My favorite way to create during the summer

Creating something every day, for me, is a way of achieving a perfect mental state. When I go days without creating, I’m not at my best. During the summer, when I’m not teaching, I’m spending my days with my three girls, and it can prove challenging to find time to create; but I always make it a priority! To encourage creativity in my two oldest daughters, I have them create with me.


For the past three summers, I have participated in an online community who completes the “Index-Card-A-Day” challenge. Each day you’re given a prompt with the idea that you must create a piece of artwork on just a simple index card–transforming this simple, boring, everyday object into a wonderful work of art. I have found this to be both therapeutic and also a bit stressful; when I’d miss a day of the challenge, I’d feel overwhelmed.

This year I’m opting out of joining the online community, but I’m still going to be creating every day starting June 1. I love the idea of creating my artwork on an index card for a number of reasons.


When you’re creating on an index card, you don’t feel the need to be perfect–it’s a 1 cent card, and there’s a whole pile waiting for you, so if you mess up, chalk it up to the creative process and move on.


The prompt for this card was “Detour.” {fabric, ink, acrylic, chalk, pastel, washi tape and graphite)

I love the idea of using a prompt each day and sticking to it, because there are many ways to interpret a prompt; none more or less right than others. Prompts can encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and try new things. I always gravitate toward creating flora and fauna, so prompts like “outer space” and “retro” encourage me to try new imagery.


I’m not certain what the prompt was for this card; but it reiterates my point: I’m always going back to chickens and flowers…

Creating these small works sometimes makes way for new processes and interests in your other artwork. I created a few pieces last summer that led me to a completely new style of painting–using bold, fun outlines on my work and abstracting florals in a more cartoon-like way:


I also learned a new technique called one-staple collage, which I thoroughly enjoyed and then began to embrace as a day-to-day activity.


One-staple collage 


Another take on a one-staple collage; with an additional staple. 

By telling yourself that every day you’re going to create these small works of art and sticking with it, sometimes you have to take limited supplies with you, which encourages you to be even more creative. When you reduce the amount of tools in your toolbox, it requires you to think outside the box more. Here’s a card I created while my husband and I went on a work trip:


I had taken a stack of pre-painted cards with me and then just cut out and added the bird with some glue. I had only taken a watercolor palette, my pens, some washi and glue with me on the trip, so I was definitely out of my comfort zone. 

The best part of creating a piece of art every single day during the summer on an index card is that at the end of the summer (I usually go from June 1 to July 31st), you end up with a wonderful stack of artwork; it’s a cathartic process to go back through and experience each piece.


A summer stack! 

This summer, I hope you’ll consider arting it up every day; I know I’ll be continuing this fun tradition.


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