There’s a lot of focus today on whom you love, but it’s a great day to also think about WHAT you love. Understanding what you love (and equally important, what you DON’T love) is a key part of unlocking your voice as an artist. Knowing what you love is also an important part of understanding what sparks your creativity. So how do you figure out what you love? Here are three steps to get you started:
- List – Take a piece of paper and make three columns, one for “Love,” one for “Don’t Love,” and one for “Maybe.” Start by writing whatever comes first to your mind, putting things in the appropriate column. Then, start brainstorming. Are there particular artistic media that you love, don’t love or aren’t so sure about? Within a media that you may love, are there techniques that you prefer and ones you don’t? How about hobbies that you love? Are there subjects or topics like history, the novels of Jane Austen, or human rights that you are particularly passionate about? List as much as you can. It may feel like a lot of ground to cover, but without this exercise, I doubt I would have clearly seen that I love precision, piecing within quilting, jewel-toned colors, and Islamic tilework, all of which led directly to my Arabesques series.
- Question – Now, go back over your lists and ask yourself, “Is there anything on this list that I put here because I thought I should but not because I really love it? If you really love pink, but put it on your “Don’t Love” list because people in your life made you feel silly for loving it as an adult, move it to the “Love” column. Did you put something like “human rights” in your “Love” column because it’s important and you think you should feel passionately about it? Move it. Other people feel passionately about stuff like that; maybe it’s not your calling. Be true to yourself and honest about what really moves you.
- Experiment – What’s in your “Maybe” column? If there’s anything that you’re unsure about, play with it and see what you think.
Once you have a good idea of what you love, spend more time doing that and less time doing the things that you don’t. And those things that you feel like you should do? Show yourself a little love today and definitely spend less time on those! Happy Valentine’s Day!
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