DATE POSTED: 19th of May 2020
During lockdown, social media is full of people being creative at home, but it can be hard to get going. There are always 101 things to around the house, you may not have the space, it just gets difficult to get motivated to make anything especially during such a difficult time. Once we make room for art though, it can really help our mental health; take us away from those worries, those bad news reports, calm us down, energise us...
We’ve asked our workshop artists and participants what helps them make room for art and come up with five tips. Let us know what you find helpful....
Being as relaxed as possible always makes it much, much easier to make art so try not put pressure on yourself to create a masterpiece – just enjoy the process. Remember that you don't have to show what you create to anyone if you don't want to.
"Sometimes it feels there is a pressure to do things a certain way. I try to remember that there are no rules, and no definitive way to do things. It’s ok to pause the tv and stick a piece of paper to the screen and trace Matt from the one show if it gets you closer to what you are trying to achieve."
Deciding what to do, can feel difficult - we have a number of creative warm-ups you can try to get going and our participants recommend colouring in or painting by numbers for some mindful art activity. As one of them put it, these are useful as those decisions about what to do “have been made for you and you don't need to think, you can just do..”
“I found sewing repetitive stitches helped me to concentrate.”
If you are lacking motivation, have no energy or are too sore to do art, there are lots of arty TV programmes to watch. Some programmes our participants have found useful:
Planning your creative time in advance may also help, such as blocking out 2 hours in your diary or just writing yourself a note on the fridge saying “Wednesday - creative 2 - 4pm”. If you plan it, you’re more likely to give yourself the time to do it and not put it off so much.
Try to get into a routine and carve out time when you can:
"I try to do at least a small sketch every day. Most of the time it is at night when my daughter is asleep”
You can make art anywhere. If you have space – try and carve out an area for making art that you can have set up all the time; a window ledge, end of the dining table, corner of the living room, a cupboard....If space is an issue, think about ways you can make your art studio portable...
"I often tape my picture to something hard like a board so it's easy to carry around the house. It means I can do it on the couch in front of the tv too.”
We may not be able to go anywhere much at the moment but make use of window views, what you see around the house for inspiration. Tape your unfinished artwork to the wall or somewhere you can see it then you can think about it while doing something else.
If you have a space and can have materials permanently set up and ready to go, great. If that's not possible try to have a box or drawer which all your materials are in so you can quickly get them and get started. You may also find it useful to keep the things needed for one project in a box or tray so you don’t have to keep putting separate things away all the time. Having a portable container may also be helpful if you lack space – so you can set up anywhere in the house.
“If it's in a nice container, it doesn't look too much like clutter!"
Sometimes fancy materials bring their own pressures - waste, cost, expectation etc. Have a look around the house for you own materials; save cereal boxes, envelopes (turn them inside out for fresh surface), leaflets, old photographs, magazines; lots of different surfaces to sketch /draw/ paint / collage on or build sculptures with. Can you experiment with homemade paint – use coffee, tea, plants?
If you are working on something messy, prepare that space so that the fear of damaging something doesn’t stop you from working. Flattened boxes are good for covering floor and surface and chop up some old T-shirts for a supply of washable emergency cloths.
“I have a bit of board upstairs I can splodge wet things on beside the old radio and my clutter to keep it all in one space. Not making very much in the way of art as feeling very unsettled but when I do it is calming.”
Keep a constant supply of snacks and refreshments nearby – grapes, cake, tea and coffee are all important in our workshops. Be careful not to mix up your coffee with you dirty paint water though!
Hope this helps – let us know in the comments below if there is anything you’ve found useful to help you make room for art at home...