Mindset for Artists: How to Nurture your Creativity | Sharone Stevens | Skillshare

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Mindset for Artists: How to Nurture your Creativity

teacher avatar Sharone Stevens, Watercolour, Illustration & Lettering

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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

13 Lessons (1h 34m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Your Project

    • 3. Why We Create

    • 4. What is a Mindset?

    • 5. Negativity Bias

    • 6. Growth Mindset

    • 7. Confidence

    • 8. Perfectionism

    • 9. Finding Inspiration

    • 10. Finding Time

    • 11. How to Approach Our Art

    • 12. Creative Affirmations

    • 13. Final Project & Conclusion

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About This Class

Class Description

In this class we will be focusing on how we can nurture our creativity and allow it to flourish. Art can bring us many benefits, from joy and relaxation to self-expression and satisfaction. It can have a positive impact on our health and wellbeing, reduce our stress levels and improve our relationships with the people around us. But it is quite common for artists to experience mindset challenges that prevent them from getting the most out of their art.

In this class we will look at how we can identify any challenges that affect our art, through reflection and journaling, and how we can challenge and reframe any negative thoughts and take positive action that supports our creativity. There are numerous practical exercises and prompts to get you thinking about ways you can nurture your inner artist, and actionable things that you can take away with you.

In the class, we will concentrate on:

  • Our why - what is our purpose for being creative and how we can develop a strong connection to that so that we can prioritise it more in our lives and articulate it to the people around us.
  • What is a Mindset - what is a mindset and how it can affect our creativity. The mind is a powerful thing!
  • Negativity Bias - how we have a tendency as humans to look for the negatives (and how this can show itself in our art), and practicing ways that we can consciously focus on the positive.
  • Growth Mindset - how reframing our thoughts to those of a growth mindset can support our creativity and encourage us in our art.
  • Confidence - Ways that we can develop confidence with our art and deal with self-doubt and imposter syndrome.
  • Perfectionism - Why perfectionism can be damaging to us as artists and how and why we should start calling ourselves "imperfect" artists!
  • Finding time - A common challenge is finding the time to be creative so we look at how to align our time with our values and ways to save time to make more space for the things that add meaning to our lives.
  • Finding inspiration - What inspires us and how can we find inspiration when we are feeling stuck.
  • How to approach our art - Being intentional with how we approach our art can allow us to get more out of it.
  • Affirmations - how to use creative affirmations to support our creativity.

I am passionate about teaching and encouraging creativity for joy and relaxation because I know how much benefit it can bring to your life. I have experienced these mindset challenges myself, so I talk a lot from experience in this class, and I have heard my students talk a lot about feeling similar things. I hope this class will show you that those thoughts do not have to control you and that there are simple ways to feel more positive and get more out of you art practice.  

Meet Your Teacher

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Sharone Stevens

Watercolour, Illustration & Lettering

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Watch my newest class - Botanical Drawing for Beginners: How to Draw Simple Flowers - and post a project by 30th April 2023 for a chance to win a year of Skillshare membership! See the discussions tab in the class for full entry details.

Hi! I'm Sharone - a watercolour artist, author, illustrator and modern calligrapher.

I love teaching and inspiring others to be creative. My mission is to show you how simple and accessible creativity can be, and how it can add meaning to your life by bringing you joy and relaxation.

My first book - Watercolor for the Soul - was released in 2022 and I am so proud of it! This is a dream book of mine, filled with simple and beautiful projects for beginners, plus lots ... See full profile

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1. Intro: [MUSIC] Hi, my name is Sharonee Stevens and I am an artist, author and teacher. I am passionate about encouraging creativity for relaxation and joy in simple ways that are accessible and achievable for everyone. In this class, we are going to be focusing on how our mindset can affect our creativity. We know that art can bring us many benefits from joy to relaxation and satisfaction, but whilst you may love to create, it can be very common to experience mindset challenges as artists that affect our art. This could be anything from not knowing what to paint and where to start, struggling to find the time to create, or being overly critical of your own work and doubting your abilities. The aim of this class is to look at how you can deal with those mindset challenges and ultimately nurture your creativity and your inner artist to allow it to flourish. Whether you are a complete beginner or you are a much more experienced artist, I'm sure you will find things in this class that you can relate to. These challenges can happen at any point in your art journey no matter how experienced you are, and all the things that we cover in this class, I've heard students talk about feeling, and I felt myself, and I think there can be real comfort in knowing that you're not alone in that. But I also want to show you that those thoughts don't have to control you. In this class we're going to look at how we can identify any negative thoughts and beliefs that may be holding us back, how we can reframe and challenge them, and how we can take more positive action and ultimately connect more with our creativity so that it can be a meaningful and fulfilling part of our lives. We won't actually be doing any painting in this class, but we will be doing some writing. I have provided a download that we will work through during the class with prompts and exercises for each section. Now because this is a bit of a different class for me without any painting, I wanted to make it as creative and engaging as possible for you. [MUSIC] You'll be seeing these guys pop up from time to time with some tips and quotes. So grab a pen and a cup of tea and let's get started. [MUSIC] 2. Your Project: [MUSIC] As I've mentioned in the Projects and Resources section, you'll find a document that you can download with all of the exercises that we go through in the class. As we go through the class, there will be prompts to encourage you to think about your own mindset. You can do these prompts just by thinking in your head, but I want to encourage you to write your answers down. As you write your thoughts they're likely to become clearer. Also having a written record will allow you to revisit your notes, allowing you to develop and add to them as an ongoing process throughout the class and beyond. If you haven't already, pause the video here and print off your download, or you can simply just grab your own pen and paper to use, it doesn't matter either way. Hopefully it will be an enlightening process for you, and not only can you scribble down the answers to the prompts, but you may find things that resonate with you or inspire you that you want to remember later. You can jot those things down too. Always remember that while something can create a feeling in the moment that you think will stay with you, it can be forgotten quite quickly once you start doing other things. It's important to try and capture those feelings by writing them down, so that you can return to them. When you're during the prompts, I want to encourage you to write whatever comes to you. Don't judge it, or overthink it, or edit it before it gets to the paper. Just let your answers flow freely. Once it seems like one of your answers have dried up, and it seems there's nothing else to come, you can move on. At the end of the class, I will be asking you to commit to one action going forward to support your creativity. I would love if you would take a photo of that and post it in the project section so we can share them with each other. I hope this will help us to support and encourage each other as we go through this mindset journey. [MUSIC] In the next video, we're going to think about our reasons for creating. 3. Why We Create: [MUSIC] The first thing I want us to do is to start thinking about our why, our purpose for creating and why it is important to us, why add some meaning to our lives. This will lay the foundation for the rest of the class, as it will show us why it's important to regularly connect with or nurture our inner artist. I believe art can do many things for us. It can be relaxing and meditative, it can be fun and bring us joy, making us happier, more content and fulfilled. It can be satisfying and bring us pride. It can allow you to take time for yourself, to take some time away from technology, to express yourself and discover more about yourself. It can teach you patience, it can give you confidence and a sense of freedom and security when other things in your life may feel a bit chaotic. It can force you to slow down and be more connected with the world around you, improving our relationships and reducing our stress. It can have quite a few benefits. The next exercise is to dive deep into why you create and why it is important to you. For me, I create for lots of reasons. When I'm in the zone, it really calms and relaxes me. It's something that's just mine, something I can do on my own for myself. It makes me happy. The actual act of creating makes me happy, and having something that I can hold in my hands and I can look out and show people what makes me feel good and I can say, "I made that myself." It's important to me because it gives me a place to escape to. It has the ability to transform the way I feel. If I feel stressed or low, it can give me a boost. Those feelings are really important for me, because it gives me a strong sense of self. I know it reduces my stress levels and improves my general health, improves my mood which has a positive impact on the people around me and my relationships to massive things. It's easy to deprioritize art as a hobby. We're all busy, and it can sometimes be the first thing that gets dropped. But if you really recognize how much it can give to you and how much of a positive impact it can have on every other part of your life, then that's the first step in giving yourself permission to see as a priority and making it a part of your day. Now, it's your turn. Don't overthink this, just try to listen to the thoughts that come up when you ask these questions. Think of it as a stream of consciousness, writing down whatever comes to you. There is no right or wrong answer. Ask yourself what do you want to get out of creating? I'm using the word creating because this could be any art. You can change this to painting or lettering if you want to be more specific. Think about what drives you to create. What motivates you? How do you feel when you create and how do you want to feel? Do you want to feel positive and encouraged and excited about your work? What do you want to bring to your life? Do you want to use the time to relax? Do you want to learn? Do you want to get really good and paint masterpieces? If that's the case, ask yourself why? Will it bring you confidence or pride? Is it for you, or do you want to show someone else how good you are, or is it that you want to paint beautiful things that you enjoy looking at? If you aspire to create, if you're not yet creating but want to be, then connect with how you want to feel. Close your eyes and imagine it. Write down all of the things that come up for you about what art can bring to your life. There's no need to rush this. It doesn't have to be done in a few minutes. Pause the video here and then come back. I'll leave these prompts on the screen for you. Hopefully you have written down all of your thoughts about your reasons for creating the motivations of your inner artist and really feel connected to it. The last exercise in this video is to create a paragraph for yourself summarizing all of this. If you ever feel detached from your creativity, you can go to where I remind yourself of your why. Start with what art brings to you. Look at what you wrote down about how it makes you feel and how you want it to make you feel, and then talk about why that is important. End with a statement along the lines of, I give myself permission to treat my art as a priority for these reasons. You can put this as a reminder on your phone or pinned up on your wall so that you can see it. Pause the video here and take a few minutes to summarize your why. Welcome back. I would recommend reading this paragraph regularly, keeping it somewhere safe and accessible to strengthen that connection to your inner artist. You can also use this statement to help articulate the importance of art to you, and making time for it to the people around you who may not understand. Having people that understand the importance of art in your life can help you to find the time to create, and encourage you when you are not feeling as motivated. Now that we know why we create, we'll move on to looking at what our minds are and how it can affect our creativity. [MUSIC] 4. What is a Mindset?: [MUSIC] What is a mindset? Your mindset is basically the collection of beliefs that you hold about yourself and the world around you, that affect how you think, feel, and behave. We all hold assumptions or beliefs about ourselves that we have collected throughout our lives, from experiences or from what people have told us, and some of these beliefs can be limiting for us. They can lead us to make decisions and take actions that stop us achieving what we want to achieve. I believe that we are all creative as humans, as children we're all creative quite naturally and freely, we don't question or everything [inaudible] I can guess, we have bundles of confidence and we're not worried about what other people think or whether what we're doing is good enough. But as we grow up, we collect all of these different beliefs about the world, about who we are, about what is possible, about our potential, and our limitations. These beliefs can put constraints onto our creativity, which means that the potential of our creativity can end up being limited or even lost as we grow up. As Picasso said, "Every child is an artist, the problem is how to remain an artist when he grows up." An example of this is something I hear quite a lot from people when I'm talking about art and it's the belief that I am not creative. Because they have that co-belief, they then dismiss the thought of actually taking any action to try and be creative, perhaps out of fear of failure. Our beliefs and thoughts affect how we feel, which determines what actions we take, which then leads to results, which are then interpreted by our thoughts, usually in the context of those co-beliefs. For example, someone with a belief of I am not creative, may have thoughts of I can't do that. The feelings are probably fair or hesitation which leads to avoidance. The results would be that they haven't created anything, which then reinforces the belief that they are not creative because they are not being creative. This is just one extreme example, but I hope it helps illustrate the point and the relationship between our thoughts, our feelings, and our actions. We're going to look at how we can identify those beliefs by writing our thoughts down and becoming more aware, how we can reframe and challenge our thoughts with positive language, how we can take more positive action which will encourage new beliefs, and how we can look for the positives in our results to encourage us to take positive action again in the future. For example, in this case, it would be having awareness that we have this belief, but reframing it to something like, I'm excited to learn and discover my creative side. Repeating that to ourselves, gives us a feeling of excitement, hype, and possibility. We then take more positive action and enjoy the process more without the expectation of failure, but thinking of learning instead. We can then learn to look for the positives in the result, even if it's just that you enjoyed the process. Most importantly, being kind to yourself, which we encourage you to try again in the future. Vincent van Gogh said, "If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced." This talks about the importance of taking action to prove your inner critic wrong because if you take no action, you will have no alternative than to continue believing it. Building a positive mindset for your creativity is a process of recognizing and reframing any limiting thoughts as they come up, in the same way that repetition of physical therapy can build our muscles, repetitive positive self-talk can help build positive thinking patterns that will drive our behavior and help us make decisions to move towards our goals. In this class, we'll be talking about journaling, awareness, and reflection, positive self-talk, and affirmations. In the next video, we're going to look at where our negative thoughts come from and start some exercises, so you need your pen and paper handy. 5. Negativity Bias: [MUSIC] In this video and the next, we're going to look at two things which can affect our mindset, which I think are really useful to be aware of. The first is negativity bias, and the second is having a fixed or a growth mindset. Negativity bias is a tendency to focus on negative information, far more than positive information as we process the world around us. As artists, we may have a tendency to pay more attention to criticisms than compliments, or we may be very critical of our own work and dwell on the negative aspects of a painting more than the positive aspects. Our minds tend to look for negative information and to hold onto it. Negativity bias is something that evolved in the human brain to help our ancient ancestors focus on threat and increase their chances of survival. It developed as a way to keep us safe. But whilst it used to be crucial for survival, looking for threats around us like the lion in the bushes, probably a bit more threatening than this little guy. While it can still be helpful in some circumstances, is not as useful to us as it once was and it can actually hinder us in the modern world, and it can hinder us as artists, stopping us from progressing with our creativity, but also from stopping us feeling good about it, which is what we want to do. This is why it's so important for us to train our brains to start thinking positively. Over time this will become more natural, but to start with, we may need to make more of a conscious effort. Negative thoughts can be our minds' way of protecting us. We need to be intentional in replacing these negative thoughts with positive ones. How can we overcome this negativity bias? Is all about where we're focusing our attention. As Robin Sharma said, "What we focus on grows." If we start to shift our attention to positive things, we start to retrain our brain to see more of them, and this has been shown to have really big benefits on overall health and well-being, and of course, it's really going to help your creativity as well. By becoming more aware of our thoughts throughout the day, we can start to recognize negative thoughts or patterns and can start challenging them and replacing them. It's about listening to your thoughts more, and then perhaps saying, hang on that's pretty negative, let's stop and change that thought. When you're painting, intentionally take some time to focus on the positive. Thinking about the positive things will then make us feel more positive. Remind yourself that it's okay to feel good about what you're creating. You are safe to focus on the positive in this moment and enjoy it. Really try to engage in those positive feelings that this brings, and you may not even like your painting on some occasions that's probably inevitable what happens to all of us. But there can still be positive that can be found like you spend some time painting and enjoyed the process in itself. Or you may have learned something that you can take forward with each future paintings. You may think it might be pointless to look for the positives all the time but positive thinking will have so many benefits to your creativity and also to your overall health and well-being. Adversely focusing on the negatives can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Lowering your confidence and keeping us from doing our best. Thinking positively will help you to cope better with setbacks which there always are without and become more proactive. It will help you to learn to look for solutions and ways to progress instead of dwelling on something that has frustrated you. It will reduce your stress and it will allow you to enjoy your art more by focusing your intention on the positive, making it more fulfilling. This in turn will make you feel good, increasing your confidence and encouraging you to create even more, which would then mean you'll progress quicker. To get you practicing this, I have a few exercises for you. In the first one, I want you to look back at one of your recent paintings that perhaps you felt quite negative about and start to look for the positives. Did it feel good when you are painting it? Did you note the colors? Is there a particular part of it that you enjoyed or that worked well? Did you learn something from it? Did someone say something nice about it? They may have, but because you weren't happy with it, you may have instantly dismissed that compliment as not true. Did it help you connect with any of those things that you listed as your why for creating earlier on? Take some time to write down all of the things that come up. Pause the video here, spend a few minutes writing down your thoughts or as long as you need, and then come back. Next, I want you to think about a criticism you received that made you feel bad. Perhaps you spent a long time dwelling on it and it still affects you now. How can you reframe it in a positive way? Was it intended as constructive criticism and can you learn from it? Or perhaps you can just forgive the person who said it because maybe it wasn't about your painting at all. Maybe they were just having a bad day. Again, think back to your why and ask yourself if it really matters what one person thinks about your art when you know how much it can give to you. If you can't think of anything specific, write some thoughts down on how you might deal with the criticism in the future in a positive way. Again, pause the video here whilst you do this and then come back. Finally, start to practice gratitude, especially if you're new to it by thinking all the things that you're grateful for in terms of your creativity. Practicing daily gratitude is a really good way to get used to thinking more positively, thinking about what you're grateful for every day. This can start to retrain your brain to see everything in a more positive light. I started doing this couple of years ago when I started working with a mindset coach. If you're new to it, it may feel weird, but I promise you it can have a really positive effect on your health and well-being. Write it all down no matter how small or silly it sounds. It could be that you are grateful to have a Skillshare membership or you're grateful for your supplies, or simply that you have hands to create with, or you're grateful for the support someone close to you who encourages you with your art. You may be grateful for how your painting practice relaxes you or makes you more observant and connected to the world around you. Spend some time practicing looking for the positives and things that you're grateful for that you may take for granted. Pause the video here again whilst you do this and then come back for the final bit in this section. Finally, I wanted to give you an ongoing exercise for practicing gratitude. I encourage you to take a couple of minutes every day to look for the positives and think about what you're grateful for. This doesn't even have to be in relation to your art. If you haven't painted that day, it can be anything. The more you practice focusing your attention on positive things rather than negative, the easier it will be and the more it will transfer to how you feel about your artwork as well. To get into the habit of doing this, you could set a reminder on your phone or you could habit stack, which is where you add it to an existing habit. For example, you brush your teeth every day, so there's two minutes where you could just think about things you're grateful for during that time. The most important thing is that you do it consistently over time. That's when it can have a really powerful positive effect on your mindset and how you just start to interpret things in a better way. In conclusion, negativity bias is a human tendency to focus on negative things in order to protect ourselves. The solution is to consciously focus on more positive things instead. Why? Because this will improve our overall health and well-being, which is our stress levels, help us do better with setbacks, and help us to enjoy our art more. How do we do that? Well, one way we can do that is to practice gratitude every day, like we've just discussed. Training our brain to look for the positives is a very simple activity that can shift our focus to positive things and really only need to take one or two minutes a day. In the next video, we're going to look at how we can develop a growth mindset to support our creativity. 6. Growth Mindset: [MUSIC] Next, I want to talk about a fixed mindset versus a growth mindset. A growth mindset is having the belief that your abilities can grow with time and effort. In comparison, a fixed mindset is having the belief that abilities are fixed. You either have a scale or you don't. These mindsets lead to different behaviors. Having a fixed mindset means you're probably not putting much effort to change or improve your abilities, but with a growth mindset, you're more likely to set more ambitious goals for yourself and put effort and time to achieve them. Having a growth mindset can benefit your creativity, because it will mean that you are more comfortable with taking risks, making mistakes, and we'll have a more positive attitude. As artists, we can clearly see that we want a growth mindset. How do we get one? The first thing we can do is be prepared to make mistakes. Those with a growth mindset tend to see challenges as a natural part of the learning process. Somehow with a fixed mindset may see failure as confirmation that they do not have a particular ability or skill, but someone with a growth mindset may see as an opportunity to learn from the experience, and apply what they've learned next time. In order to have a growth mindset, you need to be prepared to fail sometimes and be okay with it. It's inevitable as artists, we're constantly learning and not everything we create will work. I recommend you have a go-to statement ready, that you can say to yourself in this situation to remind yourself that failure is okay and it's part of the journey. In fact, you could remove failure from your vocabulary because how can it be a failure if you've learned from it? It can be something like, "This didn't work, but that's okay. I know it's part of my journey as an artist. I still enjoyed the act of creating and I've learned from it, I will know what to change next time." As always, link it back to your reasons for creating that we wrote down earlier. If your goal is ultimately to relax with that, then it is the process that matters more anyway. If your goal is to ultimately learn and progress, then focus on how you are doing that, finding things that you've learned with each painting. The second thing we can start doing is embracing our imperfections. None of us are perfect, we all have imperfections, and that's what makes us human. Embrace yours, don't hide them or hide from them. Know that you don't have to make good things all the time or please everyone, it won't happen. We'll talk about perfectionism more in a later video. It's important to acknowledge and celebrate your growth. No matter how small it may be, always aim to acknowledge and celebrate your progress. At the end of a painting, make sure to tell yourself something kind and positive. Regularly reflect on what you have achieved and learned as an artist. I don't tend to throw much my artwork away, I like to keep it to look back on and see my journey. Finally, and this is a really important one, is to change your language. For example, use a phrase not yet more often than no, that sends an immediate signal to your subconscious that the thing you're talking about is possible once we've put in the effort. In the next exercise, I have provided some common statements that are from a fixed mindset. I want you to practice reframing those to a growth mindset. I've given you an example for the first one, but I want you to start thinking how you could reframe the others on your own, particularly if there are any that really resonate with you. You'll see that the worksheet is left blank. You can choose which ones you want to reframe, or you can make them your own based on thoughts that you are already aware you have about yourself or your creativity. Pause the video here, write down your reframes and then come back and I will share with you some examples I chose. I just want to talk you through the words I chose to reframe those statements. Bear in mind this is not the only options, yours will likely be different. It's not a case of being right right wrong. For "I can't paint," I changed it to, "I can learn to paint." It's having the faith in yourself that you can do something if you put the effort in to learn. For, "This will never work," which is a very negative statement, I changed that to, "This may take some time." It's understanding that the task may not be easy, but the language is giving hope that you will get there. "This was a failure," I changed to, "Whilst this didn't work out like I wanted. I enjoyed the process and have learned from it." It's looking at the positives so that you can draw from a pace, that didn't turn out like you'd hoped. In conclusion, a fixed mindset is believing that your abilities are fixed, so we want to shift to a growth mindset with the belief that our abilities can grow with time and effort. Why? Because it will benefit our creativity by making us more comfortable with taking risks, making mistakes and experience in setbacks, ultimately meaning that we will grow more as an artist. How do we do that? We need to be prepared to make mistakes because it is a natural part of being creative, and we can also change the language that we use. For example, saying not yet instead of no. In the next video, we will be talking about self-doubt and imposter syndrome, and how we can develop more confidence with our art. 7. Confidence: [MUSIC] We all want to feel confident with our art, don't we? But quite often we can experience self-doubt or imposter syndrome, where we perhaps feel like a bit of a fraud and attribute any success to luck rather than talent. In this video, we're going to look at four things that can help us build our confidence with our art. A strong connection with our why, being comfortable making mistakes, which keeps coming up across the whole class, avoiding comparison, and having self-compassion. Before we get into those, I just want to say it's completely normal to doubt yourself or have a lack of confidence. Sometimes it can feel like you're the only one struggling and that everyone else knows what they're doing, but that's not true. Even after all of this, I'm putting all of these tools into practice. I'm not suggesting that you'll never doubt yourself again, it's human nature to struggle with self-doubt occasionally. Confidence doesn't mean you won't feel or experience self-doubt, building confidence just means that you can handle those feelings and carry on. When you make mistakes, they won't crush you, you'll learn from them instead. What we want is to have the tools that will help us deal with those inner doubts so that they don't hold us back and stop us from taking the action that we want or taking the enjoyment out of it for us. Sometimes, actually, a bit of self-doubt may be good for us because it can make us realize that we need to prepare more or do something differently. But it's important to recognize when it's just our inner critic holding us back out of fear. Now I'm going to share with you those four tips for developing your confidence. The first three don't have any exercises in them, but I have given you a page where you can take some notes on these. The final tip, having self-compassion has an exercise, so it has a page on its own. Let's look at the first thing that's going to help build our confidence and that is developing a strong connection with our why. Earlier, we wrote down all the reasons why art is important to us, why we create, and why it brings meaning to our lives. We're all unique as individuals, we each have had our own experiences throughout life and art has a different meaning for each of us. I believe that being rooted in who we are, so really understanding why we create and what inspires us and being true to that will make you less shakable when there is a setback. By building a solid foundation to build your creativity on, it will be harder to knock you down. For example, if your art received a criticism and you didn't feel too sure about what you created or why, then you might be quite upset and end up dwelling on it or doubting your creativity. But if you were sure of your purpose, whether that be painting for relaxation or learning, then a criticism may bounce off you much more because even if it wasn't your best piece of work, you knew why you created it. We don't have an exercise for this one, as we have already spent some time understanding why we create and why it gives meaning to us. The ongoing action is to connect regularly with that. As we said earlier, you can do that by keeping your statements somewhere accessible and visible where you can see it. You may also want to check in with it every few months and ask yourself, does this still feel true to me? Your reasons for creating may change over time, so be open to changing that statement so that it always reflects what you truly want out of your art. The next tip for developing confidence is being comfortable making mistakes and dealing with frustration and disappointment with your art. We'll talk about this more in the next video on perfectionism and a lot throughout the class. But I want to say that building confidence doesn't mean that you won't make mistakes, it just means that they wont crush you. By being more willing to fail, you'll succeed more because you're not waiting for everything to be perfect before you take action. You'll take more action, which will equal more success. Next time you make mistake or experience a setback, you could think about how mistakes can help you figure out a better path. You can ask yourself, what did you do that worked? What did you do that didn't work? What can you do differently next time? You can also seek feedback from someone you trust about how to improve. The next tip is to avoid comparing yourself and your art to other people's. Have you ever compared your art to someone else's and then felt quite down about it? I know I have. Also I think that it can happen at anytime. I think a big cause of it can be social media. As much as it connects us, it can also be a breeding ground for self-doubt. It can be very easy to compare all of our work, our experiments, our first attempts to someone else's work on Instagram, which is essentially a highlight reel. People usually put their best foot forward on Instagram and showing their best work. It's not a fair comparison. You're not seeing all of their work which they don't want to show you, their practice attempts, the ones which they didn't like or didn't work out. As Steven Furtick said, "Stop comparing your behind the scenes to everyone else's highlight reel." For example, here's a piece that I have shared on my social media in one of my sketchbooks. On the very next page, I did these which didn't work out so well. In my head I thought this would look good with these bold dark colors, but it didn't work out like that. This was just a bit of an experiment which didn't work out, which is fine. Again, another I shared on Instagram. Then, yeah, I think I abandoned this halfway through as it just wasn't working for me. Again, these were doodles I didn't finish, but that's what my sketchbook is for, experimenting. Some turn out nice and I share them and some don't work out or I don't like them as much. But I no longer dwell on that or think every piece has to be good because I want to grow as an artist so I want to experiment. Which means accepting some things won't work out. Which goes back to being comfortable with making mistakes. It's also important to remember that everyone is at different stages of their journey. If you're trying something new for the first time, perhaps you've been inspired by someone's art and you're trying to re-create it for yourself as part of your art practice and it doesn't work out, and you suddenly feel like you're not good enough. You can't paint like that person. That person has potentially spent years painting and took a long time and a lot of practice to get to that place. Comparing yourself to someone that is on a different stage of their art journey is, again, an unfair comparison and will only result in making you feel bad about your work and lowering your confidence. Practice and patience are two important factors in developing as an artist. Inevitably, there will be mistakes and pieces that you don't love. It's important to acknowledge that that is part of their journey so that they don't knock your confidence. My challenge for you is to catch yourself next time you're comparing your art with someone else's and focus on yourself instead on where you are in your own art journey. The next tip for developing our confidence, and we have an exercise to go along with this one, is having self-compassion. It can be easy to be kind and compassionate to other people and offer them sympathy or encouragement, but we can have a tendency to judge ourselves much harsher than others. Be critical and not give ourselves that same kindness and support. But having self-compassion can be a really good way to build our confidence with our art. Here are a few ways in which we can develop more self-compassion. The first is to develop our self-awareness, listening to our thoughts and paying attention to how we feel, and being a bit more gentle with ourselves. Also become more aware of that judgment or criticism that you give yourself because we all do it and it may be so natural that you don't even notice it. We might get frustrated with our painting because it's not working out the way we want it to and then stop being quite harsh with ourselves. The first step is to become more aware of these words we use in our head, and how we're feeling. One way to do that is to spend a few minutes journaling everyday, writing down our thoughts. Once we have that awareness, we can practice being kinder to ourselves and forgiving ourselves when we make a mistake. Rather than criticizing yourself when something goes wrong and beating yourself up, you could be kinder to yourself by saying something like, everyone makes mistakes every so often or I'm not feeling as creative today, but that's okay. Every so often I sit down to paint and nothing seems to work or feels good. It's usually if I haven't painted in a while and I used to always say to my husband, "I can't paint anymore, I've lost it." Completely catastrophizing it, but now I know if I've had a break from painting, I just need to be a bit more patient and kinder to myself and trust that I will get there. I'll get back to creating things I love again. One way to be kinder to ourselves is to start thinking about ways that we would talk to a friend in that situation. How would you support them or encourage them? Would you be more patient with them than you're being with yourself? We can start thinking of our inner artist as almost a separate part of ourselves that needs that kindness and support to flourish. If it's easier to be kind to a friend, imagine your inner artist as a friend. Finally, pay attention to what makes you feel good about yourself. I know that when I sleep better, when exercise and eat well, I always feel better and then feel more creative. If I haven't slept well and I'm feeling lazy and eating junk food and I haven't been for a walk in a few days, I know that I will be much more likely to just watch TV then paint something, I won't feel creative. Looking after my body and mind makes me feel good, which has a positive impact on my creativity. I know that music helps my creativity as well. Sometimes I just put on some happy music and dance around the kitchen, which always makes me feel positive or if I'm tired, I'll take a break. I know that putting pressure on myself to create or making myself feel guilty for not creating enough can have the opposite effect and make me create less. Your exercise in this session is to think about ways that you can be more compassionate with yourself in ways that will help your creativity. Practice being kind to yourself by writing down a few complements or words of encouragement. Perhaps, you want to recognize an achievement or recognize the effort that you have put into something. Or it could be less specific and something like, I am enough as I am or I deserve to be happy or I'm proud of myself for making time to do these exercises to support my creativity. Whatever it is, make sure you feel it, let yourself feel good about it. Then you could think about a situation with your creativity where you may get frustrated with yourself. Perhaps, if you haven't painted in a while and you feel guilty or if your painting hasn't worked out like you wanted. Then think about how you would talk to a friend in this situation. What would you say to them and how would you want to make them feel? How would you make them feel supported and cared for? All of these things you can then say to yourself in the future to encourage yourself in that situation. Finally, think about what makes you feel good and how you can look after your body and mind in ways that will support your creativity. As I've said for me, that's taking a break when I need to and resting, sleeping well, exercising, eating well, listening to music, and surrounding myself with things that inspire me in my home as well. They all support my creativity and make me feel good. Pause the video here and take some time to do this, and then come back for the next part. Welcome back. I hope you're feeling quite good after spending some time being kind to yourself and thinking of ways that you can encourage yourself with your art in the future. In conclusion, when we are feeling low and experience self-doubt, we can take action to build our confidence because we know this is going to make us feel better about our art. Ways that we can do that are building a strong connection with our purpose for creating and connecting with it regularly. Becoming comfortable with making mistakes, avoiding comparison, and catching ourselves when we notice that we're comparing our work with someone else's and also by being self-compassionate, by being kind to ourselves, encouraging ourselves like we would a friend, and making time to do things that make us feel good. In the next video, we are going to be looking at perfectionism. 8. Perfectionism: [MUSIC] In this video, we are going to be looking at perfectionism, and how it can be harmful to us as artists, and why we should be calling ourselves imperfectionist instead of perfectionist. Many of us seem to label ourselves as perfectionist, and see it as a positive flaw. Possibly that is a necessary mindset for success. Maybe even taking pride in it because we have such high standards. I know I used to. But there is a distinction between striving for excellence, or success, or even progress and striving for perfection. What is perfectionism? Something that is perfect or perfection is without flaws. How can that be bad, right? But perfectionism is when you're always striving for this flawless result and you see anything is less than perfect as unacceptable. You may be thinking that surely if you strive for perfection, then your work will end up better than if you strive for anything less than that, not necessarily. A perfectionist mindset makes you focus on the negative on what's wrong. It makes you feel not good enough. It can then also start to make you feel scared to try because there's so much pressure to get something just right. You end up not trying, not taking chances or risks. You ultimately end up losing out on experiences. As Leo Tolstoy said, if you look for perfection, you will never be content. How does this show itself when it comes to our art? The perfectionist artist tends to focus on the flaws in their work and can be very self-critical because their attention is always focused on the gap between their work on a perfect piece of art. This means that they never really feel good enough when it comes to the art, and they often feel frustrated and deflated, and like the voice did that time. They may feel scared to take action, perhaps starting a new sketch book or staring at a blank page to sketch awareness, so they decide to delay creating and come back to it later. They procrastinate over creating, and struggle to make decisions for fear of making the wrong one. I'm basically describing myself a couple of years ago. The most common reason for perfectionism is fear. We have a fear of failure, and so our minds decide that in order to protect ourselves from failing, it will create those irrationally high standards that prevent you from taking action at all, keeping you safe and free. We may be scared of ruining a page or that notebook or more personally, we may be scared that the action will damage our confidence and reveal to us that we're not actually very good. Instead, if we don't attempt it, then we can't fail. We can continue fantasizing that we are a perfect artist. But that perfect artist doesn't exist for any of us. Perfectionism can show itself in different ways. You may see count the perfect situation for a task or action. For example, are you any creative when you are at home, at your table or desk? Maybe you don't even have a desk, so you make excuses, or you're already creative when you have all of your paints and supplies with you. You may strive for the perfect quality, not painting because you don't think your work is going to be of a perfect quality in this situation. Perhaps because you're too tired, or you don't have enough time, so you decide not to paint at all. Or you may paint something and then criticize yourself because it isn't perfect. I know for me, this is showed itself in so many ways. For example, I have delayed or avoided painting in a sketchbook because I want every page to be perfect. As I showed you in the last video, I've got over that to some extent, but I still have some sketchbooks that I have to make a conscious effort with to reframe those thoughts. I love the idea of having a sketch book with only great paintings in it that, I can flip through but I know that stops me from creating. Another example is that most of my classes took a lot longer than they should have. Because I have delayed them because I wanted to keep tweaking them and making amendments to make them better. You always pay much more attention to flaws in your own work than anyone else does. You may strive for the perfect quantity. For example, you may feel like you need to paint for at least an hour at a time, or at least once a day, and then beat yourself up when you fail to meet that perfect standard, that you set yourself. Can you relate to any of that? Let's talk about imperfection. How an imperfect artists thinks and behaves, and why we should stop calling ourselves imperfect artists. That is a good thing to do that. Firstly, being an imperfectionist does not mean that you won't put the effort into work. It just means that you will acknowledge that you are human, and humans are not flawless. Even if you produce art that is flawed, it doesn't mean it's any less meaningful. Let's look at the difference, and mindsets between a perfectionist and an imperfectionist. Whilst a perfectionist strives for perfection, an imperfectionist strives for excellence or progress. A Perfectionist mindset creates limitations as you have a very high bar for when, or how, or what, you want to achieve. Whereas an imperfectionist mindset provides freedom. The expectations are lower and so you can create more freely without the worry of attaining that perfect goal. A perfectionist makes excuses finding reasons not to create, and takes less up action out of fear. Whereas the imperfectionist seeks opportunities to create an imperfect situations, and takes more positive action filling those sketchbooks up. A perfectionist focuses on the end result, whereas an imperfectionist focuses on the process. A perfectionist focuses on the negative and on failure, seeing any mistakes as failings. Whereas an imperfectionist reacts calmly and understands that mistakes are natural and inevitable and just part of the journey. While some perfectionist fears the known, the imperfectionist enjoys experimenting and playing and exploring, discovering new things with the art. The perfectionist is impatient and wants results right now, which I can definitely relate to. Whereas the imperfectionist is patient and knows that a lot is a journey. Ultimately the perfectionist creates less and enjoys it less. The imperfectionist creates more and enjoys it more. Your exercise in this video is to write down any ways that you can think of that you have had a perfectionist mindset. Then think about actions you can take to be more of an imperfectionist going forward. How can you challenge your perfectionism? This could include committing to taking more actions and creating more despite the fear. It can be easy to feel overwhelmed with what to do, or where to start and procrastinate. Especially if you have multiple ideas in your head. You could commit to stop thinking so much, and taking action knowing this will help you move forward and knowing that taking no action will keep you standing still. One way to just get started is to set yourself a timer to make a decision, what to paint. Being comfortable with making an imperfect decision. Set yourself a timer, with a short amount of time, like 10 or 30 seconds, and commit to deciding what you're going to paint by the time it goes off. Taking the action is the thing that is going to help you decide what you want to do. Trying it, and just saying you can go round in circles, just thinking about it and not get anywhere. But the important thing is to take action, and then change your path as you need to. Switching to something else if you want to. But you won't know unless you start taking action and trying. I've said that a few times, take action. You could look for more opportunities to create an imperfect situation. If you're a painter and you're not home at your desk much, can you start doodling and drawing more when you're out and about? Can you get a travel kit for when you're away? If you only have 20 minutes, can you still create something that is going to make you feel good in that time. I like to keep templates or bookmarks and Polaroids handy. When I don't have much time, I can grab one and paint it. You could focus more on the process, than the end result by breaking things down into simple steps. Being present with your art, or just experimenting and playing low, discovering new things, and not actually making something every time. You could just concentrate on just having fun and relaxing by making marks or playing with colors. Not everything has to make a finished piece of art. It can still bring you relaxation and joy and happy life. Just by spending time to experiment. You can focus on your progress and celebrate your growth, reflecting on your journey. You could be more patient with yourself, understanding that there are absent flows with creativity, and that learning can take time. I'll leave these ideas on the screen, I'll pause it here, write all of your thoughts down and then come back. Hopefully you came up with some good actions for how you are going to move forward as an imperfect artist. The last thing I want to say about perfectionism is that, as I mentioned earlier, perfectionists have a tendency to be impatient. They do not tend to see value in small progress or partial success. They only want the big perfect, complete wins, and nothing else they see a failure and can trigger feelings of guilt and shame. I think it's important for you to understand that mindset changes take time. You'll need patience, and all of these feelings will still come up. It's not about perfectly curing perfectionism, it's about how you respond to those thoughts when they appear. A perfectionist tends to want to fix everything immediately in one go, and it's impossible. They will inevitably feel like they have failed. For me, I feel like I'm on a journey towards being an imperfect artist who creates a lot more and doesn't worry so much about the end result. I've definitely made progress, but I still face these challenges of wanting everything to be just right. It's a habit of a lifetime that I am working to change. I accept that it will not happen overnight, which I think is progress in itself. Try not to beat yourself up, when these thoughts come up, it's just about having the tools to reframe your thoughts and knowing what you can do to take action as an imperfect artist. Mindset is all about consistency and commitment. For that you need patient, which is a key part of imperfectionism. Now we can move on to the next common challenge, which is finding time to create. See you in the next video. 9. Finding Inspiration: [MUSIC] Sometimes we feel really inspired to be creative is flowing and we're full of ideas so much so that it wakes us up at 3:00 AM in the morning. Other times we may feel completely uninspired and no matter how hard we try, we just cannot come up with any ideas or motivate ourselves. This is natural for creatives. None of us are inspired all of the time. I believe it's important to accept that there are ebbs and flows with creativity and to not beat yourself up when you're not feeling creative. Sometimes trying to force it can make it even harder to feel inspired and enthusiastic about creating. I find that sometimes it may be that we just need a break and we need to give ourselves permission to relax and take time out to rest while trusting that our creativity will come back to us. This may be going for a short walk or changing our environment and our perspective. Or it could be a few days of doing something entirely different like having a spring clean or going hiking. There is so much going on in life these days and constant noise everywhere. Sometimes you just need a bit of quiet to allow those ideas and the inspiration to come back to you. I always find that whenever I go for a walk and change my environment and give myself permission to relax without being on my computer or my phone although the things I need to do at any point in the day, my head starts to clear and my ideas and inspiration start to flow again. In this video, we have two exercises. The first is to think about what inspires us and second is to make a list of actions that we can do next time we are feeling uninspired. Firstly, I want you to write down all of the things that inspire you. What are you passionate about? What gets you excited about creating? Think about past work and what you really enjoyed creating or the particular topics that inspire you, like botanicals or animals or food, or people, or patterns or buildings. Are there particular colors that you're drawn to with your painting? Are there particular styles that you're drawn to? Do you like loose, sketchy styles or realistic paintings? Do you like simple pieces or pieces that are detailed and have taken a lot of time? Are there particular processes or techniques that you like? You may like to approach things in a certain way which feels good to you. I like to sketch ideas out and then I find inspiration for my drawings before I move on to a painting. Are there particular places that inspire you like your country parks or garden centers or streets near you? Once you start noticing inspiration in the world around you, you'll see it more and more. I get inspired looking at the sky or the different shapes of the clouds and the way the trees or other things can be silhouetted against it. I get inspired in my kitchen looking at food, even onions have really interesting patterns. I love going out for walks to get inspiration. I find that just being closer to nature and clearing my head gives me mental space for my ideas to start to flow. Think about when you have felt inspired and note it all down, pause the video here and then come back. Welcome back. Despite having this list full of things that inspire us, we can still feel uninspired or unmotivated on occasions. Next, I want to look at what actions we can take when we feel like that. When we're feeling really stuck and like we've lost our mojo. The first thing I always think is do I need a break? It may be that I've actually been having a break from creating for a while already and I'm feeling guilty about it. I'm putting pressure on myself to get back to creating. I find in these times it's really important to give myself permission to truly relax. That guilt and pressure is the enemy of creativity. I know that I'm always most creative when I'm feeling good and positive when I'm not trying to force it. You can spend some time journaling on why you're feeling uninspired. Maybe there are other things going on in your life that are taking your attention and destructing you and you subconsciously feel guilty about prioritizing your art, which is showing itself through a lack of inspiration and motivation. I always like to write in my journal as a free-flowing stream of consciousness. The act of writing really helps me process my thoughts without overthinking while I'm writing. You could think about what has helped you in the past when you felt like that. For me, I know going for a walk in the fresh air. I've mentioned it a few times already and changing my scene and getting some exercise. It always clears my head, makes me feel good and then the ideas start to flow. You can look back through your old work or what you enjoy painting before and what makes you feel good. Perhaps you can try a different version of something you've done before or move on to another topic within the same category, like a different fruit or a different flower. Or you can try something completely new. Maybe you're feeling bored of what you've been painting and want to branch out. We'll talk about how we can approach learning something new in the next video. If you still don't know what to do, you could start small with something really easy and simple. This could be painting some color swatches, making marks, playing around with the technique, just experimenting with your different brushes. I honestly believe that creativity breeds creativity. Once you start and you have your pen or your brush in your hand and you're taking action is much easier to continue and then to feel inspired. One thing that I did recently when I was struggling to be creative because I was so tired after moving house, I just spent some time doodling with a pen and paper. The thing I love about doodling is that there is absolutely no pressure. It made me feel good and helped me move forward and then I started painting again, I think probably one or two days after that. Write down a list of actions that you can take that you think will help move you forward next time you're not feeling creative and then head to the next video where we'll look at how we can approach our art in an intentional way that is related to our purpose. 10. Finding Time: A common thing I hear and something I often hear myself saying is, I don't have time to paint. The first thing I want to encourage you to do is to change your language. When you say, I don't have time it suggests that you are not in control of your time, but you are. Instead say, I choose to prioritize my time elsewhere because that's the truth. You choose to work the hours you do, you choose to make dinner for however long you make it for, you choose to watch television, etc. This change in language will empower you to be conscious of the decisions you make about how you spend your time, so that you can spend your time on things that are aligned with what you want out of life. Recently, there was a bake-off at my son's school. I love to bake and do sugarcraft although I haven't done it much in recent years. I found myself saying, I don't have the time, but I caught myself and reframed it to, actually, I'm choosing not to prioritize the bake-off this time, I'm prioritizing my SkillShare class instead. That instantly made me feel more in control and took away the guilt. It's a simple, empowering change of language that you can make that can make you feel completely differently. Doing that regularly will make you see that you do get to choose. Every time you sit down to watch TV or scroll on your phone or spend an hour making dinner, say to yourself, I choose to spend my time doing this instead of painting. This may take away the guilt or it may make you think, hang on, I would rather be painting. I'm going to choose that instead. As the famous German poet and writer said, "Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least." We've already identified why art matters to us, why it can bring meaning to our lives, reduce our stress, improve our health. Now we just need to look at where we are spending our time and what we are doing that matters to us and what we are doing that doesn't matter to us. It may be that we actually genuinely struggled to find the time because all these things that we see as priorities that we need to do. I'll be giving you a bunch of tips in a bit for how we can look at those to see where we can save some time. Firstly, I want you to think about what your values are and what is important to you in life. What do you value? What brings you joy and adds meaning to your life? For me, I value my health as this enables me to do all the things I want to do and be all the things I want to be to my family and my business. That means drinking lots of water, making time for sleep, eating well, exercising, journaling. I have a memo on my fridge that reminds me to do these things. First thing in the morning, to stretch, hydrate, and make sure I have food defrosted for lunch and dinner. I always make time for these because I know how important they are. I value time with my family, so I always protect that time in the day. Spending quality time with my son after school even if it's only half an hour of playing together and being completely present or having family time at the weekend. I value time for art and creating because it really relaxes me and makes me happy and gives me a way to slow down and switch off from the noise around me in everyday life. I value my work which I'm very passionate about, teaching and encouraging others to paint and be creative. I value time to unwind and be by myself because I know as an introvert, I need some time out where I can watch TV or read or have a bath or go for a walk and just be by myself, and that rejuvenates my energy levels. You may value other things like volunteering and supporting your community or making your garden really nice or spending time with your friends every week or traveling or learning. Think about what is important to you and what brings meaning to your life. I'll leave the questions and some examples up on the screen for you. Pause the video here and come back. Now you've thought about what you value and what your priorities are, we can start to look at where our time is being spent and if it is aligned with those values. It can be easy to let seemingly important things take over your time and stop you doing the things that matter the most. I did a lot of work on less last year myself. I would find I was pushing myself really hard with work, sometimes up until 2:00 AM to get a class finished on consecutive days and not getting enough sleep. That impacted on the rest of my life, including my creativity. Or saying, I'm just going to work this weekend and sacrifice that time with my family. It can be easy to do and can be easy to become a habit as well when the seemingly important urgent stuff demands your time. But is it really important? I found that aligning my time with my values in a balanced way. Doing a bit of all or most of those things I value every day has made me so much happier and productive in the long run. Of course, some days it will all go out the window, and you may just want to stay on the sofa and watch Netflix all day. But that actually may be being true to your values anyway, if perhaps your priority on that day is having some rest. I'm not suggesting every day has to be perfectly aligned with all of your values. Let's approach this with our new imperfect mindset. This list of values may just help give you some guidance so you have more of a general balance in your life with more time spent on the things that you love and less time spent on the things you don't love. For the next exercise, on the next page, you'll find a circle that it's divided into 24 sections to represent the hours in your day. Now, I want you to think of a typical day and start filling these in so you can get a rough idea of where your time is being spent. I like to sleep for about eight hours. That's a big chunk that I'll start with. I probably spend another hour and a half getting ready in the morning and doing the school run. My morning routine usually includes taking some structures and journaling and some affirmations. I try and make some time for some exercise but that doesn't always happen. That's usually an extra half an hour, but there's time for an after so I shall add in an hour. I work from home, so I don't have any commuting time, so add yours in if you work in an office or outside your home. Then I'll add in my work time. I do the school run, make dinner, play with my little one, and have some family time. Probably do some cleaning or chores and then bedtime, which can take half a night sometimes. By the time I get to about eight or nine o'clock, my brain has usually stopped functioning effectively so I like to relax and watch TV or read or spend some time with my husband. Again, don't worry about making this too exact. We just want to get a rough picture of where our time is being spent on a typical day. Pause the video here and complete your own chart and then come back. I'll leave a list of prompts on the screen for you for what you may do in your day that may help you. Now you've filled in your chart, have a look at it and see how much time is aligned with what you value the most. Other things that don't matter, that you could stop doing to make time for more things that do matter. In terms of making time to be creative, you may look at it and think there's really not anything I could do. There's nothing I could take out to fit all in. I like to squeeze in small amounts of creativity here and there throughout my day. I usually keep a sketchbook line around the kitchen, and if I'm waiting for something to cook, I might do some doodling on sketching. Sometimes I like to get up half an hour early when our house is quiet, and just paint. Sometimes that's actually when I do my best work. Because I feel so relaxed at that time. Have a look at your day and see what you could find small pockets of time to squeeze some creativity. Perhaps it could be at lunchtime. Also think about when you feel most creative. Mostly for me that's in the morning, but only on occasion, it's in the evenings. I don't tend to stick to a rigid routine. I listen to how I'm feeling and go with the flow. I don't think creativity is something that can be forced or structured, certainly not for me anyway. Pause the video here, then add in some ideas of how you could squeeze in creativity into your existing typical day. When you come back, we'll look at ways you can free up even more time of your art, and the other things that you value. Welcome back. If you tend to have a day that is absolutely packed, I wanted to offer you some ideas for how you could potentially save some time in your day. To make more time for those things that you value the most, like your art. Firstly, I think with this, a little planning can go a really long way. Sometimes you don't feel like you have time in your week spent planning if you're already really busy. But by stepping back, and looking at the bigger picture, it can end up saving your time and helping you focus. If we can make these small differences to each day, we can make such a massive difference to our lives overall. As Annie Dillard said, how we spend our days is of course, how we spend our lives. How do you want to spend your life? Then think about how you can make that a part of your every day. Here are some ideas to ways that you can save time in your day or week. Write any down that resonate with you on the next page, or start thinking of your own. The first thing is to really question the activity. Do you need to be doing this thing at all, or is it just a habit? Have a look through everything in your circle, and ask yourself this during your day as well. Is this really worth my time? A big one is batching. I love batching. Grouping similar tasks together means you will get them done faster like admin, errands doing bills, or even cooking meals, and freezing them. That's definitely something we like to do and saves us so much time cooking things from scratch every day. Whatever it is, you'll be setup already to do that task. It will take less time and effort overall, if you do it at the same time. This includes when you head out. Are there things that you can do on the same trip, like head to the post office on the way to the shop. I always find meal planning saves me time and energy, takes out the guesswork of what to have each day. We know that we will have what we need instead of having to make a last minute trip to the shop, which takes more time out for a day. Then I like to do my food shopping online based on that meal-plan, so it saves another trip. It also saves us money too. You can limit your phone time. This can be a huge time saver, that we're not even aware of. If you tend to spend a lot of time on your phone, setting boundaries can be a really great way to get some time back. You may not even realize how much time you're spending on your phone. It can be quite shocking when you start to monitor it. I want you to be prepared when you see it. Another tip is to use waiting time. There are always chunks of time when we're waiting or not doing anything productive like sitting on a train, or waiting at the doctor's or even waiting for our pasta to boil. Can you fill this time with useful actions like responding to emails, so it frees up some time later for painting. Or you could even make sure you always carry a sketchbook with you, and add in a few minutes of drawing time, while you are still waiting around in that waiting room. This is a typical case of that imperfect scenario where we might avoid creating because we don't have our paints and narrating with people around. But I love to draw, and I think it actually helps my painting tremendously. It can also be fun to draw with people around you. It may even start a phone conversation, just maybe ask for permission first. Another one is to delegate. Are there things that you can delegate to family members like housework? Can you divide it up more to free you up some time for painting. This comes back to connecting with your why, and being not able to articulate it to the people around you so they can support you. Say no more. Give yourself permission to say no more. Protect your time. Know that it is the most valuable thing you have. This can feel hard sometimes, if we don't want to offend people, or be unhelpful. But it is really important and will get easier as you do it more. You can set a timer for things like we've already mentioned. I like to set timers for things to help me get motivated, especially for low energy tasks like cleaning. Which I may not want to do, and end up taking me longer because I'm dragging my feet and procrastinating. But I find that setting a timer for half an hour, gives me a massive energy boost because it's got that end time. I end up running around trying to challenge myself to see how much I can get done in that time. You can cut down on TV time. I'm guilty of this. I am a Netflix binge and I love watching series. The trouble is it's so easy now to let it just roll over to the next episode. When so many times where I thought I stop now, but then I don't quite reach the remote in time and the next one starts. I think I'll just watch a few minutes more and then I find myself still sat at three episodes later. Cutting down on an episode every so often, is a really easy way to give yourself a whole hour to go be creative instead. Making that intentional choice. I don't tend to have too much free time to create for myself. Which is one of the reasons why I love creating simple things that are beautiful and that don't take too much time. There are some really easy ways to be creative every day. When you're not looking for that perfect situation without perfect quantity. Along with doodling when I'm cooking, I like to have bookmarks and Polaroid templates ready, so that when I have 20 minutes to paint, I can paint something small and simple without overthinking it. Hopefully that was helpful. I'll leave those up on screen now. You can note down some ideas that resonated with you. But also spend a few minutes thinking about any of the time savers that will help you in your own day, find time for being creative. Do this during your day as you're doing things, always ask yourself, can I batch this task for something else? Do I really need to do this? Can I say no? Can I delegate it? Can I set a timer and do this quicker? Do I really need to watch this 17th episode in a row of Designated Survivor? Maybe not. Pause the video now on the screen, and write down your notes and then come back. Welcome back. I hope you've written down some good ways that you can save some time in your day. In the next video, we are going to be moving on to looking at what to paint when we're struggling to feel inspired. 11. How to Approach Our Art: [MUSIC] In this video, we'll focus on where to start and how we can approach our art in the best way possible for our intention. The first thing I recommend you do is start by connecting with your why, and going back to those things that we wrote down in the first exercises. If you're like me, you may create for different reasons. Sometimes I want to be creative purely for relaxation. If I'm tired or feeling a bit stressed or overwhelmed with everyday life, I may want to just spend a short amount of time painting mindfully where I don't have to think too much about what I'm doing. Other times I want to paint to learn. In times when I'm perhaps feeling a bit more energized and feeling like I want to be challenged, in that case, I want to experiment and push myself and will probably need to concentrate more on what I'm actually doing. These are both very different reasons for painting and so need different approaches for how we stopped. What I want you to do is to choose one or two of your reasons for creating, and then think about some positive ways that you could approach it. I'm going to choose the two that I mentioned, relaxing and learning. I'm going to divide this into two and put these in the middle of my page, so I can brainstorm ideas around them. When painting for relaxation, I usually start by concentrating on my breathing and then repeating some calming positive affirmations to slow down. I might even go for a short walk, just to clear my head before I start. Then I would choose simple or familiar topics I don't need to think too much about, perhaps patterns, or mosaics, or just making marks. If I can't decide, I would set myself a timer so I can make a quick decision and just get started on something. I would focus on the process and being present and how it feels rather than worrying about any end result because I want to use this time to relax me. I could even do doodling for relaxation if I don't have much time or not name my paints. For learning, I may choose a topic that is new to me or something that I want to improve on. Again, if I start procrastinating, we can set that timer to make a decision and get started. You can start by reflecting on what you know so far or what you've learned in the past with this particular topic. Have you tried it before? Did you learn something you could put into place at this point? Perhaps you realized last time that you needed some more experience with a particular technique like dry brushing, which can be a bit tricky, so you could decide to just spend the time filling a page with dry brushing marks. Focus on the process by experimenting and practicing and being okay with making mistakes, being analyzed code, see what works and what doesn't. With learning, you may want to consciously encourage yourself as you're trying something new so there may be a bit of self-doubt coming up, so we know that a bit of self-compassion will boost our confidence. If it's something completely new, you can think about how you can break it down into simple steps so it's easy to approach it. If it's something quite challenging and I don't know how to tackle it, I might start with a pencil which has no pressure sketching out first, or I might experiment with some color mixes fast, so taking an individual element and focusing on that one step at a time. When we break things down into simple steps, it can mean that we have much more competence when we go into the final piece. With just the process in mind instead of the end result, we are actually far more likely to succeed. Spend some time thinking how you can approach your art with your intention in mind. Remember that this may change depending on how you feel, whether you want to relax if you want to learn, paint a finished piece, or something else. Always keep that in mind as your approach may differ. I'll leave these prompts on the screen, so I'll pause the video here and then come back when you're finished. Welcome back. In the next video, we're going to look at how we can use affirmations to support our creativity [MUSIC]. 12. Creative Affirmations: We've talked a bit about how powerful the words we use are and how what we say to ourselves can impact on our mind, our body, our health, and our art. One way to channel this power is with affirmations. Affirmations are intentional thoughts that you repeat to yourself to encourage yourself to feel or behave or be the way you want to be. They can influence our greater thinking patterns. They can influence our behavior, our mood, and our health. There are lots of studies that have been done to prove the benefits of affirmations, and I've been using them myself for the last couple of years. I generally believe they've helped me get to the place I am now having written a book and achieved big dreams and generally having a much more positive mindset to do with everyday life. You probably already say statements to yourself regularly. We all do, but those statements may not actually be in line with what you want out of your creativity. Like if you say, I'm not creative or I'm not very good at drawing, or I don't have time to paint regularly. These will feed into your subconscious and drive your feelings and behaviors. But I bet you want to be creative and you want to be good at drawing and you want to have time to paint. Those statements that you're repeating yourself are not actually aligned with your desires and your goals. If you keep saying these things to yourself, criticizing yourself or beating yourself up for not doing something or not being good enough at something, it'll be very difficult for you to find the motivation and inspiration to create and to improve your artwork. Instead, if we're more intentional and align these statements that we say to ourselves every day with what we actually want and encourage ourselves, we'll feel much more motivated, and we will influence our behaviors and our feelings in a much more positive way. I honestly believe that affirmations can change your life. How do we write affirmations? Affirmations should be present tense. Speaking in the present tense saying I am instead of I will, can be a really powerful statement. It sends a message to your subconscious that, that thing or that feeling exists right now and so your subconscious will start to find ways to make it true. Because your subconscious basically takes directions from your thoughts and then starts to problem-solve and begins to make them a reality through your instincts and ideas and behaviors. Affirmations should also use positive language. Try to avoid double negatives like, I'm not stressed as your brain has a tendency to hit the main word and ignore the not. Instead make the statement positive, like I am calm. It's important to choose affirmations that are meaningful to you and that are aligned with the things you want. We've already talked about how we want to feel with our art when we look to our why at the beginning of the course. For them to be most effective, you need to repeat them regularly. Think of them as seeds that you can plant in your mind and then the more you repeat them, they'll start to strengthen and grow. If you're feeling a bit skeptical about using affirmations, I wanted to give you an example about how they made a massive impact on me. This is an example from when I was in the middle of writing my book, I was working to my first deadline and I had quite a lot to do and was getting myself a little bit stressed, focusing on that end goal, that deadline, and starting to panic of it. What I really needed to do was focus so I could get it done but I also wanted to enjoy it. I wrote myself an affirmation. I am submitting exciting, beautiful work for my first deadline, which I am incredibly proud of. I pinned it up on my wall next to my desk so it was clearly visible. Then every time I sat down to work, I would see it. I would take some slow, deep breaths to calm myself before I started painting and then repeat it. Then when I had said it enough that I really started to feel it, I started work with a much more calm and positive approach and I find that saying things out loud confidently can make a big difference as well. You just need to not worry about what your family think. They think you're a bit mad. My affirmation was present. I said the words, "I am submitting" instead of, "I will submit" because that would have made it in the future. That would have been a disconnect with how I wanted to feel right then at that present moment. It was positive with words that made me feel something. The word excited was how I wanted to feel and I wanted to submit beautiful work, of course, not just anything. I repeated this every day whilst I was working on it and it replaced all of those negative thoughts of I'm not going to be able to get this done. I don't have enough time. I honestly believe that it made me calmer, more positive, more productive, and made me enjoy the process much more, and made my results better. It seems such a simple thing, but the mind is so powerful. What affirmations should we say to ourselves? I'll give you some ideas. But like I said earlier, it's really important that you choose ones that are meaningful to you. Have a look back at that first exercise and see what you wrote about what art brings to your life and how you want it to make you feel and you can relate your affirmations to that. You can also make really specific ones for certain situations, like the example I gave you earlier about my book deadline. Some positive generic statements we can start with are, "I am in control of my thoughts. I choose positive thoughts. I am grateful every day, I love and approve of myself. Anything is possible." For more creative affirmations, you could again use generic ones about being creative like, "I am creative, I am an artist, I believe in my creative dreams." If finding time to create seems to be a common challenge for you, you can use affirmations around that. Like, "I prioritize my creative time. I have all the time I need to create." You could say, "I nurture my inner artist with kindness and encouragement, and I am exactly where I'm meant to be on my creative journey." For inspiration, you could use affirmations like, "Inspiration is all around me, or inspiration comes easily and naturally to me." Or you could talk about how you want to feel when you create like, "I feel relaxed and positive when I paint. Creating art gives me inner peace. I enjoy the process of learning to paint." Saying these are going to replace any negative alternatives that you would otherwise say. Take some time to write down some affirmations that feel good to you. Once you've chosen some, say them out loud and see how they feel, test them out. Are they in line with what you want, how you want to feel, and what you want to achieve? Do they feel exciting? Then come back and we'll look at how you can be consistent with repeating them so they can have a positive impact on your mindset and your life. Pause the video now, and I'll see you in a few moments. Welcome back. Now you have your affirmations. Start to think about ways that you can use them in your daily life. I recommend making them part of a routine. Perhaps when you wake up, when you go to bed, you can repeat them a few times, taking a few deep breaths and really feeling them. Or you can set yourself a daily reminder on your phone or add a note to your mirror. Or you can have it stuck like we talked about earlier. For example, when you're brushing your teeth or making a cup of tea, you can attach it to that. Whenever you do that action, you'll be prompted and remember to repeat your affirmations a few times as well. It can also be, whenever you start to paint, that can be a great time to focus on being intentional with your thoughts. You could put a posted note on your desk, jot down your ideas and then decide how you're going to take action today. It will only take a minute to add a reminder to your phone or a post at your desk but the impact it will have can be immense. That is the end of our affirmations video. In the next and final video, we're going to have a bit of a roundup of what we've covered. I know it's been a lot and one final exercise. [MUSIC] 13. Final Project & Conclusion: [MUSIC] Hi. Now we have come to the end of this class, I have one final exercise or challenge for you. But first I want to do a quick recap because I know we've talked about a lot of things in this class. First we identified our why, why we create and what art brings to us, and why it's important to us, we write two paragraphs summarizing that which I would recommend reading to yourself regularly, especially when you felt a bit stuck or unmotivated, or too busy to find the time to create, and you can also use the statement to help articulate the importance of your art to the people around you so that they can support you. We talked about what mindset is and how developing awareness of our thoughts and the words, and stories that we tell ourselves can help us to recognize them when they pop up. So we can then challenge and re-frame them if we need to. We talked about negativity bias and our tendency as humans to focus on negative things in order to protect ourselves, and how consciously focusing on the positive can have such a beneficial impact on our art and our well-being in general. We looked at how daily gratitude can be really powerful to re-train our brains to have a positive mindset. We talked about fixed and growth mindsets, and how as artists, it can benefit us to have a great mindset, which means being prepared to make mistake on our art journey and to use language that is positive and hopeful, such as not yet instead of no. We talked about ways in which we can develop competence without art, including building that strong connection with our purpose, being comfortable with making mistakes, avoiding comparison to someone else, and we talked about how we could be more compassionate with ourselves. This included talking to ourselves kindly, forgiving ourselves for making mistakes, and doing things that make us feel good on a regular basis, which in turn makes us feel better about our creativity. We talked about perfectionism and how labeling yourself as a perfectionist can have a negative impact on your art and instead how seeing ourselves truthfully as imperfect artists can help us to create more without fear to actually achieve more success and to enjoy the process more. We also talked a lot about the importance of taking action, of just starting, even if we're not quite sure it's the right decision, but we know it will move us forward and stop us from just going around in circles in our head. We talked about finding time to create and our values about what brings meaning to our lives and looked out what we spent our time on in our day. I gave you some ideas on how you could save time, so that you can make more time for your art or for the things that matter to you most. We also talked about how art doesn't need to take a long time. There is no perfect quantity. You don't need to wait until you have an hour or two. You can keep it simple and create something in just 20 minutes, or even just having a five-minute doodling session, and how that can still transform how you feel, and keep you connected with your creativity. We talked about finding inspiration, making notes on what inspires us the most and what positive actions we can take when we're feeling uninspired. We talked about where to start and how to approach our art, depending on what our purpose is for that particular painting session. Then finally, we looked at the power of words and how we can use affirmations to develop a positive mindset for creativity, replacing those negative thoughts. We came up with some examples of affirmations that we can use to support our creativity, to nurture an artist. We also looked at practical ways we can build these into our lives as a regular, consistent habit, which is when we'll see them have the most impact on our lives. So really well, we've covered a lot. As I said earlier, I have one final exercise or challenge for you. I want you to choose to commit to one thing right now. You can choose more if you like, but at least one thing, that you're going to take away from this class that will have a positive impact on your art whilst it's still fresh in your mind. I would love it if you would take a photo and share it in the project section so I can see and everyone else can see, and we can all support and encourage each other by leaving a comment on each other's projects, letting each other know that we're not alone and that we have so much of this in common with each other. With this commitment, I recommend that you choose something that is easily actionable on a regular basis. Rather than saying you commit to being kind to yourself. Think about how will you do that? Break it down into the process. What does it look like? Setting big vague goals that are hard to measure can set yourself up to fail. So think about what it would look like on a day-to-day basis. Remember that consistency is keen to mindset changes. You may already have something in your head that you want to commit to, if not, then I have listed some ideas for you that we have covered. It could be that you're going to pin up your statement about why you create so that you see it regularly and constantly connect with why art is important to you, it could be that you're going to spend a couple of minutes everyday thinking about what you're grateful for so you can train your brain to see more positives. You could start journaling everyday to reflect and process your thoughts, to increase awareness about those important words you talk to yourself with, and regularly practice re-framing them. This doesn't need to take long, I like to turn off for just a few minutes a day. But in that short time, it can really help give me clarity of my thoughts and feelings, and free up space to let my creativity flow. You may want to commit to being kind to yourself every day, just saying one kind thing perhaps every morning when you're getting ready. Habit stacking, attaching these to existing habits like making breakfast or brushing our teeth, or brushing your hair can be really useful way to remind ourselves to do these things. You may choose to do something that makes you feel good every day, like going for a walk or having five minutes to yourself free from distractions where you can switch off. These things can be really powerful for our creativity. It could be that whenever you find yourself procrastinating, if you don't know what to do, you commit to setting a timer and making a quick, imperfect decision so that you can take action because you know the action is so important to move forward. You could batch a task like cooking your meals so that you can free up some time in your week, so you have a little more time to be creative. You could pin up a list of things that you can do when you're feeling uninspired. We made this list in one of the exercises earlier. So actionable things like going for a walk, taking a break, looking through old work, or just starting with something simple to get you going. The last one is that you could commit to repeating your affirmations daily, perhaps passing in the morning or last thing at night. I love to do these before I sleep, so I drift off to sleep with positive thoughts in my head, or alternatively you could set a reminder on your phone or add a post at your desk, that would make a great project photo. I'd love to see that. [LAUGHTER] It doesn't have to be one of these that I've listed, these are just ideas. So choose what feels good to you, whatever it is, write it down, take a quick imperfect photo and share it to the project section. I dare you to upload something imperfect. I truly hope you have enjoyed this class, and gained something from it. I know from my own experiences how these mindset challenges can affect my art and how I feel. I really hope that there is something in here that can help you get the most out of your painting, or wherever it is that you are creating. Because I truly believe in the power of creating and how much benefit and joy it can bring us if we let it. Please do leave me a review, I always read them and will love to know what you thought of this class. It's been a different type of class for me, but one that I have felt really passionate about. If any of it resonated with you or helped you, it would mean the world to me to know. Even now as with every class I make, I always have these niggling thoughts of self-doubt. Will anyone watch my class? Is this going to help anyone? Am I the right person to make this class? That perfectionist in me wants to delay the class so I can do more research or have more experience to share with you, or just keep tweaking it slightly. Those always pop up, but I'm choosing not to give them attention. I'm choosing to focus on how much I believe this class can help you with your creativity, and that is my why, my big reason for teaching, to encourage you to create and to find joy and relaxation from your painting. That's all from me, I look forward to seeing your projects, and I'll see you soon. [MUSIC]