Creative Expression for Non-Artists


As a former Art History student, I am clearly interested in art. I used to draw and paint quite often but wouldn't call myself a traditional artist. I'm relatively capable when it comes to creating art, but mostly do it because I enjoy the act of creative expression. I know that a lot of you like the feeling of expressing yourself, too, but may not pursue traditional artistic routes for various reasons. 

But, creative expression is so important! I truly believe that creativity is the key to innovation and success in life, so it's good to practice it often. Plus, it's good for your health. Being creative is relaxing and serves as an outlet for your emotions. So, here's a few ways that you can express yourself creatively without possessing a whole lot of artistic skill.

You don't have to be Michelangelo to enjoy painting! There are tons of projects you can work on that don't require a lot of technical skill. Work on painting a pre-traced canvas or one of the easy paintings at wine-and-paint class. Or, simply choose an appealing color palette and use it to create an abstract work.

Coloring Books
This is an easy one! There are so many beautiful coloring books on the market these days. All you need is a book and a pretty set of colored pencils. I like to sometimes spend an hour working on my Paris Street Style book, just coloring in outlines of perfume bottles, Parisian outfits, and cute hairstyles.

If you're a writer, this one is obvious---write a story, a poem, a book, anything. If you're stuck and don't necessarily want to form a full story line in your head, there are other options for you. Look up some creative writing prompts online. Set an alarm for five minutes and write whatever comes to mind. It's kind of weird but sometimes I create complex, fictional family trees as a way of relaxing.

Do it, even if you aren't a great singer! Whether I'm in the car or at home in bed, I'm often singing something because it feels good. You don't even have to write your own song---just pick one that matches your mood and is fun to sing. 

Art Journal
My best friend, mom, and I all worked on an art journal project a few summers ago. All you need is a sketchbook, some form of media (pens, colored pencils, paints, magazine cutouts, etc.) and a list of prompts which you can find on the internet. Each day, you follow a prompt to create something in your art notebook. Prompts ca be anything from "Show us the last dream you had" to "What is your favorite color?". You can get really creative with these!

This may sound a bit odd, but I find that exercise is great opportunity to be creative. You can be creative in the way you develop your workouts (i.e. movie workouts, name workouts, etc.) or in the way you actually move. This is especially true for yoga---once you are comfortable with the basics, you can be really creative with the way you transition between postures or the way you perform them.

Curating has always been my default creative activity of choice even before I realized that's what I was doing----and that's probably why I love blogging so much. In my art history courses, my favorite projects were centered around curation. For a group project, we curated a festival of dystopian films set in L.A. and for an independent project, I curated an exhibit of artwork centered around the theme of royal portraits. But even outside of the traditional art realm, there are tons of opportunities to curate creatively. Put together a themed playlist, build your own at-home film festival, or even start a blog!

I believe that cooking is one of the most creative art forms in existence. My favorite ways to be creative in the kitchen are developing new recipes from scratch, finding replacement ingredients when I don't have everything a recipe calls for, or updating recipes to be healthier or plant-based. 

Finally, a creative outlet that we can use each and every day is styling. Take some time to really think about your daily look---from the clothes to the hair and makeup to the accessories. You don't have to have an endless wardrobe to be creative with your look. Or, if you want to take it further, use sites like Polyvore to style the clothes you don't have and get ideas for new looks. This can also apply to your home decor. Style your living room differently one weekend or go smaller and create a visually pleasing vignette on your fireplace mantel.

How do you like to be creative?