first thought was making 52 paintings would be impossible, but I started anyway. A few weeks in, I purchased a classic manual typewriter on Craigslist and started adding quotes to the paintings. If you were a yoga student of mine at that time, you got a small photocopy of these paintings with your yoga practice. After a year my students asked me if I could continue to bring them paintings when the year was done. I did, and continued to do so for six years! One of my students got a free class after collecting over 200 paintings. I share this with you now as a simple trick to kick start your own creative practice. Whether you are a painter, a knitter or a cook, part of our role as humans is to create something new that takes us out of a culture that focuses on consumption. I figured out a few tricks along the way including: set clear attainable goals, be accountable, focus on quantity, and don’t forget to play.
Set Clear Attainable Goals
In my case, I made a goal to have each painting done by my Sunday night yoga class every week. I was sure to have all of my supplies on hand and I was open to any inspiration in front of me. At one point, I painted a pair of salt and pepper shakers at a diner! Having a clear timeline helped me not to over-work or to over-think the paintings because I simply didn’t have time.
Accountability is Key
Share your goal and products along the way. Whether you have students or just a good friend you can text photos to, promise them your work and share it with them. Let them know if you’d like feedback or not.
Quantity over Quality
I can’t stress this one enough. It took me a long time to use journals and fill them with sketches because I was worried about ruining the nice shiny pages. The funniest thing happens when you get this concept. If you practice anything over a period of time, your creations become (overall) better. Even the ones that don’t turn out are just a stepping stone for your next creation.
Process as Play
Some of my favorite works were ones that I didn’t try so hard to look good. A feeling like “they painted themselves” because in a way, they did. When we are open to the process, our intuition asks our egos to step-aside. That’s where the magic happens.
This process was a way for me to ignite my creative energy. I now have a business that has over 100 greeting card designs, 20 sticker designs, as well as published card decks called White Sage Tarot and Land Sky Oracle. With that being said, I always need to come back to my playful side as I create one painting at a time.