9 Ways YOU, The Artist Can Change The World

By Nicole Tinkham

change-the-world

Can we take a moment to show you some love? We feel that artists (like you) really don’t get the credit they deserve. You are absolutely incredible! Sometimes people who don’t fully understand the impact art makes on our lives, assume that being an artist isn’t a “real” job. This can get any artist down but our goal is to lift you back up and let you know how much of a difference you really do make. Your artwork isn’t just something pleasant to look at. Your artwork HEALS. It challenges and inspires us. It provides peace when everything else is in chaos. It’s truly incredible just how special your talents are! Read on for 9 ways that you, the artist can change the world.

1.    You inspire

You inspire more than just the artist. You inspire everyone to do something they’re passionate about. Others see you and your love for art. They see you having fun, enjoying what you do and they want to feel that way about something in their lives too. Your artwork can encourage them to take the leap and try something new.

2.    You make the world colorful

Literally! Can you imagine how dull the world would be without art? Even gorgeous buildings have a creative architect behind them. Art floods the streets in billboards, museums, graffiti, signs, fashion, and so much more. It’s something not everyone appreciates enough (being too busy in this hectic life) but if it weren’t there, we would all notice.

3.    You make people happy

It’s not just those crazy sand sculptures or chalk art events that make people happy. It’s anything that the viewer can relate to. It’s bright colors, something clever, something useful, something they just get. It doesn’t matter what type of art you do, you’ll always have the power to make others happy if you choose to.

4.    You heal

You may not have a doctor title but you’d be surprised by how much artwork can heal. We just mentioned that you make others smile. That alone has healing powers not to mention other emotions that artwork can bring up. When people are dealing with depression, your artwork can help them cope. Again, you are improving the lives of so many people.

5.    You make people think differently

Your artwork may portray your point of view and maybe the viewer is able to see that through your work. But maybe they see a different point of view and that’s ok too. No matter how it’s done, artwork that get’s people thinking differently is considered brilliant work in our books. It’s not always easy to do but it can be so powerful.

6.    You challenge others

As you get others to think differently, you’re also challenging them. The challenge could be finding a deep meaning in the artwork or relating it to each person’s individual life. Challenges are presented all around us. They allow us to learn and grow. If your artwork presents a challenge, it’s helping every single one of us.

7.    You share your story

The best way to connect and relate to someone else is to hear their story. You might not think your personal story is very exciting but you have no idea how much that story can change someone else’s life. When you open up to others and share personal things about yourself, others will realize they’re not alone. You’re proof to the viewers that they can make it through the tough times too. You are right there with them and when you can tell that story through your art, incredible things start to happen.

8.    You provide peace

Some artwork is peaceful and some aren’t but the really cool thing about being the artist is that you can decide what kind of emotions come through in your artwork. How incredible does it feel knowing that you can bring peace in someone’s life simply by creating? That just blows our minds every time we think about it!

9.    You give

When you produce your artwork, you’re not just giving to one person. You’re giving something of value to every single person who looks at it. People need what you have to offer! Stop hiding in the shadows and show your work off to the world. Not sharing it would only be selfish.

If you ever doubt yourself, which we all do at some point, grab this list of 9 ways you, the artist can change the world to remind yourself of the true power of your artwork. It’s so easy to forget these things and to forget why you’re an artist in the first place. You all have a huge heart and we believe that you create for others. You want to make a difference and you can do that through your art. You are capable of incredible things. Never give up on yourself.

8 Fun Ways To Celebrate Valentines Day (For Artists)

By Nicole Tinkham

valentines-day

We love celebrating all holidays because it’s an excuse to get creative and make gifts!! The big holidays may be over but we get just as excited over Valentine’s Day and we have some really clever ideas for you. If you aren’t too pumped up about it this year, you have got to read these 8 fun ways to celebrate the day of love. We wrote this list with the artist in mind so open up to the creative possibilities and choose to do something special this year.

1.    Handmade cards

Grab some fun paper, stamps, glitter, buttons, colorful pens, and your creative mind. Show some love to the ones you care about in a handmade card, one that won’t immediately get thrown out! These mean so much more than store bought cards. Put the time, effort and thought into it and make it really special for the recipient.

2.    Homemade sweet treats

Bring your creative skills into the kitchen and bake up some fun and yummy treats. Cookies and cakes are always fun to decorate. Package them up in festive containers and bags to make a nice gift for your friends. Or you can serve them on heart shaped plates and bowls for your dinner party (see below).

3.    Themed dinner with friends

Valentine decorations, creative invitations, sweet treats, fun games, great friends, and lots of love and fun times. We love themed dinners and parties with friends! There are so many different ways you can use your artistic skills and who doesn’t love getting together with friends over food?

4.    Crafty Party

Here’s another party idea. We mentioned how to host a crafty party in a previous blog post and any holiday is a great excuse to host one. Think up some different Valentine’s craft ideas and get creative with your artsy friends.

5.    Handmade jewelry

Jewelry is a great Valentine’s gift but it’s so often overdone. One way to put your own twist on it is to create your own jewelry. Even if you’ve never gotten into jewelry making, there are super simple patterns anyone can pick up (just Google it!). Once again, anything handmade has more meaning behind it than store bought 🙂

6.    Notes of appreciation

Remind someone how much they mean to you by writing a thoughtful note. Let them know how much you appreciate their friendship and all that they do for you. This note can go right into your handmade card or you can leave them little Post-it Note surprises. Remember, it’s your words that matter!

7.    Framed memories

We admit, after seeing the incredible projects our professional framer Mark creates, we’re just a little obsessed with framed gifts. There are so many different things you can do. Of course, a framed painting or photo make excellent gifts but think outside the box and consider these other framed ideas.

8.    Learn together

Quality time together is another great gift and we think the best way to do that is by taking a class together. You can learn something new, spend the day with friends, practice your art and improve your skills. If you don’t go together, the gift of a workshop is always a thoughtful idea too.

Forget the romantic dinner, aren’t these 8 fun ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day so much more fun? You get to spend time with your closest friends, create, give, and just enjoy yourself. You don’t have to do much but we do want you to have fun. That’s the most important part! Tell us, which one of these 8 ideas will you be trying this year?

74 Unique Things You Can Put In A Frame

By Nicole Tinkham

frame

With our new framing department and professional framer, Mark Gagnon, here at Keeton’s we got to thinking about all the creative things you could possibly have framed. There’s so much more that can be done than just the typical photo or piece of artwork (although Mark does an incredible job with these as well), so it’s time to think outside the box, look around your home and decide what your next brilliant framing project will be. Read on for 74 unique things you can put in a frame for everything from vintage fans to wine corks.

Note: You’ll see some photos of Mark’s favorite framing projects in the list below. If they have you feeling inspired, give us a call at 941-747-2995 and ask for Mark or email him at markg@keetonsonline.com.

1.    Photos
2.    Paintings
3.    Drawings
4.    Certificates
5.    Awards
6.    Sand (yes, actual sand!)
7.    Coins
8.    Clothing
9.    Maps (shown below: Italian Map Triple Matted)italymap

10.    Letters
11.    Recipes
12.    Newspaper articles
13.    Money
14.    Diploma
15.    Event tickets
16.    Jerseys
17.    Jewelry
18.    License plate
19.    Medals and badges
20.    Mirror
21.    Quilt
22.    Baby shoes
23.    Records (Shown below: Elvis LP with Sleeve and Crescent Mat Cut)
elvislp

24.    Antique nick knacks
25.    Guitar
26.    Leaves/flowers
27.    Stamps
28.    Photography (Shown below: Bird Photo with Fillet)
guestofhonor

29.    Keys
30.    Paper art
31.    Invitation
32.    Pages from a book
33.    Comic books
34.    Board games
35.    Bottle label (Shown below: Wine Cork w/ Bottle Label and wax seal)
mouton

36.    High end shopping bags
37.    Flags
38.    Old architectural sketches
39.    Vintage swimsuits
40.    Stuffed animals
41.    Mixed media (Shown below: Mixed Media into Metal Porthole Frame)
porthole

42.    Buttons
43.    Fabric
44.    Toys
45.    Antique silverware
46.    Rocks and stones
47.    Shells
48.    Post cards (Shown below: Pop Art Post Cards)
jerryjimmiemarilyn
49.    Paint brushes
50.    Ballet shoes
51.    Kid’s artwork
52.    Antique sewing supplies
53.    Wooden design (Shown below: Heart Shaped Wood With Photo and Hand Drawn vines and words)
taylormade
54.    Pocket watch
55.    Bottle of wine
56.    Scrabble pieces
57.    Dry erase board/chalkboard
58.    Illustration art (Show below: Intricate illustration art)
purplerobes

59.    Collage
60.    Origami art
61.    Cards
62.    Holiday ornaments
63.    Feathers
64.    Wine corks (Shown below: Four Corks and a Wax Seal)
4corks

65.    Vintage fan (Shown below: Italian Fan In Shadow Box)
italianfan

66.    Coffee beans
67.    Antique tools
68.    Sheet music
69.    Bouquet
70.    Graduation cap
71.    Bottle caps
72.    Tree branches
73.    Lace
74.    T shirt (Shown below: Bradenton Blues Fest T Shirt)
bluesfest

So now that you have 74 new ideas on the different unique things you’re able to have framed, what will you choose?? And don’t worry if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed. Mark in our custom framing department can walk you through the whole process. Just give us a call at 941-747-2995 and ask for Mark, email him at markg@keetonsonline.com, or stop in to see him!

4 Really Bizaar Ways To Boost Creativity That You Never Thought Of

By Nicole Tinkham

Have you ever been totally stuck on a project to the point that you cannot think of a single creative idea whatsoever? We have all been there and as a creative thinker, we’re sure you’ve already tried all the tricks in the book when it comes to getting out of that creative rut. If you haven’t, you need to take a look at this blog. The things mentioned there do help get your creativity back but if you want 4 incredibly simple and quite bizaar little tricks, read on! These will totally shock you. (Thanks to success.com for the ideas)

1.    Exercise

A good 30 minute sweat session not only does wonders for your health but it also increases your creativity. It’s also great therapy for getting your mind off everyday stresses.

Take it from me: I exercise every single morning, do some reading, then I get in work mode. I can get focused, I have more energy, and the creative ideas start to flow.

If you don’t think you’re the exercise type, find something that you really enjoy doing, even if it’s just a short walk around the block.

2.    Squeeze a stress relief ball

You can typically find stress relief balls in an office setting and you would normally think to use one in a tense and stressful situation. But clenching your hand can also produce some creative thoughts as well. Here’s the weird part. It has to be your left hand. This will trigger a certain area of your brain that gets you thinking creatively.

Try it! You don’t need to have an actual ball to do this. Next time you need a boost of creativity, just clench your left fist. Honestly, we have yet to try this one but we’re hoping it really works!

3.    Listen to music

Of course everyone’s different but we hear from many artists who prefer listening to music as they create versus total silence. This isn’t just a coincidence. Some background noise actually causes slight distraction which is ideal for the creative mind. Think about it; do you ever have trouble focusing when it’s too quiet? Of course you don’t want too much distraction either. They say the perfect level of noise is the same range as a busy city street.

Our suggestion: Take your sketchbook out into the real world. Visit a coffee shop and get some creative ideas on paper. You’ll get that background noise needed to boost creativity and simply changing your environment will also help you with artist’s block.

4.    Raise your eyebrows

This may sound crazy but raising your eyebrows is said to increase your creativity. We thought this one over because is just seemed strange to us but if you think about it, it makes total sense. Your facial expressions have the power to change your mood! Have you ever been a little down but put a smile on anyway and ended up being happier for the rest of the day? If you haven’t, you really need to try that trick. Anyway, raising your eyebrows widens your vision and opens your mind to creative ideas (so they say) and furrowing your eyebrows does the exact opposite.

We haven’t tried this one yet either but would love to hear if it works for you. While you’re at it, wear a smile on your face too 🙂

Next time you just cannot think of a single creative idea, don’t stress. These four bizaar tricks could very well help you boost your creativity. Yeah, they’re a little odd but they’re so simple that it’s worth a try! Tell us, have you tried any of these or do you have some of your own tricks to share? Just leave a comment below!

Interested In Conte Crayons But Don’t Know What They Are Or How To Use Them? Here’s Your Guide!

By Nicole Tinkham

conte

They resemble pastels and are even located in the same general area in your typical art store, but Conte crayons are actually much different. We’ve found that when the average person doesn’t quite know what a product is, how to use it, or what results it produces they skip right past it and move onto something they are familiar with. Do you ever find yourself doing the same thing? While that’s totally normal, we dare you to try at least one new thing this month. That’s right; we’re kicking off the year doing something completely new! And we will strive to bring you a new art supply guide each month to help you pick up a new medium and learn how to use it. This month is all about Conte crayons. Funny thing is, as we were browsing the Keeton’s art department, we glanced at these and instantly thought of pastels. So we did our research, found out how these differ from pastels, how to use them and then came up with this helpful guide. Read on to discover the possibilities of Conte crayons in your next masterpiece.

What are they?

Conte crayons (or sticks) look similar to that of a pastel but are much different. These are a drawing medium made up of compressed charcoal or graphite with the addition of wax or clay mixed in for the base as well as natural pigments for color. Conte crayons are actually commonly used for the initial sketch for a pastel drawing as the colors mix well.

Paper to use them on

You’ll want to use a rough textured paper with Conte crayons as this will hold the pigment better. You can also use a primed canvas for your drawing. Just keep in mind that Conte crayons are better suited for hatched work, not bold lines (as with soft pastels). You’ll notice that many Conte artists use a tinted paper for their drawings, something to consider for a different look.

Conte Crayons versus Pastels and Charcoal

Although Conte crayons look similar to pastels, they are harder and waxier. This means they produce less dust and are easier to control. They actually produce a similar line as charcoal but since they are harder, lines with a Conte crayon will be finer. You’ll also notice that Conte crayons come in different colors but are most commonly found in natural browns, reds, tans, black, and white (great for highlighting). This makes Conte crayons perfect for figure drawing and portraits.

Features

The square sticks are great for producing blocks of pigment, as you would with oil pastels. As mentioned previously, the harder crayon is also great for producing very fine lines. Conte colors are very easily blend-able (we recommend a blending stump) and since they aren’t powdery like charcoal, they work well in layers.

Sharpening

The typical Conte crayon is in a block stick form but it is possible to sharpen. Just use a little sandpaper to sharpen the stick to a chisel point. You can also break the sticks into smaller pieces that are easier to handle.

Working in a medium you’re not too familiar with doesn’t have to be all that scary. It’s important to understand what the medium is, how to use it, and the results it produces before you begin. We also recommend researching helpful techniques and example pieces for inspiration. So now that you know a little bit more about Conte crayons, will you be giving them a try? Let us know in the comments!

6 Ways To Give The Perfect Gift This Holiday Season

gift
By Nicole Tinkham

The holidays shouldn’t be a time of stress but often times the panic sinks in when we see the long wish lists of our family and friends. It can be overwhelming to come up with the perfect gift for each person not to mention pricey! We believe that giving should never be a hassle though. It should be easy and come from the heart. No taking the gift card route this year! We challenge you to pick out a gift for everyone on your list that is something they truly want and need in their life. Give meaning to the gifts you give! Ready? Here are 6 ways to give the perfect gift this holiday season.

1. Pay attention

Start this ahead of time. Spend some quality time with the people closest to you and really study them. Figure out what interests them. Discover the little things they like. They’ll most likely drop subtle hints about what they like and what they need. If you’re really good you can pick up on these little things without the recipient even realizing that they needed that item! Remember that people don’t always ask for what they want which is why it’s important to pay attention well before the holidays. You need to dig deeper. Consider what would make their life easier. What’s something they need to replace? What could they benefit from? This is all about them! So put yourself in their shoes.

2.  Consider personality

When you’re shopping for someone else, look for things they absolutely love and are a little obsessed with (like cats, art, the color purple, a certain football team, coffee). You can actually combine the first point in this blog with this one. Here’s a little equation we came up with..

What they subtly hint they want + something unique to them = the perfect gift
Here’s an example: Someone who loves to read needs a new bookmark. They also love monkeys. Monkey bookmark!

Be sure to find something unique. If everyone knows this person loves monkeys, then they’ll most likely be getting them anything they can find with a monkey on it.  Find something different that no one else would think to get them.

3.  Consider their hobbies

Hobby gifts are so meaningful because they allow the recipient to do something they absolutely love to do. Consider what can help them achieve their goals. What do they want to learn more about? What can help them in their career? What do they like to do just for fun? What do they like to do with their friends and family? These are the types of gifts that can drastically change lives! It’s all about learning new skills, becoming a better person, and moving forward with a passion.

True story from Nicole: One year I got my husband a bunch of medical books (what to expect in med school, a medical dictionary, and some other fun ones). It may sound like a boring gift to some people but that’s where his passion lies. It helped him get excited for med school and the journey he’s on.

4.  Give to a cause

Even with the incredible ideas in this blog post, there’s bound to be someone on your list who’s impossible to shop for. Some people honestly don’t want anything or they just seem to have everything already. That doesn’t mean you can slack off with a gift card though. A really creative gift idea is to give to a cause they’re passionate about. You’ll still have to get to know that person and determine the charity they would most want to give to. Do your homework on the recipient and give to a cause under their name. It’s a unique gift idea that they’ll truly appreciate.

5. Give your time

Never underestimate the value of time! We are all short on time so when we can give our time to help someone else out, it becomes such a powerful gift. You’ll have to get a little creative with this. Think about what skills you have to offer. Can you help with a home project? Watch their kids or pets? Make them a nice dinner? It may seem like a simple gift but just allowing them some extra peace and quiet in their lives can go a long way.

6. Make something

You are a creative person! Whether you’re an artist or not, we believe that you do have a creative side. We all do! Get artsy and make gifts like ornaments, baked goods, goodies in mason jars, poems, and more. If you don’t make the actual gift, consider adding your personal touch through handmade cards and wrapping paper. Crafty gifts are meaningful because they require time and effort. There’s endless possibilities when it comes to handmade gifts so get your thinking cap on and create something perfect for the person on your list. Remember, you always have to keep them and what they like in mind first.

Giving gifts should only put you more into the holiday spirit. It shouldn’t stress you out or make you dread the holidays. Use this opportunity to get to know your friends and family a little more. Follow these 6 ways to give the perfect gift and have fun coming up with clever ideas they’ll absolutely love. If nothing else just spread love and joy to everyone you see. Tell us, what type of gifts are you giving this holiday season?

Everything You Need To Know About Bullet Journaling And Keeping Your Life Organized

buet-journaling
By Nicole Tinkham

There’s a new cooler way to keep track of your happenings! Go ahead and ditch that non creative planner and jump on board with us as we discover the craze of the year, bullet journaling. Having a creative mind doesn’t mean you have an excuse to be unorganized. We’ll show you how you can be artsy and still have everything in order through a journaling/planning technique that can change your life. Read on for everything you need to know about bullet journaling and keeping your life organized.

What it is

Put simply, a bullet journal is a customizable to-do list, journal, planner, organizer, calendar and note taker all in one book. With this type of journal you can create your own pages which allow it to work with you and your schedule rather than you having to fit your priorities into a pre-made planner like we’re used to doing. Before you get all crazy with your notes and ideas, know that your bullet journal should be super structured and there’s a reason for that. It’s designed for you to be productive, keep up with reaching your goals, and weed out the unimportant tasks that can hold you back. Not everyone is a structured person and that’s fine. Your journal should have at least some structure but you can also make it your own.

Why you should try it

Not all planners will suit your needs. Have you ever bought a planner that doesn’t provide enough room to write the tasks and appointments you need to? Or maybe the planner is too big when you’d really like something smaller. Or maybe you’d like to track something (like a food journal) that a typical planner doesn’t allow for. This is why you need a bullet journal for total customization!

For the creative thinkers who don’t like structure but also need to get organized, this is for you. It’s perfectly acceptable to doodle in a bullet journal. In fact, it’s highly encouraged. You can make it your own and it’s a fun way to get used to organization in your life.

So many times we think having a different list for everything helps us stay organized when in reality, it just stresses us out even more. Think about it. You have your grocery list, your to-do list, your brainstorm of creative ideas list, and more. Having all these different types of lists everywhere can be distracting. With a bullet journal it’s all right there in one notebook making your life easier.

You can set goals for yourself and actually make them happen. Since you can customize this journal, you can include your big goals and areas that you need to work on and fill them in daily. Having your goals and tasks clearly written will keep them in the front your mind so you can achieve them.

You can be totally unique and artsy! Add some color, doodles, fancy handwriting, fun washi tape, and more. This seriously takes planners to the next level.

Every day can be organized differently and you can change things up as needed. You can’t do that with other planners. You won’t get bored and you’ll discover new and better ways to staying organized.

You can add in a habit tracker to help you stay on track with good habits. It’s simple too! Every day you do something right, you fill in a square for the day. This will show your consistency, where you need to improve, and will help you get better at doing that habit. This is especially helpful to visual people who like to actually see their progress on paper.

You can put in as much time as you want. You can set up your day in just 2 minutes or you could spend more time reflecting and jotting down each detail. You can make it super simple but most people like to spend some more time on it and make it look nice too.

You don’t need any fancy supplies, unless you want them! All you really need is a grid journal and a pen. Colorful pens, highlighters, stickers, and other embellishments are just an added bonus.

Different ways to do it

There are two ways to go about bullet journaling: Setting it up 100% yourself as we’ve talked about or purchasing one with premade pages.

It may sound like the premade books go against everything we’ve said about customizing your own journal but hear us out. If there’s a specific goal you have in mind, there may be a journal out there to help you reach that goal specifically. For example, we’ve seen nutrition bullet journals that are set up to plan for meals as well as other things. Even if you go with this option, it won’t be like a typical planner. These are creatively designed and provide you with what you should need to achieve your goals.

If you take the DIY route, all you’ll nead is a gridded journal (in any type and size) and a pen. You’ll be writing everything out yourself but you can use the guidelines below for marking tasks to help you stay organized.

Simple dot = Task
X = Task complete
> = Task Migrated
< = Task Scheduled
O = Events
= Notes
* = Gives task priority
! = Creative idea/inspiration
An eye drawing = Further research required

You’ll also want to leave a few pages in the beginning of your journal open for the index which is what brings everything together. You’ll have to number your journal pages which can be time consuming but it’s definitely worth it in the end. As you work through your book, simply add topics to your index and indicate which page number they are on.

Top tips

•    Create a weekly log where you brain dump all the things you want to get done for the week but not sure which days you’ll do them.

•    Break your days up into time periods. Several tasks don’t feel so daunting when they’re grouped by time and importance.

•    Separate your events in a creative way with doodles or washi tape.

•    Include your reading and movie wish list into a to-do list

•    Get a quality notebook that you absolutely love. We recommend Moleskine.

•    Use a ruler to help you create straight lines.

•    Use planner stencils to help you create fun shapes.

•    Use colorful page flags to help you easily find the page you need.

•    Create a “waiting on” list. This is great for when you place an order for something and are waiting for it to be delivered. Be sure to include the arrival date so you can track it!

•    Have a section to set monthly and weekly goals.

•    Create fun themes by doodling around your lists.

•    Log your memories. Jot down certain words that remind you of a particular event or doodle it.

•    Include a gratitude section.

•    Have fun with your headers on each page. Learn new creative lettering and just have fun with it.

•    Develop a planning routine. Sit down to plan each month, week, and day. Take the time to do this and in the end you’ll be more organized and will actually save yourself time.

Still don’t think bullet journaling is for you? We DARE YOU to give it a try just for a month or two. We totally believe in the power of keeping goals organized and how fun you can make this normally boring task if you do it right. We think bullet journaling will blow your mind! It’s totally different than anything you’ve ever seen before.  Give it a try and be sure to let us know how it goes!