Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Take the Time to Have Some Fun and Not Be Pulled Together

Birthday Ice Cream at the Gazebo

I actually have new art work to post, but I do not have a photograph available.

Yesterday was S's birthday, and after our date this weekend and wine and dinner on the deck the night before last, yesterday was a day time adventure.

We drove over to the next town and wandered the sleepy town square for a little while, stopping to have our tasty treats at Dairy Queen. (I'm a New Yorker, along with tornado warnings and cornfields, Dairy Queens are something I don't have much experience with.)

Afterwards we went for a drive and saw fields and factories and flowers and lakes, just for a bit, since S. had to go to work on his birthday. :( But in the end, we are spreading out the birthday festivities through out the week.

While he was at work, the kids and I each painted a present for papa... theirs featuring lakes, and mine featuring a dream.

That's what I have to show you, but for such a simple painting, it sure took a long time to do, and I ran out of time.

That is the story of my life lately. So much to do, run out of time in the middle of things.

But that's okay. It's all a work in progress. Life is part of the progress. And sometimes we have to get messy before we get all pulled together. And sometime we just have to enjoy the mess that is melting ice cream and a lazy day.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Cosmos, or Prayer for Hope

Cosmos, or Prayer for Hope
Ink on Antique Book Page,
22/100 in 100 creative challenge

I am so very busy. In fact, I should be painting right now, a gift, you see, for S, whose birthday is today. I am late with the birthday present. I am behind on everything, right now, it seems, always rushing to catch up with myself.

I'm pretty sure it comes from that "need" I have to be better than I am, more productive, farther along, perfecter.

Heh heh.

I made up a word. Did you catch that?

Well you see, I've given up on being perfecter. I've given up on being perfect. When I realize I am trying to be perfect, or at least, anxious because I can't be perfect, I have to remember something. I am not perfect. No one is perfect. There is no way to be perfect. And I am just fine the way I am.

I'd like to be calmer and more together, but you know what? I don't think it will do me any good to wait around to that perfecter time when I can finally do the things I want to do.

In fact, not only will it not do me any good to wait around, it will actually make it all harder and make me less able to do what I want to do, because I get all wound up and twisted around and I can't get anything done anyway.

So today, I stapled the kids circus curtain to their closet. Yes. Stapled. If it pulls out, I'll staple it again (it looks great). And I took their too big dresser out of their room, although I didn't have time to transfer the smaller one in there before bed(it'll do for now). I rearranged the livingroom so that I wasn't squooshed on my desk in the corner, even though I wasn't sure it would turn out right (it's still up in the air). I threw ingredients in a pan and stuck it in the oven hoping that it would be tasty (it was).


What was that word? Hoping?

I think the first step to being the bestest, happiest you is to have hope.

You have to believe that things can work out. You have to hope that you can handle everything you need to handle. You have to trust that even if you can't handle everything, it won't be the end of the world, and if it is, trust that there will be someone there to help you out, have faith that there will be a soft place to land, so that you can build your strength up again until you can do it all over again.


It's how anything is done.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Yes, or Prayer for the Abundant Heart

Yes, or Prayer for the Abundant Heart
21/100 in 100 creative challenge

I am doing lots of drawing lately. I did this one after having a "discussion" with S. Sometimes things have to get a little painful in order for us to open up and let go of the anger. Sometimes we have to dig old things up to allow room for good things to grow.

When I started it, I didn't know where it was going, although I was inspired by some anatomical hearts on line, but this is where it went.

Sometimes I don't draw at all, actually, so busy with life and kids and being tired or, you know, needing more sleep.

Sometimes I am doing small sketches, like the below plan for decorating my kids' bedroom.
Bedroom Carnival plans

I am going to put up those damn striped curtains if it kills me... which it might, just patience wise, because I never seem to have the time or tools to do it. And the pennant? I have plans for creating that out of old second hand tshirts. I can't bear to waste all that good cloth, but I think the colors would make the perfect pennant. And perhaps I can add some details with paint, or use the decorations on the tshirts for embellishments... particularly when it comes to the girl side of the room. You know they always add embellishments to girl's clothes. Why not use them when the tshirts are too small. But again, I've been so busy (or perhaps it's lazy) that I haven't gotten these done.
Common Mandala
19/100 in 100 challenge

This one was done... well, at work. It's on a napkin and following the logo of the restaurant.

One side of me argues that this doesn't count as art. It's on a napkin, for gosh sake. But then the other side of me argues that I started this challenge planning to count ALL the art I did, not just a certain kind of art that I considered "good enough" to be "real art."

Slow Day

I have a real problem with this "not good enough to count" thing. I don't know where it came from, but I have a tendency to devalue what I do, what I can do. Because it is easy for me, or because I do it all the time, it isn't really serious work. It isn't important. It isn't valuable.

The odd thing is that I can evaluate it as decent work. A pretty design or a good sketch I can see, but there's something else about the quality that I still declare as not good enough.

Somehow, I think there is some sort of authority somewhere that says YES to the "real artists (or writers or whatever)" and I have never gotten that YES. But I might actually have gotten that YES (or those yesses, maybe it's not just one authority) but I don't listen to the YES that I get. So even after the YES I still don't think I'm good enough.

I roll my eyes at myself when I get like this, and then I beat up on myself for being such an idiot. I should be able to have confidence in my work, or in myself. And then I think about how I should be farther along than I am. Or I should be braver. Or I should work harder. Or I should have started sooner. Or I should take more chances. Or I should dedicate more time to this or that.

But here's the thing.

I am good enough. I am worth it. I am where I am supposed to be. I am finding my way in this world while also raising kids and working part time and keeping house and maintaining relationships. There's a reason why I am not as far along as I think I should be. It's because I am in the midst of living it all.

So perhaps this challenge of counting all my art as art is really what I need for my life challenge of valuing all the different things that I am doing on a daily basis. Or valuing all the different parts of myself, no matter who has or has not validated me. I validate me.

Are you looking for something outside of yourself to validate you? Are you waiting to be good enough to count? Why?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Self Portraits

Self Portrait/Underwater I

Today's post makes me nervous.

I did these self portraits as part of an online class taught by Susannah Conway. The nervy part is that I am actually counting this photoshoot as my creativity in my 100 days challenge. I am actually saying that my photography is art. Hello, insecurities. Did I ever tell you that my father was a photographer?

I consider myself an amateur photographer. It's a hobby. And that means something to a woman who is trying to turn all her loves into a profession of one sort or another. But photography I consider a tool for other things. Or something fun. Play.

But here I am counting it as art.

Art. Capital "A".

Self Portrait/This Morning Before Work

Although, here's another question. How many pieces of art do I count it as? I took maybe 40 photos. Edited it down to maybe 25. Of those, I really like 12 or so.

How many do I count as this project? One for the shoot? All of the photos? Or only my most favorite? Maybe I should try printing them out and pick that way.

Self Portrait/Breathe Out

The first one is definitely one of my favorites, but this one here is really growing on me.

Self Portrait/Almost (not) There

And I really love this one, too. I don't care if it's not a technically "good" photo and it's way over exposed. I like the fading away quality. I like the glowy misty look. Once upon a time I would have had to sit in a dark room with my gels and chemicals, my red light, my enlarger, and I would have had to futz around to get the same effect. Today, I sit in my living room watching a violent thunderstorm rage across Michigan via doppler radar, and click a little computer button, switching exposure, contrast, tint and saturation. And if I don't like the way it looks, I keep sliding the buttons until I get the gasp effect. That's when I take an indrawn breath because something in that photo grabs something deep inside of me and pulls it out. I don't know what it is, but it's the thing I look for when I am editing pictures. Those are the keepers.

I'm going to go back over those photos again, and see where I find the gasp effect. It's hard now, because the first impression has already been made. But let's see if there's anything still there. Those are the ones I'm going to count as entries in my 100 in 100 days creative challenge, although I feel like photography is cheating. It's really not. So I'm going to knock that off.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wilted, or End of Day Prayer

Wilted, or End of Day Prayer
pen and acrylic paint on antique book page
13/100 in 100 Creative Challenge, 6/22/10

This is a drawing of wilted, dying roses, inspired by this photo on Cakies. I was inspired by the wrinkled lushness of the petals laying on top of each other, as well as the teal background.

What that did was induce me to pick up my paints again.

I really do love the sensual pleasure of paintbrush on paper or canvas. I forget about that until I start painting, and then I can't stop.

Well, I did stop, but still, maybe it will make me more likely to pick up the paints again. I do kind of like the limited palette of the series of prayer paintings I'm doing, but then again, I happen to love blue and the whole neutral color, black, white and blue color scheme has definitely been on my mind lately.

What I'd really like to do is find a way to display these things without damaging them.

Maybe what I need to do is string up some line and get some clothes pins or bull dog clips and have a rotating collection of my art.

When I figure it out, I'll post a picture.

As to the Wilted theme. That's how I feel often at the end of day. But I am trying to keep myself just from collapsing. I am trying to get more productive once the kids go to sleep, without adding to the stress and anxiety. Things like fresh strawberry margaritas may help. Or listening to classic jazz. Or watching sweeping movies on tv. Or picking up a paintbrush.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Chorus, or Dandelion Prayer

Chorus, or Dandelion Prayer
ink and watercolor pencil on vintage book page
12/100 in 100 creative challenge 6/20/10
I only have a few moments before work today. Here's another drawing. More hands. More botanical. I like this one.
The dandelion was a gift from my kids.
The hand is that thing I always carry with me and is useful for picking up stuff and making stuff. I like to draw my hand. It's the right hand, since I write with my left hand. A useful hand. And I'm using a contour line, which I always love to loosen up when I draw. I love it as a way to mark my life. A way to depict the world around me.
I tried to make the border more intricate, with a kind of floral negative line inside the boundary, but it was too fussy, and when I colored it in, it looked so much better.
Yesterday, I didn't draw anything at all.
Not true. I drew a circle. It's staring at me as I write this, round and empty.
It's wondering what I will fill it with.
I'm wondering if I have time this morning to fill it.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Prayers for the Unkempt Garden

Herbal, or Botanical Prayer
ink and watercolor pencil on vintage book page (Alice in Wonderland)
10/100 in 100 Creative Challenge. 6/19/10

My days of drawing in ink on my old Alice in Wonderland continue.

I have to say, I enjoy the prayer like aspect of it. Very much. I keep wanting to take my book with me, like to the grocery store, or when I dropped my almost 5 year old off at the week long preview of kindergarten. (Yes that's right, he's off on his first flight without mama. Can't wait to hear about his adventure.)

I do a little in the morning before work. I do a little at night in front of the tv. I sit on the deck in the sun and draw, while the kids meet neighborhood cats and dogs, after picking blackcap raspberries in our new yard.

Here I've drawn the spindly basil that I bought but haven't had the opportunity to plant into the container herb garden I am planning for the back deck. I've decided to stick to containers, because a whole yard intimidates me, and besides, the deck really is the sunniest spot in my yard surrounded with pines and maples and cottonwoods and mulberry trees.

I am surrounded by plants. And they are really seeping into my soul, I think. This is a very lush land, almost as lush as Florida, but cool. I wouldn't be surprised if bugs started showing up, too... this is a land of bugs, too. Something my budding kindergardner loves.

Also on this drawing is a sketch inspired by/copied loosely from the cover of my old Alice in Wonderland book.

Do you see it there in the gold? I am trying to resist adding gold to my little prayer/drawings. Maybe I shouldn't resist. Don't be surprised if gold starts showing up. I still feel a little guilty about breaking up this book, but it was already well loved when I got it. Already had been sketched in by children, so I just went with it. And it has served as so much inspiration and creation to me, I think it was worth it that this old lady has sacrificed herself for my art. She is still loved, just in a different incarnation.

Not only loved, but she is helping me learn to love my own life, as it comes, imperfect and messy.

No Day But To Day, or Sun Prayer
ink on vintage book page
11/100 in 100 Creative Challenge, 6/19/10

Here is another drawing I did on the day of blackcap raspberries and neighborhood pets. That night I sat down to draw, not knowing what I was doing, but feeling the need to draw a sun, the sun the shines down on us and helps us grow, gives us energy, feeds us, allows us to live. Us, everything, everyone, life on Earth.

What a wonderful sun. What a wonderful world where a design made decades ago can inspire something wild, something precious. This drawing here is still influenced by the front cover, but it's wilder, no longer symmetrical, a little ugly. But while I was drawing it, the song from Rent kept going through my head, and so did memories of picking raspberries, and getting bit by mosquitoes, and the taste of cold iced coffee in the hot sun, and music floating on a summer breeze, and the flickering shade of tall trees. And you know what?

I felt a little bit of the weedy unkempt garden within me begin to bloom. And it was beautiful. And it was sweet. And it was tart. And it prickled me when I moved wrong. And it was life.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Bloom, or A Prayer In My Hand

Bloom, or A Prayer in My Hand
Ink on Vintage Book Page (Alice in Wonderland)
9/100 in 100 Creative Challenge, 6/18/10

I think I've found something in these Wonderland drawings. Like yesterday, I realize that this is a type of prayer. The detail of the drawings, the attention paid to the inking... I like that you can see the pen strokes. I don't want it to feel like a computer did this. I want a viewer to be able to see the work that has gone into this, the touch of the hand.

This is not the first time that I have done these hand outlines. More than once in the past couple of decades, I have turned to the hand outlines when I did not know what to create. Something about putting the image on the paper means I am free to explore whatever I can do with it. So much more comforting than the blank page. A place to start. A boundary within which to create.

More than that, these hands represent to me personal agency. This is MY hand. My hand was laid on the page. I traced the very outline. There was direct skin to paper contact. This is MY hand. I make this. It is within my control, my power to create these drawings. And more than that, it is within my power to create the kind of life I want to live.

Whenever I start to feel up in the air and a little bit lost with where I am going and who I am, doing a few of these hand drawings/paintings grounds me. Allows me to remember that my life is within my control.

This one here? This one is about abundance. I think I will be doing a whole series about abundance, actually. I am beginning to imagine them fastened casually to the wall in a type of installation. I am a bit worried that they might get a little worn like that, but, just like the hand pressed to the page, I like the immediacy of just tacking them to the wall. I don't want a barrier of a frame and mat and glass. I want them present as an object, not divided by the objectification of a formal frame.

Perhaps I have been watching too much Work of Art. I think I am going to art school or something.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Live This, or A Prayer

Live This, or A Prayer
Ink on Antique Book Page (Alice in Wonderland)
8/100 in 100 Creative Challenge, 6/18/10
I am trying to find my voice.
"WhaaAT?" say you. "Ain't you the girl who has all these Flying Girls floating around the internet?"
Why yes, yes I am, and yet still, I am searching for my voice.
I mean, I have a voice. I have been singing out loud for many years now, writing, drawing, painting, teaching, creating things, standing my ground. And yet, sometimes I feel as if there is more to discover.
I have no answers. I have no definitive description of my voice. And maybe this is good. It's possible when we have "figured out" who we are, we become landlocked in our own understanding of ourselves, and stop growing.
I go through periods where I explore certain things. I think Flying Girl lasted more than a year. That's pretty intense. And even now, she pops up without much conscious thought. She's still part of who I am. She is still part of my vocabulary. She shows up in different media. And the different media end up becoming part of my vocabulary.
Hmm. What if Flying Girl is actually my way into the new explorations. A kind of rosetta stone that can open up new languages in my creativity? That makes her pretty valuable.
This drawing, for example. No. There's no Flying Girl, not yet, but don't count her out. Actually, this drawing is pulling on an older language in my art. The doodles. The flowers. The houses. I really want the houses to come back, but I am looking for their way in. I just haven't found it yet. But I am liking the doodles/botanical inspiration.
To tell you the truth, drawing these is almost like meditation. It's kind of nice. I forget about that aspect of art sometimes. I forget how close to spirituality my art feels sometimes. I don't know if anyone else gets that when I they look at my work, but for me, art is near to my religion. My mixed up, made up, anti establishment, personally created spirituality/religion.
This piece here... this is like a prayer.

Friday, June 18, 2010

It Ain't About Fairy Dust

"I used to believe the world was magic..."
pen, pencil and watercolor on paper
7/100 in 100, 6/17/10
Welcome to my creative process.
I do not know what this drawing/painting is. Actually, I do. I was thinking about making a three dimensional hanging sculpture, a mobile, I suppose, maybe an assemblage. I haven't done one of those for years and years. I have all these little pieces that I made out of paperclay, and I want to do something with them.
I originally thought of just selling the little houses and charms on etsy, but something seems missing to me. Then I realized, I am not really a bits and bobs kind of person. These little pieces need to have a context to make me feel like they are complete. They need to be in dialogue with their surroundings, perhaps some companions, a color, a background.
It is quite possible that I need to do some scrounging and find some boxes. All those old assemblages I did in years past always started with found boxes. Broken jewelry boxes, old cigar boxes, sometimes just regular cardboard boxes.
But really, what I am doing in this period of time is trying to find my voice. Trying to find what I have to say. What I want to create.
I do not know.
This will be the journey, I suppose. And let me tell you, this 100 in 100 days challenge is keeping me accountable to staying on the track of my journey. I would be quite willing to blow it off if I didn't have the challenge.
Well, see you tomorrow.
ps. I just wanted to say that this drawing is lying a little bit when it says I used to believe the world magic and now I don't know what I believe. I totally believe the world is magic. It's just it is sometimes a very hard and difficult magic. Sometimes maybe always. The magic of transformation is painful.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Tower, or Playtime

Tower, or Playtime
pen and Pitt Artist pens on paper
6/100 in 100, 6/17/10

When does play time start to feel unnatural? When do we take on this mantle of adulthood, and let all our serious worries and troubles take over?

This is something I have struggled with for a long time. I am too serious. I have been too serious for most of my life, but once upon a time, I did not feel like I needed to be productive in order to be worthy.

How do we learn to enjoy living? How do we remember how to exist in bliss? How do we keep our old blisses from becoming just another burden, when we commit to them and try to make them into something more than just a thing we do for fun?

I have the feeling that everything we need in life is there waiting for us. I have the feeling that, outside of the basic needs, bliss is all a mind set.

What exactly IS that set of mind? How do we set our minds in that place of bliss.

Is enlightenment supposed to be so hard? (That's kind of a joke. Are you laughing yet?)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Strong Woman Sets Down Her Burden and Kicks Back with an Iced Coffee

The Strong Woman, or Carrying The World
5/100 in 100 6/16/10
pen on paper 5x8

My drawings have been all over the place, stylistically. Really, I haven't used the same technique or style twice. Granted, it's only been 5 days, but still. It's quite remarkable. I feel a little schizophrenic with the bouncing around.
I don't know what is going to come out of this project. I don't have a clear vision of where I want it to go, but then, I am also willing to make the journey, to stumble and to fall and to find out what it's all about while I am going along.
I just got my delivery of art supplies today. Some things that I've been waiting on so that I could finish other projects, and some other things that I've wanted to experiment with for a long time. And some things that I've needed.
That metal ruler in the picture, however, is the one I got for my first art class in High School. 1984. That was NINE. TEEN. EIGHTY. FOUR. I work with people who are younger than my ruler. And yet I love that ruler. It's because of that ruler than I got a beautiful metal Swingline stapler, instead of a cheapie plastic one. You want some things to last.
I also got myself a fancy shmancy self healing mat and rotary cutter. I made my own label out of recycled carboard with it. You mean I don't have to fight my way through thick cardboard with my wobbly pair of scissors anymore? I think I might have some more freedom to try new things, now.

I find myself flumoxed with where to go next, though. Perhaps I'll do a few more sketches in my journal to try out the new projects in my head. New supplies are so much fun, but they make me nervous. I don't want to ruin my supplies. I'll probably be even more all over the place with my style. Although, I'm really jonesing for some more abstract and/or conceptual pieces. I love Flying Girl, but I really love some of the more odd, poetic kind of work.
Oh heck. I don't have to make decisions on this. I don't have to have it all figured out.
And art supplies are meant to be used and abused and ruined and created.
To tell the truth, I have been much too stressed out. So many changes in my life at once and so many uncertainties. Trying to figure out everything instead of just going on the journey.
Trying to be in control of everything instead of being a part of it. D'you know what happens when you live like that? You start getting a scowl between your eyebrows.
I'm trying to relax and go with the flow more.

Take a look at the iced coffee with ice cream and dark chocolate syrup I made. YUM. It was really good. And I sat outside with it and sketched things in my journal. Strange things. Things that made no sense and were not set and were kind of smudgy.

And it was okay.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Back Yard Dreamtime and Manifesting

Back Yard Dreamtime
ink on paper, 5"x8"
4/100, 5/15/10

I've been seeing all the tent inspiration around the web, including this tutorial for making your own pup tent. Now those instructions are a little intimidating for my carpentry and seamstress skills, but still, I have been dreaming of this kind of retreat for my kids.

Actually, it's not just the skills but the energy. I seem to have no energy or focus to get things done. Sigh.

Wow. Just like my thoughts on creative block, I should try not giving all my attention to my exhaustion. It just makes the exhaustion grow. I mean, we need to take care of our bodies, but going around all the time moaning, "I'm so tired, I can't get anything done!" What does that do for us? Except validate how we can't get anything done.

Well that's a revelation. Give my attention to what I CAN do, despite the exhaustion, my plans to get things done, to focus, to grow, to enjoy, and this will mean I end up enjoying life and being productive.

I'm going to try this and see if it works better than flopping into a chair at the end of the day, feeling sorry for myself.

And I'm going to try manifesting some of my dreams. I have the things I need to manifest this back yard pup tent for my kids. I have the back yard... that's the hardest thing to get, in my life. Why not try to create it for real, in real life. And to tell the truth, I kind of dream of painting this sketch. It would be dark greens and blues, with the hatchmarks in paler colors, and the tent in a glowing yellow, and perhaps there would be words written lightly in the darkness, words for childhood, for play, for memories being made.


Oh. And I was wondering. Did anyone see the Bravo show last week about the artists? It's like Project Runway, but all about artists. I saw it on the internet and now I am dying to see the next episode. It's called Work Of Art. Thanks to Kelley for the find.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Of Starstuff
pen and paper, 5x8"
3/100 in 100 challenge. 6/12/10

I've decided I'm going to try doing the 100 in 100 again. Last year... about this time, as I was reminded by a friend, I committed to creating 100 paintings in 100 days, and I invited anyone else to come along on the challenge. I achieved my goal, but not without adjusting my expectations of myself, and realizing that I was doing a lot more art than just the pieces I was counting within my totals.

I'm not limiting myself to doing just 100 paintings. I've decided that any piece of art will do. I've decided not to judge my art as less worthy or more worthy because of it's provenance, its intention, its medium, the time it took to create, or it's formality.

A sketch I did while I was at work will count as much as a large scale painting on wood (I have one planned). Finishing a piece that I started months before will count as much as starting and finishing in one day.

I did this painting while watching tv, as it got later and later and I got more and more tired. I didn't know what I was doing when I started it, but I felt compelled to finish it before I went to bed.

It started out quite like the doodles I used to do when I was in school. The eye and the scrolls and the floopy winglike paisleys. What does it mean? I don't know. And that's fine.

Going off on intuition is maybe a way to gain access to the things that have kind of been hiding. The things that have been tied up by the demands of the everyday and the necessary stresses of a busy life.

Me? I'm trying to release some of the things I've been holding under wraps, waiting for a time when things will be more stable or more secure or when I will have a handle on it all.

I begin to think that I will never have a handle on it all. Or if I do sometimes, I will only have that handle for a brief time until I go back to being confused again. This might be called life.

Confusing. And yet... cosmically speaking... not. (ah ha. I got this post back to the drawing! We are starstuff, and all the craziness and stress we put on ourselves all the time? cosmically speaking, it just don't mean a damn.)

All we can do is keep putting one foot in front of the other and continue to do our best. Keep it up. Move forward.

Any one want to try to challenge themselves with 100 works of creativity in 100 days? 100 drawings/paintings? 100 poems? 100 new meals from scratch? 100 self portraits? 100 photos?
100 pages in a novel? I'm doing it a lot more casually than I did last time, a factor of my transitional life, but hey, I'm still doing it.

And that's the important part.

PS I found my official rules for 100 in 100 days. I did a lot of thought on this project last year. This year it just snuck up on me.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Ptooey to Creative Block, or I Will Not Create a Self Fulfilling Prophecy

A Doodle, or Intuitive Wondering/Wandering


I don't have any inspiration.

I can't think of what to paint. To make. The creative part of my brain is confused and kind of silent. My energy is at ebb tide.

But you know what?

None of that really matters.

Inspiration is nice, but is not necessary in being creative. Creativity is more about working and exploring than it is about being hit with the thunderbolt that is inspiration. Creativity is about committing to the work and about working itself.

I am under the firm belief that creative block is a self fulfilling prophecy. When we decide that we are blocked, all our energy goes into being blocked, and the block just gets bigger and bigger.


I am not interested in my reasons for not creating. Not the whys or the excuses, no matter how valid.

Instead I must focus on creating itself. On what I can create. On the time I can carve out of my day for creating. On keeping my pen moving. On looking for that inspiration whenever it might pop up and grabbing onto it. And on continuing to work, even when I don't have inspiration.

Even if what I create isn't fabulous, even if it doesn't thrill me I have to keep going. I have to start wherever I am, and that includes being in the land of the exhausted, confused, discombobulated and uninspired.

In my experience, if I start regularly putting my pen to paper, drawing doodles, sketching my lunch, or my foot or my hand, then pretty soon, I will be inspired to take it farther. I will open up my paints and start something more intensive. I will start sketching paintings for later. I will start making time to get that art painted.

The same goes for writing. If I start reading over my old work, talking about it. If I start doing exercises to define my characters or plot. If I start making maps or sketches of the places and people in the story. If I take out my red pen and start editing... well, pretty soon, I start living in that world I've created, and the world of the imgination starts growing and growing until it demands attention.


Here is my process. Sometimes I have nothing to say or paint or write and no energy. I'm pretty sure every artist goes through these periods. But an artist keeps going even when they don't have anything to say. Even when what they say is flat and uninspired. Being an artist is being committed to the creating, that's all.

An artist TRUSTS that the art (word/music/dance/inspiration) will come back, if she just keeps showing up to the page (canvas, stage, floor, studio). And she keeps working.

I am going to trust that my art will come back, even if I am confused in my land of doodles and transition.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

An Empty Garage, (and some things with which to fill it)

An Empty Garage (Or My Studio, when I get my butt in gear and set it up.)
So I've moved into my new house, but I am not settled. I am distinctly UNsettled. I want to get back to work and be creative and make it cozy and decorate and paint pictures and start doing large pieces and explore and expand and grow.
But I'm still all kerflumoxed.
Oh crap. Not the process again!
Why can't life just go smoothly and allow me to pick up my art exactly where I left off? Why do I have to go through the reimagining and rededicating and revisioning? Why do I have to build up my routine day by day? Why why why?
Because that is the process.
So here I am, in a lazy state of recovery from the stress of moving and switching jobs and taking care of kids and new schedules and trying to find a new babysitter and all that. And I.
But I do know what my ultimate goals are, and they are to live the creative life and write and paint and teach and make money off of these things. To live in a comfy, colorful and beautiful home. To have happy and strong kids. To have a community of creative souls. To enjoy life. To live in joy.
So sometimes I just have to get over my laziness and resistance and get back to work.
But then again, I don't want to force myself to do something as a chore that should be fun.
So let's reframe it all. Instead of looking at all the work I have to do and dreading it, maybe I'll think about things that I am excited about doing. New projects. Old projects. Fun things.
Like what I am going to do in that nice big space of a garage that I have claimed for a studio.
  • Painting Large Pieces. (I have space. I can finally paint big!)
  • Using wood and metal and various hardware to make sculptures along with paperclay and sculpey and felt other familiar materials.
  • Painting my old found white dresser a vibrant teal. (I've already bought the paint.)
  • Furnishing my empty garage with easels and tables and a couch and/or chairs to make it a comfortable space to create. (The landlord said he'd put in a new window on the west wall.)
  • Perhaps starting a new 100 in 100 Days project (I'm scared of taking it on.)
  • Getting back to reading tarot cards. (I don't talk about this much, because I haven't done it often since having kids, but I used to have clients in NYC and I enjoyed it.)
  • Learning how to do resin jewelry.
  • Learning how to encaustic painting.
  • Finishing my little doll and turning her into a kind of hearth goddess. (I need to get some art supplies to finish her up.)
  • Having a place to be creative and exploratory, and perhaps also, away from the computer so I don't get sucked into the interwebs.

These are just the projects that come to mind. They are exciting. I should really get on it, before I get stuck in a rut of not being creative. Start the juices flowing so that life can be juicy.

I think I need to remember my baby steps. Maybe I'll start painting in my journal, first, so that I can get the practice back without all the stress of feeling like I need to produce something fabulous.

What projects would you like to take on? What would it take for you to get excited about them?

Monday, June 07, 2010

Failure Is Not An Option-- It's the Process

Scraps of the Past, or Ann Arbor Light Post

Welcome back.

Or rather, welcome me back.

I've spent the week and more packing, moving and unpacking, finally settling back into my own place after a gypsy life this last couple of years.

It feels odd, but good. All sorts of plans and visions are bubbling to the surface... but I literally have no place to put them yet. I need book shelves and tables and dressers and all that mish mosh. I also figuratively have not place to put them, my mind is a whirlwind of all there is to do.

But what does this blog title mean?

It's been an upside down, trying to make things work last few years. In some lights, it would be easy to see it all as a failure... but I can't.

I have learned too much, grown too much, started to become the me I always wanted to be.

It's the failures that teach you the most. It's the sutmbles where you learn to pick yourself up. It's figuring out what doesn'twork that helps you undestand what does work. And when you mess up, fall on your head, need to ask for help, have to come up with new solutions... well that's when you discover that failure is not the end of the world and you are stronger and more creative than you thought you were.

This is what living creatively is about. It's about seeing the possibilities in the disaster. It's about recreating what is not satisfying into something that feels right. it's about envisioning what you want to have in your life and making it come real on that blank page.

I am getting back to my art. I am getting back to my writing. I am finishing up unfinished projects. I am getting a studio where I can paint big and make messes and be afraid and not be afriad of being afriad. I have come from a place where I have screwed up, and found wisdom and joy and growth and peace within the mistakes. I am still making mistakes, but I'm trying to have faith.

And I'm doing all these things while getting ready to paint and old dresser teal and hang circus stripe curtains in the kids room, and buying an awesome new kitchen table and doing all the things that make a house cozy. I am working on it all.

In the craziness that is my rumpled life.

I may not have the time. Or perhaps I'll make the time, and damn the mistakes, the anxiety, the fear.

Oh, I'm also putting prints back in my shop. HOORAY! Flying Girl is home.
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