Artist Kim Bernard used daily art exercise to connect Mainers and beyond virtually

Art prompts spur community to get creative during Artists & Makers Week

Mon, 04/12/2021 - 11:30am

    ROCKLAND—As mud season is full underway, little pops of color in nature are turning up on roadsides and gardens. As part of Artists & Makers Week hosted by the Island Institute’s retail store Archipelago, little pops of color also appeared in artist Kim Bernard’s email inbox—the result of daily art prompts she put out to Maine’s communities and beyond last week.

    Each day had a different directive and she encouraged each participant to spend no more than 15 minutes on each prompt. One was: Pick a color, go for a walk and photograph everything you see that's that color. Choose the best nine photos and email a screenshot.

    Each person picked their own color scheme.

    “Some of them were not easy colors to find, such as a teal/aqua,” she said. “When you set out with the intention to find that color, suddenly your eye finds it, wherever it is. That color has always been there, but now that you’re searching for it and your eye zeroes in. I thought about this more being an exercise in observation, not emphasizing so much about the objects they chose, but more about sticking to their choice of color, even if it was difficult to find.”

    Bernard added that the art prompt doubly served as a practice in being present in the moment. “When you’re out for a walk looking for color, what you’re actually doing is exercising your mind and creativity,” she said. “There are so many benefits to doing this.”

    Monday Doodle - Create a doodle within a circle of any size.

    Tuesday Color Walk - Pick a color, go for a walk and photograph everything you see that's that color.

    Wednesday Arrangement - Choose one common household object that you have many of and arrange them creatively. Photograph the arrangement

    Thursday Stack It Up - Pick one object that you have many of and see how high you can stack them.  Take a photo of the pile just before you think it might fall over.

    Friday Mystery Word workshop - An interactive Zoom session in which each participant gets one square of the word puzzle.  Each participant will work with markers, pencils, paint, whatever on their mystery square and email to Kim.  She will assemble them and present the finished mystery word.  

    “Each prompt attracted different people,” she said. “For example, one prompt encouraged people to choose one common household object that they have many of and arrange them creatively, so some people were more inclined to do that one more than the others.”

    Another popular art prompt was to create a doodle within a circle. Bernard received 24 of those doodles and has now created buttons out of them and is sending them back to the participants.

    Bernard started her daily art prompts from her social media platforms right after the pandemic began to encourage people to cultivate creativity and camaraderie. It turned into 150 days in a row of daily art prompts, encouraging her followers to post their work on her Facebook page—sort of an interactive, fun, hobby, while the world was figuring out how to move forward.

    As a result of this hobby, Bernard received a grant from the Island Institute to produce Daily Art Prompt decks, printed into postcard size, which now Archipelago now carries.

    To see how the daily art prompt creations turned out each day visit Bernard’s Facebook page.

    “It was generous of the Island Institute to make this Artists & Makers Week free for participants and since it was virtual, it was even far-reaching to anyone who has a connection to the Midcoast,” she said. “And it’s recorded, so if you missed some of the events this week, people can still access it online.”

    To access more of the archived virtual events visit Artists & Makers Week.

    Kay Stephens can be reached at