Art Challenge: Think Different, Make Different

*A guest post by Victoria Rose Martin.

The challenges of making art while traveling or at least away from your studio can be daunting. Last month as I was planning to travel I offered up a challenge to incorporate a different medium with your art. Did you try anything new?

This year I dared myself to create something with textiles and in the process discovered some really cool things that I previously overlooked. Here’s what I discovered during my personal challenge:

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1. Paint pens. If you haven’t tried them do. They are markers that contain water-based paint. They are very opaque and work on light and dark surfaces. I bought a variety of different shapes and sizes. I’ve used them successfully on canvas, paper and fabric. They dry very quickly and have a nice wide range of color. No doubt, I will keep using them.

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2. Visit a haberdashery. (And seriously, who doesn’t love saying that word?) The history and architecture alone make Liberty in London worth seeing. The writer Oscar Wilde once said, “Liberty is the chosen resort of the artistic shopper.” I’ve been to the store dozens of times in the past but this year with my “challenge” sewing supplies weren’t off limits. Wandering the aisles I browsed bolts of iconic fabrics and snapped a lot of inspiring photos. In the end I bought cloth, glorious buttons, and a really cool traveling sewing kit (seen above). What if you visited a shop you normally wouldn’t and bought a scarf or something inexpensive from the sale bin and used that for a craft project?

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3. Embroidering the everyday. While in a thrift store searching for inspiration I found a crudely embroidered t-shirt of what looked like child’s drawing. While it wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, I must say it was really inspiring. Of course I got on Etsy and found this cool example of an artist who will stitch your child’s drawing. Why not try it yourself? It could also be a great gift idea if you’re low on cash.

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4. Finding success. Perhaps you accepted the challenge and you made something kind of cool. Well, photograph it and post it on your blog or other social media. Mine aren’t done yet, but so far I really like the dolls I’ve been working on. Remember you don’t have to be a professional photographer with a big studio set up. The photo below was shot on my hotel bed with my cardigan serving as backdrop. (Who knew?) Remember, there are artists out there who might want to see the mess on the table (or in my case the bed) In that case, here’s the mess that includes pajamas and bag of chic peas among the pens, watercolor, sketchbook, thread and computer.

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5. Admitting failure. I know that I am not ever going to be a hyper realistic artist. I go crazy watching paint dry. Asking myself is it dry I touch it and then I smudge it and then it tailspins. Very tight embroidery with very neat repeating rows is not how I work. But it doesn’t stop me from admiring those who are able and most important; it doesn’t stop me from making my crusty art. If you try something and fail, gift your unwanted supplies to another artist who can use them. We learn from mistakes as well as our successes. Take photos and be sure to post them on your social media.

While it’s great to have a style or consistent look to your art, sometimes it’s a good to try new things in an attempt to freshen up your art. Why not accept the challenge and try something new in your art? And remember there are people like me who want to see photos so post them on your blog or other social media and let us see what you’ve come up with. Remember to have fun.

For more art ideas, check out these titles:

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Click to Purchase Colored Pencil Collage!Victoria Rose Martin is an artist and designer currently living in South Florida. She is the Department Chair for Fine Art and Graphic Design at Palm Beach State College in Lake Worth, Florida. You can visit her website at:

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