Creativity is a gift that we are given and express instinctively as children. Without self-doubt or fear of rejection the inner spirit soars, embracing new experiences wholeheartedly. Eager to learn and always willing to try, children approach everything like it was for the first time. Sensually aware and stimulated by even the most inconsequential things, the untempered mind explores the world in a way that is awe-inspiring to witness.

Oftentimes, as we move into adulthood, the inner realm gets overshadowed by the constant pressures, demands and distractions of the external world and the pathway of exploration and experimentation narrows. We are ultimately trained to conform, meeting predetermined standards that often deny our own individual approaches to learning, problem solving and creative expression. In a world dominated by concerns of commerce and efficiency, it seems that play is no longer seen as a worthy, viable or even relevant part of the creative process. Allegiance to conformity keeps us from taking any risks, making artists stagnant and oftentimes creatively blocked over time. As visual communicators, we need to be open and willing to learn new things at any stage in the game. Learning is lifelong. Stepping outside what is familiar and taking creative chances allow us to see with different eyes. I believe that the act of play holds a vital and necessary part in the artistic growth process. When we begin to play, we open the door for discovery to enter.

Mademoiselle du Carnaval in Progress Detail
© 2020 Lisa L. Cyr, Cyr Studio LLC
12″ x 9” x 1” (Final Image)
acrylic & mixed media on paper over cradled masonite panel

As an artist, author, teacher and lecturer, I am always actively encouraging others to experiment and explore, employing alternative approaches in conceptualizing and creating works of art. In the classroom, I get my undergraduate and graduate students to try new things by, first and foremost, tackling their fears of working outside their comfort zones. I use an analogy in which their fears play the role of being this big, overstuffed and crazy heavy backpack that they carry on their shoulders every day. It’s clunky, incredibly back-breaking and overly burdensome but yet they hold onto it for dear life! Fears can be very powerful that way. I usually give a speech at the beginning of every class that goes something like this, “If you want to enter into this classroom, leave your backpacks (fears) outside the door. I promise you that nobody wants or will take your backpack (fears) from you. When class is done, you can pick up your backpack (fears) outside the door if you still want it. But you will not be needing it here.” As a teacher, I want to transform their insecurities and fears, using them to ignite their superpower: that unique voice and vision that resides within. As an extension to my classroom teaching, my books and articles also assist artists in venturing out on their own creative path, but with a much more diverse and expansive global audience. Topics range from nurturing the creative spirit within, developing personal content through journalism, embracing a multidisciplinary mindset and creating message-driven art to creative self-promotion, branding, new business development, target marketing, integrated cross-media strategies, public relations, collaborative endeavors, social media and viral initiatives as well as entrepreneurial approaches.

Self Awareness
© 2020 Lisa L. Cyr, Cyr Studio LLC
30.5″ x 21.5” x 1.75”
acrylic, oil, collage & assemblage on
canvas over masonite & board with wooden framework

To expand my own visual and verbal vernacular, I experiment, explore and play almost every day, on some level. Sometimes my practice may be for only a duration of minutes, but I do it anyway. It’s a ritual. Whether I am writing in my journals, drawing and painting in my mixed-media sketchbooks or working on an alternative surface, there are happy accidents that begin to happen. Things that I could not have predicted occur. I find that when I push myself creatively, I discover alternative ways in which to conceptualize and create art. This process and practice is important to me. As a result of my creative exploration, the working grounds and formats that I employ have changed, becoming layered, custom in design and often utilizing alternative materials. Over time, my work has also become larger in scale and the tools that I use have evolved, assisting me in that transition. Alternative, custom-made tools have allowed me creative distinction in mark-making. By altering the traditional painting instruments, repurposing tools from myriad disciplines and inventing completely new devices for custom, signature treatments onto the painted surface, I am able to expand the boundaries of my artmaking, infusing alternative ways of working into the practice. If you look at art history, you will see that the biggest movements were forged as a result of breaking out of the ideologies and methodologies that came before. New ways of thinking are brought into the culture when artists step into their inner playground.

The Courageous
© 2020 Lisa L. Cyr, Cyr Studio LLC
30.25″ x 19” x 2.5”
acrylic, oil, collage & assemblage on
canvas over masonite & board with wooden framework

To persevere, we must give ourselves the freedom to play, transcending to a time where the creative spirit reigned in a vast and seemingly limitless field of dreams. We need to remind ourselves what it feels like to be inquisitive, bursting with imaginative faculties. A pilgrimage back to a child-like, playful state of mind reunites us with the soul of our work: a bright, flickering flame that has always been present within. Without fear of mistakes or pressure to perform, we begin again, challenging ourselves to reach for new heights in our work. As illustrators, the more we cultivate creative exploration and experimentation, the more we are able to see and reach our full potential as creative beings. Without a set intention, create and let the work guide you along the journey of experimentation.

To get your creative juices flowing, I’d like to share with you some fun and playful techniques that I have discovered. I have included a step-by-step demonstration on how to create a custom painting and or debossing tool for you to download:

I look forward to hearing what you do to push your creative boundaries!

If you are interested in learning more about working in experimental mixed-media techniques, check out my Masterclass on patreon!

A Unique Approach:

Masterclass is a unique approach to learning, where each artist works on their own projects, whether that be standalone works or works in a series. Unlike a workshop or an assignment-driven class, this online atelier supports each individual artist’s intent on creating works that they really want to pursue. 

There are approximately SEVEN Live Events every month. The Masterclass Saturday sessions (usually held on the first Saturday of the month) are from 11:00am to 1:00pm EST and the In the Studio sessions are from 2:00pm to 3:00pm on the same day. In addition, there is a monthly Paint, Draw + Create Together event (once a month) on Tuesday from 11:00am to 1:00pm EST and the weekly Sketchbook Meditation + Exploration Social events (3 to 4 times a month) are on Tuesday from 7:00pm to 8:30pm.

Patron Art Feedback sessions for Masterclass are conducted four times a year, giving each artist time to create their works. Artists that cannot attend live can submit up to 3 pieces for a live session review. Each review is recorded.

Experimental + Traditional Techniques:

The Masterclass online atelier covers a variety of topics from studio best practices to a vast array of experimental and traditional painting as well as expressive drawing techniques. The instructor provides monthly assistance and guidance through live  demonstrations, lectures and group chats. ​If you miss a class, you can watch the recording at a later date. 

Painted Passages: This series of posts and videos on how to employ freeform painting techniques to create magical backgrounds and environments in mixed media.

Collage Techniques: This series of posts and videos on using collage techniques in mixed-media works of art.

Working in Relief: This series of posts and videos focuses on working in relief in mixed media, exploring self-expression through texture-building and bas-relief techniques onto the painted surface.

Studio Basics: This series of posts and videos on artistic best practices for the studio artist, from working surfaces, grounds, painting mediums, varnishes, drawing and painting media to brushes, tools and equipment.

Expressive Drawing Series: This series of posts and videos explores alternative mark-making using drawing materials to create expressive works of art. 

Conceptual Development: This series of posts and videos focuses on developing concepts for visually expressive works of art.

Masks, Props + Costuming: This series of posts and videos focuses on how I create unique masks, props and costumes for my figurative subjects.

Insights from the Natural World: This series of posts and videos explores using nature as an inspirational muse for creating artistic works

Just Imagine: This series of posts and videos explore working in a sketchbook as well as creating custom made books. Tactile surfaces, unique designs and engaging presentations stimulate brain activity, allowing artists to drift back to a playful state of mind.

Paint Pictures with Words Writing Club: This series of posts and videos explore writing about our works, creating poetry and prose and using the power of words to assist in the creative process!

Mixed Media Artist Series: This series of posts and videos includes insightful and thought-provoking profiles of leading artists, working in unique techniques and innovative approaches in art.

The Art of Promotion: This series of posts and videos cover artistic promotional strategies and practices.

Check out the complete Collection of Content already on the Navigating the Labyrinth of the Creative Mind site!

Behind-the-Scenes Access:

The artist brings you into her studio through live behind-the-scenes access and weekly posts and videos to current projects and creative endeavors.​

In addition, you have early access to the artist’s upcoming Shows and Exhibitions.

Creative Enrichment:

Discussions regarding artistic growth and development, nurturing the creative spirit, developing personal content, embracing a multidisciplinary mindset and creating message-driven art are also explored as ways to assist artists on their own creative path.

Throughout this online workshop experience, artists discover a multitude of ways to ignite creativity, opening the door for the artistic spirit to shine! Check out the testimonials above from artists around the globe!

Get weekly access to the Rediscovering Your Creative Self weekly podcast which focuses on developing a relationship with the creative spirit that resides within and making daily lifestyle changes that enhance creativity, building a more creative and playful mindset.

Throughout the audio program, topics such as battling the inner critic, handling creative block, working through anxiety and self-doubt and interrupting the patterns that bind are explored. Managing fears, seeing mistakes as rites of passage, knowing when to open and close doors, riding the wave of triumphs and tribulations, avoiding distractions and coping with naysayers that keep one from seeing the light that resides within are covered.

Every month on the Navigating the Labyrinth of the Creative Mind site, there is new Sketchbook Challenge prompt and directive, allowing artists to discover alternative ways in which to practice art that is more personal. Art created from this endeavor is shared on the private Community Chat with other artists.

Sketchbook Meditation + Exploration Weekly Social

Every Tuesday night from 7:00pm to 8:30pm EST, you can attend an open sketchbook night social event called Sketchbook Meditation + Exploration. We discuss the Rediscovering Your Creative Self podcast episode of the week, setting an intention for our work and making daily lifestyle changes that enhance creativity.

Artists use the Sketchbook Meditation + Exploration weekly get-together as a time to commit to working in their sketchbook, experimenting and discussing with other artists topics that will help in developing a relationship with the creative spirit that resides within. Recordings are available for Masterclass artists if they miss a session!

Build a Community:

Be a part of a creative tribe, interacting with artists and enthusiasts from all around the world who have shared interests in art. This is an opportunity to create a robust artistic community, broadening your horizons as a creative person.

Your membership also includes private access to the  Community Group, where patrons share art and works-in-progress, post the monthly Sketchbook Challenges as well as the weekly Sketchbook Meditation + Exploration Social art and work from the Paint Pictures with Words Writing Club. They also share inspiration, discuss new artistic tools, products and equipment as well as interesting and informative books on art and so much more!

Join Us:

The Navigating the Labyrinth of the Creative Mind Online Atelier has weekly posts and videos as well as several LIVE events each month.​

Join month-to-month for $25/mo US or save 5% if you join yearly!

Join NOW!

© 2020 Lisa L. Cyr, Cyr Studio LLC