In art school, there's something really awesome about being in a classroom environment with other like minded students who are all eager to grow and learn and be inspired by one and another. It's also really awesome to have great teachers around to nurture and foster these students into well rounded artists. But what happens when you leave that scene and move on to a new chapter in life? With out the school, how do you continue evolving, improving and growing as an artist? Our first thoughts might be, "thank God for the Internet." :) A second thought might be, "what if there is a way to continue improving as an artist, even when we are not drawing/painting?" Perhaps there is a way we can teach ourselves!
I believe one way is to become more mindful.
A good theory I heard from another artist was about how our experiences in life are all rapped up in the art that we create. When we are not in the present, our minds are often traveling back and forth between the past and the future and consequently we miss a lot of things that are going on around us. As artists, we can be more mindful in our observations through out the day to help us continue to grow. When you're traveling to work, what car or building designs inspire you? When you're waiting in line at the grocery store, who has a great face or interesting character for caricature and how would you exaggerate it? When you're walking outside, what color schemes and environments do you love and how would you make it into a composition? When we ask questions, it almost "tricks" our mind into finding answers and this helps us stay in the moment. Like anything worth having, this takes a little bit of effort (being more mindful) and thankfully it gets easier the more you practice it.
Another cool thing about being mindful is that with it comes peace and happiness. When we keep our minds focused and alert on the present (rather than listening to thoughts in our heads) we're more able to appreciate and enjoy the moment we're in. So not only do you build upon experiences and memories to plug into your art, you feel better, too. Kind of a win win situation for the artist. :)
On a side note, I want say a big THANK YOU to everyone that bought trading cards this last month and for their support. Together, we raised over a hundred dollars for the local food bank in Wayzata, MN. It's a real joy to be making art and doing it for a good cause, so from the bottom of my heart, thank you.