5 Ways to Live with Art

1. Keep a sketchbook

Ok ok, I know that this is my first tip, and I'm guilty of NOT KEEPING IT. I'm sorry, I'M SORRY! I'm a terrible artist because I don't keep a sketchbook! But I do in a way...I mean, I sketch. I take a pencil and loose paper and sketch out the idea of something...and sometimes it's in a notebook. But it's never actually as beautiful as all the sketchbook tours you see on Instagram and Youtube for other fabulous artists.

So, enough of me berating myself. One way that you can have more art if your life is to sketch! What did you eat today? Sketch it! What did you see when you took a walk at lunch? How about the items on your desk? (Pam Beesely? "Impressions", anyone?)

Start a habit at a certain time of day and make it enjoyable. No judgment from yourself - just you, a pencil, a notebook, and your imagination / eyeballs. Move your hands and create something, even if it's ain't pretty!

2. Watch an art documentary

Whether it's on Youtube or Netflix, some of my favorites have been "I am Sunmu" - about a North Korean refugee who paints about his home country, but does so knowing he's putting himself in danger; "The 100 Years Show" - Carmen Herrera, a Cuban painter, a pioneer of the abstract, minimalist movement in the 40s and 50s, who never got her due, but is making up for lost time (and money.);

I've quit Netflix, but here's one on Youtube that is breathtaking (and speaks to our current climate issues!)

"See How NASA Helped an Artist Create Stunning Drawings of Glaciers"

Watching an art documentary is thrilling - watching someone create, hearing their story, why they've devoted their life to this beautiful and strange career...

If you've got art docu recommendations, please list them in the comments below!

3. Go to an art museum or art gallery

This is my favorite thing to do when I'm traveling. You know how you can travel somewhere, but sometimes the only fun things to do are eat and watch TV in your airbnb? Well, good news - most places have some kind of art gallery that is open to visitors (bonus if it's free!) My favorite trips were to Iceland (sorry can't remember the exhibit name...! But it was something modern and cool) and Vancouver, where we could see some of Monet's most famous works.

Art is literally everywhere. Museums are a wonderful way to unwind and be with your thoughts; to observe a message an artist is trying to convey; to interpret it the best way you can. If you go with a buddy, you can debate on whether all those bananas in the exhibit were actually code for the oppression of the patriarchy...??

4. Go to a second-hand store and hunt for a treasure

This will take some extra cash, in the case that you find something you'd like to purchase - but thrift stores are wonderful places to find art gems! I've found some of my favorite pieces this way. It's a pity for them to be thrown to the donation gods (as items that go unsold eventually go to a landfill anyway.......correct me if I'm wrong, but I think I'm right) but oh-so-good for you, if you find a piece that speaks to your heart and you can rescue it! I found an original oil painting of a funky vase of flowers. The colors are so perfectly odd, but work together, and make me smile each time I see them. I also found a print of a Degas that was in a private collection...so, pretty darn important? If you want cool art, but can't afford art at regular prices, this is an affordable alternative and a fun hobby (think: the thrill of the hunt!)

5. Take an art workshop

You're never too talented that you can't stop and take a workshop, where you can learn a totally new skill! I recently signed up for a free abstract painting workshop that was being held at my local library. I'm terrible at the idea of abstract (really just overwhelmed with the total freedom. Where are the boundaries? I NEED BOUNDARIES, PEOPLE) but it was a fun way to unwind and not necessarily worry about it being perfect, while also making art friends, and then feeling like I learned something in the end.

Next on the list? A calligraphy workshop and an oil-painting workshop.

P.S. - Wine and Art Nights are NOT art workshops. Those are awkward events where nobody has any artistic skills and they are heavy on the wine part and really controlling on the art part. You can't deviate from their original design, you MUST paint the wine glass or the sunset JUST SO, or risk...what? I don't know. All that to say, sign up for a class where you're learning a specific technique or medium, and not just finger-painting-for-adults.

How do you add more art to YOUR life? Tell me in the comments below!

Marni Manning - Artist

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