Monday, December 20, 2010


Again and again I come back to the difference between skill and creativity.  Let me repeat:  Skills are what enable you to execute your creative ideas well in your medium or choice of field.  Once a skill becomes innate you use it like you use your hands-you don't have to stop and think "OK, now, move that finger to the t on the keyboard, and that one to the o-great I just typed "to"! But I had to spend hours practicing keyboard lessons to become good at typing!  And then hours to become faster so I could type almost as fast as I could read or think.  You have to pay your dues!

I think most of us want instant gratification.  When taking a class, students want to walk away with a masterpiece.  I try instead to help them find the joy in the medium and build on skills to bring them along to a painting they not only think is pretty good, but one that was enjoyable to produce.  The most asked question is: what can I do to get better?  My #1 answer is always- "take a drawing class".  Why?  Because if you cant draw a scene or object accurately, how can you paint it?  Drawing is foundational to good art.  Do I need it if I don't do representational art?  Maybe not, but you will need other foundational skills.  Your time is never wasted on basics!

From a recent art newsletter I get I read a quote I'd like to share:
"That power to project a concept or idea in your work comes down to not letting skill become a barrier between what you want to say and how you are able to say it. I think that is why so many artists focus on foundational skills such as drawing mastery. The pendulum swings both ways—innovative ideas inform skill; skill allows you to execute your vision." 

That's what I'm talkin' about!  Said so much better- I'll bet her writing skill set is better! 

Saturday, December 18, 2010


There are things that happen in ones life that are beyond our control.  I have to say that while not a natural disaster, the basement flood has left me immobile.  (and so has this Christmas!  My brain is on overload!)  So much to do, so little enthusiasm to do it! 
I think my main problem, and the one I have with  my work as an artist as well, is well, I'm not sure!  I'm not lazy. Not unmotivated.  I am stretched a little thin, but then so are most people.  Maybe it's focus?  But its really more like a series of "floods"!  And someone must clean it up and repair it.
While reading a short devotional yesterday, by an author I have read for years- his words fit my mood today.  " Thorough. I have just taken my Webster's Dictionary off the shelf and looked up thorough. He says it means "carried through to completion, careful about detail, complete in all respects." And further he says "The difference between something good and something great is attention to detail "
I am bored with details.  Not a good character trait.  But we all have a few bad ones.  And as I've shared before, I great out of the gate, and I'll get to the finish line, but not in any record time!  What is it they say, slow and steady?  That would be me!  So instead of beating myself up for my faults, or making huge changes that make me crazy-I'm going to try harder.  Yup, that's it.  While I admire anyone who can change whole personality traits in a single bound, I take a little longer.  And, as they say, God is in the details. (or the devil, depending on who you talk to)
And I'm going to buy some waders.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Failed Paintings

While the basement dries out and the painters paint, there is little I can to do and little space in which to do it!  Since I am feeling a bit better (wonderful what a little NyQuil and 8 hours of sleep can do for you!)  I ventured into the studio to actually work on the Christmas card idea. 

Here's the thought for the day:  While you may possess the skills to carry a project out, you still need to think through process before you start.  And even then, if all the stars are not aligned you may not get what you want.  I used to just accept that and move on to another project. Sometimes I still do.  But these days more often I repeat the painting using what I learned in the last one to better the next one.  I mean, isn't that what it's really all about? 

But here's the thing with watercolor.  Sometimes the beauty is the very quality that makes it so hard to control!  I think that's why I like it.  And yet, today I had two failed paintings!  Not that I can just whip out two good paintings in one day.  I was doing smaller studies to figure out which process I wanted to use and what colors, etc.  I just don't like them! 

So, my lesson today is:  try and try again.  If at first you don't succeed -yada, yada.  Chuck the frustration and think about what your goal is.  What do I want this painting to say?  How can I best make that happen?  And sometimes, you just have to except that you don't have what it takes to pull it off.  Maybe you lack the skill?  Maybe the tools?  Maybe a clear concept?  Time?  But figuring that out can put you on the path to some change and improvement! 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Creativity and a Flooded Basement

OK...I give!  I caught this cold and the basement flooded!  I'm having the great room painted so this place looks crazy!  There are 7 people traipsing through my house!

Chaos...pandemonium!  There has not even been a creative thought except how best to take a nap!  But you know what??  I see a light at the end of the long tunnel.  There will be new carpeting in the basement now, I can paint the walls down there while the floor is bare concrete (something I didn't plan to do nor have time for)  and have a new basement!  I am having the very tall walls on the main floor painted and have to finish painting where the walls to the catwalk meet upstairs.  In short- I have a load of stuff to do that has nothing to do with Christmas!  Not to mention- this is where all my money is going!! 

Upon reflection, I see that each home improvement project is begun because of some disaster!  So when I get a room finished and decorated, I'd probably live with it my entire life if some impetus did not move me toward change.  I did not use to be like this.  I used to rearrange the furniture almost as often as I vacuumed.  I had new decorating ideas and new home improvement projects going all the time.  I refinished furniture, stenciled and faux finished walls, made curtains and slipcovers, shopped flea markets- and I loved it!

I think decorating fulfilled a creative need of mine.  At the time I was not painting.  I had only done ceramics in high school and in college I got a D in watercolor.    That was enough to discourage me from continuing.  (I was easily discouraged!)  Fine art was not the focus then and I put my efforts into practical applications in school and decorated my home with a creative gusto. 

Now that I paint, I do not find the need for change in decor the way I once did.  In fact, I am going white on white with natural elements which I find restful to the eye and enhance my paintings on the wall.  (or is it really because there are too many color choices and I love them all so much I cannot make a decision??)  I do love color! 

I guess while this blog series is not at all turning out at all the way I had hoped, I am learning to stay open to all possibilities and try to roll with the punches.  Not easy for me, and Christmas cards will be late, but I will most certainly not be watching all the programs I DVR when I'm too busy to watch regularly!  I will keep you posted on the progress of my Christmas prep as well as the decorating ideas I may have. 

All this falls under the category of creativity.  It all serves to keep my creative spirit alive and fresh.  It matters not how it manifests itself, and I can let it's sources and applications change.  Change is the only constant in this world.  Control is largely an illusion!  I think I will try to embrace that and see where it takes my creative spirit!! 

Until tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Yesterday was a flurry of activity in the early energetic part of the day.  Monday is always the get-it-together after-the-weekend day.  It started out as usual, but by midday I could tell I was coming down with something.  By later in the day when my energy usually lags, my whole self was ready for bed!  But I still had things to do and I pushed on.  By dinner I realized I had not made it to the computer to blog!  But I just had nothing to say that related to creativity!  I just wanted my bed and pillow! 

Today I am sure I am getting sick.  So why tell you (or really me!) this?  Because I think sometimes you need to stop and regroup to let your creativity be reborn.  I think you need change of place and space.  This cold will give me a break.  Not one I wanted or have time for, but one I will use to recharge somehow.  We don't usually stop unless we are exhausted or finished with the "to do" part of our day.  Sometimes we are forced to either slow down or stop altogether.  And that can be a good thing.

Maybe I will read all the magazines or a book I don't have time for.  Watch a movie or listen to some music.  But one thing is for sure:  I don't feel like doing anything on the list of things that simply must get done!  Will they?  Maybe not those that really didn't need doing anyway.  Life has a way of culling my list sometimes. 
So, the holidays will have to wait while I endure the misery of some bug.  Not to sound too philosophical, but I think I will make the best of a bad thing.  I will try to use the down time to recharge my creative batteries...or just sleep! 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Gift That Keeps Giving- Giving!

Gifts that keep on giving... 

Studies show that doing for others benefits us as much or more than those we are helping.  There is a huge trend once again with the younger set to volunteer.  It's funny how in vogue it has become.  A new wave led by past presidents and famous people.  Oprah, Bill Gates, Clinton, and many movie stars.  Lets not forget the past - Lady Di, Mother Theresa, Jimmy Carter, JFK.  But until I saw my daughter serving humanity all over the place did I realize I've dropped the ball.

Thanksgiving reminded me how blessed my family is and how little I give back these days.  Funny, when I was younger we had less, but gave more-maybe because it didn't seem like much?  I was a whorl wind of volunteerism.  But then I had a lot more energy.  Today I have more resources and less energy! 

I write this because we want to find way's to give back this season.  We always say we will, but often don't in the holiday rush.  This year, like this blog, I intend to do what I say.  I think that volunteering is a gift we can give that keeps on giving. It seems special at Christmas and we should do it then, but we can continue all year at any pace we chose.

Think about where your creative gifts lie and then use those gifts in service to others this year.  You can write a check or just show up and serve physically if you can think what to do.  You will feel better, your physical and mental health will be better and you will be helping someone else.  Who could ask for a better gift? 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

day 8, almost 9

OK, so before midnight counts!  And what to write?  As far as creative went, I did little.  I sent off my oldest and his girlfriend to their home in Chicago and vowed to come see them and the Macy's windows (a sight to see at Christmas- the old Marshall Fields!) and skate on State. I would never skate, but pictures and a painting would be nice. 
I did do some holiday gift shopping today.  On my list, if you remember, I wrote "gifts that keep giving".  We're not talking fruitcake here!  I want to do some original gifts that will be remembered.  The vacation scrap books are one.  Then I think I will give the gift of the arts.  Tom and I are going to get tickets to six shows this next year for a gift to each other.  We are going to take dance lessons again as well.  These are things that last through the year.  Hmmnn, who else could I gift that way?  And what other types of things keep on giving?  Stay tuned!
I also did some decorating outside but did not get it photographed in time.  I will post the decorations soon.  The cards are still being worked.  I don't know if I will go with what I have already or if the new idea will pan out to be better.  I need to get that done or I will have to print them myself!  Stay tuned for that also...
And, that, that's all folks!  (till tomorrow)

Friday, November 26, 2010

day 7

OK.  I know I'm basically writing for myself.  And what do you think, if anything, is to be gained?  Well, the act of writing this blog is creative!  So, I have achieved my goal just by writing this if I continue on through the rest of the month.  Is that sneaky or what??
I will admit, I have been really busy and am having a hard time with writing every day.  But I am trying to stay true to my goal of making Christmas memorable with new memories.  Some things will stick and become tradition.  Many, like the drink I tried yesterday from -wait for it- the Martha Stewart website, are just not keepers.  (Yes, even Martha has a bad idea now and then!) But the centerpiece was a winner.
Today was "Black Friday".  I never go out on the busiest shopping day of the year.  I don't like the crowds.  But today I thought I'd give it a try.  That is also not going to be a tradition!  I saw on the news the people, mostly women, waiting in the rain for the stores to open at midnight.  In an interview one woman said they all eat Thanksgiving dinner and then the women leave and go to the outlet malls and shop all night.  "It's a tradition" one said.  To each his/her own!
So, I tried to shake it up with a Black Friday shopping trip.  And where did I do the most damage.  At home online!  But I did something different.  At least I'm trying new things.  And that my friend can bring up creative ideas in your mind.  By putting myself in a situation I usually tend to avoid I did come up with some creative gift ideas.  Which will have to be bought another day...
Till tomorrow!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Well, almost made it before noon!  Here is the centerpiece for Thanksgiving table.  It's very pretty in real life, all burnt orange and rust with vivid red berries and orange bittersweet shells! 
Got to go finish the rest before the guests arrive-
Be Thankful! 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

day 5

OK.  The cleaning and mundane is almost over.  (until after the party!)  Now, let's have Thanksgiving! 
In creative mode, I've decided upon a table decoration that is natural.  That will have to be done tonight as will setting the table.  (I'll post photos after)  I'm going cyber surfing for a new drink.  Last year we had pomegranate Martini's which were just OK.  Oprah liked them, but not my favorite.  This year I'd like something that you can drink with or without the alcohol.  (it impares my ability to execute!) The food is unexciting-with that many you have to do the usual and lots of it.  There will be a slide show on TV of our vacation-the kids will love it.  And we will of course play cards.  I wonder if anyone would sit for two hours while I paint them?  Lets see, a turkey induced might work!  See you tomorrow  

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

day 4

I honestly do not have time to do this today!  And I doubt anyone is following, so does it matter?  Not in the grand scheme I suppose.  It's just that I have been really trying to finish what I start.  There is something to be said for finishing at all.  And it's a good feeling to finish well.  Not all things will finish well.  But I think that quitting is worse than ever starting.  And once started, it is good for the character to finish.  Don't hold me to it! 
So, that said, I have nothing creative to do today.  Let me rephrase-I have creative things I could do-but the tyranny of the urgent demands my attentions.  This is where I usually get frustrated.  The tedious and mundane.  In a perfect world, scrubbing the toilet would have as much excitement as painting a masterpiece.  In the real world I only do it because somebody has to and if I get it out of the way I can move on to the fun stuff.  And if I am honest, can be put off at least for a time to do the something, anything else! 
I've read all kinds of organizing books and home keeping books (from Sidetracked Home Executives in the 80's to It's All Too Much this decade).  I've put in place systems I no longer use, feeling bad that I do not have what it takes to keep it up. I will probably always struggle with organization. At my age, you either make piece with who you are, or you live with all kinds of angst!  I'm kinda done beating myself up for my flaws.  We all have them, let's get over and on with it!
This translates into my creative life as well.  I've struggled with the disciplines I need to become better at my craft.  I am not very single minded and lack focus.  But I think there is a way to turn weakness into strength.  So the creative me is finding the joy in little victories.  Trying to move forward after the hard hit of defeat! 
Today I post, to continue in what I have started.  Today I take up the mundane and tedious to make room for less chaos and more order to my Thanksgiving.  Today I will try to find joy in cleaning a toilet and vacuuming the floor, paying the bills and grooming the little dog so people will pet her again! 
Today, even though it is so boring and you are thinking "what is she writing this for?" I write because I said I would.  People need to do what they say they will.  Even if no one notices or cares.  Builds character.  So does cleaning toilets.  (picture me with a toilet bowl brush held high in victory!)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Day 3

Hey there!  Yes, I try to get to this before noon, but life being what it is...
Yesterday I planned the photo albums of our trip, downloaded 254 photos to Walgreen's and had them printed.  The albums will be too small, so I'm off today to find bigger ones.
I also gathered from my yard these dried hydrangea blooms.  You cant tell because of the flash, but they are the most beautiful shade of burnt sienna!  I plan to use the absolutely gorgeous phthalo green (light shade-tube paint names!) colored pumpkin as the vessel and arrange the blossoms in it.  I will be out today on my walk gathering bittersweet to add color to the arrangement.  If you cant guess, I have a natural theme to the holidays this year. 
I also painted and decided on the design for my cards this year.  Stay tuned for more on that. 
I was busy making gravy ahead and my special meat balls to freeze so I have stuff done and can hang out more instead of work.  In case you are wondering, I am not teaching this month, so I have time to do all this fluffy stuff! 
I think that's all I have to share today.  I have a list a mile long, but I only use the list as a jumping off point. I try to pick 2 or 3 things I feel will add flavor to the festivities without too much fuss.  There are other things I am going to add, but right now I'm in plan and execute mode!  See you tomorrow!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

day 2

Well, all you get today is the brainstorm list.  It's not that long, because my brain didn't storm to well at the time.  There will be additions I'm sure!

Think up a new dish, drink or game to play at Thanksgiving-video this
watch vacation DVD
Centerpiece for table
hand make gifts - albums, scarves??, ornaments?
cards-pine cones, ornaments, flowers, birds, snowmen, lights, candles, nutcrackers
change up indoor dec for Christmas
outdoor Christmas decorations-planters, window boxes, new wreath?
Gifts that keep on giving-?
hostess gifts ??
Test new recipes for Christmas-get pear/onion tart recipes from Paula

Here are the rough ideas I will start from.  I have already made a map and a plan for some of them.  Tomorrow you can see what comes from these ideas and the rambling I do in my head!  Lets have some fun-

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Creating the Holidays!

There are a lot of things I'm thankful for.  And I love the holiday's for the family, friends and celebrations.  One thing that really gets my juices flowing is all the creative things I can do for the holiday's.  There are the decorations which I like to change up each year.  There is the cooking that I also like to change up, although the family does not!  (I think they have stories...)  There is the gift giving, which can be very personal and very creative.  There are cards which I usually design and paint myself.  And the list goes on.

Sometimes I dont have the time to get it all done, but I think part of what is energizing are the endless possiblities.  My right brain can spiral out of control!  I become giddy and money is no object.  SCREECH!  No wait, my bad!  Huge budget constraints here-and guess what??  A lack of funds makes me more creative-and I feel better about making do.  I mean, do I really need eight boxes of teal ornaments I will never use again?  This is not the White House after all! 

So, how will I make the holiday's special this year?  I dont know yet, I've been so busy working and doing I havent had time to slow down and let the right brain run through the possiblities-or the impossible yet fantastic-ideas yet!  But stay tuned.  I intend to infuse this blog with my own special creative crazy thoughts.  Each day until Christmas, I'd like to blog about how to make this Thanksgiving and Christmas creative and joy filled.  Who knows where this will go, but it will be fun to think out loud. 

So today I start by making a list and checking it twice!  This is called brain storming.  Or mapping.  It is a creative process, and if you are not familiar with it, check out     My brain is really stormy, so check back tomorrow for the crazy list of possible and impossible options for the Holidays.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Art of Healing

Ballroom Dancer - Arnold
Sport Festival '10
I have an ongoing class with the most wonderful group of women in it.  They come and talk, laugh, sometimes cry and create art.  We call it art therapy.  Because, in a way, I think it has ministered to each of us at one time or another.  There is some great wisdom in a room full of women!  We have solved the worlds problems and helped each other with our own. Do we bare our souls each week?  No, but there is a time and a space if someone has a need.  
It is so much more than a teaching opportunity for me.  I have tried to create a place of encouragement and acceptance for their art.  Along the way it has become a place of encouragement and acceptance to our whole selves. 
I've written before about my mothers illness and her death.  She died the week before Christmas.  The following year we grieved each event as a first without her.  Its all part of the grieving process.  But I wasn't sure I would ever really find joy again and that Christmas I just could not celebrate with my usual enthusiasm.  It just fell flat. I remember telling my husband that I just didn't know if I'd ever feel the same about Christmas.  My class members were there for me through it all. 
Why be so public with my grief?  Everyone goes through it, don't they?  Yes, of course.  I'm not special.  Hardly.  One reason, I am not a with-holder.  Ask my husband!  I try, but I don't swallow things well at this age.  I'm not sure it's healthy to keep things in.  Its not healthy to let everything out either.  Again, balance! 
But it was interesting to me the first time I realized I felt a real sense of joy again.  A friend had recommended me for an art competition at the Arnold Sports Festival.  I was apprehensive, since I don't like competitions much.  But my friends would be there and I wanted to take a peek at the sports festival just once.  So I entered.
There were 40 artists from all over central Ohio.  Several fine artists I recognized.  I was in the company of some pretty exceptional artists.  We worked from live models the first day and took photos and worked from those the next.  The creative energy was palpable!  I remember being buzzed with the combined energy of all that talent in one space! 
On the second day, a surprise visit to the art area by Sylvester Stalone held another type of energy.  Not just the star power, though it was really cool!  Stalone is an artist and spoke to each artist about their work.  It was energizing.  That was the day I realized I could have a day where grief would not creep in.  I was enjoying myself in this amazing place with these amazing people! 
This November, again through an artist friend, I will participate in a charity event for the Columbus Fresh A.I.R. Gallery.  Fresh A.I.R. Gallery exhibits the works of individuals affected by mental illness and/or substance abuse disorders. Through art, they educate the community and work to break down the stigma of mental illness and substance abuse by bringing focus to the artistic vision.  I will be painting from a live model with several other area artists.  We are part of the entertainment for the evening.  I hope I do well!  (for more information go to:  Invitation to Art of Recovery)
So I've used creative energy to nurture others to be creative and to heal and I've been nurtured by others and their creative energy and have been healed.  I know many of you have the same stories to share.  Let me know how using your talent has led to a better place!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Do You Paint Every Day?

A lot of what I write about comes in response to things people say to me about my art or about making art.  Frequently, someone will ask me a question that makes me to stop and think hard before I answer.  Lots of times this is because I have no answer, or at least not one I have thought through.  Those questions are great because I have to go back and find them an answer.  If the question is asked more than once--I pay attention to the question-not my answer!  Because I believe there is a reason it was asked more than once!

The question asked more than twice recently has been "Do you paint every day?"  The answer is "no, I don't".  I brush my teeth and take a shower daily.  That's the extent of my non-negotable daily habbits!  Some might call this flexible.  Others, unstructured.  I'm not going to judge it anymore.  It just is. I will admit to a certain lack of structure.  Oh, I have some or we would never have toilet paper!  But I am easily distracted and find that priorities change like sifting sand!  Hour to hour, day to day.

It is a good goal.  To paint every day.  It has occured to me to make that a priority.  Instead, I paint when I feel like it or have a deadline or commision.  Sometimes the structure kills the "mood".  It really does.

As I walk this creative path, other things have fallen away allowing me to see further ahead to where I want to travel.  The process of just putting one foot in front of the other had been the best course of action.  Its not always the same action, but it is always in the same direction.  And there have been detours!

I think the question and answer served to remind me how far I've come as well as where I need to go!  I write this because the answer to the question is "no, not today, but maybe tomorrow!"  In other words, I may not be able to at this point in my journey, but looking at that question has helped me to see further down my path!  And if I keep walking, the path will take me there. 

I don't believe in coinsidence.  Pay attention to not just the large things, but the small things that fall in your path as well.  What question have you been asked more than once recently?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Still life with fruit

I did a demo for class the other day. When you work fast and don't over think it, things stay fresh and loose. This was done to show how to use a split primary palette-warm and cool of each primary. I love to work with fruit.  While not as complex as a flower, you can always find fruit and vegetables! 

It is always better to work from life.  The nice thing about still life is that it stays the same, like a photo.  Unless it's fruit!  I've done a still life with fruit for a class and forgot the fruit in my bag for weeks!  Not a good idea.

And always remember,  everything looks better in a mat!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Carpe Diem

Watercolor sketch from a winery in Napa
Today I turn 50.  Anyone who says 50 is the new 40 has rocks in their head!  Do I hear an "amen sister"?  It's just a number.  They say that too.  Right... Who are "they".  "They" are younger!  I used to be "they" once. (smiley face)

So why blog about my birthday on a creativity blog?  Because while painting with a friend this summer I asked her how in the world she finds the time to get out so much to paint.  Her answer gave me pause.  She said she was sixty something and that if all went well, she still only had fifteen or so years left to paint. She was going to pack in as much as she could for the rest of her life.  She has a passion to paint and a gift to share!

To be honest, I'd never thought about my friends age.  She is vibrant and full of life. But she is also obviously a realist.  I have trouble planning for tomorrow, let alone thinking long term like that.  

I gleaned many things from our conversation that day, but the mind is the first thing to go.  That, however stuck with me.  The bible says we are not even promised tomorrow.  Dead Poets Society (or Horace, I can still use wikepedia!) reminds us the Latin "Carpe Diem" or "Seize the day, trusting as little as possible in the future".  Is that the message?  Every day you don't do something, is one more day you wont be able to.  When life is viewed like that, the perspective change is great!  But what chaos would ensue if we all lived like we were not going to be here tomorrow?  I don't know, but let's try it!  I'm not getting any younger! (another smiley face!)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

loosen up!

So often I am asked by a student to help them loosen up.  They tell me they are perfectionists or "Type A" and have a hard time not controlling every detail.  I guess my work can be described as loose.  But I work at that look.   I have a tendency to work very tight and detailed.  You have to be practiced in a craft and skilled to even loosen up!  So before you go beating yourself up for being so perfectionistic or "type A", look at things another way. 

First you must take the time to be disciplined and get your skill set down well before you can even begin to express yourself artistically.  It begins to happen each time you take a step to practice your craft.  So since you are type A, you are way ahead of the game.  Those of us who are not, lack the discipline and order to get those things accomplished as quickly.

It's that Yin-Yang thing again.  Balance kids!  Yes, some of us are born neat and tidy.  Others of us are born loose and messy!  But all of us need to find the Yin to our Yang!  And that means we need one another.  You can learn to loosen up from me, but I can learn to be more organized from you.  If you think about it, it's really a win-win. 

I used to feel that my lack of order and tendencies for clutter were a bad thing.  And when you cant find your keys and your late for an appointment, it surely is.  But the good in that is that I have a lot of room to improve.  And you know, I'm not all stressed out if a pillow out of place or there is a hair on the sofa!   I used to want so bad to be like my father, who is very disciplined and orderly.  I am more like my mother who was just organized enough that she knew which pile something was in!  Not a total disaster, but an orderly mess. Dad trimmed all the bushes into neat rows, mom's spilled over and flowered in bowers that arched onto the lawn.  There is beauty in both ways of doing things. 

An article I read recently said "Brain Chemistry is tied to Creativity.  Creative people may think broadly and make unusual associations because they are less able to filter out information."  This has something to do with fewer protein's in creative brains!  Who knows?  So I say, love the genes your born with!  Embrace that side of you that is dominate and work to bring the other extreme into a balance.  My motto has always been that you'll get where your going if you have a plan, but you have to be open to the detours that make life so extraordinarily exciting!  It's about the journey. 

So if your too loosey goosey, tighten your grip.  If you are a little too tightly wound, practice letting go.  In the end, it's just that.  The end.  Embrace your strengths, work with your weakness and enjoy the ride! 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Plein Air and World Peace!

I love to plein air paint.  If you are not familiar with the term, it's just french meaning "in the open air".  So outside.  I love it because I am outdoors in nature.  It is never the same day to day even in the same place because the light changes, the weather changes, the flora changes.  I like that because I guess I bore easily.  It's a challenge each time to complete a painting in one sitting or two.  You learn more because you are forced to think fast.  I think that helps me not get so caught up in the perfection of a finished painting.  I can put the failed pieces aside knowing that I could have done better with more time!  Or that's what I tell myself!

Another reason I love it is I do it with some really fun and talented friends.  I don't get to do it as much as I'd like.  Time, finding a free friend, and weather (I'm a fair weather painter.  I can take the heat but loath cold weather.  Rain is bad for watercolor too!) are all things to consider. I won't paint many places alone anymore.  Just last Monday evening a group of us were painting at Goodale Park downtown.  The pond is lovely with water lily pads and lotus blooming.  We were all positioned quite close to one another just next to the pond. 

While I was painting some guy came by and started to watch and then engaged in conversation. That’s distracting anyway when they don’t move on and you can’t paint and talk at the same time- like me.  He was asking a lot of informational questions and was really in my personal space, making me uncomfortable. I turned to face him and get a good look at him in case I needed to identify him in a lineup!  He commented that drawing/painting is a gift.  You know me, I don't believe that, I told him it is largely learned.  THEN: (wait for it!)… He says he’s been in jail twice and there are guys in there who have no training and can draw like a photo. Oh, but he’s not a murderer or anything, just DUI convictions! (he could have led with that!)  I think he was just messing with me, and I didn’t go running out on the lily pads or anything! But next thing I know, my friend is standing on the other side of me, with his 6 foot plus frame and say’s “can I watch you paint too?” The guy moved on. And thanks John!

Now in my fertile imagination I can take care of myself.  In my mind I am a tough, ass kicking, Karate expert.  An ex FBI SEAL sniper who packs a glock.  Kind of a cross between Clint Eastwood, (my friend Sly) Sylvester Stalone and Dolly Parton, (they are a distraction which gives one the advantage!) - who does the vigilante thing on the side. 

My mind is a wonderful place!  I think very creativly.  My body on the other hand has betrayed me!  I couldn't do a one armed push up if my life depended on it.  My dad's in better shape!  I don't own a gun and don't know any marshal arts.  So the reality is I have to embrace that and be careful. 

All humor aside, that is not the only reason I paint with friends.  I am a social person.  I love people.   They energize me.  You know those quizzes in magazines that tell you what kind of dieter or exerciser you are?  What kind of creative are you?  Do you like to create in solitude and order?  Or do you like the buzz of activity? Do you do best side by side doing your own thing or in collaboration with others?  There are many such questions and the results can help give you personal insights that get you where you want to go.

It helps to know yourself.  Then you can play to your strengths.  I bet you can guess what type person I am.  But knowing these things about myself means that now I make sure I take a class or paint with others regularly.  Not just to get the work done, but to learn from them and to energize my own work.  I also spend a lot of time alone.  I think that's all the more reason to make it a point to do what I love with people who share my passion.  A shared passion connects the human spirit.  Now if we could all just realize that we are all connected!  World Peace- Yeah baby, and all from my plein air group!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Yin Yang of Creativity

Last winter I wrote quite a bit about being blocked as an artist, because I felt blocked as an artist.  I read volumes about creativity and unlocking or unblocking it.  I tried a lot of things to unblock it.  The most recurring theme that presented itself was that negative energy blocks creativity.  Negative situations, thoughts, actions/behaviors and so on.  While I agree with this,  I also have to disagree.

Eastern religion teaches balance.  The yin yang of life.  Though I practice Christianity, the duality of man is still the overriding idea.  So while I agree that negativity might block our creativity, I have to say I've learned a huge lesson from the eastern philosophy.  A surprising lesson.

As I was trying desperately to rid myself of my "negative energy" and to unblock my creative self, I became very aware of the negative.  It was as though in my attempt to exorcise it, I amplified it.  That's a bummer!  And try as I might, hard as I could, as focused as I was on being positive-right behind was the negative!  Ouch!

But the yin yang idea teaches me that although the negative might be perceived as bad (and I'm not saying it's not here-believe me) the two are, well...They just ARE!  My understanding now is that I need both to make me who I am. That the two exist as one. I don't know if I'm stating it right, but  I am the artist I am-the person I am- because of both the negative and positive.  And I can learn to work with and be productive in and with both.

For example, where would country music be with out the dysfunctional relationship?  Without troubles who would sing the blues?  Many of the worlds greatest masterpieces were created by tortured artists working out their angst!  And lets not even go there about literature... I have to tell you, the books that stand out in my life are not the ones I've read that had only positive things in them.  The human experience, the good, bad and ugly are what make for good reading!  (I don't know if you can translate this to my Foodie friends, except to say-without the failed or experimental dish gone wrong we would be eating oatmeal every meal world wide!!)  Sometimes we have to embrace the negative and deal with the fact that it just "is" to unblock ourselves.  To just relax and accept that we cant control what is. From that has come some of my best insights and consequently my best art. 

I think the current trend is to "positive think" yourself where you want to go.  While I do believe that, I have found great comfort in my failures lately.  And I am accepting all of me.  The good/bad person I am. The good/bad artist.  The artist who doesn't make a masterpiece with each attempt even though I've been at it for years.  I am forgiving myself.  And others.  For being human.  For the universal yin yang factor.

Does that mean I sit back and not try to be more positive?  No.  I think making the negative a positive is still my goal.  But without the negative, where would the struggle be?  How would we grow?

Just another thought.   

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Photo: Me-Plein Air Painting
Most of my students lament at some point that they only do their art in class. Because there is always something more important that needs their attention. I still find that I have more to do than is humanly possible and that I need to do it all or a lot of it before I "play" (that is make art). I would not call myself a high energy person, but I would say for the most part if I am upright I am in perpetual motion.

There is always something that needs to be done. I feel guilty watching TV (even though I do it practically every night ) or reading a book or taking a nap. Relaxation you see, is reserved for when all the work is done. But the work is never done! So you either never relax (or create) or you feel guilty? The only out you have is a vacation-where that's what you are supposed to do-relax. (Unless of course, you married to someone who thinks relaxing is doing!) And we use that idea that work is more important as a reason to feel that creating is not.

Two students have said to me recently - and what am I going to do with all these paintings?? It seems that we think it's only valuable if it the art will then do something! I understand having a pile of things that are dear to your heart, but are just sitting around collecting dust. Why add to that? But do we use that as yet another reason to not create, so we don't add to the pile?

Reasons like these abound. For some reason, maybe because we enjoy it (which is another subject), we feel it cannot be as important as getting something done. But why can't getting a painting done be as valuable as getting the laundry done? Why is your job more important to you than your creativity? Aside from the fact you have to eat? I believe we place value on things according to what people will pay for them. My day job is more important because I have to eat! While that is true, does that really mean your music, writing, cooking, painting is less valuable?

Love, happiness,a child's laughter, a rainbow, a purring kitten, a breeze, your health. All these are things that have no monetary value placed on them, and yet they are what makes life worth the living. Ask yourself, are these things that bring such joy "doing" something?

So, if you only have time to create in a class, take one. And keep taking them! If your worried about paintings piling up, shift your thinking. Make it about the process and getting better and not about the piling up factor. Give them away, sell them on or give them to a charity. Free art will always uplift someone who hasn't the funds for real art. And you can recycle. Paint over not so good paintings. Recylcle watercolor paper.

But most of all, challenge your ideas about how your time is spent and what is valuable. How dull would be a world without the arts? I say soak them up, like a sponge. Make it more valuable in your own life and perhaps others will shift their thinking as well.

Not everything has to do something. It can just be.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Caught in the Rain

It was a brutally hot weekend. It's a wet week! I appreciate the rain, until the 7th straight day. But for the most part, I really love the dark brooding skies. I love to turn off all the noise and listen to it's rhythm as it hits some metal thing on the chimney.I find rain calming. A break from the heat. I really, really love a good lightening show!

But like most things, rain has both a Yin and Yang aspect to it. On one hand the rain waters the dry soil and plants, cools the heat, takes down the humidity (sometimes) and best of all-brings pollen and other allergy makers down a notch.
But it can be destructive as well. Flooding, hard rains and hail ruin crops and the occasional parade and picnic!

This morning I took off to walk thinking I would get it in before the rains that were forecasted. That didn't happen! About midway through my usual route, it started to sprinkle. No big deal, I don't melt! In fact it was cooling since the temperature had already reached 70 degrees. So I kept going. Lo and behold, the downpour! Needless to say I picked up speed eventually jogging. Now, I know that you get just as wet no matter how fast you go. (some fact I picked up from one of my children studying something I don't understand- I'm sure!) But you get it over sooner is my reasoning! So sad to say, running is not my thing. I peter out after a few short blocks! Still probably a mile away, I had to slow down and walk in the rain.

I realized I could embrace the rain that covered every inch of dog and woman and focus on the good in the situation. Or I could be upset that we were soaking wet, that I almost brought an umbrella and that it would take more time to dry them off and get into the house and on with my day. And the lesson began to sink in. You can make the best of the rain and your situation, or you can fight it. You can run and try to escape it or get it over quicker. And being an action oriented person I prefer "running" at a problem. Or you can choose to embrace the whole of it and let it teach you something.

I've been fighting some situations in my life. I think all the mental strife and boxing air takes my creative spirit away. Who has time to think creatively, let alone actually create when so much energy is being used to fight what is? It's a reminder that if my creativity is slow to come I should take a look at my circumstances. Am I accepting of what I cannot change? This is a lesson I guess I have not completely internalized, but I'm grateful for getting caught in the rain! If your human, it's going to rain. How can we use it to create? What can our trials bring to the process? We need to create both in good times and bad. And its cheaper than therapy. And eventually, the rains must end and we can see the rainbow!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I Get By with a Little Help from My Friends!

We creatives are a fragile bunch. Since I think everyone is born with creativity, that means all of humanity has their share of insecurities and fragile feelings! Some people are adept at protecting their inner child, and some of us will never learn this since it is our nature to let life in through the front door! Self protection is an afterthought for us. And most of the time, the experience is a good one. By being less wary and more open I have experience great joy in relationships and deep lasting friendships. I understand and appreciate both ways of living life.
In my journey I have noticed that my creativity is affected by others in both good and bad ways. But when it comes to my creative side, I've found that I need to be a little more protective. That doesn't mean less open. No, that just means I need better boundaries and screening.
Creativity is fragile. That part of me is fragile. I've learned to surround myself with the people who understand and appreciate my life's calling. I'm not saying I am not friends with people who don't appreciate my art. I'm saying that I don't drag out my inner creative to people who might damage it. It's hard enough to stay creative with the rejection one gets from critiques in school, from not being accepted to this show or that, from those who do not "oooo and ahhh" over your best work, the list goes on! Your putting part of yourself out there artists! These works are your children! Treat them as such. Respect them and the process and don't listen to those who do not! (do not confuse this with those who give constructive criticism. But get that from someone you respect and who has your best interest at heart!)
But those who are supportive of your creativity are gems. And I have gathered many into my corner. Recently I wrote a friend that I didn't feel like gardening anymore, a hobby we shared like the obsessive compulsive perennial buyers we are. She wrote back to encourage and included this: You've lost that gardening feeling.Oh, that gardening feeling.You've lost that gardening feeling, cuz it's gone, gone, gone, and you can't go on,Whoa whoa whoa. (a Righteous Brothers borrowization).
That's creative! That makes me laugh and gives me joy, and even made me want to plant something. But larger than that, that humor and creativity from one of my best and lifelong friends, translated to me! Juiced me up and made me laugh!
In correspondence with another friend during that incredible snow in February that left us all crazy, he wrote that he was canceling our meeting to make snow angles. I wrote back with a cocky "OK then. But try an angel instead, angles tend to cause trouble." His response was classic and made me laugh as you can see above in the photo!
And yet another friend invited me to her garden to witness and paint the beauty and unfolding miracle that was blooming in her front yard. This simple act of sharing her vision and the beauty that she and her yard possessed produce a painting in kind. Not bad for a couple of hours of perfection! You take that when you can get it.
Those are example's of friends who shared their own creativity with me. It gave me appreciation for my own, since I could appreciate theirs! And then there is my best friend and also my husband and kids. My sister and mom and dad. These people have nurtured and protected my fragile creative side and helped it grow. I am blessed to have them and their support.
Yes, people energize me with their wit, creativity and humor. I need people. People who need people are the luckiest people in the world. OK, wrong song! But seriously, surround yourself with those who respect who you are and what you do creatively, even if it's just for fun in your spare time. Limit your time with those who would seek to bring that down, knowingly or not. I doubt they know they even have this effect on you. This is a hard journey, don't make it harder on your inner creative!
Most of all, people treat you the way you teach them to. (Dr. Phil) The bottom line, and the root of the issue is: do you believe in your own value and the value of what you create? If you don't, why would they treat you better than you treat yourself? Do you feel you/your art is important?
It's something to think about, huh?

Friday, May 14, 2010

A Mothers Gift

Last spring I received an unexpected package on the porch. It was from a mail order nursery and I knew I had not ordered anything that spring. Upon opening the package and looking at the invoice, I found that my mother had ordered these flowers for my yard the previous fall while she was bed ridden and dieing of cancer. I remember her telling me that if she couldn't enjoy them anymore, I should. She died that December. As you can imagine, I cried, and cried. For day's. And I eventually planted them. They seemed to not thrive during that year and eventually disappeared. I thought I had killed them. I was very sad to think that the last gift my mother had given me I had lost.

This spring those little buggers returned! How surprised and sentimental I was when I noticed they were back. This last week one sent up a beautiful spike of small peach flowers which darken each day at the bottom as new ones open above in a paler shade. Whenever I see them, I naturally think of my mother. But now, since a year has passed, I can see them without so much sadness. I feel like they responded last spring to my grief and shrivelled from sight to ease my pain. (yes, I think like this!) But this year maybe they returned to bloom and remind me that though all things must die, there is more.

Now I know that most likely, they will die off again in late summer as many perennials do, to return again the next spring. But the irony was not lost on me. My mother gardened her whole life. Raised on farms, she had a need to touch the soft warm earth each spring and coax vegetables and flowers from the soil in every place they lived. While stationed in Alaska, (I was not a twinkle yet) she discovered permafrost. Permafrost is when the ground thaws out, but only about 6 inches or so. Things sprouted up, and died a week later. Their roots could not go deep enough to make a life in the cold Alaskan soil. The year she died, my heart had permafrost.

I have to say, of all the things she passed to me my love for gardening is one of the things that makes me think of her the most. I am doing a series of floral watercolors right now and I keep thinking about how mom each spring would drag home flowers that she could not plant because she hadn't the strength anymore to dig the ground. But she could still spend $$! So she would coerce my father or pay my son or beg me to plant them for her! And the yard just filled up with color!

This all reminds me that I have to keep painting. I may work on a painting and have a permafrost experience some days. But sometimes the rewards from planting are the surprise flowers that come from what you thought had died or from seeds you had forgotten you had sown.

Look for the surprises in the small things and appreciate their willingness to teach you!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Path

I spent a lot of my childhood in Colorado. Dad, being the adventurer he is, was always taking us all over the state. I like being outdoors and have fond memories of blue skies, wide open spaces and mountain vistas. It was not populated like it is today and you could adventure without seeing another person for days. It was a close to paradise as I can imagine. (if you like that sort of country! And who doesn't?)
Since I believe in creation and the Creator, I think I am not whole, not balanced if I spend too much time away from nature. Everywhere we've lived has had a wooded path to walk. In Illinois we lived right by the old cable car lines that were the first commuter "trains". Those were turned into a long series of paths that went on forever. Here we have one that winds through the back of the neighborhood. I try to walk every day. I also walk around the other developments sometimes if there is snow on the path or it's muddy, etc. It's just not the same.
Walking through woods has a medative effect on me. (in my imaginary world I do Yoga on mountain tops, dessert sand dunes and tropical beaches. In the real world I walk the path!) No distractions but the occasional rabbit or jogger. My mind wanders. And I see the gradual change in the cycles of life. The spring is brazen with color. Maybe a visual reaction to the drab winter landscape, our eyes are assaulted with color. Lots of it. But what stands out each spring is yellow. That's the color I think of when I think of spring.
Now all I see are white flowers. The wild rose blooms, dogwood, the locus tree blossoms and something that resembles honeysuckle. The white shows up well against the foil of green that is so predominate in the warm months. I think there are colors that are dominate at certain times of the year. Have you noticed that as well? And the funny thing is-that color shows up in my work at the time! And with each change of color, I have a new favorite! Have you ever explored one color? Try it. But I'm babbling now!
Who cares? And what is this got to do with creativity? Well, I guess I was thinking that I get my best ideas for paintings on these walks. Or I see something I need to come back and paint. If nothing else I get exercise so I can stand to paint in the studio a while. I believe the recent popularity of plein air painting is in response to artists needing to get out of the studio and paint from "life". Always the better option.
And nature is never static or boring. Often hard to get along with, nature is in a state of constant flux. So the idea of painting the same scene many times will always result in a different painting.
Friends who don't paint landscapes tell me that all that green gets boring. I don't quite understand what there are looking at! Yes, summer is green. The sky is blue. If your not looking close!
So my thoughts are this: find your inspiration. Today its the path. Tomorrow it's the child on the swing set. For me, I can always count on creation to spark my creativity!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Do the Math Baby!

OK, so I had a really good day the other day! And yes, it carried me for a while. But how do you create when you aren't having a good day? Well, I guess for me it used to be I just didn't! I always had to be in "the mood" to paint. I had to have "inspiration" to start. The planets had to be aligned and the god's in their good mood's!

As you can imagine, I didn't get a lot done. I think that was creative immaturity. Sure we all have times when you get in a zone and can do no wrong. But that's the exception to the rule. Waiting for those times is like waiting for lightening to strike!

When I began to take my art seriously, I really struggled with how to make art and create when I didn't "feel" like it. The model then would be the dinner dishes. Who ever wants to do the dishes after a long day and a good meal. Wouldn't we all like to just sit down with a glass of wine and the TV or good book and that full stomach? But the dishes don't take care of themselves, just like a painting won't paint itself. So if your waiting for the dish fairy, good luck with that! (and send her/him my way!!)

So then, my art becomes work? Well, in a way, but not the way you think. And if it does, don't you loose the magic and "therapy" that art brings to your life? Not at all. Beginning is just that. When I start washing dishes, I may hate the idea, but there is a certain meditative thing that happens while I mindlessly clean up my mess. I forget while in the process how I might hate this job, and my mind drifts to other things. I've solved problems, righted relationships and sung show tunes! And it's funny how when it's over and done with and I feel so much better and have a nice clean kitchen to wake up to!

I think the same holds true of the creative process. I might just dread starting a painting. But once started, the creative juice kicks in and I begin to feel the source and find my strength. I get a charge, so to speak, and if I do this routinely, I am less likely to loose the charge and let my batteries drain completely. (another problem-another blog)

Does this mean I have a masterpiece each day? Heck no! I'm talking process, not results. I still fight the thought that results are from the gods! But the more I use the process, the more often the chance for a great result!

That's just doing the math baby!

Friday, April 16, 2010

A Good Day

Yesterday was 78 degrees. The sun shone bright and it warmed the last of the cold dark Midwest winter away for good. I was thankful for it's warmth and light.

I'm also thankful for a big dog who needs a daily walk to burn off excess energy, which means I get a daily walk. I'm thankful I can walk! My mom had both knee's replaced and I have friends who have issues that hinder walking. So every step I take I am grateful.

I walk along a forested path that skirts my "hood". On warm days-like yesterday-there are people walking, biking, skating and kids playing. As I walked a young boy headed down the path toward me carrying a squirt gun. He was preoccupied looking for his prey. As he got closer I said "don't shoot!", which brought and impish grin from the young warrior. The hunt and the grin were universal. As I walked on I was reminded of my own early hunting days.

The late afternoon sun and air was full of gifts for my inner artist. Colorful birds darted among the canopy of trees, singing at the top of their lungs. The forest floor was covered in patches of nodding light pink flowers, singularly nondescript, but en mass a pink carpet. Among so many bare or barely budding trees appeared the occasional apple tree blooming away. How did they get in the forest, I wondered. The air was fragrant with the lilac trees that lined the street off the path. Further down a gust of wind sent the petals from a flowering pear like a blizzard through the air to dust the ground like warm snow. My senses were on overload, as were my allergies!

Almost home, I stopped to let a small toddler and his mother pet the dogs. He was afraid of big dog, so I made him sit away from the child. As he reached down to pet small dog, she reached up and licked his little hand. He burst into wonderful two year old squeals and giggles!

Yes, yesterday was a good day. I painted outdoors in the morning. I taught a class in the afternoon full of women who teach me as much as I teach them. And I took a walk. What more could one ask for? Legs to walk, nature in bloom, doing what you love, and the delight of children. Yes, it was a good day!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Creative Olympics

OK. I know I said blogs were narcissistic. That I did not want to write about me and my life. All because I saw the movie Julie and Julia! But heck, what else do I have to share from but my personal experience? So, here's your chance to change channels!

I've been having creative issues. I've been blocked! This is nothing new for me, or you I suspect. I heard the same from a few of you. I think that as creative people we need to realize that our creativity is something to be nurtured. Like a muscle that does not get used, your creativity can atrophy!

Do you ever try to create something and it doesn't come out as you had planned? Does that lead to frustration or can you just shake it off? And what if it happens more than once? I happen to be very sensitive to what I consider failure! There are times when I ask myself "and who told you that you were an artist?" I frequently consider myself a hack! Because I frequently "feel" that I have failed! That leads to a kind of creative inactivity, which has at times gone on for years! All because of self doubt and "feelings" of inadequacy I spiral into this place where I will do anything but art. A kind of fear sets in. I know, who thinks about this stuff this much??

Friends say, "do the art for the sake of it! Have fun with it!" And while there is truth to that, if you don't try to improve or move toward where you want to go, you stay in the same place! I know that's comfortable, but I'm not sure it's a good thing. I think we should grow. Try new things. Improve our skills. But with that comes the disappointment of not getting there as fast as you thought you should. Or fighting to get something right-which can be exhausting.

And last, the idea that it should always be FUN and JOY! Well, heck, if that were really true, how many of us would ever accomplish anything? I mean really, if it were only that easy! Nothing worthwhile is ever easy!! How different the world would look if some were not striving for excellence. I think excellence is seldom a waste of one's time.

But when it works-it is FUN and JOY! And that's the payoff! Like the Olympics-we train and practice and sometimes we get a medal. Most of the time we don't even place. That's the reality. But, cliche as it may sound, its about the journey. Beating our personal best. Striving to be the best we can be! And sometimes...the only payoff is just knowing you didn't give up!

So if your not, get back in the game! Back in the saddle, back to the easel! If your already in the game, set a few goals and as one of my students said, work to beat your personal best. And remember, you cant get where you want to go if you don't know where that is!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Artist's Way

The blog for this month should most certainly be about new years resolutions. Creative ones. The problem is, you've heard it all before. So how to put a new spin on an old idea was just too taxing for my 2010 brain.

Usually there is something that sparks an idea for a blog and I just run with it. This month that has not been the case. I have played with several ideas and they tanked. This blog is supposed to inspire and encourage you the reader to find the joy in your creativity. To get you out of your chair and into your studio, kitchen, sewing/craft room, or writing desk. (I'm sure I missed an outlet or two) But I'm at a loss. And because I'm at a loss creatively myself, I cannot write about it. Blogs can be very narcissistic as well. And I don't want this blog to be about me or about just my thoughts on creativity. While my experiences may be helpful to motivate others, I don't want to just put my crazy musings online to hear myself write! And are there really that many things to say about getting creative? Well, yes, since creativity is limitless, talking about it is as well! So why cant I blog?

Well, it's called the "block". You've heard of writers "block"? I'm calling it a "creative block". It happens to all of us. The reasons vary and don't really matter. Most people just wait for it to end. And hope it ends soon. But what if it's a long term block? And it's stopping a flow of joy that we get when we find fulfillment in our creative selves and work. So we should take it seriously and get back our joy!

It happens to me more often than I'd like. A long time ago I found a book called "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron. She wrote the book after helping countless high profile artists get past their "block". The book is filled with helpful insights and ways to move past whats stopping you and give you a jump start to get back in the game. I highly recommend it, even if your not blocked.

On her website, there is a tool tab that outlines her "basic tools" to start you on you journey. Those would be the Morning Pages and The Artist's Date. I recommend that you go there and read about it. It's for every Artist and is helpful at all times. Give it a look and let me know what you think. I know from personal experience that these tools are helpful, as are the many other exercises she writes about.

So in this new year, lets shake things up a bit. Lets find our creative self and just ooze joy! Welcome 2010!