How do you stay creative?

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A little while back, I was asked by another blog, the Art of Education, to guest post. I wanted to share my guest post on how to stay personally creative when so much of your creative energy is geared towards your students.

We all became Art educators because of our love of creativity. Creativity is in our blood, and we see the world through a set of different lenses than many of our colleagues. Have you ever heard your students say, “Wow, you could be a real artist” or a colleague say “You painted that?”

When you leave at the end of a busy day, do you leave your “artist” at the door and just revisit it the next day when your first class walks in? I highly doubt it because being a creative artist is a part of us. How do you fuel your own personal artist?
 Here are a few things that I do
Take a class or two or three or…
About two years into my teaching career, when I was looking for art books for children, I found that there weren’t any with the same main characters throughout the series. I created a set of multi-cultural main characters who transport themselves into an artwork and meet the artist. The Primary Kids would lead the reader through the adventure of learning about art and meeting and artist.
When I decided that I wanted to pursue starting the company, I realized I knew nothing about how to start a business, or what a trademark is, or how to publish a book or anything about this process. I just knew that I had an idea and a desire to make it happen.
I enrolled at a local college and immersed myself in classes to learn about the process of starting a business. I received my graduate certificate in entrepreneurial studies. Now I knew enough to start the business but I didn’t know about how to layout the book.
So, I took more classes on Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign and Dreamweaver. Some were weeklong intensives in the summer or over the weekends. I love these type of classes because it allows you to become immersed in the learning.
 Paint, draw, sculpt…make your own art!
Writing and illustrating my own book gave me a great reason to make my own art. Each page is it’s own little painting. Instead of writing the entire manuscript out first, I created some of the illustrations first because it helped inspire me to keep going. Creating the illustrations for me was what came naturally, writing was harder. The story and illustrations had many, many revisions but that was okay. The process was long, and I pushed through many stumbling blocks along the way. During this process, I saw the movie “Julie and Julia”  and thought if  “Julia Child could work for 10 years on her first book, then I can push through as well.” During the process, I would allow myself “free art,” time for me to make anything I wanted so that I could recharge my energy to return to the book.
 Socialize in the Arts
A few years ago, I became a member of the Young Friends of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Most museums have a group that focuses on philanthropy for the museum and learning about art. This group is fantastic! Each month, there is an arts related activity at the museum. I’ve learned so much art history from these lectures and tours. Since I want my stories to have a focus on art history, this is a perfect fit. The group consists of artists, accountants, art therapists, doctors, lawyers…all people who believe that art is important! Much of the information I learn, goes right back into my lessons and books. It’s a fun and relaxing way to learn and talk about art.
By fueling my creativity and love of learning, I wrote and illustrated my first children’s book. I learned so much from this process about my creativity and myself. You may make jewelry, paint murals, create boards on Pinterest, write a blog…whatever you do, make sure it’s something that fuels you because that is what makes you a better teacher, but more important, a better YOU.
How do you fuel your own creativity?

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