July 28, 2014

How to Unleash Your Creativity

I did something a little out of the ordinary this past week. 

I took a watercolor workshop. 

I've used watercolor in my artwork (you can see them here), but I've always combined it with other media. I was never comfortable enough to use this medium alone. It was time for me to get it right and expand my creative repertoire. 

The extremely talented artist Kirstin Malone shared with me some of the techniques and experience she has acquired over the years as a watercolorist. I've learned so much more in this two day workshop than a semester long watercolor class I took back in college. You can see some of her stunning work Here

Besides the watercolor techniques, I've also learned the secret to unleash our creativity. Do you want to know what that is? Embrace the Imperfections. 

2 Ways to Embrace Imperfections & Unleash Your Creativity:

1. Let go of your control. 

Unlike pen and pencil drawing, watercolor is a very challenging medium to control. Sure, you can control some details, but in the end you have to trust the water and let it do its job. 

Doesn't watercolor painting sound a lot like life? When you know what you can and you can't control, you approach life more effortlessly. You just do your best with what you can control and let the rest unfold on its own. 

       practice no. 1 | jelly beans

This is exactly what happened when I worked on this piece, jelly beans. The two colors, orange and yellow, blended beautifully on the paper while the water settled. 

I couldn't have achieved this if I overworked with the brush. The water moved the pigments around and left me a little surprise. When you let go of your control and let things unfold of their own, something amazing happens.

2. Reinvent

Since I'm relatively new to the world of watercolor, my paintings are usually, well, not that good. But I hate to give up on something I've spent hours working on. Instead of giving up or throwing a temper tantrum (also a tempting option), I try to get creative and reinvent my artwork. I take something imperfect and turn it into something beautiful.

      practice no. 2 | tomatoes + chives + pie crust

I wasn't too happy when I finished this piece - I think it's the pie crust. My husband even mentioned the pie crust was crooked and weird. Oh well.

I really liked some of the details though. I wondered how I could make this work...

Luckily, this art came alive with a simple styling. I paired it with a white frame and a Panton chair, and somehow the pie crust doesn't bother me anymore. All I needed to do was to place it in a right setting. 

       practice no. 3 | chives

This piece was a little more challenging than the one above. I was so close to put this one in a trash can. I thought this was boring and a little too pastel to my taste.

So, I pulled out my white oil pastel and wrote "embrace your imperfections" all over the background. Then I applied a light gray watercolor wash all over it. This process gave this piece a slight sepia tint and toned down the pastel hues I wasn't happy with. It also made the message pop against the darker wash. 

Next, I made a mat using cardboard and burlap. Once the wash was completely dry, the art was mounted to the burlap mat. 

I'm thrilled how this turned out. 

When you're ready to embrace imperfections, you finally become free from fear - the fear of making mistakes. Sure, the fear will always be there, trying to find its way to enter our soul. But when you live boldly in spite of fear, your creativity comes to the surface.

And it's okay to make mistakes. Remember, you can always reinvent the imperfections and turn them into something beautiful.

Let's roll up our sleeves, embrace imperfections, and unleash our creativity.
Shall we? 


  1. Often actual pie crusts turn out crooked and weird :)
    Your watercolors are beautiful. I love watercolors because they are so dreamy and imperfect. I've only taken a basic art class and my watercolor was the ugliest thing I've ever created. I love the jelly beans! Your talent translates to many mediums.

    1. Watercolor is such a challenging medium to learn. I love the way it teaches me there's more beauty in imperfection than perfection. Now speaking of pie crusts, I'm in the mood for baking a pie... Thank you for stopping by! xx

  2. Cool jelly beans!!! Just too cool!!!

    Talented you are, my friend. Keep on reaching high ...


  3. I was thinking the same thing as Stephen, regarding crooked and weird pie crust, but thought that my experience may not be the norm ; ) "When you let go of your control and let things unfold of their own, something amazing happens" ... so true! It is funny how sometimes it's easier to overwork, than not.

    P.S. Thank you for your sweet comment (I'm experiencing an issue with comments/replies posting on my blog).

    1. My pie crusts always come out crooked, too :) But it's tasty nonetheless. It's amazing how much I can learn from crooked pie crusts. Have a wonderful week, Paula!

  4. So happy you found time to attend a watercolor workshop Yuko - and the results are just wonderful!
    I have loved every piece of work you have shared, keep them coming. It's truly a pleasure to see your creations. The jellybeans are so cheerful and you are so talented!

    1. Thank you, Gam! It's fun to learn something new and expand the repertoire. xx

  5. Yuko, you are such a gem :). Your art is beautiful, and you are such an encouragement! I love the simple but powerful truth of your words. Too often we let imperfection hold us back, but I love that you've shared how it can instead give us wings :). Thank you for sharing friend!!

    1. Hi Shawna! I love the way you said "imperfections can give us wings." So poetic! Thank you for your beautiful words. xx

  6. What an encouraging post - love that you walked us all through it with your artwork. Beautiful.

    1. Hi Michele! Thank you for your encouraging words. I enjoy sharing what I create here on the blog :) xx

  7. Yoku, I believe you are destined for much greater things. Your artwork will improve tremendously
    (It's great already) and your followers will multiply. I have just recently discovered your blog and love
    it. There's something really clean and relevant about it. I've read every post and completely enjoyed my afternoon doing so.

    Peggy Hunt

    1. Hi Peggy! Thank you so much for your kind words! Reading your comment makes me want to push the creative boundaries and become the person I'm designed to be. Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog. xx

  8. Yuko, I appologize.. I misspelled your name.



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