Experimenting with Index Card Art

In the beginning of June I shared that I was joining the summer challenge index-card-a-day, an Index Card Art Project open to everyone, and since then I have (almost) daily posted a painted index card to my instagram account and to my Facebook page Studio iHanna. Yay me, right?

Today I’m sharing my thoughts about this project, My Struggles and Success Story, and most of my painted cards. I hope I can inspire you to join is for July, or just start a daily creative practice for yourself, what ever it may be. Summer is a good time to do this, because the weather will help you along by being all bright and happy.

Index card first 1,5 week of June by @ihanna #icad

If you want to cultivate a habit, do it without any reservation, till it is firmly established. Until it is so confirmed, until it becomes a part of your character, let there be no exception, no relaxation of effort. Mahavira

I really wish I could say that I paint daily and effortlessly all the time…

…but I’m more about telling the truth than serving up polished ideals that might inspire someone to wrongly aspire for perfection. I can’t do perfection, I don’t believe in it – and I don’t even like that shit.

Index Card Let the Sunshine in by @ihanna #icad

So truth be told: I have been painting my index cards a few at a time, a couple of times throughout the month, then sharing them daily on social media has been a task big enough for now. I gave myself the rule of “only acrylic paint”, and have kept to it (mostly, with exception for pens and pencil I think). In the beginning I had the idea to write a quote or sentence on each index card too, but I gave up on that. I am not a calligrapher person!

The days when I did take out the acrylic paint bottles, pored out paint and mixed it has been great moments for sure. This month of June I have done this more than all this years previous months combined. So that is a good thing.

And that is exciting to me!

A few painted index cards by @ihanna #icad

I see my index cards this year as less of a diary and more of an artistic practice for bigger ideas that needs to boil further. But to try to cook up bigger ideas is scary, which makes me wanna quit the trying altogether.

Index Card polka dots by @ihanna #icad

As I see progress I also feel the resistance, big time. I have really been struggling with my Inner Critic a lot this month. I have been aiming for happy and abstract, but every time I try to finish one of the index cards, she tells me it’s not enough. Then I add more dots, strokes or colors, and it looks crowded. Happiness and irritation at the same time. So I move on.

Index Card a map forward by @ihanna #icad

If I start another one and just keep painting, I can look at the other index cards and actually like quite a few of them – but in the moment it’s hard.

I feel like a fraud most of the time, even though at the same time I know that that’s just my ego trying to scare my creativity to silence. I know that.

Index Card Angry Doodle by @ihanna #icad

I try to listen to the comments I’m getting on instagram and facebook (I’m in both the ICAD free group and the ICAD Circle) instead. You guys are so kind, and you’re so my people because you understand my love for color, polka dots and expressing something in this “silly”, yet profound, way.

Index Cards June 2016 by @ihanna #icad

Thanks for letting me share!

PS: My index cards of 2011 was very much like a diary. I wrote about my day on the back of each card. This year I have only done that a couple of times. Here’s an example:

Index Card writing on the back by @ihanna #icad

I wrote about my index card collage process back in 2011 of course, and among other things said (if I may quote myself):

For me, I never follow a specific road and I dont have many must-happen habits either. Its fairly simple, I sit down and experiment. Sometimes I love what comes out, sometimes I think it looks more like #fail. Either way, then I move on.

More in my 2011 post The Creative process is a crooked road – as true then as it is today.

This post is shared in Daisy Yellow’s ICAD blog round up too. Also check out the Pinterest board Index Card A Day Challenge – and follow – for more ICAD inspiration!

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9 Responses to Experimenting with Index Card Art

  1. Arielle says:

    I’ve really enjoyed seeing your happy art cards! Thank you for sharing with us and thank you for pushing through your struggles and doubts and continuing to share your beautiful creativity with all of us!

  2. Jenny says:

    Thank you so much for this post. I appreciate your honesty about the creative process. I’m sending you a link for an art class I subscribe to. I think you would enjoy this month’s topic – Making Friends with Your Inner Critic. It’s fantastic. My inner critic can (and often does) rage at me. The interviews, exercises, music, and articles have been super helpful in learning to recognize and learn from what the IC has to say. Thanks for putting your bright, energetic and bold artwork out into the world, Hanna! It’s a better place for it.

  3. Aimee says:

    Thanks for showing off what you’ve done! I love seeing the bright, free-form style of your painted index cards!

    I’m doing ICAD too. Have felt lazy about it in a way since it seems like I’ve mostly been doing collages on my index card. I like how they’re turning out, but keep thinking I should have more variety!

  4. Lauralh05 says:

    Thank you for sharing, Hanna! Your cards always make me smile. I love the thought of “practice for bigger ideas that need to boil further”! Your work is always beautiful, definitely not a fraud – tell that inner critic to zip her lip and buzz off :D

  5. Ellen says:

    Always a joy to see you in my inbox. I love your cards and your thoughts. Please continue to share your inner musings and your art. This art critic on your shoulder is well traveled and I need to know that I am not the only one who is visited frequently by this “negative” force. Your encouragement helps send it on its way! Be well and hope you will have many more “artful” moments!

  6. Cindy McMath says:

    Hanna, I really like your cards – they feel very happy and modern. The bright colours you use with a pop of black, a word – very cool. Thanks for stopping by my blog and your kind words – I can’t get my head around using the prompts – I’m really trying to reconnect with collage, which is my preferred medium and I feel like I haven’t been doing enough of it lately.

  7. Kate fern says:

    It’s great to see your cards, I especially like the one with swirling brush strokes and white writing over the top. I’m the opposite to you, I’m making my cards daily, but struggling with uploading them, doing them in weekly batches to flickr. At the moment I’m stuck on gouache, but would love to do a whole month of acrylic sometime… so lovely to hear how you’re feeling about the process. best best wishes :)

  8. Sarah says:

    Lovely post! I have really been enjoying seeing all your cards on Facebook, Hanna! The happy, colorful, artful cards are inspirational, beautiful, fun to look at, and you’d never know there was any struggle behind the scenes by looking at them. They look like pure joy to me!

  9. I love your abstract cards and your words on perfection! The less I try to be what might be deemed perfect, the better I feel! You’re a real inspiration!

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