Tag Archives: art

“But I’m Not Good Enough to be an Artist”

Okay, first of all, I want to refute the statement in my title. When someone says “But I’m not good enough to be an artist,” I want to say back, “Who says??”

Breaking the Art/Artist Stereotype

For too long, art has been given this elevated, almost holier-than-anything status in our culture. And people we call “artists,” stereotypically speaking, are people who dress in “artsy”-looking clothes (all black and berets are the cliche), who claim that no one understands their art, who seem to be just a little bit unhinged at times, who rarely go out into the world so as not to disturb their “creative process.” Right?

NOPE. Artists are everywhere, talented in many different art forms, and they are not all intensely focused people, or all hoity-toity about their art. And art can be found in all parts of life. In fact, Grandma’s herb garden is just as much an art form as any painting or dance performance.

Art is Everywhere

Our whole culture is full of art. Art is self-expression, not just talent in a particular subject that seems “artsy.”

It pains me to say this, being a math-phobe as I am, but even math has artistic qualities–ever heard of fractal geometry, for instance? And even the symmetry of a perfectly-solved equation has beauty in it (even though I might have no idea how in the world it got solved that way). People who create beauty in their worlds are artists, whether they are organizing the clutter out of your apartment or rescuing your workplace’s database from certain cyber-doom.

Art is Approachable

Art does not have to be created in a vacuum void of anything except your own thoughts. In fact, art can be created as a result of human interaction, even as a result of crowds of people. The susurrus of many people talking can sound like a bumblebee’s whirring wings, which might just put you in mind of “Flight of the Bumblebee,” and inspire you to create something based on that, for instance.

You also don’t have to be a particular kind of “focused person” to create art. Sometimes, the random doodles you make on a paper napkin could be inspiration for a design you end up using in your home office, for instance. Art is everyday and yet it transcends the everyday. I like to think art just makes regular life a little bit spiffier. ^_^

Art Can Be Done by Anybody

You can become an artist even if you don’t think of yourself as creative. Anything you do well, whether at your job, at home, or out and about, can be art. Shopping can be an art. Fixing computers or cars can be an art. Whatever you do that you have great instincts for and a large amount of technical knowledge of, you can transform that into art by lending your passion for it into every action and thought. If it expresses who you are (like if your ability to organize and save money lends itself to shopping on a budget), that is part of your art.

And you don’t have to have just one type of art in your life, either–I am expressed by many different kinds of art, from songwriting to blogging, from beading to web designing, and on beyond.

Try a Little Art for Yourself

Even if you don’t think you’re creative, even if you think art is for elementary school kids, how about trying some of the artistic pursuits available to you? The following list is a starter list, but feel free to come up with your own!

  • Jewelry designing (beading, etc.)
  • Painting and modeling gaming pieces
  • Fabric crafting (sewing, fabric painting, etc.)
  • Woodworking
  • Painting
  • Gardening
  • Drawing/sketching
  • Interior designing
  • Acting
  • Cooking
  • Car detailing/finishing
  • Composing poetry
  • Couponing (just not the “extreme,” lawbreaking kind)
  • Short story writing
  • Organizing
  • Computer building
  • Novel writing
  • Web designing
  • Dancing (ballet, modern dance, etc.)

Glassics: Saturday with the Spark

This is a complete topic review of all the posts in the category Saturday with the Spark. Looks like I need to do more drawing/art-related posts, as well as general creativity and crafting posts! But don’t worry, I’ll get to it all. 🙂


Sight-Reading Fail
Seeing and Feeling Music
Perfect Pitch
Melodies from Dreams
Joining My Voice with Others
There’s a Reason the Piano is Called a Percussion Instrument
Phases of Songcraft
Confront the Giant in Song
Studying the Songcraft of Others


Novel Therapy
Poems: Kernels of Art
Writing as a Pressure Valve
A Twist in the Web: Complex Subplots in Simple Storylines
Awake in the Middle of the Night? Write!
The Enemy of Creativity: Self-Censorship
Coming Up with “Novel” Ideas
Journals in Verse: My Personal Poetry
The Impromptu Writers’ Club
Connotation: The Search for the Right Synonym


Happy Little (Sketched) Tree
Little Doodles of Life


Getting All Beaded Up

General Creativity

A Fickle Playmate: My Muse

Poems: Kernels of Art

I absolutely love the flexibility of poems; they’re like jars of emotion, containing poignant reveries, painful wounds, and powerful joys. But beyond this humble art form’s ability to adapt to any emotional range, it can also inspire the other forms of art (both performance and exhibition) to their highest expressions. Surprisingly, poetry can touch all other forms of art in the following ways:

What Poems Can Do

  • They can become songs by simply attaching a fitting melody and chord progression to the words
  • They can spark photography, paintings, or drawings; the imagery in a poem can lead a visual artist to create what he or she has “seen” in her mind from the poet’s words
  • They can imply a dance rhythm with word choice and stressed beats; a simple recitation can be done as a rhythm piece alongside interpretive movement
  • They can create a theatrical scene in the reader’s mind; the pathos in a poem can be expressed again through dialogue, or if the poem is itself a dialogue or monologue, it can be directly translated to the stage
  • They can inspire a longer work of fiction or non-fiction; a simple ten-line poem can create a character strong enough to warrant more writing about

I love this about poetry–it creates a sort of network between art forms. It’s fluid, malleable, and yet strong enough to support just about anything you put into it, which makes it both approachable for newbies and versatile for experienced creators.

So, have you ever tried your hand at poetry? If you haven’t, now is a great time to try!

Happy Little (Sketched) Tree

With apologies to Bob Ross for the title of this post, this week I thought I’d showcase a recent sketch of mine that I scanned into the computer:

Number #2 pencil on computer printer paper. Awright.

The tree is mostly composed of simple leaf and branch shapes (similar to a crape myrtle tree). Not the most original thing in the world, perhaps, but this picture works for me on several levels:

  1. It’s mine–I didn’t have to borrow artwork from someone else like usual
  2. I didn’t have to worry about every leaf and twig being in EXACTLY the right place, because it looks better as an imperfect form anyway
  3. The sketch ended up pretty much how I wanted it, for just about the first time in my life

P.S.: Why This Isn’t a Color Picture

This picture isn’t colored in, because usually when I start trying to color my pictures by hand, I end up with something that looks worse than kindergarten. Crayons are too heavy and waxy, colored pencils are too light (takes too long to build up enough color), and markers are too permanent. (And we just won’t talk about the tragedy of my painting skills here. XD) Not to mention that “staying in the lines” is just about impossible for me and my impatient hands.

I did try to color this picture using Photoshop’s Paint Bucket too, but I found it much too hard to color in with a laptop mouse! I couldn’t stand the thought of having to click a hundred thousand times so precisely to fill in all those little leaves, so I quit after a few pointless minutes of accidentally filling the whole canvas with green. Sad.

Pencil + Paper = Fun

My difficulties with coloring is why I enjoy the impromptu ease of a simple pencil sketch. You don’t have to have any special tools–just about any kind of paper except notebook paper and any kind of pencil will do. You can also do this sketch anywhere; out in the wilderness, at your desk while avoiding homework, in bed watching TV. I also really love the ability to do subtle shading with a pencil, which is easier to control than a charcoal stick (for me). Plus, if when I screw up, there’s a handy little eraser.

This is my first pencil sketch in a long time, and I’m hoping it won’t be my last! Let me know what you think about this first attempt after a long, LONG time of staying away from visual art!

Getting All Beaded Up

It was a random side trip to Walmart that started it. I found myself in the Fabric and Crafts section, staring down a glittering aisle I’d not bothered to travel before–the bead section. Literally hundreds of cards full of beads hung on the racks, in varying shades and amounts of sparkle and glimmer. How had I never seen this aisle before?

Pretty much out of the blue, I picked up a few cardfuls of beads that interested me, plus a couple of “Instant Necklace” kits, with the appropriate silver clasps already attached to the wire and cut to size. Two necklaces later, I was absolutely hooked on creating my own beaded jewelry.

The following pictures are of necklaces I created using the Instant Necklace wire kits plus my own selection of beads, arranged in self-created patterns. The Instant Necklace kits are cut to size, but some of the beading patterns did not take up all the room on the necklace (mainly because I needed room to handle the wire long enough to thread it through the other side of the clasp). Thus, they might be a little bare in spots, but they wear well once they are on.

Samples of My Work

This was my first necklace, but certainly not my last. I loved alternating the silver and dark blue, denim-patterned beads, and this is still one of my go-to necklaces when wearing blue, black, or white tops, though it can also go with gray and even red on occasion.

This is one of my favorite necklaces I’ve ever done, because it is BLUE and SPARKLY. 😀 It makes me happy. Not to mention that I enjoy the play between pearls and gemstones, managing to create a weightless look without too much effort. Since I wear a lot of teal and white, this necklace sees a lot of wear especially in the summer. (This necklace’s wire was accidentally bent in two places during an aggressive airport baggage check, which accounts for the odd angles in the picture, but it straightens out well when I wear it.)

Even though this one was a bit of a color stretch for me, I’ve found myself wearing it more often than I thought I would. I have some purple tops that go well with it, but it has surprised me how well it wears with other colors–even pink shirts look good with this!

My Personal Beading Style

The trend in beading today may be big, chunky, earth-based necklaces, but I prefer my beaded jewelry to actually look, well, like jewelry: polished, pretty little stones, delicately set together. Thus, I choose small beads over large, and I like to combine sparkly beads with pearlescent ones on the same necklace for pretty variations.

Most of how I put necklaces together is rather instinctive; I look at a selection of beads in a store and think, “Ooh, I have some pearls that will go well with that.” A few minutes of arranging the beads back at home generally brings me to a setup I like, and I run with it.

Along with my idea of pairing a sparkling translucent bead with a pearlescent bead of same or similar color, I also like to vary sizes along the length of the piece I’m making–usually, the beads in the middle of the necklace will be slightly larger than the ones at each end, and that’s deliberate (called “graduating sizes”). If I do change it up and mix in bigger beads earlier in the pattern, I will generally set smaller, clear beads around each large stone to help it not stand out quite so much.

Lastly, I try to use symmetrical patterns for my necklaces. If I have a pattern started on the left side of the necklace that goes “tiny pearl, tiny gem, small pearl, big gem, small pearl, tiny gem, tiny pearl,” then I mimic that when I get to the right side of the necklace in the same place.

It can be hard to keep up with where you are in the necklace, so I recommend laying out your beads first on a beading tray to get your pattern together. Amazon.com has several beading trays (also called “beading boards”) that help corral your beads and even align them into a necklace-like shape so that you can make your patterns and thread the wire through more easily.

I’m certainly not the most skilled beader out there–I’m still not familiar with all the intricate patterns you can use to make bracelets and necklaces out of, like macrame. However, the single-strand necklaces I make are enough for my jewelry needs, and they are simple enough to master even for my clumsy fingers.

Try Beading For Yourself

For those who are veterans in beading, or those who are completely new to the craft, many big-box stores like Walmart have cheap beads that don’t look completely tacky. Choosing solid colors of beads generally gives you a better product–some of the mixed-color beads end up being ill-made, as I’ve unfortunately found out. There are also a lot of online tutorials and articles which can help you out!

You can also find quite a bit of beads and beading supplies online, or go to an actual beading specialty store–I’m lucky enough to have a beading specialty store in my area, called Off The Beaded Path. Beading specialty stores will likely have beads of better quality, but you will often pay a little more for that quality (which is okay).

In terms of metallic beading wire, necklace clasps, earring pins, etc. (collectively known as “findings”), you’re better off going to a specialty store or looking online. Walmart had those Instant Necklace kits that got me started, which were great for me because I didn’t have to fool with putting the clasps on the wire myself. But if you want to build the necklace completely from scratch, you will find more variations in color and style going to a specialty store.

I tend to blend my big-box-store finds with my specialty-store finds to make pieces that are at once fairly inexpensive to make and expensive-looking. Try combinations of your favorite colors and favorite textures of beads, and experiment as much as you can!

Beading Links

Beadage.net – projects, instructions, beads available online
BeadingDaily.com – daily ideas, tutorials, and patterns
BeadingTimes.com – every month, a new issue, with articles about how to market your jewelry, how to come up with original designs, and lots of other topics!
Free Patterns @ Beadwork.About.com – free beading patterns
TheBeadCoop.com – patterns to download and print

Little Doodles of Life

I’ve never considered myself a visual artist, especially when it comes to drawing people. Most of my drawings of people in early school were of alien visitors, or at least that’s what they looked like. And yet, sometimes, I would do AMAZING drawings of a foot or a hand, for instance; then, I would try to recreate that amazing set of strokes, and fail miserably. The other foot or hand always looked like it was in the process of mutating. Sigh.

This sketch of myself ended up okay, except for the mutated rutabaga of my nose. Oh, and the anime-style eyes didn’t quite turn out like I envisioned, though they match up pretty close.

Generally, I’ve always tried to draw life exactly as I saw it, down to the smallest detail. Perhaps that’s where I fail as a visual artist–I’m too focused on making the shoelaces look right, and I barely spend any time on the face or the rest of the clothing, so to speak. (Either that or I’m too A.D.D./impatient, LOL) I always enjoyed crafting the little details and making them look cool and realistic. Unfortunately, those little details I worked so hard on usually faded into a big-picture backdrop of excrement on paper.

Doodles Can Be Art, Too!

Even though I had no confidence in my drawing ability, I started doodling randomly in late middle school, needing something creative to do with my hands while I listened to a lecture. (For some reason, not having anything to do with my hands while I listen drives me batty.) Little by little, delicate but simple flowers and vines spiraled down the red vertical lines of my notebook paper…and even little faces appeared at the top of the page and spoke volumes with just a pair of eyes, a pair of eyebrows, and a mouth. I found myself enjoying the fruits of my distracted labor, even as I jotted down notes from the class discussions and lecture.

I sketched the original, small drawing of this flower drawing on the back of my church bulletin one day. I re-sketched it later, expanding it to a larger size (with limited success), and scanned it in, rendering this picture.

Now, many years after middle school, I am a well-practiced doodler. Any scrap of paper that’s lying around close to a pencil or pen is fair game when I’m bored or having to be still and listen–the backs of church bulletins, for instance, end up being doodle pads as well as note space. (Yes, I admit it, I’m an adult and I STILL doodle during church sometimes…) Through this and other absent-minded doodling sessions, I’ve slowly started expressing myself through the art of the tiny drawing–the itty-bitty scene or teeny little face that speaks more than a huge picture of mine ever could. Since I’m good at the tiny details, why not capitalize on that, right? (Also, tiny pictures don’t take forever, LOL)

This itty-bitty tree was part of a design I did for my dad’s Father’s Day card this year…turned out pretty well!

These doodles have lately gotten some positive feedback–people comment on my little drawings, saying “Oh wow! That tree is just perfect!” or “Ha ha, that stick figure guy looks funny!” I never realized how artistic doodling could be–not when I’m just puttering about with a pencil and drawing stuff that makes me giggle. It is a great way to relieve stress, comment about what’s going on, or just make myself or others laugh, and I don’t have to be exactly perfect (which is good for my blood pressure :P). But that, in itself, makes it art; it communicates with others about the world I see.

Do You Doodle?

Have you ever tried your hand at doodling as an art form? Tell me in the comments!