Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Shayda Campbell, and I’m a Canadian artist and YouTube content creator. I share two videos a week encouraging adults to get creative and my video tutorials typically involve watercolor painting, drawing, or journaling.
How and when did you get into art?
I can’t remember a time when art wasn’t a part of my life. Some of my earliest memories are coloring at the kitchen table. I would dedicate myself to massive crayon projects and go through stacks of paper (my dad brought scrap computer paper home from the office for me). I had a real need to be creative and I found crafting and drawing very exciting.
How has your practice changed over time?
My art practice has changed as much as I have! It’s grown with me throughout my life. I was a super creative kid, always painting, decorating my playhouse, crafting costumes, and making cards and gifts for friends and family; I took so much joy in being creative. But in high school, I got serious about my pencil sketching and I let myself and my art practice be ruled by this desire for perfection. Art became stressful and predictable, and after high school, I stopped drawing and painting altogether. During my twenties, I only got creative once in a while, and it was always a practical matter, like doing the chalkboards at work or making a birthday card for a friend. Then, around my 30th birthday, I felt a desire to be more creative. I was going through some mental health struggles at that time, and I just felt like trying new things, learning, creating, and sharing online. I got some library books and began with candy making, leatherworking, knitting, and furniture refinishing. I shared all of it on my blog which later became my YouTube channel. At that time, I also decided to try making art again and chose to focus on watercolor painting because it had always scared me. Now my art practice is rooted in my childhood love of crafting, drawing, and trying new things. I love to grab a book from the library and learn a new creative skill or build on an existing one.
What’s the best piece of art advice you’ve been given?
Don’t discount your work too quickly. If you aren’t feeling the piece you’re working on, put it away, get some sleep, and come back to it with fresh eyes. We can be so hard on ourselves and our art, but so often it looks ‘better’ with a bit of distance. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come across half-finished paintings in my studio and thought, “why did I ever give up on this one?” Sometimes you just have to let it breathe a bit. I try to remember this in the hopes of finishing some of those half-finished pieces!
What’s one art tip/technique you can share with us that you find really helpful?
A bit of prep goes a long way. Sitting down at a blank piece of paper and try to just “make art” can be intimidating, so prepare. Work out a color palette and a small sketch or two ahead of time. Break the process down into manageable steps.
What is your favorite Strathmore paper?
I seriously love painting in the Strathmore soft cover watercolor notebooks, they are the best! I’ve filled so many of them!
Shayda is teaching one of our free workshops that begins on May 2, 2022! Make sure to click here to sign up for the Joyful Watercolor workshop and get the supply list so you’re prepped and ready when the first class drops!