Have you ever felt guilty about not doing any art for a while? Do you buy cool art materials and never seen to have time to actually open and use them? Do you get all sorts of ideas from Pinterest, then think about all the stuff it would take, so you just forget it?
Auntie Lyn has a solution! Put together a little creativity tune-up kit with simple materials and pre-cut 5×7″ substrates for mixed-media collages to kick-start your ideas and quell the non-productive guilt – you’ll have some finished artwork in 20 minutes.
There’s something magic about a 5×7″ blank surface – not too big to be intimidating, not too small to be insignificant. And you can do so much with work this size (see the journal cover video, below). Plus, you can put together a pretty cool collage in about 20 minutes, including getting out the stuff out and putting it back.
Here’s what’s in your 20- Minute Tune-up kit (and it fits in one box):
- A dozen or so 5×7″ mat boards (you can get 50 for less than $12 on Amazon)
- Several old magazines or catalogs with lots of photographs (National Geo is great)
- Two glue sticks
- 4-oz bottle of white tempera or acrylic paint
- 4-oz bottle clear acrylic mat medium
- Graphite pencil
- A couple of rubber pattern stamps (optional)
- Ultra-fine black Sharpies
- Small set Portfolio water-soluble Oil Pastels
- Small scissors and ruler
IMPORTANT – SET A TIMER FOR 20 MINUTES
You don’t have to limit yourself to 20 minutes (or force yourself to work for 20 minutes if you want to stop before that), but you’ll be surprised at what you can accomplish if you set a 20-minute deadline and go for it.
I keep a stack of 5×7″ archival mat board handy for my own personal kick-start “meditations.” I grab one, find a central image from a magazine that I like, tear or cut it out, see what it tells me to add, then just build quickly and intuitively using glue stick to adhere.
I sometimes add white paint to veil and coalesce the images, and sometimes add matte medium to seal the surface. I scribble with graphite, make lines with Sharpie, and often add a bit of color with the water-soluble oil pastels. DING!! (that’s the timer going off).
Example of 20-minute 5×7″ collage
So now I’ll share a personal story about how I know this works. When I started teaching in the Computer Science Department at Trinity University fifteen years ago, it was an impossibly steep learning curve for me and I had no time for anything, much less art. After three or four years, I started making “therapeutic” 5×7″ collages in a very limited time just to save my sanity.
These morphed into journal covers, which morphed into my first Etsy shop. I sold over 200 hand-made journals in that shop, some with rather weird custom requests! Making those small collages turned things around for me as an artist and gave me a much-needed tune-up and kick start.
Here is a video of 200 of those 5×7″ covers from that first Etsy shop. From that small-format beginning, I learned about composition, about marketing, and about how much you can get done in 20-minute segments, even if you have a challenging life. Click on the image below to see the video.
Now gather your 20-Minute Tune Up kit together and get busy – a cold front is coming and you can certainly find 20 minutes to hunker down and create!
Thanks, as always, for reading SHARDS.