A Flood of Creativity…

April 26, 2011

 

For a long time I was really struggling with creativity – it was like pulling teeth trying to come up with new ideas.  The stream was dried to a trickle.  Between working full-time in a job that utitilized every brain cell I possessed, being a single mom to two busy teens, bills, laundry, cooking, groceries…well, the well had run dry.

Now, however, it is like a flood and I can’t get one thing done without a hundred other ideas crashing over me like waves! It’s awesome and overwhelming and I just love it…I just have to figure out a way to live without sleep, because my mind will not shut down at night. 

I think being laid off has been similar to a dam breaking for me.  I didn’t have time to pursue the creative side of me, so it got dammed up and now I’m experiencing the flooding of all that backed up inspiration.  Contrary to the damage when a flood occurs in nature, this flood  is re-creating me as an artist.  I am rejuvenated and filled with optimism I haven’t felt in a long time.

Although my studio does look like a natural disaster, that much I must admit.  It’s even messy by MY standards, and I like to work messy!

But I am enjoying the awesome force of my creative nature, and I am sure there will be times in the future when the well runs dry again.  So it is as an artist.  For now I will ride the force of the creativity flood while it roars – there will be time to sleep another day.

May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us;

establish the work of our hands for us – yes, establish the work of our hands.”

   Psalm 90:17

Photo via http://www.geology.ar.gov/geohazards/othergeohaz_floods.htm

The Un-Tidy Truth About My Studio!

The Un-Tidy Truth About My Studio!

I have a poster that says this above my work table.  I love it, because there is nothing tidy about the way I work…or play.  I am the painter who loves to do abstracts with pallette knives so I can smear paint around.  I am the beader whose table is strewn with beads and treasures of all sorts.  I am the student whose desk is piled high with books, binders, bills and laptop all mixed together.  I am the mom who has saved every scrap and photo of my children’s lives…in boxes, but not in books (this is a goal before I die). 

I love the magazine “Studios,” a special issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine (clothpaperscissors.com) by Interweave Press.  I love to look through them over and over and covet other artists workspaces.  I love the organization!  Look at all the stacked bins and trays and cubbies.  Look at how it makes a statement about the artist…mine just says I’m a creative slob!

I want to be more organized – I really do.  I just don’t create that way.  Maybe instead of trying to change myself, I should embrace my slobbish ways and glory in the creative process, messy though it may be.  I should just celebrate that I can make beautiful things out of all that chaos!

So, in an effort to celebrate this epiphany with you, I am showing you a photo of my work area.  This is like standing naked on Main Street, let me tell you.  But I am going to risk it because I am trying to accept myself more for who I am.  And who I am is an artist.  And my mind is rarely tidy!

My Worktable Looking Tidier Than Usual

My Worktable Looking Tidier Than Usual

Creativity unleashed!

January 29, 2009

Yesterday my friend Karen and I took a day off because we had to go pick up some artwork from Peninsula Art School in Fish Creek, WI.  What a great day we had!  A short ways into the ride over, which takes about 2 hours from home, Karen suggested I start writing things down because the inspirations were flowing fast and furious.  It’s like that with “kindred spirits,” and Karen and I have always been that.

As we drove up the Door County Peninsula, we started brainstorming some ideas of things we’d like to do, and on the way back home we ended up dreaming about that gallery we’d like to have someday – a place for artists to work and show their work.  Neither of us is anywhere near a place in our lives where that could happen, but we can dream.  And yesterday was a day for dreaming.

Even with sub-zero temperatures, the drive up the Door Peninsula is exhilarating and stimulating.  I love to see all the unique shops and galleries.  It is an artists dream!  Even though most shops are closed for the season, the promise and potential for inspiration are still there.

The kind of day we had yesterday don’t happen very often, unfortunately.  Jobs, families and responsibilities prevail.  That’s what made yesterday special for Karen and I both.  It was a chance to let our inner artists come out to play.

On a previous post, I raved about my favorite magazine, Mary Engelbreit’s Home Companion.  I had heard a rumor that it was going out of publication, but I thought I had debunked that rumor.

I’m sorry to report that I was wrong.  Today’s mail brought notice of the magazine ceasing publication.  What a sad note to wreck a Monday that was pretty bad to begin with.  I felt like I lost something precious. 

I spent many hours with this magazine, soaking up the inspiration and creativity of lots of other artsy types.  I will miss that.  I feel like I’ve lost a friend.

rocks

The following is a blog post from Zen Habits by Leo Babouta that I really enjoyed.  Check him out at http://zenhabits.net

What’s the secret to unleashing your creativity?

I’ll tell you, but it’s not what you think…

As an aspiring artist, I’ve spent a lot of time trying figure out how to be more creative. I’ve explored the traditional paths to creativity; painting, drawing, playing an instrument, creative writing, poetry, etc. I connected with creative souls; artists, and people living off the grid (away from the mainstream).

While I found this sparked my creative spirit, it only went so far. I was hacking at the branches rather than the root.

To truly tap into your creative nature, you only have to realize one thing…

You are already an artist.

You don’t have to create exquisite sculptures or breathtaking sonnets. You’re creating all the time simply by being alive. Every decision you make, every time you move, breathe, or speak you are creating. In fact, you couldn’t not create even if you wanted to. It’s simply impossible.

Just think about it: you’re the main character in your life story. Each day you develop and further the plot of your masterful performance. You interact with other secondary characters in your story that support your role. These are your friends, your lover, family and coworkers. They’re the supporting actors or actresses in your drama, and they also help mold your life’s narrative.

You can change the course of your story at any time by making new choices and walking down new paths. You can drop a secondary character and choose new ones, if they’re not supporting the story you’d like to create (except, perhaps, family members).

You constantly direct the play called your life; and that makes you a magnificent artist.  So if you’re creating your life all the time, wouldn’t it be more empowering to view yourself as an artist, rather than simply a passively living person?

I know you’re thinking, That really doesn’t help when I’m chopping celery or washing the cat… but it does. It makes all the difference.

See, when you know you’re creating artistically, you get more involved in your life. You start to live more deliberately. You wash your cat with love because deep down, you love him even if he smells terrible. You cut celery with joy, because you’re making the choice to put something healthy in your body.

So, enough foreplay; here are some practical ways to embrace your inner artist:

  • Work. Are you making choices to further your deepest desires? Are you moving in the direction of your dreams? Much of our lives are spent working, so it makes sense to be conscious of the career we create. Find a career that pays you for being you. You may have to create one if it doesn’t exist.
  • Money. Take a close look at where your money is going. Are you spending your money unconsciously? Are buying lattes and chasing trends keeping you from those yoga classes you’ve been meaning to take? Reevaluate how you spend to live by your own design.
  • Goals. Are the goals you have ego driven, or heart centered? Are they furthering the life you’d love to create? See where you can simplify and remove the clutter to create room for authentic endeavors.
  • Relationships. Are your relationships assisting you in your desires, or holding you back? Or perhaps YOU are holding yourself back. Be honest with yourself and make the necessary changes to fearlessly go with yourself (instead of against).
  • Information. Are you addicted to info porn? Who’s dictating what you should think, you or the media? Consciously decide the input you accept and discard that which doesn’t serve you.
  • Routine. Most of our days we’d consider normal. A random Tuesday spent watching TV game shows is more eventful than the day your spouse proposed to you. If most of our days are common, it makes sense to make the most out of them. Instead of focusing on how much you can accomplish, focus on how much you can absolutely love what you’re doing. Be there completely. While doing this, you’ll find that you naturally enjoy those seemingly tedious tasks much more (like washing the dishes). It’s amazing how much non-resistance and presence changes everything.

All life really is, after all, is a collection of stories. But you’re the only one that can create the story of your dreams. It’s your story.

So what do you want to create? A film noir or a fairytale? You can choose a daring adventure or a comedy. It’s up to you as long as you accept that you’re the artist. You’ve got the brush, it’s up to you to put down the colors you like best.

The question is: What will you create?

This article was written by Zen Habits contributor Jonathan Mead of Illuminated Mind. To learn more about how to reclaim your life, grab a subscription to Illuminated MInd

Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion magazine

While I have tried to be more conservative about my budget, one item I could not do without was my subscription to Mary Engelbreit’s Home Companion magazine.  What a feast for creative people!  I get excited when I see the magazine in my mailbox…I can’t wait to turn the pages.  It is filled with artists and ideas and inspirations.  If you haven’t seen this magazine already, you need to get ahold of a copy really soon. 

I had seen an Internet rumor that the magazine was ceasing to publish and I panicked!  But after visiting the website I am now calm again – my bi-monthly fix is still alive!  Hurrah!
From one artist to another, take a minute to check them out.  I think you’ll be happy you did! 

Life is Just So…

January 22, 2009

A Little Holiday Sparkle

A Little Holiday Sparkle

Years back there was a quote by Mary Engelbreit that said “Life is just so daily” and that just about sums up my life the past several months.  The essentials take over everything and crowd out creative time.  At our house it’s been sickness.  I had planned to use my January break to get caught up on things and have lots of unstructured creative time.  Ha!

I have had two -yes, two – bouts with the flu.  I am just feeling better, and this morning my son woke up sick.  January is nearly gone, and with February my final semester of college begins, meaning I will be buried in coursework.

Life is just so….daily!  Single motherhood is just so…intensely daily! 

Many hours while I lay sick, great ideas came to me.  The brain seems to go on being creative, even while the hands can’t.  I wrote things down, I made plans in my mind…all things I planned to do once I felt better.  But then life got “daily” again.

I miss the days when I could sit down and do art projects with the kids.  I didn’t even mind the messes so much because I could do something creative, not just the “daily” chores.  Now they are older, and while they still want me around, they want their cell-phones, iPods and xBox’s, not an afternoon of art.  They are intensely creative, just not in the same ways as me.  My daughter wants to be a graphic artist.  Making a video is her artistic outlet.  My son is talented also, but rarely wants to sit still long enough to paint.  Football beckons, electronic stimulation calls…

Life keeps on being “daily”.  How can I find time for the artist inside?

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