Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Start the Day with a Mini-Project

I'm a big fan of morning pages, but there are definitely times when I need a break. It's not that I don't find the pages useful, but every now and then I need to shake up my routine and make life more . . . exciting.  

One of the ways I thought of doing that was to start my day with a "mini-project" instead of the usual three handwritten pages Julia Cameron recommends in The Artist's Way. I got the idea from a gardening book that mentioned how Renoir painted a single rose every day before tackling his main work-in-progress. I don't know if I could stick to a regimen that centered on a single subject, but I can certainly appreciate the need for a warm-up exercise. With that in mind I sat down and brainstormed what might work for me--and for you, too! 
  • Write a structured poem such as a sonnet, pantoum, or ghazal. Base the poem on last night's dream.
  • Cut three pictures with a similar theme or subject from a magazine. For example, 3 pictures featuring purple. Or three pictures of dogs, or children, recipes, etc.
  • Collage a three-page character bio--for either an existing character or a new one.
  • Play with watercolor brushstrokes: random colors, patterns, feelings.
  • Sketch one item only, e.g. a cup, an apple, a toy--using a single medium.
  • Write three pages of dialogue.
  • Place an artist's mannikin in a fresh pose every day. Record the poses in a single sketchbook used only for this purpose.
  • A quick sketch of where you are right now. Try a different color of pencil or ink for each day.
  • Write a stacked journal entry in three colors of ink.
  • Clay: make a small pinch pot, egg cup, votive, bead, dipping bowl, soap dish, or incense holder.
  • Three pages of flash fiction.
  • Mini-collage on a piece of junk mail.
  • Set a timer and create a new Polyvore set or Pinterest Board in twenty minutes or less.
Tip of the Day: At the end of the month, collect all these mini-projects and use them to create a larger piece, or to inspire you in some fresh way. For instance, a sketchbook of mannikin poses could be the basis for a new children's book. The stacked journal entries could be part of a framed collage. At the same time, examine what you enjoyed writing or drawing the most. Did you have a favorite theme, color, or medium? Take note and keep exploring.

2 comments:

Lisa Handley said...

I'm happening upon your mini-project idea at just the right time as I've been considering which of my daily creativity ideas to bring to fruition this month. More elaborate ideas are challenging to accomplish amidst a busy schedule, so perhaps your mini-project approach will be a more achievable way for me to follow through. In fact, on my own list is a project similar to one on your list, creating a daily mini collage from junk mail. Thanks for sharing!

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