Discover Your Creative Side: How To Channel Your Inner Artist

July 15, 2020 by University District

Art project ideas for all skill levels to enjoy


It’s easy to lose focus of your own artistic outlets when managing life and work each day. With summer here, it’s a great time to think about how you plan to reconnect with your inner artist.


To help, University District is sharing ideas to fuel your creativity and keep your passion flowing.


Whether you’re looking for different ways to express yourself, searching for a new hobby, selling your work, or seeking to enhance your living space, today is your lucky day! Keep reading for some pointers and must-try art projects that will let your creativity loose and your imagination shine.


No matter the medium you choose – charcoal, pastels, acrylics and watercolours; or photography and sculpture – find what piques your interest and be inspired by your surroundings.



You don’t have to be a trained chef to cook something delicious. Unleash your creativity, experiment with ingredients and flavours, and bring joy to the table. Need some inspiration? Get started with these tips and some good old-fashioned dishes with a twist. 


Ideas to Inspire. Release Your Creativity!


For both children and adults alike, finding some way to express yourself creatively has all kinds of benefits. And let’s be honest – making time to play in fun, artistic ways can be relaxing. Take a look at these U/D approved ideas to get your creative juices flowing!

Photography with friends – at a distance


Whether it’s your childhood friends or furry best friend, get behind the lens and channel your inner Ansel Adams! Summer is a great time to explore your creative side with a camera in hand, while keeping distance in mind. Test out some funny action photos in the park, the newly trending porch-traits, or memorable outdoor patio poses at your favourite coffee shop. Stampede might have been on hold this year but why not bust out your western wear for some fun photos?



Are you new to the world of photography? Consider these handy tips:


  • Tip 1: Forget the zoom and get in close!


Zoom decreases your photo quality, but your feet don’t. Keeping safety in mind, physically move closer to your subject for better, sharper photos. Especially good for things like nature and flowers!


  • Tip 2: Lighting is key


Probably the single most important part of photography is light. When scouting locations, opt for spaces with ample natural light and pay attention to the direction and softness of light to add depth to your images. Morning and early evening are perfect light times!


  • Tip 3: Filters? Why not!


Filters can be a fantastic and easy way to transform lacklustre captures into vibrant, striking images. Don’t be shy! Experiment with filters to make your photo something special.


Art hack: There’s no need for fancy new equipment. Nowadays, even your smartphone can take incredible photos! Remember, what’s important is to find a location that fits your style.


Whether you’re a budding professional or novice photographer, there’s something truly enjoyable and rewarding about capturing an amazing outdoor image. U/D has you covered! From hidden Northwest gems to quick tips, learn to take stunning photos of the great outdoors from YYC-based photographer Tasha Marie Palmer, better known through Instagram as @TeaPalm



Virtual Paint Party


Virtual paint nights are a fun and avant-garde way to unwind. Dress up or dress down (pyjamas anyone?), pour a glass of wine and turn your perfect night into a virtual paint party with friends. Best part? No painting experience required!


Get started with Grasby Art Studio’s virtual classes or check out paintnite.com for a listing of Calgary events – virtual and in-person.


Art Hack: Whether purchasing your own equipment or buying a kit, set up is key. Always cover your work table or art space with large sheets of paper and have plenty of paper towels on hand.


Get groovy with tie-dye!


Who doesn’t love tie-dying? Mix the colours and watch it blend into swirls and abstract designs. Tie-dying is a fun way to spark your imagination and maybe even a bit of nostalgia


From bright, colourful shirts and shorts to super fun artwork, what’s not to love? Visit your local art supply store or easily order dye online to create those great designs you used to love.


Art hack: An easy-mix for tie-dying is to put bleach on dark clothes. Remember to mix one=part bleach with one-part water. Then tie-dye away!


Backyard wood-burning shindig


Wood burning is perfect for any beginning artist and makes for a fun outdoor summer activity with family and friends. All you need is a piece of wood and wood burning tool which you can get at any nearby hardware store, such as Canadian Tire, or opt for a kit from a great NW art supply store like Destination Art.


Whether you choose to try a simple freehand design or trace a paper print out, there’s no wrong way! Why not heat up your next shindig with some wood burning fun?


Art hack: When choosing wood, consider a natural wood such as Pine, Aspen, Poplar, Birch or finished lumber including plywood. All great options!



Collage it up


Can’t draw or paint but want to create an art project with your kids? A collage is a great option! Kiddie crafters of all ages will love getting creative with these fun and easy projects. Best part? There’s no “wrong” way to combine different materials, which can be incredibly freeing for little artists.


Repurpose old magazines or even duplicate photos to create a stunning mixed media masterpiece. Get real crafty and collect leaves from strolls through your favourite NW park to design a beautiful leaf rubbing collage.


Art hack: No magazines? Coloured paper and even tissue paper are great alternatives, especially when combined with hand-drawn doodles.


Gardening isn’t just a passion, it’s an art form. Channel the artist within and design your own nutritious haven at home with these easy-to-master kitchen gardening tips and tricks. Get inspired here


Pro Tips to Awaken Your Inner Artist


There is something cathartic and peaceful about the process of creating.  Get back in touch with your inner Picasso-esque artist and spark your creative energy with these tips and tricks. One thing is certain: they will shape the artistic forces that live within. Let’s take a look!



Design a space that inspires creativity


Carve out a creative corner and explore different ways to set up a space to inspire innovative thinking. Paint the walls your favourite colour, hang meaningful art or photographs, display affirming phrases on walls, or rearrange furniture to offer new, exciting perspectives.


Tip: Music is powerful as it can stimulate the brain, pull out ranges of emotions and fuel motivation and inspiration. It’s no wonder it’s a must-have to any creative atmosphere. Be sure to experiment with different styles of music. Classical and instrumental to techno, pop, country and worldly compilations; the options are endless!


Experiment and explore


Different art mediums open up a host of possibilities. From oil pastels, watercolour and sculpting, to recyclable materials, paper bags, bottle caps and more. Explore innovative mediums of art and experiment with unexpected materials to transform ordinary works into extraordinary pieces.


Whatever you choose, learning new techniques is a great way to use your creativity and explore the breadth of artistic possibilities.


Tip: Wander through a nearby NW art store such as Art Box or Grasby Art Supplies and Framing. It’s an instant inspiration!



Let loose! It’s okay to break the rules


It’s difficult to get your artistic juices flowing with a strict schedule. After all, creativity grows out of playfulness.


Embrace the freedom of playing with an idea and put it to paper. It can go a long way to expanding your mind, tapping into where innovation begins and showcasing it through an artistic outlet.


Tip: Take a break! Spontaneously build a fort with the kids, take a stroll with your pup at the nearby U/D urban dog park, enjoy a good read on your outdoor patio, or try your hand at a chocolate souffle. A timeout may just be what you need to help shape your creative path.


Creating art can be a natural form of self-expression and a source of fulfilment, joy and inspiration. We hope these ideas will open your mind to new ways of expressing your hidden (or not so hidden) talent. Remember, creativity becomes even more powerful when you think outside the box. Start creating those masterpieces!


Have a must-try art project of your own to share, or how about a pro tip to channel the artist within? Share your suggestions with us and the community on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

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