Going back to basics with your Artwork

Going back to basics today! When you take a longer break from your main art practice, it is sometimes hard to find your way back into the well known and comfortable making of art… You want to find your way back to that wonderful place where you know intuitively what to do next, and maybe even into some kind of flow as you work. But as months pass you get out of practice and the longer time that pass the harder it is to find that flow. So when it’s time to start it up again, you might stumble, and everything feels rather uncomfortable. You might even start doubting what you’re doing, or that you ever knew how to do this thing…

I don’t think there’s any artist of any value who doesn’t doubt what they’re doing.
Francis Ford Coppola

Doubt is normal. It’s even an okay place to be, especially if you have more than one art practice. It’s okay to doubt your ability, but it’s not okay to let that doubt hinder you from making what you want to make!

You might move forward in another area, but you don’t forget all the rest of your knowledge in other areas – even when you are taking a break from it. It’s there, under the hood.

You might just need to go back to basics for a while, do a reset, and then find your way forward.

Going back to Basics in your Art Practice with @iHanna

If you’re anything like me, you have multiple interests going in all directions. I don’t think I ever stop making and creating, but how I express myself varies greatly from day to day. Last week I was all about journaling, doing cut and paste in my small notebook, and painting in my Art Journal. Being creative, but not in all areas at once of course.

So like I mentioned this weekend, it’s been a long time since I did any collagework. Way too long. I can’t believe it’s been two years since I made my 365 Collage Project in 2013. The thought of that makes me a wee bit sad. I loved that project, even though it took a lot of time from other things. Maybe I I should’ve done a 365 this year, but I decided against it. I have many things I want to focus on this year, so with a bit of grace I hope I can do many things and still stick to my idea of making a few new collages when I can, to share here…

Going back to basic with collage

So back to basics, huh? When I sat down last week with my collage supplies and substrate, I felt like a beginner again. I stumbled, and didn’t know where to start until I decided to just make something really simple, and go back to basics. Maybe even cultivating what the buddhists call a beginners mind. It’s that feeling of that even when you do know a lot about your subject you approach it like you didn’t know it. Approach art like a beginner, with an open heart, loads of curiosity and with love.

Trying my wings in the new year - sketchbook page by iHanna

My basics: I’ve got a square punch that I haven’t used much, so that’s what I used to make it easy for myself. Punching out squares from pretty papers, gluing them down in a grid, and that’s it. It was so easy to get going I made several collages in a row without thinking too much and voilá – it feels like I’m back, at least in a small way. The collages that I made are so basic I was surprised on how much I liked em’!

Here’s one of them, I’ll post the rest tomorrow:

Collage: Grid number 02 by @iHanna
Grid nr 2 collage art by iHanna. What do you think?

I even took out a spiral bound notebook, my sketchbook of sorts even though I didn’t know I had a sketchbook (!), and glued stuff into it as I went along with squares side by side in the simplest form of collage. Super fun!

Ideas for Going back to Basics

If you too are feeling like you don’t know where to start, how to get going, or how to reset your art practice in the new year, I’ve got a few suggestions for you to get you started:

Go back to basic, and don’t let your brain get in the way. That is, don’t overthink it like I have done. Just sit down at your desk, and start. Moving your hands is the way forward, as always.

How do you get going when the going gets though?

Big hugs!

/Hanna

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8 Responses to Going back to basics with your Artwork

  1. Arielle says:

    Thanks for this post, Hanna! It’s exactly what I needed to hear! As a dabbler myself, I often find that although intellectually I know that I have the skills to sew, paper craft, cross stitch, etc, if I’ve been away from any of them very long, I get stuck worrying that I suddenly won’t be able to do that particular craft “correctly” anymore. I know it sounds crazy, and I know intellectually that art doesn’t have a “correct” way to be done, but this feeling can become a giant stumbling block that freezes me in place and chases me away from my craft table. I fully agree with you – you must start doing something, even if it seems like it’s just something small, to start forward motion again. Thank you for your encouragement to go back to the beginning and start moving forward again!

  2. Sophie says:

    In the past few years, I’ve been so caught up in making pretty pages in my journal that I forgot, in the process, to just play in my art journal. Which is what I want to do this year. Collages, mark making, testing pens and paints… like you say, back to basics. You’re inspiring me to get back to collage (maybe that’ll be my daily art for February…)

  3. Creative people tend to be creative in a lot of different areas, focusing on one art form for a while and then another for a time, just like using different muscles when you exercise. There is no rule that says we have to be at expert level in every art form we touch. Sometimes my best work comes from letting go and being playful, even in an area I have a lot of knowledge about, in order to get somewhere new with it. Thank you for sharing your re-starting techniques.

  4. Barb says:

    This is exactly what I have been looking for to get a jump start on collage. I found all that you had done and saved the week numbers in a separate folder for study.
    I am so glad you are doing this and I, for one, am excited to see more of your techniques.
    Barb
    USA

  5. Patty says:

    What a timely post! This is where I’m at today/this year. I need to streamline my interests a bit and enjoy the process!

  6. Aimee says:

    Love your latest collage, Hanna – it sure didn’t look like something that was made by someone who felt like a beginner! I also loved the link you had at the end about using a tiny notebook for mini collages! I just made some small journals, so this would be a fun use for them. Thanks for the idea!

  7. Debi says:

    Love your collages and also the link for the mini ones. Now I’ve just got to get smaller notebook and get busy! : ) Thank you for all your ideas and your posts because they are always so interesting and help to get me motivated!

  8. Mary says:

    I have been in a bit of an art rut lately…I’m taking Daisy Yellow’s Novel Approach class and it has been inspiring me to try some new things…having fun, not worrying about the outcome.

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