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January 6, 2017

7 Goals for my 2017 Art Practice

Every year I make resolutions but they suck. And I usually try to make too many changes at once, in every single area of my life at the same time. Same old story.

I’m over resolutions.

That said, I still like the idea of New Years and starting fresh. “Resolutions” but in a different way… I like the One Little Word concept, or the idea of coming up with a “theme” for the year rather than specific goals. Or creating a moodboard of how you want to feel this year.

Maybe I’ll do some of those, too. I always like a good moodboard.

A big part of the changes I want to cultivate in this new year have to do with my art practice and creativity. I want need to make it better. And I foresee more art equalling more happiness for me. At least right now in this season of my life.

So in 2017, I think I can do these:

Embrace my weird

Embracing everything that I inherently love, even if it’s embarrassing or cliche. Drawing from my love of 90s movies, incorporating whatever esoteric kick I’m on right now, art journaling weirdo imaginary characters…

Feed the beast

Throw a glance to my artistic diet. Not a complete overhaul, just thinking more about what I’m putting into my inspiration. What am I consuming that can feed my art practice? Should my inputs be more varied? What sources of inspiration am I binging on that aren’t serving me?

Make a damn mess

Explore mixed media. I’ve got the supplies and I know I enjoy creating with all those tools. Plus it’s different than my typical (9-to-5) work projects.

Change my mind

Whatever the hell I feel like drawing, do it. If I feel like abandoning my art journal or starting a new drawing challenge, whatevs. I always place too many restrictions on my art and end up hating the process. I’m gonna try to go with the flow of whatever exciting new thing is capturing my interest right now. Life’s too damn short.

Share it

I have this romanticized vision of working secretly in my cave, all alone, til I’ve created this amazing collection of work. Then I unleash it upon the world and everyone is dazzled. I’ve even heard the blogging advice of “don’t start a blog until you have a dozen [insert number here] posts already written and ready to publish”. But it doesn’t work like that for me. I get bored and I can’t stick with it. However regrettably, I thrive on finishing something and putting it out there. Maybe because I’m a Leo and they say Leos always want to be the center of attention. I guess I kinda do it for the Likes, and the recognition. (Admitting this makes me cringe.) But whatever. If that little hit of dopamine keeps me making art, I’ll take it. Publish.

Simplify life shit

So that I can clear more space in my head and my environment to fill with art. Quit saying yes to other projects and ideas. Purge physical clutter and things that are no longer serving me. Buy less. Try to keep my apartment clean. Clear out my desk drawer often so I don’t have to live with old, useless shit. Embrace my core self and quit feeling bad about eating supper in front of the tv, or wanting to sleep in, skipping a workout, or being a hermit. It’s all good.

Lighten up

Don’t take art so seriously. Play. Draw like a child (forever). Make ugly stuff and share it (yes, share the ugly!), do whatever, and worry less about how I’m “supposed” to draw, or how I “should” make art.

Whaddya think, friends? Does your art practice need a hit of freshness? What’s your biggest annoyance in your (daily/weekly/rare) creative life?

7 Goals for my 2017 Art Practice ⇒ Creatively Operating, leiahmjansen.com, @oleiah

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December 14, 2016

Holiday Coloring Pages

I made four holiday coloring pages! Check them out right here, or on the Coloring Pages master page. Decorated tree ornaments, crazy overlapping pointsettias, a yummy gingerbread house, and a simpler little Merry Christmas one.

The pointsettias is definitely the most complex coloring page I’ve drawn yet.

Christmas Tree Ornaments - Happy Holidays - Free Printable Coloring Page for Adults and Kids, by leiahmjansen.com Pointsettia Flowers - Happy Holidays - Free Printable Coloring Page for Adults and Kids, by leiahmjansen.com Decorated Candy Gingerbread House - Happy Holidays - Free Printable Coloring Page for Adults and Kids, by leiahmjansen.com Merry Christmas Wreath and Holly - Happy Holidays - Free Printable Coloring Page for Adults and Kids, by leiahmjansen.com

I had a lot of fun drawing these, and might even make more holiday-themed ones if the mood strikes. First I’ll probably spend some time coloring these. Yes, I like to color my own pages :)

A few other things I’ve been loving this holiday season…

Holiday Netflix envelopes

The lettering on these is so fun.

Painted pumpkins

My little mini pumpkins from Halloween/Thanksgiving weren’t mushy yet, so I painted them white and red to look Christmas-y and stuck them under our tree.

Our little tree

My husband and I live in a studio apartment, so we don’t have (or want) a ton of space for holiday decorations. Instead, we set aside the shelf by our tv and set up our mini Christmas tree and lights there.

Other holiday vibes

  • Vlogmas videos from bybun
  • IKEA Vinter 2016 collection. Loving the Scandinavian red & white holiday motifs!
  • peppermint tea (I’m drinking Adagio)

Holiday Coloring Pages ⇒ Creatively Operating, leiahmjansen.com, @oleiah

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November 3, 2016

100 Days of Drawing the Internet

The 100 Day Project is hosted by The Great Discontent. The official project dates this year were from April 19 - July 24. The idea is to choose a theme and then create 1 thing per day based on your topic.

I wanted to choose something all-encompassing that gave me a lot of wiggle room, so I chose #100daysofdrawingtheinternet.

I completed 86 of 100 drawings.

First of all, I got behind. I went on vacation. Got really behind, couldn’t catch up. Then I kept thinking I’d finish the last several drawings so I could say I finished 100 days. I gave myself lots of time, but never got around to it. Now it’s November. I’m posting and I’m calling this project dead done.

Turns out “drawing the internet” was way too open for me. I need more constraints! A lot of days, I just couldn’t choose what to draw. There was too much self-imposed pressure to pick the “right” thing. Sometimes I literally (I’m not lying when I say literally here) spent an hour or more, browsing pinterest to find the perfect image. I created a whole board of images I was interested in drawing, so I would have a queue, but I would still browse daily.

It was horrible, actually.

click to see larger


Last year I did #100daysofletteringbyleiah and that went well. With lettering, I think it helped that I wasn’t referencing anything - I was just drawing words and phrases from my head. But this year, referencing images from online was too much. I always felt like I had to make it look like the original. It was stifling. So that’s why I didn’t finish.

And I ain’t even mad. I love a lot of the drawings I did during this 100 day project. I loved the feedback on instagram. But I seriously felt like I put myself in the worst situation and I just couldn’t shake that feeling of picking the right image to draw. I was dreading doing my drawing each day because I knew it would involve me sitting for hours on my ipad, scrolling pinterest until something “felt right.” Yikes. Never again!

Next time I’d choose something a lot more specific. Like 100 days of drawing endangered tree frogs. 100 days of drawing 90s toys I used to play with. Or choose a theme where I’m not even referencing anything, like I did with lettering. 100 days of absolute nonsensical doodles. 100 days of drawing the exact same house plant over and over. Those I could live with.

~LMJ

100 Days of Drawing the Internet ⇒ Creatively Operating, leiahmjansen.com, @oleiah

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October 17, 2016

Inspirit

In July, I took an online course called Inspirit. Initially I chose this class because I love the idea of drawing inspiration from yourself. Letting YOU inspire your art, instead of always trying to find inspiration elsewhere. Creating art is about trusting yourself, getting in tune with your intuition, and letting yourself just play.

While working through the course, I created two artworks. Both are inspired by myself.

This one was inspired directly from the visualization exercise that was in one of the course lessons. I don’t remember the exact prompts of the meditation, but I distinctly remember where it took me. A park I used to play in as a kid… that feeling of serenity and being in touch with the trees, the sky, the grass…

You know the sensation of tilting your face to the sun, closing your eyes, and your senses are overwhelmed by warmth and bright light? When you can see the orangey yellow behind your eyelids? That’s this :)

I used only art supplies I had handy: sketchbook paper; acrylic, watercolor, and gouache paints; pens.

This second piece is a collage with a photo of myself. Inspired by this quote:

“The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

I took a photo with my self-timer, and printed it off on my black&white printer.

I surprised myself with this piece! It turned out better than I ever imagined. Almost as if I stumbled across one of those hidden jewels… :)

I enjoyed this quick online course as a way to get back into mixed media. I struggle with making time for creating good old-fashioned art, and it’s even harder if I feel like I’m “doing it for nothing.” Having assignments in this class gave me a box to work within, which makes me feel more creative.

Intuitive art and drawing inspiration from my self and my inner world are ideas I’m interested in exploring further. It gives me great comfort to know that creating magical artwork doesn’t have to be hard: all I have to do is search within!

Not an affiliate link; just wanted to show off Jo Klima's beautiful arwork for the class :)

Inspirit ⇒ Creatively Operating, leiahmjansen.com, @oleiah

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LEIAH JANSEN


I am an artist who collects. Instead of keeping everything to myself, I'm trying to share more. This blog is for my artwork, finds, and creative projects, along with inspiration and thoughts on creative and intentional living.
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