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Rediscovering My Inner Artist

Hey Everybody! I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted a blog. I guess you could say I’ve been on a hiatus, but I’m back—with a renewed sense of purpose.

Lately I’ve been going through a process of self-discovery which, by the way, has NOT involve contemplating my navel (even though I DO live in San Francisco :P). Just wanted to clarify that. It has, however, involved a lot of inner reflection and action towards rediscovering my inner artist. I’ve done this with the help of Sarah Rosenthal, a Life & Professional Coach, who’s helping me Sculpt My Life. As a writer herself, she’s very attuned to artists and artists’ needs. Through our conversations we hit upon the source of my restlessness: I wasn’t recognizing or nurturing my inner artist. Sometimes it takes someone else to shed light on what has been gathering dust in a corner of your mind.

As a graphic designer, I’m hired to be creative on demand. Working for a wide range of clients (big and small) deadlines and budgets rule the day as much as the creative process. I’ve been in the design business for a long time—over 20 years—and in that time I’ve honed my craft. What I haven’t honed is my hand drawing skills, or painting skills, or the habit of carrying a sketchpad everywhere I go. What’s been lost in the years that I’ve dedicated myself to being creative for other people is the practice of being creative for myself just to be creative. When I sketch, it’s often for client work for my own ideation and iteration, but not often shown to the client . . . for reasons that will become obvious if you read this blog.

Over the years I have dabbled in photography, but have hardly put pencil to paper or paint to canvas except in rare spurts of activity. Lately I’ve worked hard to change that by carrying around a sketchbook and making an effort to make collages and drawings.

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As fulfilled as I’ve been as a “commercial artist,” and as much work as I’ve done for clients to aid their brand or their cause, in the end I felt like something was missing. What was it? That’s a question I’ve put to myself and at one time or another to my various career coaches I’ve had through the years. I always thought my restlessness was career-related: Do I need more professional challenges? More leadership opportunities? To move into a different field? None of those things was the REAL cause.

glassflowers     paperlanterns

Historically a lot of artists have started out as graphic artists or designers for hire to make ends meet—before they were famous. I’d like to think I’m just another in a long line!

SOME TIPS FOR GETTING BACK INTO ART

  1. Recognize that you have an inner artist that is yearning to come out
  2. Do something art related for yourself once a week: go to a museum, art store, art talk, café, park…
  3. Make time in your week to do art. Make it a calendar event.
  4. Report your activities to other friends, a coach or colleague. Accountability counts!
  5. Record your dreams. Gain inspiration from them or other things in your environment.
  6. Give yourself creative assignments. And a deadline. Maybe post them on social media like Instagram.
  7. Attend sketch meetups or a drawing class.
  8. Carry around a sketchpad and pencils or pens (whatever media you prefer). I keep mine very compact. I also have a fun pencil case. It helps motivate me.

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Take it from me. After making a solid effort to explore fine art again, and taking time for myself to discover my inner artist, I find more contentment and peace within myself in that area. My art may not be worth millions of dollars when I’m dead, but for me my art (even if it’s bad) is priceless.

Keep sketching!

’Berta

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