Seven Ways to add Art to Your World Every Day

Mary Woodman

We spend so much time and energy creating and selling our art. We put our heart and soul into it when we make it, and we try to come up with strategies to market it and send it out into the world. Sometimes the pressure of trying to build an art career can almost make it hard to make the art itself. This is when we forget why we started creating in the first place, this is how we get blocked creatively, and how we become discouraged. It can be easy to lose that feeling of childish pleasure that creation can bring. The good news is that the more we create the more we create, and this applies to simple, spontaneous acts of art, sketches, doodles, snapshots; efforts that we don't agonize over or judge or imbue with self-doubt. Here are 7 methods to bring creative spontaneity back into your life, while also sharing your spark with friends and family.

1. Send art to school or work with your loved ones. Draw a doodle on your kids' brown paper lunchbags. Match it to their mood, the season, the things they care about right now. Remember to recycle the bag (unless their friends ask for the drawing!) Draw a little sketch for your partner and slip it in their lunch box or briefcase. 

Katherine Minott

2. Keep a restaurant book. We always take a blank book and a set of markers when we go out to eat. One person gets to pick a subject, and we take turns drawing while we talk and wait for the food. This is a good way to keep younger kids busy, and an equally good way to keep older kids and adults inspired and involved (and off their phones!) Use the same book each time, and record the date and place you ate, as a record of your nights out, saved in artwork.

3. Play Exquisite Corpse. There's a reason this old game is still popular! The game was invented by the surrealists early in the last century, and what started as fun for them became a more serious outlet for their creativity. It requires very little equipment! Fold a piece of paper in thirds or forths, and have each person draw a part of a body (legs, torso,  head) leaving marks to indicate where the next person should start. At the end you unfold it and see what strange creature you have created!

Man Ray (Emmanuel Radnitzky), Joan Miró, Yves Tanguy, and Max Morise, Exquisite Corpse, 1928

4. Keep a sketch book and markers by your bed. Leave your phone in another room, and spend the unwinding time working on sketches or doodles. Who knows if they'll show up in your dreams!

5. Send a picture to a friend. All we get in our mailbox these days is bills and junk mail. Brighten someone's day by sending them a little drawing or painting. It doesn't have to be a masterpiece, it could be a sketch or a doodle, with a few words to go with it. Send it snail mail. Ask your friend to carry on the chain by sending a drawing to someone else.

6. Draw while you wait. Stuck in a waiting room? A long line? On hold on the phone? Carry a sketchbook with you, and sketch the other people in the waiting room, or the trees out the window. Reach for your sketchbook instead of your phone.

7. Use your phone for art. Yes, I've just spent an entire article disparaging the mobile phone, but there's no denying it can be a handy device. Set a rule for yourself only to use the camera, and look for small beautiful things you might not otherwise notice: a shadow, raindrops on a window pane, an unusual upholstery pattern, a mossy niche in the pavement.

The Artistry House