Thursday, June 10, 2010

Thursday's Thoughts... *what to do * what to do * what to do*

What do you do when all those ideas are having a fight inside your brain? 

Well, maybe your brain is a little more neat and tidy than my brain.  Sometimes my brain resembles a three ring circus after the pony got tangled up with the trapeze artist because the trained poodle got away after the lion tamer lost his whip and the lion...

Well, you get the idea.  My brain overflows with ideas and I need to rein it in sometimes!  (More like all of the time *winks* but who's counting, right?!)  Anyway, I have found a wonderful way to focus my creative juices and keep the artistic momentum going.  I follow several 'challenges'.  Even if I don't complete the challenge in time to enter it on the blog or website, I still have the original idea and I have thought about what I would sketch or paint for the challenge.  

So, what are these 'challenges'?  Well, they vary from group to group.  Some are specific to a media, some to a subject, some to a time frame, and some to a combination of things.  Here are the ones that I follow and try to occasionally contribute to ~

7 Card Draw ACEO thread on Etsy ~ This is the current monthly thread.  Challenges to create art are posted in the thread by the members of the thread.  There is even a chance to win artwork by posting in the thread.  The challenges give lots of ideas to create art which could be used for any size artwork - not just ACEOs (2.5 x 3.5 inch creations).  Each month, a new thread is started - so just search for 7 Card Draw in the Etsy forums and you should find it.

The Twenty Minute Challenge ~ Create a piece of artwork - your choice of size, media, and subject - within 20 minutes!  It's amazing what you can finish in 20 minutes - but it does take a LOT of focus!

The Virtual pARTy ~ A photo (always with an equine subject) is posted and you have 24 hours to complete a painting using all or part of that photo.  It's a good exercise to study the photograph for a day before tackling the actual painting because it really makes me think about what is really important in this painting.  There are other similar groups out there with general photographs, too - I just happen to love horses, so this group is great for me.

Illustration Friday ~ Again, you may use any size, media, style - whatever - here it is all about the subject and how you interpret it.  You can sign up to have the topic emailed to you each week (works great for me!  no brain cells used to remember to go check it out!  *lol*)  Your subject will always be one word.  This week, it's:  slither.  Caution, strong, muddy, subterranean, brave, pioneer, and blur have been some of the more recent challenges.

2 Things Challenge ~ This is similar to Illustration Friday, except that you get two words that you have to combine into one piece of artwork. The latest challenge is said/done.  A couple of recent challenges have been organic/chaos and brilliant/hidden.

Shadow Shot Sunday ~ Hey Harriet has a great feature on her blog called Shadow Shot Sunday.  It's a photography challenge and it centers around a shadow.  Yes, I am primarily a painter - but shadows and negative space are crucial to determine the focal point of the main focus in your painting.  By training your mind to focus on shadows as well as the well lit 'main' areas, you will see all kinds of things you have previously missed.

One of the main reasons to try out a challenge is because you will be surprised.  When you open the email, follow the link, or check the blog, you will see the challenge for the first time.  You will not have said 'what shall I do?' and come up with an idea.  The element of surprise is sometimes just what we need to give us a little creative push.

Try it ~ just once!  Pick one of these and take a challenge!  And enjoy the creative journey along the way =)


PS The little ACEO is Sibling Rivalry - originally a watercolor painting that answered a challenge for "sibling rivalry" in the ACEO Bounty Challenge thread when it was active on Etsy.

Don't forget, all you creative people,  check out my post, Calling all creative people..., post an answer to my question - I want your opinion - and have a chance to win!  Details are in the blog post.  Thanks!


  1. Kathy thanks for all the insight on 7 card draw. I did not realize there are so many diferent challeges. I love a good challenge, will check it out closely

  2. Love the challenges they do give you great ideas.

  3. Wow, Kathy...nice list. I could not even keep up with Shadow Shot Sunday...:) But I do love our thread for 7 card draw.

  4. so many challenges, so little time! I was doing the illustration friday for a while, but fell out of the habit....
    thanks for the links!

    ps - I swear this is the third time I've tried to follow you, lol! hopefully this time 'takes'.

  5. Challenges are a great source for inspiration as well :)

  6. hehe - I think it 'took' this time, pink ;-)

    I love challenges, too - I don't try to do ALL of these all the time, though - I do jump in when time permits. Sometimes just letting the ideas percolate for a challenge really helps to stimulate the creativity!

  7. You sure have a lot of great places to get your inspiration from! Thank you for sharing them with us!


Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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