Watch Al's Creative Garage Archives from Bigado.TV

Monday, June 2, 2008

Artistic Expression - The Basics of Color and Creativity

Colors have an amazing impact on our lives. From the red of our stop signs and traffic lights, to the ever important green of a dollar bill, color is integrated into every facet of our daily adventures. No where is this more clear, than in our art and in our artistic creativity.

Artists and designers are able to use color as a tool to capture our moods and emotions, to identify shapes and objects, and to convey messages. They use color almost like a gardener uses a shovel to dig in the soil. They poke us and prod us with harsh or depressing color mixtures, and they gently sway us or quiet our spirits with subdued or gentle pallets. Color can actually be the strongest element in any piece of artwork, due to the way it affects us on so many levels.

So, how about we look at a couple of the strategies for using color in our creative outlets and our designs, to have the greatest impact on our viewers and to help us become even more inspired.

Color adds a lot to any design, so we must be confident in our expression and use of it. There is a lot to learn from basic design theory, about color, so make sure you study color concepts thoroughly. For now, let us focus on two basics...

1. Experimentation is one of your most powerful strategies in using color. Never be afraid to try anything, with color, in your art. Discover relationships between different colors. Explore playful, soft, dark, bright, vibrant, and any other mixture of color with a fresh, new eye towards inspiration. Now, just to bring sanity back to the table, before you add new colors and inspirations to any piece you are already working on, please test your colors and combinations first. But the concept still rings true... experiment with and explore new colors.

2. Color wheels are another essential tool in any artist's arsenal. Color wheels, paint chips, or even color reference books, like the "Pantone Guide to Communicating with Color", or "Color Index: Over 1100 Color Combinations", simplify the process of choosing colors by providing a reference for how colors work together. There is way too much to cover here, to make a color wheel understandable. Suffice it to say, whether you are a painter, a photographer, or any other artist, you will want some kind of color wheel, or color reference book, to help you get clarity on how colors relate and work together.

The most important thing to remember about working with color, in all your creative exploration, is to know that there is not, and may never be, a perfect combination. But, you can be confident in your own creative expression and artwork, if you will find colors that you enjoy, and that do not go against your own perception of great creative design.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

How Some People Become Fabulously Wealthy

Recently, reading the Forbes 400 list of the richest Americans and also watching a video on the business affairs of Carlos Slim, who is considered the richest man in the world, it became obvious that the super-wealthy do not think like other people.

The difference?

The wealthy, super-wealthy, billionaires and multi-billionaires all "believe it can be done."

We're not just talking about positive thinking. We're talking about the attitude, the mindset and the will that allows creative thinking to blossom.

If you have any aspirations for being far better off financially, eliminate the word "impossible" from your thinking and from your speech. Quit using that failure-generating word altogether.

Once, you've been able to do that simple thing, then you're ready for the next step: think of something that you want to do but felt that you simply could not do, for one reason or another.

Now, is this impossible?

Of course not!

So are you ready to find the way?


Good, let's proceed. The next step is to make a list of why it is "possible," and especially why it is possible for YOU! Concentrate on why YOU CAN. The "how" will show up with this kind of attitude.
Average people resent progress. They stay stuck in traditional living, non-creative thinking, and non-resourceful strategies. Do you want to be average or exceptional? The default mode is average, even below average. If you aspire to be exceptional, you need to exercise your mind to work for you and not against you.

"Man belongs," pioneering rocket scientist Dr. Von Braun once said, "where man wants to go."

Nothing grows in winter. Similarly, if your mind is frozen up with fear, doubt, and uncertainty, you can't expect any aspect of your life to grow, either. Money likes speed. It likes men and women of action.

Most people get stuck on whether their ideas are sound or practical. This is not the point. The point is to generate more ideas, more energy and more resources.

Be a sponge in relationship to your business. Learn all you can, continuously. Then experiment. Try one thing after another and never-never-never give in.

Success, both simple success and huge success, belongs to progressive, not regressive thinkers. Successful people continuously ask themselves, "How can I improve my performance? How can I get better at this? What do I need to learn? Where do I need to go? Whom do I need to meet?"

Working hard is only part of the solution to creating wealth. Working to get increasingly smarter at your business and constantly reminding yourself that nothing is impossible creates the major difference.

Wealth rightly belongs to those who have cultivated a will for excellence.

Chipping Away Your Writer's Block

In almost every writer's forum, the deplorable perennial problem of writer's block has always been brought up by both professional and amateur creative writers. Some discussions have gone as deep as defining the nature of writer's block. In case a writer's block (a.k.a. "fear-of-the-blank-page") should come up in the middle of the deadline, the writer will be able to hopefully do something about it.

But what is a writer's block? On the surface, it is simply a period of non-activity for the writer. A writer or a poet may attempt to write something based on the need to write something, but then they come up with absolutely nothing! What causes a writer's block and what can be done about it? Here are some thoughts and suggestions:

1. The fear of coming up short from their last project - Collectively speaking, most artists and writers have an obsessive compulsion to concretize and materialize, through their works, abstracted thoughts and ideas. Once they start at some project, there is always that fear of producing something despairingly short of what they have intended to create. Thus, they become disappointed in themselves. If artistic or writer's block does not happen prior to the start of the project, it may also very well occur while the work is in process. This explains why several writers may work on different projects at the same time and jumping from one unfinished work to another. Some even abandon previous works altogether for a new one but ultimately end up not accomplishing anything in the end.

2. A comeback after a long time off - Vacations and some time off taking care of familial/domestic or personal matters can only have two extreme results: either it rejuvenates, recharges and inspires the writer for the next project, or it completely diminishes or finishes off whatever is left of a prolific and fecund mind! Let's face it, even professional writers are, first and foremost, human beings before they are writers. And, as humans, writers too are bound to lose footing once they have taken some time off from writing, if not inspired and recharged, as mentioned.

3. Insecurities - Lack of formal training...Being a newbie...The writing style...a friend who's a better writer...etc., etc., etc., these can all spell one thing: insecurities. Our insecurities can really work nasty for writers. We know there is no other way out other than a paradigm shift or a change in perspective for the writer. We know that there will always be other people more educated, more renowned in the creative writing field. We know there will always be writers who are relatively better than us, other trends and styles in writing which the we can become unfamiliar and intimidated with. However, the bottomline is that it is just a matter of gritting your teeth with some decision-making: to write or not to write?

4. Bills to pay, daily tasks, and other small details - Where do I get the money for the bills? Who brings and fetches the children to and from school? For writers with actual day jobs and many deadlines to meet, who can still think of writing? These concerns, to mention only a few, hampers the writer's writer's sensitive thoughts. These are practical things that need to be done on the daily basis. On the surface, these concerns may seem harmless to an aspiring writer. However, eventually, these daily concerns will dry up the creative writer's reservoir that needs constant nurturing. This is not to say, however, that children, career and domestic chores and other concerns should no longer be tended to in order to write. Being a great writer does not necessarily entail shunning away from daily practical concerns, in the same manner that a person with no other daily duties does not guarantee a prolific writer. Difficult for the right-brained writer as it may be, time must be managed. Schedules and systems must be established in order to attain the perfect juxtaposition and equilibrium of work (chores and responsibilities) and play (writing).

Basic Creative Design Principles

Some people seem to have been born knowing creative design principles. Others, maybe you included, have to struggle to develop even the tiniest creative skills they do have. One thing is for certain, you can learn to be more creative. And you can discover the creative design ideas that other artists use for inspiration, even if you were not born with a single creative bone in your body.

There are several principles of design you must consider when you begin to learn the creative design process. These principles give an over riding basis on how your design elements will interact with one another, in your artwork and your designs. Each one influences the others in an endless tug-of-war within your mind and on your creative canvas. Your challenge is to learn to create harmony out of all these principles in your artwork, and to give your designs that unique blend that can only come from within you.

The creative design principles are...

Now, let us look at each principle as it relates to your creativity and your designs.

Balance is the arrangement of different design elements, on any given piece of artwork, so that there is an equal distribution of visual weight to the whole piece. Art that doesn't have balance can leave the viewer uneasy, almost as if there is something wrong with the piece.

Rhythm has to do with repeating elements and patterns in your designs. It also involves variations on those patterns to provide freshness, and to keep your art from becoming boring. Repetition can help to unify a piece, or bring different parts of your artwork together. It can also provide the basic textures for your design work.

Dominance refers to emphasizing certain parts of your design so that they get noticed first. Every piece of artwork needs a focal point which determines where your eyesight goes first, when you look at it. If you do not have a focal point your viewer quickly loses interest. Having too many points of interest will also leave the viewer with no place to focus. There are many ways to emphasize parts of your design, but the most important point is to select your focus based on your main message and, secondly, in consideration of whom your audience will be.

Unity is the final aspect in design, which gives a feeling that all the elements belong together. Unifying a piece can involve using various elements, including matching colors, shapes, textures, groupings, weights, typographies, or sizes. Unity, in your art, is the overall feeling that brings your piece together, and gives it wholeness or variety, whichever you are trying to convey to the viewer.

When you consider each of these design principles, while creating your artwork, they will have an impact on everything you create and do in your piece. No matter where your creativity takes you, if you will try to incorporate balance, rhythm, dominance, and unity into your artwork, you will be building on the solid basics of creative design.