New Year Checklist – 10 Things Every Artist Needs To Do

By Nicole Tinkham

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Getting ready for the New Year doesn’t have to be crazy and overwhelming with serious goals and planning. It’s great to have some goals laid out, an idea of where you want to be by the end of the year, and to get organized too. But we also think it’s important to HAVE FUN!! On this list of 10 things every artist needs to do for the New Year, you’ll notice that something fun is included in more than half of the tasks on the list. And if you find a daunting task you don’t want to do, turn it into a game or reward yourself for completing it!

•    Have a new sketchbook ready to go (open it up every day!)

•    Get organized for peace of mind

•    Make a list of things you want to learn – Plan to attend an art workshop, save YouTube videos, buy a new art book, or subscribe to an art magazine

•    Plan something fun – we all need a break. Plan a vacation at some point next year or even a staycation if you have nowhere to go

•    Have your goal and action plan written down

•    Plan regular friend and family time! It’s easy to get so wrapped up in our own little world that we forget to spend time with the ones we love

•    Have an open mind – Do something wild, crazy, unexpected, out of the norm, and anything that takes you out of your comfort zone

•    Buy fun colored Post-it Notes to write yourself positive notes and reminders

•    Change up your art room for creative inspiration and more room for new supplies 🙂

•    Get your artist portfolio in line

We believe that having fun is the best way to start the New Year, wouldn’t you agree? Doing something you enjoy is easier to stick with than something you don’t. Start doing some of the things on this list, have fun with it, and don’t stress about starting a new year. Tell us, will you follow this checklist when heading into the New Year?

6 Things To Consider When Starting A Craft Group

By Nicole Tinkham

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Do you ever find yourself in a creative rut? The best way to get out of that rut is by discovering fresh new ideas. And the best way to discover these new ideas is by learning something new. The answer? CRAFT GROUPS! A craft group is a gathering of creative minds working on projects together. We mentioned crafty parties in a previous blog but now we’re talking about regular meetings. We understand that putting something like this together can be overwhelming with meeting times, location, projects, cost, food, and more. But we’ve also realized how simple it can be if done right. For instance, having a different hostess each month can take a lot of the pressure off of you. Read on for 6 things to consider when starting a craft group.

1. Initial questions – Figure out what type of group this will be and who will attend

What’s the goal of the craft group? – Improve skills? Make new friends? Swap ideas?

Who do you want in the group? – What are they into? How old are they? What other hobbies do they have? What’s their home life like (married, children, etc.)?

When, where, and how often would you like to meet? This can be decided in the first meeting as a group discussion.

What type of projects will you focus on? – Of course you can do a variety of different crafts but it may be helpful starting with something specific like paper crafts or jewelry making.

2. Ways to get started – How to spread the word and invite people

Word of mouth – Start with your group of friends and host your first meeting among like minded people. Then have those friends invite some of their friends next time who might be interested. You can see how this has potential to grow quickly. It depends on the space available but if you have a large area and a few people instructing, you can turn these groups into something huge. But if you want to keep it small, we recommend about 10 people.

Social media group – You can meet a ton of new people in Facebook crafting groups. Form relationships with these people first before inviting them to your craft group and if they aren’t local you could try a virtual craft group.

Meetup.com – This is a social gathering tool where you can find a ton of different groups centered around various hobbies. Create your own to get more local artists in your craft group!

3. The details – What you need to start thinking about

Length of time (we recommend two hour sessions)

How often – Once a month works well for most people.

Each person pays the hostess for supplies – $10 to $20 typically works well but it depends on the project.

Things work out nicely when the hostess provides the supplies so people don’t have to bring their own. However, if they want to bring something special (like a particular craft paper) that’s fine too.

The hostess should also be the instructor but the hostess can switch from person to person each month.

It’s a good idea to email the invites and have recipients RSVP by a certain date so the hostess can get everything ready. Also consider requiring those who RSVP pay the fee even if they don’t show up.

You can also host the group at a place where you can rent space if you have little room in your house.

Have others bring the food. We recommend keeping it simple and nothing too messy!
Set up supplies ahead of time, make sure you have plenty of space, and have extension cords ready if needed.

Complete an example of the project so others can mimic it. Also be sure to float around to help others when they have questions.

Consider dry time and the tools needed. Some projects may not be dry in time to do the whole thing in one session. And certain tools like a saw for wooden projects may not be the best idea in a group like this.

4. Your first meeting

Do something simple that doesn’t take long.

Plan for future meetings and brainstorm project ideas together. You can even vote on projects that people want to do in the future.

Act as if this is a trial run. It doesn’t have to be perfect but from the first meeting you’ll learn and be able to make changes for future meetings.

Start with just a few close friends so you don’t overwhelm yourself.

Do a project you’re confident with and can easily explain.

5. Why form a craft club?

To try things you wouldn’t normally do on your own

To learn new things from other creative people

To meet new friends in your area

To gain a social life and escape the stresses of life

To be inspired and get your creative spark back

6. Craft ideas

Holiday themed projects

Cards

Crochet

Jewelry

Get more ideas on Pinterest and get the whole group involved

Don’t let the planning part of a craft group hold you back from starting your own! Determining what type of group it will be with what type of people, switching hosts every month, planning it out as a group, and having a fun purpose behind it sets you up for success. The key is having fun. It doesn’t matter if there are slip ups or few people attend your first one. Make it fun anyway!

Tell us, do you have a craft group you’re part of? What are your best tips for starting one?

26 Killer Art Tips From Real Artists

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By Nicole Tinkham and the Keeton’s Facebook fans

We’ve asked for our Facebook fan’s best art tips in the past (view them here) but the helpful tips we receive from talented and experienced artists is never ending and we just can’t get enough of what they have to say. These are artists who have been through it all. They’ve struggled, received negative feedback, experienced times of being totally stuck, and they keep getting back up and continue to do what they love every single day. We all could learn so much from these artists and lucky for us they love to share their best tips! Read on for 26 killer art tips from real artists.

1.    Don’t be afraid to fail. It’s ok to fail, it’s what you do after the failure that matters. Learn something new from it and move on. (Artist Vanessa)

2.    Recognize your small ember of creative spark. It may one day become a creative explosion. (Artist Tia)

3.    Do your art from your heart and do it out of joy. (Artist Terry)

4.    Learn from other artists, don’t be intimidated by them. And practice every day! (Artist Jamie)

5.    Always turn mistakes into an active part of your art. (Artist Tami)

6.    Invest in a good book to teach yourself. (Artist Jnett)

7.    Create something every day, even if it’s just a scribble on paper. Keep going until you see the beauty. (Artist CJ)

8.    Focus on what you like to do and keep doing it. (Artist Vera)

9.    Ask artist friends for advice. (Artist Vera)

10.    Keep your coffee mug and your paint cup separate. (Artist Jamie)

11.    Find someone who gives you encouragement versus critique. We learn better with positive energy around us. (Artist Diane)

12.    Never be too hard on yourself. (Artist Tina)

13.    Join an art class! Creating with others is more inspiring and fun. (Artist Chuck)

14.    Honor your true self and don’t worry about what others think.(Artist Karla)

15.    There are no mistakes – push yourself beyond what you think you can do. (Artist Chris)

16.    Create because you are happy doing it, not because you want to prove something to others. (Artist Zhel)

17.    Go for patience, not perfection! (Artist Denise)

18.    Don’t judge your work, just enjoy it. (Artist KC)

19.    Some things will turn out and some things won’t. Either way it’s ok. (Artist Sue)

20.    If you feel it, do it and get it out. (Artist Cynthia)

21.    Never, ever give up. (Artist Rita)

22.    Try everything! (Artist Hayley)

23.    Keep doing your artwork every single day. (Artist Sandra)

24.    Set goals for improvement. (Artist Renee)

25.    Say to yourself “I AM an artist”. (Artist Renee)

26.    Experiment after you learn the basics. (Artist Charles)

There you have it. 26 Tips from real artists who have survived the struggles, learned from them, and are now sharing them to help you move past the difficult times that come with being an artist. This right here is a list to print out and read over whenever you hit a tough place. While all of these are excellent tips, our favorite has got to be having fun. Whether it’s in your art or any other hobby you pick up, always enjoy life.

6 Ways To Get Motivated And Finish Your Artwork

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By Nicole Tinkham

“Art Attack: The overwhelming feeling of having so many creative ideas at once and not enough time to do them.”

Many of our artist friends experience these “art attacks” and feel totally overwhelmed. They stop what they’re doing to begin something new and have a difficult time getting back to previous artwork to finish them up. Or sometimes they go into a piece excited about it and get stuck halfway through. Maybe they aren’t sure how to do a particular technique and they lose their drive. Regardless of what’s causing them to stop a project, artists have SEVERAL unfinished pieces, according to our Facebook poll. There are some artists with 50+ projects that they can’t seem to get around to finishing! With that being the top issue we’ve been hearing about lately, read on for 6 ways to get motivated and finish your artwork.

1.    Remember your strengths

It’s a fact. When we’re really good at something, we are more motivated to do it. So if you’re stuck on a project, ask yourself how you can make your special talents shine to finish it off. If you just don’t know what to do next, look at some of your favorite artwork that you’ve done in the past. What do you like most about them? Can you incorporate that into your current piece?

If it’s a lack of skill that’s holding you back but you already have an idea of what you want to do, you need to study it! Look up YouTube videos, browse books, ask artist friends, or take a class. Fill your mind with knowledge and practice it every day until you get it. It may be a challenge but remember that the little stumbles along the way mean you’re growing and improving.

Take action: List out the skills and techniques you’re really good at. This will not only give you some ideas for the unfinished project but it will also boost your confidence. You may even be inspired to learn something new.

2.    Do it for fun

Sometimes what holds us back from completing artwork is the fear of messing up. You may notice that it’s more difficult to finish artwork that you’re making for someone else or trying to sell. But when it’s just for fun and you do it because you want to, you’re free to be loose and play a little more. Take the pressure off yourself and remember why you choose to do this every day, because you enjoy it and have fun with it.

Take action: Look back at some of your early artwork, the work that you did while learning, experimenting, and playing. You were creating these simply because you enjoyed doing it. You had no other agenda. Remember the feeling you get when you create just to create and apply that to the work you’re struggling to finish. Remember there are no mistakes in art, only happy accidents.

3.    Adjust your environment

The place in which you create has a huge impact on how you work. Have you ever noticed that a certain song, place, sound, scent, time of day, or emotion gets you in the mood to create? These are like triggers telling your body you need to be doing it. So if you’re feeling a little off one day, it could be your surroundings. Before getting out that painting from the past, set the mood and get in your creative place.

Take action: Take a look around you. Are you in a creative space? Is there anything distracting in the area? Do you have good lighting? Take everything into consideration. If this doesn’t work, try something different. Take your work outside if you’re used to working in the studio. This often times brings new inspiration.

4.    Set a deadline

We admit, the word “deadline” feels way too structured when it comes to having fun with your artwork but sometimes a set date is exactly what you need to get moving on a project. Set goals for yourself, get focused, and aim to meet those deadlines! Even if the artwork is just for you, still set deadlines that you’ll strive to meet. Having an accountability partner can help you with this. Check in with that person to keep on track with getting it done.

Take action: Take a look at the projects you want to finish up within in the next few months. Now open up your calendar and set a date that you will have them done by. Be sure to set progress deadlines as well for larger projects so you can see how far you’ve come and be sure you’re still on track with the big deadline.

5.    Leave your comfort zone

Doing something totally out of the norm could cause new creative ideas to spring up. When you try something new and even a bit scary, you take yourself out of your element which could benefit your artwork as well as yourself. Your “something scary” doesn’t have to be art related though. Any different experience can cause a shift in your thinking. This shift could bring about new creative ideas for that project you’ve been putting off.

Take action: Make a commitment to something you’ve never done before that takes you out of your comfort zone. Sign up for a class, take a trip, or attend an event that you normally wouldn’t.

6.    Get focused

Sometimes what holds us back from getting things done are distractions. Have you ever experienced artist ADD where you stop halfway through a project to begin on another project that just popped into your head?  It’s difficult to stop that creative mind of yours (and we wouldn’t necessarily want you to) but we recommend getting super focused on the project at hand. Eliminate all distractions including your phone! If a creative idea pops into your head jot it down in your sketch book and continue with your project.

Take action: Get your unfinished piece out and everything you need to work on it. Make sure all other unfinished work is out of sight so you can focus on the one you’re planning to finish.

We think it’s great that you have so many creative ideas that you can’t keep up with them all. We don’t want you to stop being creative but we also know that having a ton of unfinished artwork can be overwhelming. Plus, it’s important to show completed pieces that you’ve been working on! Every artist has their own way of working and we completely understand that. Some artists work well on multiple projects at once. Try these helpful ways to get motivated to finish your artwork but choose to go with a method that works best for you. Sometimes no matter what you do, you just can’t get motivated at all. If a piece is doing nothing for you, paint over it! Do something different with it. Take it in a new direction. We are always changing and something we were once excited for may not give us that feeling anymore. There’s nothing wrong with going with the changes and evolving as an artist.

Whether you finish a piece of artwork or not, just remember to keep creating! Don’t allow yourself to get so caught up in a particular piece that you no longer want to create.

How To Find Inspiration Without Comparing Yourself To Others

By Nicole Tinkham

How To Find Inspiration Without Comparing Yourself To Others

There is a fine line between being inspired by another artist and comparing yourself to another artist. One can lift you up and take your artwork to a new level and the other can leave you crashing down, wanting to give up. No matter what area of your life (art related or otherwise) that you’re trying to improve upon, the journey can be a rollercoaster ride. One minute you feel like a total rock star ready to take on the world and the next you feel worthless. Have you ever experienced this? If you’re wondering what the happy medium between being inspired and comparing yourself is, we have the answer! Here’s the FIRST THING you need to do when taking a look at another artist’s work.

Remember that everyone is on their own journey

Everyone is at a different stage of their journey. You cannot compare yourself to a professional artist of 30 years when you’re only on day #1 of your art journey. That’s like comparing a child just learning to ride a bike to Lance Armstrong. That just sounds silly, right? Even with the same number years of experience, you still can’t compare yourself to someone else simply because you are not them. The number of years has nothing to do with it. How much time does this other artist put into their artwork and how often do they take the time to learn new techniques? It’s hard to say and unless you are that person, you don’t know for sure. Another big component of success is mental. If you’re not in the right mindset, it is very difficult to move forward. Again, you have no idea what this other artist’s mindset is like. You cannot compare.

There are so many variables that go into really great artwork. It’s easy to make up stories about other people and how they got to where they are today but it’s impossible to know the real story. Don’t even waste your time trying to figure it out or stressing and worrying over it. It’s also easy to make up stories about yourself and why you aren’t as good or why you never sell any of your artwork. These stories are not your reality! Remember that you have the power to change your story. Start speaking with confidence and that alone will go a long way.

Put your blinders on

If you find yourself getting too distracted by the other incredible artists around you, get laser focused on your own work! Spend some extra time learning a new technique or try something that you’ve never done before. How can you push yourself to new levels? We also recommend picking up a personal development book to help you work on your mindset. This will go a long way in helping you grow as a person and build up your confidence. Be consistent with your personal development and get it in every day!

Be open to learn something new

There’s always something new to be learned. It’s ok to look to others for inspiration as long as you don’t compare yourself to them. Instead of saying “I wish I was that talented”, start saying “I will learn how to do that”. Always ask questions. Ask other artists, look it up in books, YouTube videos, or Google it. The answers are out there and you can do anything you really want to with a little research and practice.

The key to finding art inspiration without comparing yourself to other artists is to remember that everyone’s different. You will never be just like anyone else and no one else will ever be just like you. That’s a good thing! Find your unique qualities and skills and use them to your advantage. Play around and discover what you’re really good at and allow yourself to shine! Embrace imperfections and keep working on yourself.

Tell us, when you do look to another artist for inspiration who inspires you most? Let us know in the comments!

11 Unique Forms Of Art That You Haven’t Tried Before

By Nicole Tinkham

11 Unique Forms Of Art That You Haven’t Tried Before

I’m always encouraging artists (or anyone, really) to try new things. Mostly in the art world it’s all about trying a new medium you aren’t used to. This could spark new creativity to get out of a creative rut as well as improve your art skills all around. I often recommend subtle shifts like switching from acrylics to watercolor or from pencil drawing to pastels. These changes can be huge as these mediums vary greatly. However, if you’re really looking to do something different and get out of your comfort zone, why not try your hand at cake decorating or quilting? The idea is to try something totally different and foreign to you. This will really open up possibilities. If you’re not a fan of change, keep an open mind and just try it out.  It’s not like you have to stick with it forever. If you want to try something different but not sure what, here are 11 unique forms of art that you haven’t tried before. Even if you have tried a few of these, there’s probably one or two you haven’t!

1.    Cake decorating
One of my favorite things in the world is food so turn it into a piece of artwork and I’m instantly awed. You don’t have to stop at cake decorating either. You can decorate cookies, chocolate covered fruit, and much more.

2.    Quilting
There are so many creative things you can do in the world of quilting! I remember my mom used to make really fun quilts for the family. My favorite as a kid was one made with all my old clothes. Get some use out of those scrap pieces of fabric and try out quilting!

3.    Musical instrument
So many times we forget about music when we think of art (or at least I do). Learning how to play a new instrument may be just the thing you need to mix up your creativity a little bit.

4.    Sculpting
If you’re used to working on a canvas, try taking your art 3D with sculpting.

5.    Jewelry making
When I was into jewelry making a few years ago, I quickly learned that it’s all about color! Oh and patience. But you always start with a pattern and have your bead colors picked out. If you’re a color person like me, you’ll do well with jewelry making.

6.    Embroidery
I have been seeing the most unique embroidery pieces lately. Get creative with it. I even saw one artist who embroiders on plastic bags!

7.    Graffiti art
Graffiti art is our jam right now with our community wall right here at Keeton’s. Anyone can stop by and leave their mark on our warehouse 🙂

8.    Woodworking
Woodworking is another form of art I easily forget about but there are so many possibilities. My father used to make the most beautiful wooden jewelry boxes for us. You can even get into wood burning if you don’t have all the tools necessary to build your own pieces.

9.    Graphic design
Typically for graphic design, you’ll need a few special programs on your computer but if you already have Photoshop or Illustrator, we suggest playing around with them! There’s so much you can do and learn by taking your artwork digital.

10.    Photography
You may be used to taking reference photos for your artwork but how much do you really know about photography? Taking a quick course or finding YouTube videos can teach you a lot. Just think of all the incredible photos you’ll be able to take of your paintings.

11.    Glass blowing
This has been something that has always fascinated me. I guess the thing holding me back from giving it a try is not knowing where to start. Doing a quick Google search, I see that there are actually classes on glass blowing. Definitely something to look into!

Sometimes you just need to try something new and that’s the beauty behind creative work. There are endless possibilities, various difficulty levels, and numerous skill sets. Whether you’re an artist in a creative rut or just someone looking to find their creative side, these 11 unique forms of art are sure to get you out of your comfort zone (as long as you choose something you’ve never done before). You may hate doing some of these things but you never know until you try it so set your fear of failure aside and just get started!

From this list, which of these unique forms of art have you tried??

4 Ways To Beat The Heat And Stay Creative This Summer

By Nicole Tinkham

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Being located in Florida, we know all about heat and humidity in the middle of summer and it is not fun! It’s difficult enough to make it out of the house and to the car without losing it let alone trying to work your brain and get the creative juices flowing. Sure, you can lock yourself in the house but we all have a need for some fresh air every once in awhile. I don’t know about you but I love being outside so the summers can be really difficult for me to get anything done. All I want to do is drop the AC and take a nap! And one thing I’ve realized is that everyone is experiencing this brutal summer weather, not just those in Florida. If you’re in a rut like I am, read on for 4 ways to beat the heat and stay creative this season.

1.    Create an inspiring space inside

We would normally encourage you to take your artwork outside to mix it up a little but we know there will be days in the summer that venturing out anywhere just won’t be happening. Guess what? You don’t have to let staying in stop you from doing something different! Do some work on your art studio and give it a makeover. Rearrange things, get organized, add some plants to the area, hang your artwork on the wall, or create an inspiration board. This way you don’t feel stuck in the same space throughout the summer. Small changes can go a long way!

2.    Work by a window

If you can, do your creative thinking by a window. You (kinda) get the best of both worlds by seeing the outside world and enjoying the sun rays all while being nice and cool inside. If you have a sun room that can be transformed into an art studio that is perfect! But we understand that this isn’t possible for everyone. Sitting by a window to sketch or brainstorm can help get those creative juices flowing.

3.     Head to the pool or beach

If you do manage to leave the house and want to work on your artwork outside, keep cool by the pool or the beach. If you don’t do this often, it could be a great source of inspiration. Other options to keep cool would be going to a coffee shop to sketch or attending an art workshop at your favorite art supply store 🙂 You may be inside but at least you’re getting out to do something different.

4.    Stay safe outside

Whether you’re sitting by a window, heading to the beach or just running out to the store for more supplies it’s important to stay safe. Bring a bottle of water with you everywhere you go to stay hydrated and wear sunscreen (even when you’re only sitting by a window!).

When it comes to being productive with your art this summer, you have two options. You can stay inside or brave it and venture out in the heat. Either way, it’s important to be SMART about your decision. If you’re heading out, be sure to stay cool by the pool or the beach, drink plenty of water, and wear sunscreen every time you leave the house. It takes some planning but it’s better to be prepared than to be miserable once you get out there. If you decide to stay inside, make some changes to your work space so you don’t feel trapped inside and end up falling into a creative rut. Move things around and be sure to surround yourself with plenty of inspiration. You can pick either option but whatever you do, don’t let this summer hold you back! Let it push you forward with new inspiration.

Tell us, what’s your plan for the summer? Will you be staying in or taking your artwork outside?