14 Tips: Stretch Yourself Creatively

Hurricane Hole
(pastel, 24×36) by Sally Loughridge

Pastelist Sally Loughridge shares 13 healthy art habits to nourish your practice of painting in the December issue of The Pastel Journal. (Click here to download your digital copy.) We’ve excerpted the artist’s tips for stretching yourself below:

  • Pushing beyond your comfort zone often leads to creative growth. Try one of these exercises when you need a shove:
  • Work in a different size—try painting bigger or smaller than you do typically.
  • Paint upside-down—Start a painting placed upside-down on your easel and work on it this way for at least 30 minutes.
  • Paint a self-portrait; it’s a venerable tradition.
  • Paint abstractly for five to 15 minutes every day for a week to reflect your changing emotional state.
  • Cut up (and re-assemble) value sketches into puzzle pieces defined by value shapes.
  • Work with a complementary underpainting (painting the green areas red and the blue areas orange, for example).
  • Create a painting from a unique vantage point, perhaps looking uphill.Paint a series of square paintings.
  • Pay attention to creating positive tension within each, rendering some as visually horizontal and others as visually vertical compositions.
  • Paint only the texture (bark or fur, for example) of something, filling the entire painting surface with it.
  • Compose a landscape painting with either a very high or very low horizon line.
  • Imagine and paint an aerial perspective—take the bird’s eye view.
  • Create a painting consisting of primarily soft edges (mist, fog, for example) without using any finger-blending.
  • Select a haiku (or write one of your own) and depict it in a painting.
  • Select a subject which requires you to convey movement (wind, tide, dancers, cars, for example) using stroke direction and pressure, edges, value and temperature shifts, etc.

See more creative boosters at www.pasteljournal.com/article/pastel-creative-boosters.


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