Sunday, February 3, 2013

I guess I was in need of a challenge...

I don't know about you, but sometimes I get stuck in a rut.  Or just stuck...where inspiration doesn't come.  Or there's so much going on in my noggin that I can't pin down one idea and do it.  I'm very bad for that last one.  I want to do EVERYTHING right the point where I do nothing but think about doing things instead of actually doing them.  

I was feeling that way earlier this week.  Stuck.  I was doing a million things at once, on little sleep, after having two wisdom teeth pulled (I have found I hate teeth, by the way, but that's a story for a different day...),  working overtime and Saturdays at my day job for a while now, dealing with some stress at home...the list goes on and on...just like everybody's list of frustrating things, I know!  Art and other crafty things are such a nice way to get through life's little frustrating moments without FREAKING OUT too badly.  

But even being artsy fartsy was not helping me that day.  Because I was sitting there putting pencil to paper, but not really thinking about it at all...thinking about all the frustrating things instead...and getting more frustrated because I was just in a puppy-kicking mood...and I love puppies (I would NEVER kick a's just my phrase for a really bad mood...don't go kicking puppies when you're frustrated and try and tell PETA it was my idea...I'm telling you now, don't kick puppies...)  When I realized what I was doing I stopped being artsy fartsy and went online to try to find puppies to kick zone out and think without wasting precious art journal pages on angry-pants, messed-up looking doodles.  (If my pencil would have broken on this particular day, I would have found the nearest person and stabbed them with my messed up for my husband's sake, I put down the pencil and got online.  It's much harder to stab somebody with a keyboard...they're not near as suitable for stabbing as a pencil is!)

In roaming around, I saw something that had never occurred to me to try.  A Challenge!  An art journal challenge to be exact.  It was perfect because I would have to stop thinking about all this dumb daily life stuff that I could do nothing about, so that I could use my brain for more productive things.  I have to admit that I was a little resistant to challenges for a while, because a) I don't usually have a hard time finding something to put on paper, and b)I don't like other people telling me what to do.  Apparently, I can be a real brat sometimes!  

A wrong, wrong, wrong, brat!  I made myself do the first challenge I saw, which happened to be THE PROMPT6IX CHALLENGE challenge by DAISY YELLOW.  You can click the link to find out the specifics of the challenge, but basically she gives you six words (or phrases) to use in your creative endeavors in some way, and in each set of words, there is one color to use and one technique to try.  I kinda got excited about the technique part, because I love to try out things I've never done before!

So this time, her challenge consists of these 6 things:
  1. aquamarine
  2. peaceful
  3. stamped circles
  4. cactus
  5. symbol
  6. blossom
to be used as the artist sees fit.  I almost stopped in my tracks when I read the list...I was a little intimidated by the cactus things, I think...  But because I am stubborn, I MADE myself do it (and ended up having a lot of fun and getting myself out of the funk I was in)...and here's the result:

"I found I had developed a prickly skin that nothing could penetrate.
It was peaceful but lonely.
I needed more.  I needed to bloom."
-Quote by me

The cactus thing was a little tricky for me, like I thought it might be, and my brain kept going 'this is stupid, this is stupid' every time I thought of something cactus I thought ok, what do you know about  the cactus (cacti?)...and the first thing that popped into my head was 'they are prickly'...and I knew I could use that in my challenge piece!  Hooray, inspiration achieved!  And honestly, the cactus/girl head/cactus hat turned out to be my favorite part!  The cactus thorns reminded me to go shave my legs that day, so it was a doubly helpful exercise!

Did I achieve all the required parts?  Let's see:

  1. Aquamarine-  I had a little trouble with this, as the internet seems to debate on what color aquamarine is...I took it as a light blue/green color, and the quote is written in that color (although it may be hard to tell, I had bad lighting...) and the stem of the flower is made from 'aquamarine' glitter... so check!
  2. peaceful- I used it in my quote, plus blue and green are calming, peaceful colors, right?  Check!
  3. stamped circles- I used an empty tp roll to stamp in some circles (taking away some of the background paint) and used a yellow to stamp in some color, which turned out too bright, so I twirled them in with the blue and green background a little.   Check!
  4. cactus-  Clearly, I drew one, but is also referenced in the quote as well. (Prickly) Check!
  5. symbol-  The cactus body and hat symbolize the thick skin, and the tall flower in the piece indicates the blossom part of the CHECK!
  6. blossom - Again, drew one and referenced it in the poem in the piece.  Final Check...

And I was done!  I really had a lot of fun doing this challenge.  It got my mind off of the stinky week I had and it made me do somethings I would have never done otherwise, and I am super happy with the result!  

So what about you, what do you do when you're in a creative dry spell or having a bad day/week?  Do you participate in any challenges or have any special ways of dealing?  

As always, any questions, comments, or critiques are welcome!


  1. Amy, Thank you for playing along! You totally "get" the idea behind the challenge and incorporated all of the prompts in your piece. I like that some of them are used in more than one way!

    1. Thanks! It was so much fun to do! You completely changed my mind about prompts/challenges...I can't wait for the next one! I may have to go back and revisit the ones that I'd missed! :)

  2. Congrats on your 1st challenge! Does this mean that I can't refer to you as a brat any more? (Being a sister should come with such privileges...) I really think her expression matches the quote very well! KUDOS!

    1. Thanks! I didn't know you ever did call me a brat...I thought I was special! *tear* I didn't know about this whole challenge business, but I ended up liking this piece so much (this is totally something I would have never thought of without prompting) I think I may have to be on the lookout for more!


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