5 Things You Need to Make Really Good Art

I've been making art for a really long time. Not necessarily to sell or share, but simply to experience the act of making and creating. When I was in college, I started painting and also became an avid journaler. I journaled everything. The good, the bad and the nitty-gritty. I had always been very inspired by the journals of Sabrina Ward Harrison, so like her, I welcomed the real life mess, layers and mistakes that happened and used journalling as an outlet. Here are a few of those pages:

What this taught me was that art (in any form) can be made in a million different ways. And some of the best art is the not what you see hanging in the galleries, but rather what is made at home with a personal touch of realness and grit. Art making doesn't require high-end, expensive tools or materials. It doesn't require an art degree or the perfect studio space. Making art and creating requires just a few things:

1. Curiosity

There are a lot of amazing things in this world, and when we take time to ignite our curiosity, to ask questions, to wonder and really see and experience them, our creativity is greatly enhanced. Curiosity also allows us to be engaged with our ideas, to try them, adjust them and create a process. The best part is, you can't really make a mistake when you are curiously experimenting and trying new things.  The moment we dampen our curiosity with the things around us, is the time when the colorful world becomes dull. Never let that happen. 

2. Open-mindedness

Along with curiosity, having an open-mind in art making (and life in general) is a key component to making anything happen. We have to lose our safety nets and open up our minds to allow new experiences and new ways of going about things. If I had stuck to the cut out shapes and stickers that often come with scrap-booking kits, I would never have stretched myself into the artist I am today. Creativity should not be cookie cutter. We have to think for ourselves, make our own things and get messy. There is so much inspiration that comes when we have an open-mind; we engage with ourselves and our capabilities and that is when brilliant things happen! 

3. Confidence

Art making takes a lot of confidence. If we don't stand behind our art and really own it, its hard to fully engage in it. This isn't to say that we will love everything we make, but we should feel good about the time and process involved, knowing that each time we learn and get a little better. Being a confident artist does not mean you have to be flashy or arrogant, it just means that you vouch for the art you make, why you make it and why its important to you. Remember, you are your best cheerleader, no one can do the work for you. So when you take ownership and great pride in your work, you can't go wrong.

4.  Time to reflect

Art and creativity ultimately comes from inside. Yes, you draw inspiration from the outside world, but at the end of the day, your thoughts, ideas and physical being are creating the artwork. So we must take time to reflect and process things. We must find time to be quiet and still. You've heard people say it before, but just the simple act of getting out in nature, into the quiet, can also provide a mega dose of inspiration. It's so easy to constantly be on the go and today we are so bombarded with blogs and websites and emails that are full of ideas and inspiring jargon. Some of this is ok, but we've got to shut out the noise sometimes and come back to ourselves.

5. Use what you have

Don't go out and buy expensive art materials, especially when just starting out. You don't need them. Look around your house and start with what you have. Printing paper, pens, tape, glue, paper clips...these are all perfectly ok things to use when you want to make something. For my journals, I used card stock, craft paper and markers primarily, then added the occasional gum wrapper, restaurant napkin and random bird feather. This was my way of remembering and writing about the places I visited and the experiences I had. You can also paint on rocks or scrap-wood. You can make wonderful drawings with sharpies or make a collage with old photographs and Elmers glue. There is so much creative potential out there, just start with what you have. 

So, when it comes to making art and creating, don't let the lack of fancy things hold you back. Use the few simple materials you already have, combine that with curiosity, open-mindedness, confidence and some time to reflect and you will be well on your way to making extraordinary things!

What are your favorite things to use for art making?!!