Fred Vee 2018

One thing I recommend to anyone in any kind of art discipline is to step out of your comfort zone completely a few times a year. I attend sketch sessions and workshops that cost little to no money and just give myself a couple of hours to free associate with whatever the theme is. Sometimes, it's people moving, like dancers ands this last one for example (pictured above) was to respond to live music being played.

They're an excellent challenge in that there's no pressure. You go with your instincts immediately and use whatever materials are there. This last event had everything from pencils, to crayons, to paints. Big sheets of sketch paper were provided. We sat on the floor and the music started.

This started out as just blobs of color I put down that matched my feeling for the music. Then I just got lost and freed what's left of my mind and I started opportunities to go with a face. Took about twenty minutes to do.

One of the best things is at the end and you take a look at others creations. They range from squiggly lines, batches of colors, color washes, and on and on. There's no rules. There's no correct response, so it's like meditation almost. You just find a groove and go with it.

Although I'm branching out with what I use to create things lately, I'm most comfortable with a camera. I don't know about you, but I can often get stuck shooting essentially the same picture  for weeks sometimes. Nothing looks fresh and I go to things I know will work instead of trying to expand. That's where these kind of exercises become invaluable.

I'm not a painter and I don't draw or sketch well, so right away I'm liberated from expectations. I can just do whatever feels good. It's funny because a lot of your skillsets like composition and what not subconsciously work their way in and it's interesting and fun to see what comes of it all.

To wrap it up, I think it's good to try new things that you may not be skilled at and leave your ego at the door. I think you'll find it expands your mind and actually improves whatever it is you do on a regular basis.