At our house, little by little, Sunday afternoon has turned into “Art Day.”
Of course, in some ways, every day is art day! I’ve always got journals on the go and knitting/crochet projects at hand. I’m doodling all the time and I’m learning to play guitar. I’m creating meals and outfits and videos and dreamboards. I’m pretty much glued to my camera. I’m always imagining, wondering and getting curious about life. My eyes and heart are open for inspiration and beauty and opportunities to learn and I do my best to express my spirit every day in every way.
In the midst of this creative life, it’s wonderful to open up a big free space to get messy, use a bazillion supplies and be totally immersed in art!
The first official Art Day was a couple of years ago when my sister Suzie was in town. My sisters and I thought it would be awesome to spend anafternoon creating and chatting over multiple cups of tea. We had a blast! Then last year, we all signed up for Life Book and Shannon and I tried, as often as we could, to meet up at my kitchen table and create together.
Soon we co-opted the kitchen bookshelf for supplies: acrylics, watercolours, gouache, markers, charcoal, pastels, glue guns, scissors, washi tape, sketchbooks, palettes, bubble wrap…you name it!
Art utensils took over the top of the piano, which I know my mom would be absolutely delighted to see. (In fact, many of these supplies I received from her.)
It’s taken two years for Art Day to establish itself in our lives and in our home but now it is here to stay! Here are some things I’ve learned along the way. I hope these tips support you in creating an Art Day too!
Tips for Creating Art Day for Yourself
Scheduling: Whether you’re creating Art Day as a regularly scheduled event or a one-off, make it official by putting it on the calendar. Let everyone participating (including yourself) and everyone impacted (like people you share the space with) know that this time is committed to a very important activity!
Time: Give yourself the gift of a solid block of time; an entire morning, afternoon or evening is ideal. As often as we can, Sunday afternoons are our Art Day.
Space: Use what space you have. If we wait to create until we have the perfect set-up, we’ll never get there! Get strategic about how to make what you have work. Set up Art Day on the floor in front of your TV or in a corner of your bedroom or in your backyard. Figure out a travel pack and find a coffee shop or a patch of green. I set up and clean up at my kitchen table and it has become one of my very favourite places to be.
Set Up & Clean Up Include set-up and clean-up time in your plans. Even now it amazes me that the first whole part of Art Day can be spent just getting things out and ready! There’ s nothing more disappointing than finally getting all your supplies in order and realizing you only have a half an hour left to create! One of my favourite strategies is to gradually get everything in place throughout the morning in prep for the afternoon. When I make a cup of tea, I put out the paper. When I’m putting the dishes away, I get out the paints. This way the prep isn’t onerous and when I’m ready to sit down, it’s all there! (It reminds me of how my grandma used to set the breakfast table before she went to bed.)
Make It Easy On Yourself: One of my favourite new strategies is getting dinner ready before I sit down to create. To that end, Art Day is now officially Crockpot Sundays at our house! This way I can create all afternoon and then enjoy a wonderful, warm, home-cooked meal that feels like a treat instead of beign faced with, “Oh, man, now I have to make dinner?!” (Here’s what I made this week and it was awesome!)
Choose a Project: In the week coming up to Art Day, choose a project to work on and also have one in the wings. It can be very intimidating to sit down to a table full of art supplies. It’s easy to find yourself stuck with one simple, paralyzing thought: now what?! I’ve found it helpful to be involved in a class or a program that offers up a series of lessons, like Life Book or Spectrum (which I’m teaching at this year!) or Year of the Spark (which I’m taking this year!) You could also work through a book like Flora Bowley’s Brave Intuitive Painting or Mati Rose McDonough’s Daring Adventures in Paint or find a project on YouTube or Creativebug. Lisa Congdon’s line drawing class rocked my world and she has a new one up too.
Choosing a project ahead of time gives you focus and also a chance to make sure you have all the art supplies you need. I also like to have a second project in the wings in case I start working on something and find it’s not for me or discover I forgot an important material or didn’t notice that the project’s first stage takes a full day to dry.
What to Wear: I love having an art apron to wear. I think it’s less for mess protection and more that it reminds me of when I was a little kid and would wear a smock (aka one of my dad’s old shirts). There’s something magical about donning a “costume” for creating!
I’ve also realized that I love taking pictures and sharing them throughout Art Day so I’ve come to realize it isn’t such a bad idea to put on some mascara or something, LOL!!
Journal: One of my favourite things that Shannon and I have recently implemented is finishing off every Art Day with journaling. This gives us the chance to reflect on what we’ve learned about art and what we’ve learned about ourselves.
Most Importantly: All in all, the most important part of Art Day is to enjoy it! It is a gift that you can give to yourself and to your creative heart – and I hope you will!
I hope you are inspired to create your own Art Day! If you do, I’d love to hear how it goes – and to see pictures!
If there’s anything else I can share to make it easier, let me know!