Summer of Creativity Week 1 – Personal Symbols

This week the focus is on how we use personal symbols in our art and what we can do to make them more expressive, imaginative and creative.

I think of personal symbols as motifs that appear frequently in your art. You may not have even label them as such, and that’s ok. The main thing about them is that they reappear over and over.

We don’t put things in our art by random. Usually it’s based on a feeling, an experiment, or something we always go to when we aren’t sure what to do next. Personal symbols are familiar, comfortable and carry some extra significance as they show up so often.

So this week, the idea is to look at how we use, them why and what they mean to us. Then the next step is to explore them further. To dig deeper into their expression and figure out new ways to use them and further develop them.

For me birds and little houses are two things that have popped over and over through the years. Neither are so unusual or surprising. I live out in the country and like to watch the birds and listen to them. They are fascinating and beautiful creatures.

I incorporate them into my art projects both as highly stylized and realistic motifs. I like to switch between the two. I have fun with color and shape and also explore their true forms.

To my birds symbolize freedom, beauty, living life with energy and resourcefulness. It’s great to keep developing on this theme and find a way to really capture what they mean to me in my art. It’s something that is going to need some creativity.

A few questions..

  • So as you about making your art this week, ask yourself a few questions.
  • What motifs reappear in your work?
  • How often do you use them?
  • How have they changed over the years?
  • What meaning do you attach to them?
  • What more could you do with them to express those meanings?
  • What else can you do that’s fun and playful with them?

Hopefully these questions will get you thinking about how you are using symbols in your work and give you a spark to get more creative with them. There are infinite ways to explore and use them!

I hope you enjoy this week and are getting in the creative flow! It’s surely a great place to be.