artist resources for someone over 50

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artist resources for someone over 50

Postby cshore knitter » Wed Nov 12, 2008 7:18 am

Does anyone know of any resources (books, online sites, classes, etc.) that would be geared toward someone over 50 years of age trying to find their "artist within"? I've seen some things geared toward mid-lifers who want to change careers but in many cases these are people who are returning to some artistic background that they had when they were younger. I'm looking for stuff that would help if you were starting from scratch - no artistic training etc. - just a feeling of being pulled in the direction of the arts but not knowing exactly how or where to start. Thanks in advance for any help out there!
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Re: artist resources for someone over 50

Postby DJCNOR » Wed Nov 12, 2008 8:18 am

Hi cshore, I think the book The Artist's Way might help. Read the reviews on Amazon and see if you think it suits. If not, could you be a little more specific about what type of altistic endeavor you've been thinking of or inspired by? Donna
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Re: artist resources for someone over 50

Postby cshore knitter » Wed Nov 12, 2008 9:24 am

Hi Donna, Thanks for your response. I tried working through the Artist's Way a long time ago - maybe its time to give it another try. As for the types of things that I'm interested/inspired by, in a true "scanner" nature, I'm interested in a few including many fiberarts (both yarn and fabric related) as well as book arts. I already "do" many fiberarts and love them and would like to try more of them as well as making books. I tried taking a drawing class (twice) and a painting class (once) and a photography class (once) and didn't really enjoy them all that much. I found that while I could manage to produce something respectable it truly was a struggle to do so and not fun at all. Actually the photography class was much more enjoyable than the drawing or painting. I guess I'm looking for some direction for progessing to the next level - to go from inspiration to finished project rather than just following directions. I'm looking for more instruction in the area of "thought" process rather than actual hands-on work. I thought that maybe if there were resources specifically for people over 50 it would be less "teachy" and more "fun". I'm sure this sounds rather vague and I apologize, but I can't put my finger on exactly what I'm looking for. Its sort of like the "I'll know it when I see it" syndrome. As I reread my post here I'm suddenly struck with the idea that maybe I should be looking at books meant for little kids for the fun part. Has anyone ever tried that?
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Re: artist resources for someone over 50

Postby skannie » Wed Nov 12, 2008 10:20 am

I came across this one on Amazon. Is it the kind of thing you're looking for? Kaleidoscope: Ideas & Projects to Spark Your Creativity by Suzanne Simanaitis http://www.amazon.com/Kaleidoscope-Idea ... 10_rdssss0
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Re: artist resources for someone over 50

Postby MyPasswordIsInvalid » Wed Nov 12, 2008 11:50 am

cshore knitter wrote:As I reread my post here I'm suddenly struck with the idea that maybe I should be looking at books meant for little kids for the fun part. Has anyone ever tried that?
Yes, I've don't it lots of times. Looking at children's books is one of the little tricks I use when starting to research; it gives a quick heads up on what questions to ask. You can use the library catalog but I've found that it works better to go to the children's room at the library and look through the books on the shelves in that category (use the Dewey decimal system.) That way you can browse the content and illustrations in the books. There usually many illustrations and the how-to directions are simple; however, you will find some sophisticated categories here too: many books on entrepreneurship for example. I found an excellent one on filmmaking and one on constructing a puppet theatre. BTW, if you come across any resourceful children's books, please post the titles here.
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Re: artist resources for someone over 50

Postby cshore knitter » Mon Nov 24, 2008 12:47 pm

I checked out the children's section of my library this last weekend and didn't come up with any resources that looked promising to me. They had a pretty good selection of artists' biographies though, so I may go back and look at those in more detail sometime soon. However, I found that I was very attracted to the children's holiday picture books and brought two home with me to look at and read and just enjoy the artwork. I had forgotten how much I love looking at children's books - especially holiday ones! Not sure what good this will do for me artwise, but I'll probably go back this weekend and look through some more and take a couple of more home with me to enjoy after Thanksgiving.
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Re: artist resources for someone over 50

Postby skannie » Mon Nov 24, 2008 9:49 pm

cshore knitter wrote:I checked out the children's section of my library this last weekend and didn't come up with any resources that looked promising to me.
Did you try the oversize shelves? Art and craft books are often too tall to fit on the normal shelves. (In both the children's and adults' sections.)
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Re: artist resources for someone over 50

Postby cshore knitter » Tue Nov 25, 2008 6:57 am

I'm pretty sure I hit all the sections. It wasn't that I didn't find any art/craft books, just not ones that seemed to be what I was looking for. I have to return my holiday books this weekend so I'll make another tour of the children's area in case I missed anything the first time around. Thanks for the idea!
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Re: artist resources for someone over 50

Postby KyleM » Wed Dec 03, 2008 10:43 pm

Ok, I'll take a stab! This could be way off, but have you seen Eric Maisel's books? Coaching the Artist Within, and MANY others... they're meant for all kinds of creative folks and they have less to do with the material process and more to do with what you tell yourself about how/why/when/if you should work. Maybe this isn't your dilemma though? You said something about "thought" processes.... do you mean, how do you get "better" ideas so your work goes from beginner/novice level to something more mature, or meaningful, or skilled? (I would imagine that part comes with practice and also committing feverishly to do your art/work every day. Getting to this commitment is what Eric's books are great at helping you do.
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Re: artist resources for someone over 50

Postby cshore knitter » Fri Dec 05, 2008 8:03 pm

Thanks Kyle M for your suggestion. I read one of his books quite awhile ago (The War of Art) and I recall that it all made sense to me but it still didn't get me to actually start something. I'm beginning to think that maybe what I'm experiencing is resistance in all its glory. The problem is that I'm not quite sure what exactly it is that I'm resisting. For instance, right now I'm not having any trouble at all working on some Christmas gifts that I'm making, in fact I'm as happy as a clam working on them. Beyond that though, I'm still not sure what it is I want to do next. I'm really sorry if this isn't making any sense to anyone - it barely makes sense to me at the moment. Thanks everyone again for your suggestions and help!
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Re: artist resources for someone over 50

Postby skannie » Sat Dec 06, 2008 2:16 am

Hi cshore knitter It seems to me as if you know what you really love to do, and you're already doing it, i.e. making things. So I can't see exactly where resistance comes in. Why not just enjoy making your Christmas gifts and stop worrying about the thought process? Maybe the problem is that you're trying to justify your love of doing arty crafty stuff by making it intellectual and "meaningful", whereas perhaps what you really like about it is more physical. Getting your hands on the materials, cutting, shaping, stitching, glueing, colouring, assembling. Using the hand-eye-brain connection to put it all together into something pleasing or useful. This is something that human beings evolved to do, and I think we all need to do it. But our society unfortunately tends to put more value on intellectual pursuits than practical ones. You can blame Descartes for that. He was the one who promoted the idea that the mind is separate from the body, and that things of the mind are superior to those of the body. And the religious leaders added another layer on top of that called the spirit, which is supposed to be even more superior. Nowadays you hear a lot about the integration of mind, body and spirit, but I say it's not necessary, they are already integrated, and in fact are all the one thing, not separate at all. I don't really go for the right brain/left brain concept either, I think it's far more complex than that, but I do think that doing art uses different physical and mental processes from a more intellectual analysis, e.g. studying the history of art. Many people intellectualise their art, but it doesn't in itself have to be a consciously intellectual process. So to get back to your problem. Maybe books aren't the right source of inspiration for you. Even children's books, although they are more fun, still involve the intellectual activities of reading and consciously interpreting. Perhaps you would be more inspired by the actual materials, or by looking at (and touching if possible) other people's creations, or artefacts in museums, or objects and living things in the environment. Here are a few suggestions: Inspiration from what you already do: The next time you're making your Christmas gifts, or doing stuff with textiles, keep a notebook nearby, and every now and again stop and make notes about what exactly gave you pleasure in what you were just doing. For example, I have a small art project of making abstract designs with pastels. Three things I discovered I love about it are: the feel of the pastels moving over the paper, experimenting with different combinations of colours, and looking at them all in my sketch-books afterwards. When you find out what you really love about doing art or crafts, it should help you work out what direction to go in next. Inspiration from your imagination: Imagine you're working in turn on various kinds of creative projects with different types of materials and tools. e.g. you've got a big lump of clay in your hands, or the parts for a model aeroplane, or some bricks and mortar, or the wood to make a violin. (I think it's good to try some outside your usual types of activities) Try to free yourself from any preconceptions, just imagine you're handling the materials and the tools, and deciding what to make, and then making it. Make notes on how it feels, and what you enjoy or don't enjoy about each one. Inspiration from materials and tools: Hang around in the places where the materials and tools come from and examine them all. Art, craft and fabric shops are great, but you could also try stationers, hardware shops, DIY stores, model-making suppliers, electronics hobby shops, junk shops etc. Maybe also visit some artists' or craft workers' studios. See which materials or tools you are attracted to, then buy some and start messing around with them. Inspiration from objects already made: Visit galleries, exhibitions and museums. Those dedicated to art or crafts will inspire you by showing you what other people have done, and the wide range of what is considered to be art. But to broaden your sources of inspiration also try those focusing on other subjects e.g. history, science, anthropology, folk life, industrial archaeology etc. Inspiration from the environment: Pay attention to the shapes colours and textures of things around you, like the trunks and branches of trees, mosses and lichens, tiny living creatures, buildings inside and outside, public sculptures, carvings and mouldings in churches, street fashions, graffiti, shop window displays, food on market stalls, lights at night, signs and lettering, flowing water, unusual skies, etc. etc. Many artists have found inspiration by going away from home to a new and different environment. Oh I didn't intend writing that much, but one though led to another as usual. skannie
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Re: artist resources for someone over 50

Postby cshore knitter » Sat Dec 06, 2008 8:51 am

Skannie, please don't apologize for writing so much because I think you just wrote the book I've been looking for! And I think you hit the nail on the head about how I try to approach my projects "intellectually" - instead of just enjoying them I try to justify their existence, their reason for being. I absolutely love your first idea of keeping notes about what it is I enjoy about what I'm doing. I do that in my head almost all the time but I never thought to stop and write down anything. In fact, this morning, I was working on a blanket for a Christmas gift and I lost track of time just enjoying feeling the yarns slip through my fingers and then manipulating the needles to make the stitches. One thing I have discovered (realized?) in the past few years is how tactile I am and how much pleasure I receive from textiles and fibers and such. I guess I never thought that just because I like doing something can be the only justification I really need to do it. No deep meaning or message (except that I very much love the couple who will be getting the blanket) or trying to make a statement - just fun. I will try all your other ideas too. They sound like fun things to do - I can't wait to print off your response and put it aside for safekeeping. Does this mean that I can have an artist's studio even though I'm not really an "artist"???!!!! Thank you so much!!!
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Re: artist resources for someone over 50

Postby skannie » Sun Dec 07, 2008 7:30 am

cshore knitter wrote:Thank you so much!!!
It's very nice to get such a positive response to a post, so thank you too! :D
cshore knitter wrote:Does this mean that I can have an artist's studio even though I'm not really an "artist"???!!!!
Of course you can have a studio, but I think you should become a real artist first. Here's how you do it. Find a place that prints good quality business cards and order some for yourself. Ask for your name and contact details to be put on them, and underneath your name, in nice bold lettering, the words Textile Artist Simple as that. Now you're really an Artist!
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Re: artist resources for someone over 50

Postby MyPasswordIsInvalid » Sun Dec 07, 2008 10:31 am

skannie wrote:Inspiration from objects already made: Visit galleries, exhibitions and museums. Those dedicated to art or crafts will inspire you by showing you what other people have done, and the wide range of what is considered to be art.
Oh, yes, yes! I strongly recommend you do this. I also recommend joining an art museum and so you can pop in for a quick 15 minute fix whenever you want; that way you don't get sensory overload. On one of those great days when museums close to the public and you can really wander around and see things without the tourist crowds (heaven!) I was showing my five-year old grandson a contemporary work of colored paper strips and colored pencil; he got very excited: "Look, we did that too." He was right, we had done some similar things the week before. Ours looked just about as good but were not framed nearly as well. LOL.
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Re: artist resources for someone over 50

Postby heyy » Mon May 25, 2009 7:14 pm

Hi I'm over 50 also, and recently I've been on the internet looking for artistic outlets. I think it will be very therapeutic for me. I'm going through a transition right now and everything is foggy, however one thing is for sure I want to try my hand in something creative. Awakening my artistic ability and creativity is heavy on my mind. I'm also unskilled and there are so many things to get into, photography, pottery, drawing, knitting and on and on. I need encouragement too. I'm having trouble just getting out of the house, does anyone live in or near Gardena, Ca.? I'll check back, good luck heyy
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