JoyMakers: Ignite Your Creativity Painting Kandinsky Circles | Barb Fyvie | Skillshare

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JoyMakers: Ignite Your Creativity Painting Kandinsky Circles

teacher avatar Barb Fyvie, JoyMaker | Painter

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

9 Lessons (36m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. The Project

    • 3. Materials and Preparation

    • 4. Rules of Play

    • 5. Strategy 1

    • 6. Strategy 2

    • 7. Strategy 3

    • 8. Strategy 4

    • 9. Final Thoughts

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About This Class

“Play is the gateway to your creative spirit, make room for it and do it often.”

Known for her abstract paintings and her JoyMakers classes, artist Barb Fyvie leads people through art making experiences that fuel joy. In this class, Barb will use play to ease you into painting and release you from creative blocks. She will take you through four strategies to fire up your creative spirit and help you rediscover your inner child.

Join Barb for some fun creative self-care that anyone can benefit from – whether you are just getting into painting or you are an experienced creative who is up against a creative block – let this class provide you with the boost you need to create something new. Absolutely no painting experience is required.

Meet Your Teacher

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Barb Fyvie

JoyMaker | Painter


My name is Barb Fyvie (pronounced 5e) and I make abstract paintings and help others find joy through art-making. I live in the Rocky Mountains in Canmore Canada. It is a small vibrant art community filled with wild inspiration.

Over the course of my career I have worked as a graphic designer, art director, animator, multi-media developer, instructional designer, and now a painter and art instructor. The one constant along this very windy road has been my curiosity about creativity and how people innovate.

JoyMakers is a series of classes that use art-making for the purposes of self-discovery. In my painting practice I find when I simply focus on mixing colour and putting down paint it is like meditation for me. In my classes I try to simulate my studio environment where th... See full profile

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1. Introduction: are you working in a creative field and finding yourself up against creative blocks once in a while? Maybe you're someone who hasn't paid in years, and you're just looking for a way to ease back in. Or perhaps you are a painter, and you're stuck looking for a nudge in a new direction. If you were any one of these people, this classes for you here you will have the opportunity to let go of expectations, old patterns of working fear of getting it right and the anxiety of trying to create something new in this class. I'm going to lead you back to your inner child. For me, the best way to do this is to play. So today we're gonna play with color. As a child, I was obsessed with playing with those swatches you get from the paint store for house paint. Then, as a graphic designer, earthy obsession moved to Pantone's watches. Well, I'm still obsessed, and now I can't get enough of painting Kandinsky circles. I have done it dozens of times, and the results are never the same. It always offers up surprise after surprise and plenty of bliss. My name is Bar five e and I'm an abstract painter living in can more Canada. I believe in working on many paintings at the same time. In this class, I will talk about the power of working in multiples when it comes to making creative breakthroughs. In my work, I focus on elliptical imagery. So I'm going to introduce you to the magic of painting concentric circles. We're gonna look at four strategies to recharge your creative energy and to inspire you through play. 2. The Project: before we begin, I would like to give you just a little background in this project. We're gonna create Kandinsky circles. Bahceli Kandinsky was a Russian expressionist painter whose career spanned from the 19 hundreds to the 19 forties. His work was all about spontaneity, and he was also all about color, as you can see from this piece. Interesting fact, I read the Kandinsky was a sinister eat. Yes, a Sinise feet Try saying that 15 times fast. Now a synesthesia is a kind of a cross wiring of the brain where he could hear colors and see. Sounds crazy, right? His passion for color led to this. His most known work squares with concentric circles, done in 1913. It was actually a color study produced with no end in mind. And that's what I love about it. The's circles were actually color experiments in preparation for other works. It was his way of learning to combine different colors to create different effects. And that's what we're gonna do here. We're gonna play with color, and we're really gonna experiment. So this class is about creating art for art's sake, not for your wall, not even your fridge. So let's get prepared to paint 3. Materials and Preparation: first, I recommend you find a quiet place to work. I mean, play somewhere where you can play freely where nobody will interrupt you. Here is what you're going to need to produce your project. Watercolor paper. I'm using £140 so it's pretty. Sturdy watercolor paints either the liquid type in the tube or the pan of dry cake pigments . And if you don't have water colors, you can use acrylic paints. So if you're using acrylic paints or watercolor paints that Aaron liquid, you'll need a painting palette. Then, for any of those mediums, you're going to use water, so you need a water container and it's the water. Then you'll need a fuse. Different size brushes, nothing fancy. I've got craft style brushes, and they worked just fine. I've got a number eight flat and a number eight round, and then I got 1/2 inch brush. Finally, you'll need a pencil and a ruler, so let's prepare our paper. My paper is 12 by 18 inches, so I am going to draw out a grid of 12 3 by three inch squares, so that will be four across the bottom and three up and down. You can use whatever size paper you have. Just do your best to divide it into 12 squares. So this looks like it's gonna take a little while, so I'm gonna speed it up a bit. Now that our paper is prepared, we can begin to paint. 4. Rules of Play: Sometimes I find that creating something new seems so overwhelming and open ended. Its a bit daunting. So it really helps to set up some ground rules. If you want to give yourself permission to play and even maybe access that inner child, here are the rules I have set for you for this project. First, this class is purely exploration. See yourself as an experiment, not as an artist. Number two. There's no right or wrong way to do anything. I'm going to demonstrate for you. Give you some guidelines. But really this is in your hands and it's your project. Rule number three There is no room for judgment of any kind here, so send your inner critic outside the room. Rule number four What you create is for your eyes only. So nobody's looking over your shoulder. This is for you only. So make it yours. Number five. And I think this is the most important rule. Try to use this. Yes, it is a trash man. Once you're finished your project, I highly recommend you dispose of it. This will completely free you to explore without thinking about the outcome. And I have seen this to be the most empowering device you confined 5. Strategy 1: Tom Kelly of Ideo atop design firm in the U. S, says to create anything new, one needs to distance oneself from the problem. And I have to say, speaking from experience, my best ideas come in the shower. So whether you're designing a logo for a client or you're just trying to stretch your budget, figure out how to stretch your budget over the next two months, escaping the problem can actually lead to solving it by letting go of something that's weighing down your mind. It can actually leave your subconscious to work it out. Slowing down and focusing on the process of, say, choosing colors and putting down paint is the perfect way to turn off that prefrontal cortex, which is the ankle political judging part of the brain. So, like practicing meditation, the result of doing an activity slowly decreases your anxiety, which allows your intuition to kick in. And when this happens, problems get solved and new things emerge In all of the research I've done on innovation and creativity. One big conclusion I've come to is not only to create thinkers, take the time to think, but they also take breaks from thinking so Our first strategy today is slowing down. It's what I call active meditation. So what you're doing is you're going to focus on choosing colors, placing them on the page and breathing first. The most important thing is to find yourself a quiet place to play where you won't be interrupted. We have so many distractions in our lives right now that it's super important to just turn all of that off. Next, give yourself permission to just mess around. Choose your colors intuitively, whatever makes you feel good today. That's what you should paint with. Take your time to explore and just relish in watching the way the paint flows. Remember what it was like to be a kid. Go back to that place. Let's see what happens as much as you want to resist the urge to speed up, enjoy this moment. Take your time. Breathe just like go off the outside world. This is a great strategy to use when you are procrastinating, just start slowly and things will begin to flow, and before you know it, you will have broken the spell. If you lay down a circle and let it dry, then work over it. It's actually called wet on dry. If you lay down a circle and work over top of it while it's still wet, this is called wet on Wet. If you're using watercolor like I am remember, it is transparent. So once the white paper is covered, you can't go back to white. You just might want to think about that. You might be asking, Why did I choose Kandinsky circles for this project? Well, this kind of art making is referred to a serial imagery. It is where you work on multiple versions of the same kind of motif. At the same time, some examples of how artists have has done this historically include Claude Monet with Hiss Haystacks on, and Andy Warhol also used it when he did his Siris of Marilyn Monroe and his Campbell soup cans. I have been using this technique of serial imagery or multiples in my studio for years. Ah, what I do is to speed up the process when I'm looking to create something new, a new series of works. I'll work at four little paintings at the same time, and I will work them start to finish all at once. So why do I work in multiples? Well, one of the most important reasons to me is that when you work on multiple pieces at the same time, that means that no one of them is precious and no one of them is more important than the other. So for me, this keeps me focused on the process and not the end product. It also eliminates any expectations I might have, and it keeps me moving forward. Here is something really fun to try. Wet the entire square down with clean water, then paint your circles on the wet square and watch the magic unfold. You can also blend wet into wet paint with acrylic. Just experiment whenever you find yourself speeding up. Remind yourself that you have given yourself the gift of time to do this class and enjoy every moment. Time is precious. I think of working on multiples like having many pots of soup on the stove at once. You can add a little to this one a little to that one, and keep going back and forth until you feel you've got it just right. Well, that's it for strategy number one. How did you feel slowing down? Was it uncomfortable, or was it just a fabulous relief? Let's move on to strategy number two 6. Strategy 2 : For me, setting creative limitations is kind of like building a little sandbox to play in by setting up rules and parameters. It frees me to try many things and not get overwhelmed. In this exercise, I'm gonna ask you to limit your palate to two colors, plus white. If you're using acrylic paint, then I'm gonna have you try to paint three very different circles using those two colors. Now it is possible. Trust me for an extra challenge, try choosing to complementary colors. Let's take a quick look at the color wheel. I'm not gonna get into a full lesson on color theory here, but what I can tell you is that in the work I've done studying color theory, I have found that many successful paintings rely on a complimentary color scheme. What are complementary colors? Well, they are red and green, purple and yellow, blue and orange, actually any two colors that air directly across from one another on the color wheel. The impressions were famous for working with complementary colors to create a really active surface on their paintings. This is basically science, so by placing two complementary colors next to each other, it actually creates a contrast orbit of flickering effect. When you mix two complementary is together. You'll actually find that they cancel each other out in terms of their hue, creating a bit of a neutral gray. I find adding gray to anything makes the other color sing, so be sure to try and mixing your colors together. When you do this exercise, I'm going to demonstrate using orange and blue in the second row of squares, and then I want you to give it a try. This strategy of setting limits is really useful whenever you're feeling overwhelmed. This enforced simplicity is kind of comforting when you discover just how much you could do with very little in this strategy. I'm going to tackle all three circles at one time. Try it and see how it changes your experience. That gray I was talking about when you mix two complementary XYZ becoming evident here with the wet on wet, get different effects by working with different brushes. If use a round brush with a pointy tip didn't get quite a fine line. Ah, whereas with a flat brush you could get a big sweeping stroke. So perhaps try it. Different types of brushes just to see what kind of different effects you can get. Watercolor is a super versatile medium. That's what I love about it. If you have something that is still wet, you can go over it with paint wet on wet. Or if you want to go back in on something that's dry, you could create transparency, ease by adding a water down paint on top of something that's dried already by working back and forth on all three at the same time. I find it stops me from getting too perfectionist, and I have perfectionist tendencies like many of you. So this is why working on multiples is such a great thing. It keeps me moving forward from one piece to the next piece to the next piece, and I don't get fixated in any one spot, and that helps me stay away from perfection. It also keeps that inner critic from getting in the way. Psychologist Abraham Maslow said. Almost all creativity involves purposeful play, and I think by focusing on mixing colors to create a unique Siris of circles really feels like purposeful play again. If you're looking for those bright whites, be sure to leave some of your paper exposed and protect it right through to the end of the exercise. I always try to create drama with what I'm doing, and drama to me means contrast. So I try to have some dark darks and some light lights. But, you know, if you're a more subtle painter than go that direction, there's some beautiful things you can do with subtlety as well. Yeah. - How was it using just two colors? Did you feel confined or were surprised by the number of possibilities you found once you started combining them? How did those greys go for you? I find it a very powerful experience to limit my palate, so let's look at the next strategy. 7. Strategy 3: so I'm guessing you're probably starting to realize that all these strategies are designed . Simply push you out of your comfort zone just a little. And being uncomfortable forces us to focus on the task at hand. Kind of like being a sky diver or a mountain climber. No choice but to think about what you have in front of you. The result, though, is a boost. Your creative confidence. For me, there's nothing better than taking risks in a safe, playful environment. So the next strategy we're going to look at is a limitation on your tools. I want you to take two of your brushes and taped them together. So take two brushes and take them together, kind of in the center where they meet. You can use duct tape or masking tape or packing tape, whatever you have. And once you have your extended brush created, we're gonna paint three circles. Uh, and I X. I would suggest that you hold the end of the brush to get that maximum gestural, messy effect from this brush, and so when you start, you can use any number of colors you'd like. You can mix your mix your colors with one brush. But when you actually apply the paint, I'm gonna ask you to use the extended brush, or you could call it a magic want. So I've taped together in my two brushes, and I'm looking forward to the gestural quality it will provide. This is a great strategy to use when you feel like you're playing it safe and doing the same thing over and over again, and you need to break the pattern, embrace the awkwardness of this experience and allow yourself to be absolutely in perfect. I would also suggest that while working with this long, wild brush that you try painting with your non dominant hand, I first worked with my left hand after having shoulder surgery. I looked into it and apparently, study show that working with your non dominant hand will strengthen neural connections in your brain and even grow new ones. By working with the left hand, you are activating the right side of the brain, and this can help you tap into creativity and intuition. Allow yourself to just let go, be free, let the gestures and mess unfold in front of you and have some fun with it. This definitely feels crazy. I don't know how else to describe it, but can I pull off the wet on wet here? Sure, and getting back to the benefits of working on multiple images at one time. I find that it nurtures the new. So by having three circles going at once here, I feel like all of them should be different. So with this in mind, I have a better chance of creating something. You. - How did it feel using that long, awkward brush and then painting with it in your non dominant hand on top of it all might have started out a little bit on the frustrating side, but I hope it turned into a really joyful mess making experience. Let's look at our next strategy. 8. Strategy 4: okay, You probably saw this one coming. This one is my favorite, and one that I use in my studio all the time. We're gonna set a timer and paint fast. This technique is a great way to inspire new ways of doing things. Because when push comes to shove, you can't help it do something new and crazy under extreme time constraints. So don't hold back, allow your intuition to take charge. And I think if you syringe to this process, you can't help but find some joy. So let's give it a try. I'm gonna prepare my paint. I'm using watercolor, so that won't take much time. Then I'm gonna set my timer for five minutes and I'm gonna paint the remaining three circles. I'm setting my timer to five minutes to paint the remaining three circles in the fourth row . Let's go. This is an exercise I highly recommend when you feel yourself locked up in self dote and you really feel the need to move forward. It is nothing less than empowering to throw down paint quickly and see immediate results. Try to work at all three circles at once using the same color in three places, then go back and try another color in three places. In this strategy, speed is your friend. So why is it that people say speed is your friend? Well, I think that speed squeezes out the unnecessary steps and pushes us into spontaneity, something you don't seem to get enough of these days where things seem to be so pre programmed. Don't judge. Don't think there really isn't time. I trust you've got this. If it looks terrible to you, forget about it and just keep painting. Remember to rinse your brush as it does keep the colors clean. And sometimes, when working fast, you forget to do the simple things like that when all else fails at Black for drama deep breathing and house on mark back off. Contemporary American biologists said play is training for the unexpected, and I believe that the best way to train for the unexpected is to play fast. Looks like Time's up. Okay, that's time. Put down your brush and leave your piece in whatever state it is Now. How did that feel speeding things up? Did you see your intuitive self in action? How is the process different than those first slow circles we worked on. I think this is a fabulous strategy when you feel you need to just loosen up and move forward on something that seems to be on your mind or holding you back. 9. Final Thoughts: when Kandinsky stumbled across thes concentric circles in 1913 all by accident. I bet he had no idea how using multiples could help us break out of creative ruts or escape our worries. When we let go of creating a single precious image and go into mass production, it becomes a form of active meditation where intuition takes over and curious things can happen. I want to thank you for joining me for this class. I hope you learned a few new ways. Took night. Your creativity. Feel free to review this class whenever you need a little joyful breaking your day or you run up against one of those creative walls. In this class, we produced what I would call a sampler, and if you found that you really enjoyed one of the strategies, I would encourage you to go ahead and create a whole sheet. Using that strategy. I would love to see what you do with this project. Please share your work in the gallery below, and I'll be sure to comment on anything. I see that you post there and if your team to share beyond skill share. My instagram for joy makers is at join maker's art. I know I said that these air private and for your eyes only. So if you prefer to deliver them directly to the trash bin rather than sharing, that's absolutely following. So please recommend this class to others. You know who may be needing a little creative play in their lives to help them through whatever they're going through. Thanks again, and I'll see you in another class, Sue.