Live Encore: Using Art to Learn About Yourself | Marie-Noëlle Wurm | Skillshare

Live Encore: Using Art to Learn About Yourself

Marie-Noëlle Wurm, Artist, illustrator, stargazer

Live Encore: Using Art to Learn About Yourself

Marie-Noëlle Wurm, Artist, illustrator, stargazer

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7 Lessons (40m)
    • 1. Introduction

      2:11
    • 2. Connect to Yourself

      3:26
    • 3. Create Something Abstract

      13:32
    • 4. Create Something Figurative

      7:19
    • 5. Bring it All Together

      5:24
    • 6. Q&A

      7:31
    • 7. Final Thoughts

      0:50
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About This Class

See how art making can help connect you with yourself through this quick, intuitive exercise. 

Artist and illustrator Marie-Noëlle Wurm believes that art-making and your identity are intricately connected—that showing up to make art every day can help you understand yourself better, and that bringing all the complex bits about yourself into your art makes the work more authentic. But she also knows how hard it can be to do both of those things! In this class—recorded using Zoom and featuring participation from the Skillshare community—Marie-Noëlle walks us through a process she uses to practice working with her intuition, and showing up for herself and for her art.

You’ll end the class with a piece of art that connects an abstract and a figurative element, but the benefits go so far beyond the work you’ll create—practicing this process can help you learn more about yourself, learn to trust your creative instincts, and learn to love and accept yourself. Paint along while Marie and Skillshare producer Kaye have a relaxing and affirming conversation about identity, working with your intuition and sense of play, turning off the self-critic, and all the benefits of an artistic practice. 

This class is accessible to any level of artistic ability and any identity, so grab whatever materials you have and get ready to let your paper be your guide (with a little help from Marie-Noëlle). 

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While we couldn't respond to every question during the session, we'd love to hear from you—please use the class Discussion board to share your questions and feedback.

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Marie-Noëlle Wurm

Artist, illustrator, stargazer

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Transcripts

1. Introduction: Being creative is infinite, and that's what makes it beautiful. Like every day that you show up in front of your page is an opportunity. It can always be something fun and beautiful and relaxing. Hi, I'm Marie-Noelle Wurm, I'm an artist and illustrator based in the South of France. I like to create art that is delicate, tree-like with a touch of darkness and inspired often by the natural world. You might have seen my work on Skillshare where I teach classes and also on Instagram or on Patreon and YouTube. Today we're going to be creating a semi abstract painting or drawing where we're going to start out with an abstract element, integrated figurative element and then find ways to connect them. We're going to be doing this exercise today because authenticity is one of the most important things that you can bring to your artistic practice. It's one of the things that has been most important in my art journey, so hopefully it will be helpful in yours. I really wanted this class to be open to everybody. I want you to bring whatever art materials it is that you have, some graphite pencils. I have some watercolor, I have a few pens. I have even some colored pencils. Really, whatever it is that you have, bring it. It'll be fun we can play with that. I'm going to be drawing and painting right along with you so that you can see one way of interpreting this exercise and take from it the things that help you create yours. What I want you to take away from this class is the ability to show up in front of a blank page every single day and show up with your whole self. Something to note, this was a live class and so I was able to interact with students while I was creating. I'm super excited to get started and let's get creative. 2. Connect to Yourself: Hi, I'm Kate. I'm a senior content producer here at Skillshare, and I'm hosting our pride live class with artist and illustrator Marie-Noëlle Wurm. Marie-Noëlle is one of our amazing top teachers here to teach us today about expressing our identities for art and she and I are going to have a little conversation about being LGBTQ and how to express that identity. But this is really a class for any identity that you have that you want to infuse into your art. You don't have to be creative to enjoy this class basically. So Marie, do you want to tell us a little bit about yourself? Thank you. Kate, I'm Marie-Noëlle Wurm. I'm an artist and illustrator and I'm based in the South of France. If you're familiar with what I do, I like to create art that's delicate and dreamlike. I often take a lot of inspiration from nature though not only, and sometimes I do make things that are touch with a little touch of darkness because I really believe in the fact that everything needs to be included, including those darker parts of ourselves, and that that's actually a really powerful thing that you can use to infuse into your art work. We all have a unique vision because we all have unique histories, unique identities, and I really believe that everybody can use that and channel that into something creative. So it's about really filling up with what makes you, and bringing that to your page, to your art. Before we get started, Marie-Noëlle and I would like to ask everyone to join us in 30 seconds of silence just to commemorate all of the trans and black lives lost this year. There are 16 trans people that we know of who have been killed this year for being trans. Let's just take 30 seconds in reflection and remembrance of them and their families. Thank you. Thank you so much everyone for joining us in that. There's one thing that I do want us to start out with before we put anything to paper, is I'd like us to, every single one of us to release any expectation or pressure of making anything remotely beautiful today. That is not the point of the class. It's actually saying this to ourselves before we start painting or drawing is one of the ways that I think we really can start pushing boundaries and exploring, and also doing work that's more creative. I really want you to not worry too much about the results, is really going to be about the process. That's one thing that I really want us to focus on today. 3. Create Something Abstract: Now I'm going to show you how we're going to create an abstract piece while practicing silencing our inner critic. What I want us to start out with is, I want you to pick a tool, and it can be whichever one that you have. I have to say for example, I think I'm going to start out with some graphite just because I've been really enjoying that recently, so that's calling to me at this moment. That's what I want you to start out with, something that at this moment you're like, oh yeah, I think it would be fun to, I don't know, let's say start with a red watercolor, or a blue colored pencil, or a pen. Whatever tool that is, I want you to start with that one. Next, I want us to just literally pick anywhere on your page and just start working with that tool. I don't want you to be thinking, it's not about perfection, it's not about making art with the big A. I really want us just to explore this tool. This is something that I use all the time in my art practice. Especially, for example, if I'm dealing with a lot of self-criticism or self-doubt, often, the biggest way to counter that is to start drawing, to start painting. Really, this is something that you can use at any point during your art practice. When I try to do a daily drawing, which is something that I've been doing for multiple years, this is how I often start my daily drawing. I just go ahead and I enjoy the sensation. This is the thing that I want us really to focus on in this class, is the sensation of your tools. You can also listen to them. Art, I feel it gives us an opportunity to activate all our senses, and that's what I think is pretty magical about drawing and about painting. Do you think that doing this process of just experiencing the tool and getting marks on paper, does that help connect you to the art-making part of yourself? Oh, totally. There's no doubt. To me, it really helps me sink into the moment. I think that's one of the most important things that we can do in our artistic practice is to really connect with ourselves in that moment. When you're focusing on sensation, then it really forces you to slow down. That's something else that I'd like to invite you to do. Often when we get nervous, we start speeding up. Not that drawing energetically or fast is necessarily a bad thing, it can be very good if you're doing it mindfully. But often when we work fast, it means that we're rushing. On the contrary, today I'd like to ask you to really just slow down, to really just try to sink into the moment. Sometimes it's easier than others. There are times where that can be more difficult. But if you just keep doing that, then after a while it becomes more like second nature, and it becomes easier and easier to do that every time you show up in front of your page. I'd also like to invite you to explore different types of marks. At any moment, you can switch medium. I'm still exploring the pencil right now because I'm really enjoying the feel of it. But at any moment, you can go ahead and pick up some watercolor, some markers, let's say if you have markers. The key, I think is also to get out of our thinking mind. I think that when we show up in front of our page, at least personally, and I think a lot of you might be able to relate, I don't know. I'll be like, "Oh, but I need to have an idea. What am I doing? Am I even an artist?" All these questions that happen when you're doing something creative. Coming back to that sensation, to the sounds, to the different patterns that you're creating, all that quiets down all those questions that are more detrimental to your creativity than constructive towards your creativity, if that makes sense. I'm going to switch here to some watercolor, and prepped them actually, I just put a little drop of water on some of these just so that they would be ready. But the nice thing with using multiple materials, and that's why I also wanted us to do some mixed media is that each one has its own personality. When you're able to play around with the different personalities of your tools, but then it starts becoming more of a game, and I talk about this a lot in my art classes about how I think creativity is very connected to our census clay. You'll notice that with really young children, two-year-olds, three-year-olds when they paint or draw, or even one-year-olds, there's no pressure or expectation, and I think that's so valuable. I think we have so much to learn from children in that sense, because we lose that as we get older, and as we started thinking like, oh, there's a right or a wrong way to do art, either you're talented or you're not, which personally, I really hate the word palen. I think that it's often a huge block to allowing ourselves to express what we have inside. Why did you choose yellow? It was calling to me. I guess this is one of the things that I'm trying to convey here is that, working with our intuition, it's so powerful. Sometimes you're going to want a yellow, sometimes you're going to want a blue, a green, whatever that is, that intuition, you can tap into it in every moment. When you do that, then there's a lot of freedom also that happens. You just allow yourself to just play with what it is that you feel like doing in that moment, and that's super special, I don't know, to me. Another thing is that with abstract art, and that's why I like to teach abstract art a lot is because you get rid of all these notions of drawing right or wrong. There's nothing right or wrong when you're creating abstract art. Obviously, there's nothing right or wrong when you're doing anything figurative either. But sometimes starting out with abstract art can help really convey that message that it's just about showing up and playing around with the textures, the shapes. Also something that's interesting is if you have worked with different media already, then you can notice that sometimes they interact well with each other and sometimes they don't. For example, I was using watercolor. So the nice thing with watercolor is that you can see the texture of the graphite shining through at that spot. Even though I have color above it, the other media comes through. Then sometimes you'll be using different media together, and they won't work at all. I don't know, I'm speaking of using a graphite pencil on a super oily pen or the super oily pastel, that doesn't necessarily work together. Then it becomes super fun to try to just discover which hymns work well with others and which ones don't, and how you can play around with the different textures that they both provide in order to create something different. What has this process taught you about yourself as in your art? If that makes sense. So much. But that's a great question, but so much it's like almost, I don't know, you can talk about that for hours. I think that's why I love art so much. Because every time that we show up in front of a blank piece of paper is an opportunity to get to know yourself better, to question yourself. One of the things that can often be scary is that we're then confronted with, for example, perfectionism, self-criticism, self-doubt, all those things that rise to the forefront. But rather than see that as a negative thing, to me, that's an opportunity for growth. I try to see each painting, each piece of paper as a teacher, and every time that you create something, you can learn something about yourself. I don't know if that answers your question too. I actually don't know. I think it does. Also, I listen to you read the phone book. I feel so zen right now. Nice. I guess actually that's something else that I've learned with art, is it used to make me incredibly, incredibly nervous to paints. More and more, the more I practice this, the more it actually just becomes a moment of zen, of just peacefulness, like sinking into a warm bath. Something of that nature. I want to add in some other media. I'm going to bring in some colored pencil. Again, focus on sensation. The thing that you can do when you show up in front of your page every single day, is just remind yourself that the sensation slowing down, those are key elements to really connect with yourself and with what it is that you're doing. Do you find that there's certain forms that you find yourself repeating when you're in a certain head space or anything like that? Yes, totally. You can see I'm doing things that are quite circular. That's something that often shows up in my work is organic shapes. I also love lines. I know that it's going to, I guess make me strange, but lines are something that I find absolutely fascinating and I can spend long time just making lines. That's what I find interesting. But other people will find other things interesting, whether that's shape, or color, or texture. Yeah, coming back to our page being our teacher, that's what's cool, is that you can start learning what it is that you find interesting visually. What is it that you keep coming back to? Then on the contrary, how can you also expand that and try to push out of your comfort zone and do something different? I think there's a really interesting tension in that as well. Cool. Our next exercise builds on this, right? Do you want to talk about it a little bit? Yeah, sure. Now that we have this, we are going to be building on our abstract thing that we just made. 4. Create Something Figurative: Now, we're going to create a figurative element somewhere on your page. What I want us to think about is coming back to the question of, I guess, identity and authenticity. Is that when we show up in front of our blank page, every day we have this opportunity to reconnect with ourselves, and I want us to bring that in here. I'm going to read you a quote because some of you might know, but I love quotes. I find them really fascinating. I think there's a lot that we can learn from quotes. I want us to start this out with this quote in mind. I'm just going to read that to you. "Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversation, architecture, bridges, street, signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light, and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work or theft will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. Always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said; It's not where you take things from. It's where you take them to." By Jim Jarmusch, the movie director. That's the quote that I selected for the second part because it really to me underlines what is perfectly amazing about creativity and about art, is that we each have our own voice. Whether or not we feel like we have it or we don't. It's something that we can develop, that we can discover, and our voice lies in those particular elements, in what it is that lights you up. What makes you interested and fascinated and think, wow, that's so cool, and it can be tons of things that are completely unrelated to art, and I love that. I love that you can take literally anything that sparks you up with joy and inject it into your artwork. Today, I'd like us to select something. It can be anything that inspires you personally. Specifically like, I'm thinking more of something like figurative, so I don't know, it could be like a tree or a cloud or dog or whatever it is. Some figurative thing that you find inspiring, and we're going to draw that on our page. I'm not going to tell you where to do it because it's an open canvas. You can place it wherever you want, and then we're going to move on from that point. I'm going to start on mine, and I think I'm going to go with a bird because I was at the beach day and I saw this really cute bird with super long legs, and it really cute. I want you to select an area of your abstract painting where you're going to paint this element that you've chosen. If you're nervous about making it look like the thing, I'd like you to invite you to remember that this is not a realistic drawing class, and rather to remember that art is always an interpretation, so use whatever knowledge you have of that object. You can simplify it, you can stylize it. There's so many ways of making things. There's no right or wrong way to draw a thing, so please don't be afraid to experiment. I'm just making one super long leg right now. If you're wondering what that is. Don't worry about where your abstract thing is or what we're going to do with this all, we're going to do that once you've finished this element. We're just going to take a little moment to work on this, and then we're going to find ways to connect it. I'm going to work with very simple shapes just to show you that you really don't need to really know how to make something look like a thing as long as you just have a simple vision of it. Of course, if you want to make it more complex, you can, that's not a problem. Are you often drawn to natural figurative objects when you do this exercise on your own? Totally, Yes. I don't know why, but when I am in nature, it really grounds me, it calms me, I just find it so beautiful. I found that there's so much beauty in nature, and it has so many infinite variations, so it really resonates a lot for me. I had a second leg just for fun. See I'm not making this realistic. I don't think there's a bird that has legs that long. I mean the one I saw today had a very long legs, but it really wasn't that long. I'm going to stay with this. Even though it's not totally finished I didn't add an eye yet, but I'm going to wait for the water color to dry just to add that element. I hope you guys all have pretty much your element in your page. Now, what we're going to do is we're going to find ways to connect our abstract elements, and this figurative element. 5. Bring it All Together: Now we're going to find ways to connect both the abstract and figurative elements of your piece. Often, one thing to just think about when you have like let's say two elements that are quite different, quite separate, is to think about the repetition of shapes. I'm going to actually go in and just start finding ways of connecting them by repeating certain shapes. For example, and it could be also the repetition of colors, so you can tell that what I did here had very different colors from what I did here, and that's fine. But so now what I can do is I can go in with some of the color that I used here and start adding it into this section. That can be one way that I can start finding ways of connecting those two disparate or seemingly disparate elements. Another thing that you can start doing is, well look, I have all these abstract elements here. I have this figurative element here, how can I integrate abstract elements into my figurative object or thing or whatever it is? So for example, I could start, and at this point you're also allowing yourself to veer off the rails of what it is that you thing that thing that you made looks like, which is fun. Because things don't need to look the way that they are in reality. That's the fun part about art is that you can bring them into all these different spaces. What does this process taught you about yourself? I think the first thing it taught me is I didn't realize how self-critical I was, and then when I started really painting, I realize wow, I have so much of the self-critic. So allowed me to see inside myself better if that makes sense. Through that, tried to figure out ways to build a healthier relationship with myself and with creativity. Because I always loved creativity, I was always fascinated by artists and illustrators and I always thought that I could never do what they were doing and that I had no talent and all those things. It's taught me that some of the things that we tell ourselves are more rooted in limiting beliefs than reality, if that makes sense. That's one of the things its taught me. Another thing that its taught me is also that you can never really tire when, rather I'll say it differently. Being creative is infinite, and that's what makes it beautiful. Like every day that you show up in front of your page as an opportunity, and it can always be something fun and beautiful and relaxing. That's something else that I guess I would say that it has taught me. Just in terms of connecting things, see what I did here, how I connected these abstract shapes. Maybe you can't see it on the video. Would you hold it closer to the camera so we can see the finer detail? There it is. It's actually quite delicate, you maybe don't see it super clearly. But you can see it a little bit. These abstract elements, you can start just injecting them into what it is that you're making. I also would invite you to not be afraid to try something really weird or different. Again, like I said right at the beginning of the class, the point of today is not to make a masterpiece or anything even remotely beautiful, and I say that's not the point today, but I would actually argue that's never the point. Because when you do that, that's when you start maybe building up walls to your own creativity. At list that's something that personally I try to cultivate in my art practice. 6. Q&A: I think as we're continuing to work on this piece, I'd love to know what questions participants have. Yami would like to know, do you do any digital work? If so, how do you incorporate this loose, playful approach into your digital workflow? Yeah, great question. Actually, it's very recent that I have started integrating digital work into my art practice. I got an iPad at around Christmas and I honestly never thought that I would go into the digital realm because I'm so in love with the tactileness of real art supplies. But I have to say, I love procreate. I love working on the iPad. It's brought a whole new area of fun and play to my artwork. So to answer the question of how do I keep that playfulness. Funnily enough I think the iPad or anything digital, it allows that even more than a real paper because it has, I don't know, even less pressure. You can always delete it, you can redo it, you can go backwards, you can go forwards. You can create another layer. It's so easy to try things, screw them up, and then try to work with whatever it is and do something different that I think it's an awesome tool. I totally love it. Michelle would like to know, how do you push yourself if you have to turn off your self critic? When you sense yourself critic creeping in, what do you do to get out of the space of self-criticism? I think one of the biggest things is not beating yourself up for beating yourself up. I'm really guilty of that. When I realized I had this self-critic, it was like, "Oh no, I'm being super self-critical today. This is lame, why are you beating yourself up?" Which literally it just does the exact opposite of what it is that you want to be achieving. I think it's really about cultivating self-compassion. One of the things that I do a lot and I talked about this in the interview that recently got published on Skills hare. I try to imagine if it were someone else talking about their own work, let's say a child. Your child, saying, "No," your inner child, not your child though it could be your child as well, but yeah, like, "Oh, my work sucks. This is terrible." You're not going to yell at them. You're probably going to try to comfort them and be like, "It's okay. Some days it's hard. Why don't we try again tomorrow or why don't we try it together?" Having this kindness, cultivating kindness with your self-critic and accepting it is part of the process. It's a beautiful answer [inaudible]. It's one that I have thought about a lot because I've dealt with a lot of self-criticism. Sharon would like to know, what is your typical daylight in terms of art play versus artwork? Interesting. I would say it varies. There are different times in a year where I'm literally just doing artwork. But I always, even when that's the case, try to have at least 15-20 minutes of art play. In times where I have more, I guess, time for my personal projects then I can spend up to two, three hours a day drawing. But I would honestly say that on average it's been less than that because when you do have your own business, I'm a freelancer. There's a lot of admin, and e-mails, and working on your website. I also do a lot of v-logs for my Patreon page. There are a lot of other parts that become part of my day to day. But on average, I do try to at least spend 15 minutes per day on my creative work, my personal creative work. When I do that, I'm literally doing what I'm showing you guys here. What I try to start out with, whatever medium it is that's calling me at that moment, and just seeing where it brings me. Just shutting off my brain, just being like, "Okay, I'm going to just enjoy this sensation, enjoy this moment, enjoy the colors and the shapes and see where it brings me." When you make that a regular thing, it's one of my favorite things to do. I hope that you'll be able to use this in your own practice. Sandra says that she tends to put everything that she makes in the closet or in the trash. She finds it's really hard to share her work. Did you have a point in life where you found that hard and how did you get past it? Absolutely. Yeah, I definitely used to throw away my artwork. I used to, even in my sketchbook, cross things out. So if I thought a drawing was terrible, then I'll scribble, I don't want to see it. One of the things that I think really helped is there's this weird thing because obviously with art, it is a personal expression. But often when we start throwing things away or are so self-critical about what it is that we're doing. It's because we're attaching too much of our identity to the artwork that we're creating, if that makes sense. When you connect it too tightly, then as soon as you make something that you don't think looks good, then you're going to think immediately, "Oh, I'm a terrible artist." Rather than, "Oh, this drawing didn't really go the way I planned." I think that really helped me, is trying to remind myself that even though art is an expression of the self, it's not a mirror of who I am. It's hard to explain. I don't know if that explained it well, but yeah, it's both a mirror of ourselves, but don't hang on too tightly to it. When you do screw up, try to see it more as an opportunity to learn something. Some days it's easier than others, don't get me wrong. Some days you don't want to be learning anything from your terrible drawing. But if you put it away and then you come back to it, then you can be like, "Oh, actually there was maybe this thing in the drawing that I liked or there's this thing that I didn't like, so I'm going to remember that I don't want to do that in a future drawing." 7. Final Thoughts: Thanks so much for joining in the class. I had a bunch of fun and I hope you did too. One of the things that I hope that you'll take away is that showing up in front of a blank page and putting paint paper is an opportunity every day to learn to trust yourself, to trust your creative instincts, but also to push them to grow out of your comfort zones, and most of all to accept yourself where you are at today. Because when you do that, you get so much more than just the thing that you've created. You learn more about yourself. You learn how to express yourself and how to love yourself. That's, I think one of the most important things that we can do. Thank so much for tuning in. You can check out my other classes in my sculpture profile. I hope to see your art in the project section.