Developing An Art Practice

Developing An Art Practice

Years ago I quit a job ahead of time (I was going back to uni) and spent some of my meagre savings (that probably should have gone on rent) on art supplies. Nothing came of it because I couldn’t give myself permission to “waste” and learn.


My history with art is … not great. It comes from school, I think. Learning creativity for grading is something I’m not sure I support. I think I’ve got a lot to unpack there, but for now… it tainted my learning and opinion of art.


Then I listened to a short video that was part of a creativity summit. And I didn’t hate the speaker. She made me feel comfortable and, for lack of a better term, like I had permission to learn, try, mess up, and keep going. That the outcome was never a given, that you can decide what you like and dislike and when it’s done. 


I listened to what I was feeling, and that was restricted. I didn’t want to “waste” money again so I bought small canvases and tried painting. Didn’t like it, but also didn’t hate it. I felt like I wanted something bigger so I felt less restricted. So I bought some new and larger canvasses. I was allowed to make mistakes and try again. It was a big part of the presentation that you can try, mess up, some version of the writing term “kill your darlings”.


Then I swapped to my iPad and realised the freedom I felt on a larger canvas was different again. Why?


Layers. Undo buttons.


I can’t tell if I feel my permission to be wrong has been stripped away or if it’s educational to be able to change layers and view different perspectives of what I’ve done to a digital canvas.


There’s no summary to this post, as with many, I’m just sharing something about where I’m at. I like sharing the messy muddled middle of things as I think (hope) it helps others to not only see finished and polished thoughts, writing, ideas and whatever else you do. 


Developing An Art Practice

8 Replies to “Developing An Art Practice”

  1. It’s great that you’re giving art a go again! Just keep dabbling in different things and eventually one or two will speak to you and you’ll find what suits you. Let go of self criticism and perfectionism and try and feel free and loose when you do art. That is when you get the best stuff. Keep at it!

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      It’s so easy to get stuck on it all but this time I feel like I’m already making a lot more progress on finding out what I like and don’t like.

  2. I get your take on working out what art is to you and being given permission to ‘waste’ as you learn. Good on you for working through these things and continuing to learn.

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      I always find painting hard because I know what I want to frame/see in photography, but painting I have no mental reference for. And I think that’s just part of being a beginner and trying things, to build it up over time.

  3. Hi Ness, good for you trying something new and creative. I would love to try art but at the moment I don’t really have the time nor the confidence. I’m sure you will create some happy memories whilst creating your art.

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      The part I find a bit challenging is educating myself on it without being … kind of disappointed out of trying, if that makes sense. I don’t gel with a lot of painting teaching, I find it UNinspirational and not very supportive. So I’m limiting my attempts to learn by anything that isn’t playing on my own.

  4. Love that you are playing with art…and it truly is rotten that we get set up for marks and more in the so-called creative arenas. Each piece of art is as personal as our fingerprint so who’s to say what is right or wrong or somewhere in between.

    In the past year or so I have just been having fun on paper, card and in books using a variety of media. One drawback though, it is an expensive hobby and it is frustrating if you can’t afford artist quality materials. I have learned my lesson there. Student level materials are less satisfying to use. Local cheap shop as I call them has some OK stuff under the Montmartre brand so I am trying a couple of things.

    Thank you for joining in this Monday’s #LifesStories on Denyse Whelan Blogs. The community of bloggers here connects us wherever we are in the world. Looking forward to seeing you in two week’s time on Monday 23 May. Denyse.

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      Yeah I’ve found the junk stores have Monmatre stuff which is decent enough. Most of my stuff is from Kmart though.

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