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  • Writer's pictureClaire Hilton

It's all in the process - You don't have to be good at 'Art' to make it.

Updated: Oct 29, 2020

Art is a curious subject. Not only is there no real right and wrong answers to any question that's asked, but its also a subject where people put themselves down and put off doing anything creative because they assume they can't do anything 'good' before they have even started. I'm sure I'm not alone as a creative facilitator when I say that the first thing people usually say to me is 'oh I'm not good at art'. Lets break this down a bit - There is no 'good' or 'bad' in Art - what you do have, are things that you like and can also dislike. Its important to remember each individuals opinion of anything in-front of them (from a jumper, to a piece of fruit) will be very different.

When we first start creating things, usually as children, we are learning to put things in the right places on our drawings and explain our experiences of our world to others - we don't really care what it looks like! All we are doing is expressing ourselves and taking enjoyment from the experience of doing so. Then as we get older its common for us to become very self-conscious about what we are doing, how it looks and what other people may think about what we have made.

The BEST thing about art is there are many ways to get something positive out of it, which don't all rest on the end product. Sometimes the seemingly small act of just starting will make all the difference. You could find that the process itself you find soothing, calming and breaks up your day. Sharing something you are proud of with others can also feel really good but its not an essential part of being creative. Back to our jumper analogy in paragraph one, one size will not necessarily fit all (even if it says it does!).

'Every human being is an artist'

Joeseph Beuys


Things to remember

1. Not everything works (and that’s OK) – If we always do what we’ve always done, we will always get what we’ve always got. Try new things, don’t be scared of things not working but the most important thing is never give up on a piece of work. See it through, leave it for a while and come back to it, add to it later. Pieces can be cut up, ripped apart, painted over and used it as collage material or a background for something new. It’s never a failure because you are always learning and problem solving.

2. You don’t need fancy materials – Use what you have. Try and use things you already have and don’t let your brain put things off because you don’t have the right paint or pens. Give it a go, it might still work, or it might work better than you imagined. Adapting to different environments and materials is a skill in itself and could be the challenge you need to find a new way of working.

3. Try not to imagine your finished product - Go with the flow of what your making. Sure, it may not look how you expected it to but that’s a good thing. It’s important to work with your materials, not against them.

4. Keep a book to hand – This doesn’t have to be a sketchbook and it doesn’t need to contain any drawing whatsoever! This book might be a book of ideas, things that inspire you annotations of people or things that you’ve seen. Try and add to this most days. If you’re on the go pack a simple kit that you can use and carry in your handbag. If you don’t have a book with you use the back of an envelope or an old receipt. Keep it all together and stick it in later on. I often carry around containers or sandwich bags to collect bits and bobs in when I’m out and about. You could utilise your daily exercise to walk mindfully and look out for things you could use and incorporate into your next piece. Collections of interesting objects/items or images cannot be brought they must be found.

5. Notice what works for you, and what doesn’t. - Art and being creative is meant to be fun. If you are really inspired by visiting galleries and gardens, being outdoors and travelling then I would normally suggest that you go and do it! However in our current circumstances with our movements and visits being restricted there are many great ways to 'virtually' visit attractions, galleries and places. Alternatively spend some time watching films that visually inspire you. Are you a morning person? Is it too hard to make time after the school day is over – then listen to yourself and try a mid-morning make with your cup of tea. There’s no right or wrong just ‘you’ way of doing things.

Tip - Try to limit time in front of a procrastination device (such as a computer!!) but books or magazines can be useful too.

6.Blank page fright, Make a mark! - Make a mark, a statement without even thinking about it just start! You might find it easier working on scrap or coloured paper (brown paper for parcels is my favourite). Crease it up into a ball, throw some ink or paint at it stamp all over it and go from there.

So what are you waiting for? Got some time? – grab yourself a pen and some paper and ask yourself not ‘where do I start?’, but ‘where shall I stop?’

If you are looking for projects and calls to action to get involved with at home - keep an eye on our website as we'll be sharing some we have come across really soon. We have also done a video for Worcester Arts Workshop sharing a quick and easy paper cutting activity for you to do at home which should be released really soon.

Stay safe


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