Be brave enough to live life creatively — Purplerays

How can you not love a message like this?

 

. Be brave enough to live life creatively. The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover will be yourself. ~ Alan Alda 💚 Text and […]

Be brave enough to live life creatively — Purplerays

Good Times Are Ahead

I made some resolutions earlier this year. 

Not New Year’s Resolutions nor Solstice Resolutions nor Mother’s Day Resolutions. Just some Creativity Resolutions.

The first one comes due next Saturday. My first Art Show of the Season.

Am I ready? Is anyone ever ready for their next step into the world of creativity?

Making Angel Tears is one thing. Painting plates is one thing. Crocheting hangers on kitchen towels is one thing.

Showing them to the public is another.

I keep telling myself I’m too old for this $hit. That to be afraid of who I am at nearly 70 years old is ridiculous. I mean, how can I be any more off-center than I already am?

So anyway, my first art show is this Saturday. I’m doing the final count, the final packing, the final polishing. I swore I’d be done way before this weekend, but guest what — life got in the way.

Good and Bad.

So I’m taking my wares and my gauzy summer dress and my hat with lots of strings of tears that didn’t turn out so I wrapped them around the band and a new sparkly tablecloth and making my way up north. I’m going to play some instrumental medieval tavern music softly in the background and hang up my sparklers and do what I was born to do.

Sell Creativity.

I’m going to talk about Tears and Art Fairs and friends who are crafters. I am going to watch sparkles across the pavement and sneak away during the slow time and check out the other artists who are hanging around and down the main street with me.

Once I get back I hope to start working on my second Creative Resolution.

Offer one of my earliest books for free on my website.

Why not? I can’t share the magic if I don’t share the magic. I’m not up to making money on my writing — I just want to share (what I think) is some great writing.

Next I’m going to do some research and send out some of my short stories and poetry to publications and see if anyone is interested in a woman who is forever driving through a cornfield or someone who is chatting on their computer with someone who may or may not be right in their vicinity or a little girl who made friends with a dwarf.

If I sit in the background for the rest of my life that’s where I will be when I pass on to the next level.

In the background.

And I will not have  shared my excitement about my world and my craft and creativity and the beauty of love and life to anyone.

What a shame that would be.

 

 

 

It’s Time To Play What If? Again

The Bench that Dreams Beneath the Pink Trees,
Tara Turner

When the moon is full (last night was the Super Flower Blood Moon total lunar eclipse) and Mercury is in retrograde (until June 2nd), it is time to get creative. (The beautiful evening outside my door doesn’t hurt, either!)

As I was multitasking last evening (as I often am) I started thinking about “What If?” again. I wrote a blog about What If back in 2018 about keeping your What If’s going; writing them down, painting them, growing them. Later that year I wrote another blog called Let “What If” Guide Your Story about letting your mind wander into various “What If “worlds until you found one that appealed to you.

I seem to often talk about letting your creativity take you to new worlds, new thoughts, new possibilities.

Not everyone cares to participate in the speculation of the future. After all, we have enough trouble handling the speculation of today.

But with full moons and retrograding and any other excuse you can make up, this is the time to change your wardrobe and try on something new. Something wild and different. Something stern and conservative.

Something different from the same old you.

I have lost faith in a lot of movies lately; they are the samO samO plots, language, and emptiness. Like many books, paintings, stories, music, guitar solos and such that have come before, we have heard it all.

But now and then I come across a movie that is stark, interesting, and different. Twists I didn’t see coming, emotions that came out of somewhere deep and unpredictable, endings that surprise everyone.

When being creative, don’t you sometimes want to do the same?

Surprise your readers? Paint a scene that was at the edge of what is real? Fire a bowl or vase that is unique all onto itself? Take a picture at an angle that most people never consider?

Sometimes What If’s don’t work quite right. If I What If‘d a realistic park scene with pink trees, unless my genre was pop art or Abstract Expressionism, it wouldn’t work.

But what if I did decide to paint a landscape with pink trees? What if I decided to make water yellow and plants purple? 

If I could actually pull it off, how wonderfully creative that would be! If I used my understanding of color and shading and texture and make everything look real, what difference would the colors make?

That’s what What If is all about.

Taking the familiar and making it do unfamiliar things.

It’s the what-if-you-were-standing-outside-looking-around-and-suddenly-you-see-a-gigantic-spider-climbing-over-the-trees-towards-you sort of moment.

Something you’re not likely to see in this lifetime, yet, if you did ….

I hope you are working on your What If moments.

 

 

Friends and Creativity

Dreamtime

This is what Creativity is all about.

This is what friendship is all about.

Graphic Design Artist and Photographer John Lemke has been a friend of mine since I started my last job 19 years ago. He was a catalog artist, I was a catalog coordinator. Between us (and a bunch of other people) we made catalog magic. He laid out the pages, I proofread the pages. 

Both of us have gone on to bigger and better things.

This includes Art.

I highlighted John’s graphic artworks back in 2015 and his photography in 2021. I also published a boatload of his work in the Gallery in August 2015 and December 2021. 

John is a friend but also a phenomenal artist. His work touches spots deep inside that have no description, no explanation. His photography makes me feel good.

And this is what today’s blog is about.

Practice your Craft.

Promote your Craft.

Promote your friend’s craft.

Spread the word of how phenomenal creativity can be.

Here are a few more of John’s photographs:

 

 

 

 

 

Pumped Up Mondays

If Saturdays are the beginning of your playday, Mondays are usually the beginning of your work week.

For me they are also the beginning of my creative week. I always start off wanting to write, craft, paint, and research. Quite a busy start to a retiree’s week.

Yesterday I took the (not so big) step of signing up for Peacock, the NBC version of Hulu or Netflix. A majority of shows are free, but it’s not because I was in need of something to watch. I came across what I was looking for:

Face Off.

Five season’s worth.

I happen to LOVE that TV series. Every week a group of artists create masks and faces and outfits based on the weekly challenge theme.

The things these “ameteurs” come up with are amazing.

I realize they are experts in their field. I’m sure you know someone — yourself, even — that could come up with a short story, a quilting pattern, knit a scarf, or paint a painting or a calligraphy sign in competition time. That’s how good you are.

But it’s just the process — the intuitive, inventive way their mind thinks that gets me going.

I get the same feeling watching cooking competition shows. How could these average “Joes” and “JoAnns” cook something like that in less than an hour?

The first and most important reason is because they love doing what they do. They all may be auto mechanics or beauticians or grade school teachers in their “other” life but they are artists in this one. They may even be full-time creators.

I come back from these shows with a new sense of energy and purpose. And I try and share it.

I have one friend thinking of starting to write a book on her and her father’s experiences. So exciting! Another friend went to a quilting seminar this week for a few days. How great! One of my good friends went on a scrapbooking weekend not long ago. Nothing but talking and scrapbooking. How can you lose? Another of my friends is coming to my state  (not far from me, it seems)  to do some sort of crafting seminar/conference/get together. How great is that?

I’ve done an art gallery on Face Off, and could probably do a dozen more. So it is with you that do ceramics or computer design or photography. My good friend from my old work is a photographer AND graphic designer — what great things he comes up with!

Find something that fuels your passion and go for it. Let someone else’s work inspire you — not to be them, not to do what they do, but let their work encourage you do try new things and go new directions.

Make practice fun. Make mistakes fun. Make success even MORE fun.

Let me know what you are working on so I can continue to get pumped up in the Art World.

Feels Good! You ought to try it!

 

 

Crafts. Again.

Last week I was going to start off talking about my past week, but found the poetry world more fascinating. This week is starting off with 10 inches of snow, grey skies, and zero temperatures. I’d rather talk about crafts instead.

I follow a number of really creative people (to say the least). Some I’ve highlighted before, others are new to my world.

Claudia McGill and her Art World is a fun, creative place with a lot of sketchbook images, along with real ideas that she’s combined in her paintings to make a whole new art world.

 

Anne Fisher has a delightful blog eat with an artist: fact and fiction, that melds famous artists with delicious looking food.

 

I’ve boasted about my artist friend Kate and her thoroughly entertaining and informative blog Daily Fiber. She is an adventurous sort, trying sketching, knitting and sashiko (Japanese embroidery), but it’s her quilting that continuously fascinates me. Instructions included.

 

Darlene Foster at Darlene Foster’s Blog is my inspiration for writing. She has published a number of books about a girl named Amanda and her adventures exploring cities around the world. Her whirlwind visits include Amanda in Arabia: The Perfume Flask, Amanda in Spain: The Girl in the Painting, Amanda in England: The Missing Novel, and  Amanda on the Danube: The Sounds of Music.

 

And pottery. Who doesn’t love pottery? I love everything over at The Alchemist’s Studio, including their vases, pots, cups, and jewelry. And they show their process, their designs, and their thoughts. What’s not to love?

 

Be sure to check them all out! And share ones that delight YOU!

It’s a quiet time of year; I’m sure other artists I follow are busy planning, prepping, and shoveling snow. Share your ideas! Your experiments! Your highlights and your missteps! I love them all.

Maybe next week I’ll highlight inspirational blogs! My own, of course, being first in line ….

 

Have You Started Being Creative Yet This Year?

Here it is, only January 6th in this grand new year of 2022, and I’m already bugging you, asking if you’ve started on your “art” projects for the year.

Here in the Midwest it’s supposed to be only 9°F by the weekend. I’m busy thinking about keeping warm, let alone artsy crafty things.

But yet this is the time of year most of us start planning and preparing for the coming year. The coming spring and summer. Art fairs, garden projects, painted signs and landscapes and new numbers on our mailboxes.

Now, I don’t imagine many of us know today what we will want to display in June, but there is always some sort of creativity dancing around our auras, teasing and tempting us with new ideas and directions.

I don’t have much energy to dance with my aura at the moment.

But I do have some ideas already.

I have a little granddaughter I adore, one who loves unicorns and My Little Ponies. I’m thinking of making her — AND me — a fairy garden this spring. I’m still in the dreaming stage — I don’t know if I want a big saucer-like creation, or a little corner of the yard, or even a tiered fiasco. I admit I try not to wander Pinterest and the Internet in general for ideas, for each one brings ten more ideas into focus.

I also think about making some Buddhist stacking stone monuments around my property (they are gestures of asking or wishing for good fortune to be bestowed on the stacker and his/her family), but I need to find some stones first. Not in this weather, though.

Every day I try and go down to my library/craft room and make some Angel Tears. They may not have much sparkle in the cloudy winter, but before you know it the breezes will be blowing and the art fairs will be calling and I’ll be in need of stock.

But that’s just me.

What about you? Any creative muses knocking at your door these days? I know for some of you it is summertime. What are ya doin’? What new projects are you entertaining?

Maybe it’s just me having too much wandering mind time. I tend not to wander far from my blanket, music, computer, or hot chocolate this time of year.

But, as the wise Yogi Berra said, “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.”

 

 

Creativity is the Only Way to Go

This is the time of year for New Year’s Everythings — New Year’s Resolutions, New Year’s Blogs, New Year’s Toasts, New Year’s Texts.

I’ve given up on the resolutions part — I make new ones year-round. Keep some, forget some. 

But in reading my friend Judith at Artistcoveries‘ end-of-the-year blog named Toast, I find the kind of resolution we all can make. It just makes me feel anything is possible.

A bit of her advice:

So, how can I apply this to my art? For me the answer is in the idea of celebration. Over the next 12 months, I hope to honor myself as an artist, to welcome myself to the studio each morning, and to celebrate each new thing I learn, each new experience, and each success I have. This all means being more accepting of who I am and the art I create. I will no doubt make a lot of bad art in 2022. I’ve learned that bad art is a necessary part of my personal art process. I’ve found that making bad art has helped me immensely. Through bad art I’ve learned that it’s all right to make mistakes — everyone does — and I’ve found an incredible new sense of freedom. This, in turn, has led me more toward finding my own unique style.

This is the kind of inspiration we all need. It is a combination of self-healing, acceptance, and change. It’s letting go and holding on. It’s trying and failing and trying and succeeding. 

Let us all make a commitment to celebrate every day, for every day is an opportunity to learn something new. To teach someone something new. To feel something new. To accept the now and change the now. 

Here is Judith at Artistcoveries‘ entire blog, Toast. Give it a read if you have time!

 

 

 

 

https://artistcoveries.wordpress.com/2021/12/31/toast/

 

 

 

 

What’s Important to YOU Today?

Happy Monday! Or is it? 

We all try and start the “week” off on a positive note. As the jokes/memes say, it’s only downhill from here.

I tend to disagree.

Sometimes it can go uphill from here.

I suppose, barring unexpected occurrences, most of us can expect a normal UP and DOWN kind of week. It depends on what we’ve planned for ourselves.

I hope you have planned some positive experiences.

I know I know — you can’t plan gifts from God or sparkling experiences from Gaia. They just come when they come.

But you can plan activities that bring you extra pleasure. 

Of course, you know I’m referring to Art. Crafts. Writing. Piano lessons. Painting a mural on your garage door. Anything that makes you happy.

There is something about starting fresh on a project/projects you love that plants that sparkle in your heart that eventually flows all through your body. Even if you aren’t over-the-top in getting back to your Art, once you get there, the world changes.

Your flops aren’t really flops. They’re lessons. Your completions aren’t really the end, but just the beginning. 

If you can stop listening to that little demon who whispers that you’ll never be any good, you will be amazed at how finishing the book you are reading or sewing that last piece together can make you feel.

Give yourself a chance.

I have lots of demons dancing in and out throughout the day. I’ve learned to either ignore them or, if need be, let them scream their garbage and then kick them out the door. I am who I am, and all that hoo hah. But I’m always working on improving “who I am.”

For me, that’s perfecting my crafts. Always writing something, always fooling around with Angel Tears. I have a boatload of projects just waiting for me to open the door, but I promised myself I’d stick to just a couple for the time being.

Give Monday a chance. Let it be the beginning of new chances, new worlds, new universes. Well, universes is quite a big quest …. maybe start with something smaller …. like solar systems.

Go for it!

Tell me what your creative plans are for the week!

 

 

Am I Really an Artist?

A question so many of us have. If we’re not famous, not selling, not well known, are we still what we strive to be? Judith believes we all are what we want to believe. If we only believe.

Artistcoveries

I’ll cut right to the chase here. Yes, I am an artist. I might not be a very good artist, but that’s almost irrelevant. The point is, I am indeed an artist.

Recently, though, I found myself asking that age-old question, wondering all over again if I could truly call myself an artist. When I began this blog in March 2016, I did not consider myself an artist, but finally came around to seeing myself as someone who was becoming an artist. I was learning, I was developing new skills. But I was definitely not an artist, if only because I simply could not associate that word with myself.

Being an artist, I’ve learned now, has a lot to do with choice. It’s not all a matter of talent or training. It’s partly attitude, too.

Of course, anyone who enjoys drawing, painting, or other forms of art may be…

View original post 1,071 more words

A Paragraph then a Request

There is nothing more sensual, more enlightening, more surreal than someone in command of the English (or their own native) language.

I don’t mean “The King’s English”, or perfectly pitched tones and articulations. I’m talking about passages from books that, to the reader, are breathtaking.

Not every book is impressive like that. Readers look for different things in their reading material: convincing characters, landscapes you can get lost in, true love, lost love — the reasons to love a good book are endless. And I have read many books that are just plain great without getting overly wordy or ornate.

Previously I wrote a blog about how important opening paragraphs are to one’s writing, sharing the first paragraph from H.P. Lovecraft’s Call of the Cthulhu as a delightful setting for his story.

Recently I started reading The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Here is a paragraph that just caught me:

The lights grow brighter as the earth lurches away from the sun, and now the orchestra is playing yellow cocktail music, and the opera of voices pitches a key higher. Laughter is easier minute by minute, spilled with prodigality, tipped out at a cheerful word. The groups change more swiftly, swell with new arrivals, dissolve and form in the same breath; already there are wanderers, confident girls who weave here and there among the stouter and more stable, become for a sharp, joyous moment the centre of a group, and then, excited with triumph, glide on through the sea-change of faces and voices and colour under the constantly changing light.

This paragraph describes the feel of one of Gatsby’s parties. You can just imagine yourself on the lawn behind a gigantic mansion, beauties and wannabes all vying for attention in the evening light.

It’s not easy to write sentences that will capture your audience. And not all novels are written with the same cadence, the same inferences and tone. What impresses me might not impress you. That’s the beauty of writing. Good writing.

Now to my request.

Do you have a paragraph from a book that just totally impresses the heck out of you? Something that inspires you, moves you, makes you want to read more?

Would you mind sharing it with the rest of us?

It’s something every writer strives for. No matter if it’s a novel, a letter to your grandma, or a description of yourself on Facebook, how you write it tells so much about you.

I would love to read what enchants you!

 

 

 

This Question is for YOU

I was mowing the lawn the other day, daydream as I often do (seeing as it takes a couple of hours just to do the front), thinking about Thurday’s blog and all the stories I’ve started and never finished.

And it made me wonder — what are YOU working on?

Come on! I KNOW that out of all my followers there are at least a couple of dozen people out there who write. Short stories, plays, novels, poetry — the list is endless.

Let’s be honest. Only a small percentage of the writing world gets published. Yes you can publish your book yourself on Amazon. Yes you can connect with a publisher or agent if you’re lucky and become the next Dan Brown. Yes there is a chance you win a contest and get your work posted in a magazine or online somewhere.

Most likely the closest you’ll ever get to having someone else read your stuff is to send it/print it/share it with others who are actually interested.

Well, I’m interested.

You know you want to talk about it.

You know you want to share a chapter or two. Or ask a question or two.

You love what you write as much as chocolate cream pie. Deep down inside you want someone else to love it just as much as you do. But you don’t dare share it because you’re afraid of being laughed at, marveled at, and probed as to why you’re not working harder to get it published.

I am all of the above.

So I’m going to take a poll. PLEASE answer the following few questions to see if I should devote a page of this blog to “What Are You Writing?” or “What Plot Line Should I Use?” or “What Do You Think?”

We need a place to show off our work. Our ideas. Our plotlines.

Why not here?

I haven’t decided exactly how I want to address this empty void. Maybe just what we’re working on. Maybe links to our finished products. Maybe we can pose a question. Maybe it can be once a week. Once every other week. On a Wednesday. Or another non-happening day.

The Goddess is always Humored no matter what path I wander down. She knows that I just want everyone to be proud of their own creativity, and to show it off to the world. There are not a lot of outlets to do this through.

Maybe this can be one.

Let me know what you think. Since I suck at making polls, please answer the following couple of questions:

 

Would you be willing to share your storylines?

Would you be willing to share a link to your work?

Would you be willing to ask for and give advice if requested?

 

All your responses will be read by me first before sharing them in the blog. Nothing inappropriate, smarmy, or nasty will ever get through. Writers need encouragement, not sass.

What do you think?

 

That’s Life

That’s life (that’s life), that’s what all the people say
You’re ridin’ high in April, shot down in May
But I know I’m gonna change that tune
When I’m back on top, back on top in June

I said that’s life (that’s life), and as funny as it may seem
Some people get their kicks stompin’ on a dream
But I don’t let it, let it get me down
’cause this fine old world, it keeps spinnin’ around

 

Yep. That’s Life. My second craft show has been cancelled. Not enough volunteers. Not enough food vendors for the fest. And a hundred other legitimate reasons.

I’m sure Covid has a lot to do with it. People are still not sure about crowds and people and people not covering their mouths when they cough. And the thought of 300,000 people not covering their mouth when they cough is enough to scare a daredevil.

But I digress.

No craft show. No Angel Tears.

No making more strands like a crazy woman, no reorganizing my bins, no cleaning up sloppily put together bags. 

At least not within the next two weeks.

Although I am sad I can’t show my wares to the wandering-past public, part of me is glad I have more than two weeks to get my sh$t together.

I have a lot of sh$t to get together.

Like I’ve said before, I learned so much my first time around. What I offer, how I package, how I pack. How to keep organized. How to talk to people. How to plan and how to breathe.

I am quite happy with how much I’ve grown in the past few months. I learned to stay focused, to take pride in my work, and to more forward one step at a time.

We all need quests like this.

Maybe not selling your wares or publishing your book. 

Quests can be as simple as finishing balancing your checkbook. By completing a walk around the block. By repotting your overgrown plants.

There is always some task we need to finish before we start the next one. It’s so easy to make a half effort then move along, forgetting what we promised ourselves. Meaning well but never following through.

Let me tell you. It feels good to have accomplished something. And it frees me up to take on the next task. 

So until next time …. 

What’s next?

 

 

Scratching The Surface — Tiffany Arp-Daleo Art

 

I love Tiffany’s art. And I love there is always a story behind it. And I am learning how abstract art can express all kinds of emotions and thoughts. 

Give her website a visit — you might start understanding, too!

12″ x 16″ Mixed media painting by Tiffany Arp Daleo

Scratching The Surface — Tiffany Arp-Daleo Art

Listening to the Rain

It’s early Monday morning. I’m sitting here, listening to the thunderstorm move through, the rain pouring down on the plants and round table and plastic chairs on my front deck.

The house is silent except for the steady cadence of the rain — a welcome gift here on a hot August day.

You would think there is a story here somewhere.

Or at least a poem.

It’s funny how the most atmospheric places and times often fail to yield to the force of Creativity. How the perfect setting, emotional state, or piece of music fails to inspire us to our creative heights.

I have often had the perfect surroundings to write on my novel or sketch something in my art book. A beautiful sunset, a country setting. Maybe everyone is gone and I have the house to myself. Maybe a bit of romantic music from the past comes on the radio. Rain and thunderstorms and the quiet of the gray around it.

Perfect settings for writing, painting … for self reflection and relaxing daydreams.

Yet I sit here, doing nothing. Feeling nothing. Except maybe like I want to take a nap or pour another cup of coffee or wonder what I’m going to make for dinner.

It seems my Muse sabotages me at every turn.

I believe that creativity and imagination are like soft electrical currents that are always running in the background. They make us feel good; they give us a sense of self worth, of achievement, and enjoyment. Look at how high you feel when you’re in the groove. On a roll. In the thick of things.

I also believe you can’t just call on the Muse and have her instantly appear.

You can’t make inspiration. You can’t make imagination.

You can encourage it, develop it, explore it. But you can’t make it. It comes at its own time. At its own speed.

I can’t seem to find my muse and her creative spark at the moment. There surely is a reason for that.

Maybe she wants me to just sit and listen to the rain.

 

 

 

 

Wow!

Okay okay!

I need to take a breath!

I’ve been catching up on my Reader reading these past few days, and have I found some interesting, spectacular, enjoyable art of all kinds from my artistic friends! I mean, WOW!

I can’t decide if I want to highlight all of them in one blog, do one blog a day for five days, one blog a week, give them full spread value, mix them up between my wit and wanton words …

I cannot believe I am so fascinated with the world of ART. I mean — it’s only a way to pass the time, isn’t it? It’s only using a pair of scissors to cut out a design.  A bit of glue and fabric on a piece of paper. A few brush strokes on a piece of canvas. 

Of course, if you believe that, our relationship is tainted.

Seriously, though. 

When one practices what they love over and over again, miracles happen. Little miracles, big miracles. Half miracles. Because it’s the soul, the ether, the cosmic power of life and beyond coming through.

Whew! Big words! Big emotions! Big exclamation points!

I think I’ll showcase them — and others — a couple of times a week.  There are sooooooo many people whose work I enjoy, and I’m always making new friends out there, too, whose work is ever inspiring. Just last week I highlighted Carsten Wieland and his creative painting videos — just sitting and watching him create is amazing.

I should make up a week about celebrating artists. But I’d be celebrating 52 weeks a year. And I already do that!

Keep on being inspired! Keep on Creating!

 

 

Reflections

Daniel Hannah

You know — I’ve been thinking lately. Reflecting.

That usually means trouble. Confusion.

As I have been in an over-emotional mood lately, I reflected upon my past blogs. The upbeat, pro-creativity, happy-go-lucky blogs.

I realize — that truly is me. I truly believe in handling your own destiny. At least as much as life allows.

But I also wanted you to know that at times I’m an emotional trainwreck, too.

I have fears, inhibitions, and confusion just like you do. I have crabby days, doubtful days, days of wonder and of wondering.

How do you get through those days?

Don’t you sometimes want to drink a bottle, take some pills, stand in the middle of the yard and just scream?

We all know only one of those three really work. And the neighbors might wonder if they see you standing in the middle of your yard one night yodeling your brains out.

First off, I am not against anti-depressants, a glass of wine now and then, or professional therapy. Never be ashamed to go the next step to clear your head. I know I have.

But what if you are just going through the normal ups and downs of a busy, fulfilling life?

Waiting for change to happen is like waiting for water to turn to ice.

That makes me swing back to Creativity.

I dunno. I just feel better creating something. Discovering something. Researching something. Moving feels so much better than sitting still. Especially sitting still day after day, watching nothing but my derrière spread wider.

Doing something for myself gets me out of my funk and back into the land of the living.

I happen to love writing. And certain crafts. And photography. And walking through nature. And taking a drive through the county. And fetching my dog. The list goes on and on.

Your list should go on and on, too.

As I said earlier, there is depression and then there is depression. If you are suffering from unrelenting sadness, confusion, and stress, talk to someone. Professional or otherwise. Don’t try to handle the world alone.

If you suffer from an occasional up and down moment, accept it while moving forward. Paint a picture. Doodle a whole page of nonsense. Buy a few inexpensive flowering plants and dig a hole and plant them. Research something odd like auras or Alpha Centauri or Medieval life (I’ve researched all three). Watch a stupid movie. Build something cool from your kid’s Legos.

Find a way back to Creativity.

To imagination.

To logic.

To love.

Admit the crabbies and move along back to what you were put on this Earth to do.

Create.

 

Yet ANOTHER Creative Pastime

Along with all my other creative pastimes, I love photography. I haven’t taken any classes, no professional training. I just love taking pictures.

Today I am going to take a chance and share some of my photography from the last year. As you can see, I’m a sucker for nature in all its seasons, all its forms. No filters, no computer graphics or adjustments, no special lenses. Just my phone camera.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I enjoyed taking them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creative Multitasking

Goddess Durga

Ahhhh …. the joys of Creativity.

While writing is still a passion for me, I am finding it harder and harder to get into the drive-till-you-crash novel mode.

I wonder why that is.

I’m going to skip the age thing, as I don’t think it’s as much that as it is the investment toll it takes to write 80,000 words (more or less).

As many of you know, there is a real commitment behind writing a full length novel. If you are as good as your grain (so to speak), you need to do a lot of research, have a flair for the English (or other) language, have patience for your story to develop, and be in a setting where you are not interrupted every five minutes.

You really should be willing to devote your entire being to writing that book, not only because you enjoy doing so, but it is so easy to get distracted into other creative worlds.

I know that all too well.

All you creative people do.

Where there’s writing there’s crafts. Where there’s quilting there is painting. Where there are Christmas ornaments there is ceramics. One door opens to another to another to another, and before you know it you look behind you and have left a half dozen doors wide open.

Which do you close? Which do you work on?

You love them all? The universe, in its wise forethought, only lets you do one project at a time.

I have a few novels I want to fine tune and get online. I have a third I need to write. I have a second trip to Paris outlined but (at the moment) have no Internet to do research. I also have a website I want to update, a craft show to prepare for, supplies to order, and a sketchbook I bought a few years ago that I’m dying to try out. And how about that Vietnamese Coconut Caramel Chicken recipe that’s been sitting in my inbox for over two weeks?

Dedication to one project at a time is a big mountain to climb. So is a writing free-for-all for weeks on end.

I hope by now you have found a main project to work on, plus have  a half dozen others waiting in the wing; research one, practicing on another, finishing up a third.

I find creative people find a way to multitask when it comes to Art in in its many forms. It’s a passion, it’s a destination. It’s a release and a growing experience. Prioritizing, unfortunately, is not as easy.

Tell me what creative balls YOU are juggling these days!

 

 

A Day for Projects

It’s funny how creativity ebbs and flows.

One minute you are so full of words that nothing but writing a book can be their outlet. Other times you stare at at the screen, typing One Upon a Time 60 times because you can’t think of anything to write down.

One minute you have this great quilt idea, the next minute, as you start collecting materials, you find nothing reflects your idea.

I have two personal friends who have added painting to their creative repertoire, and honestly are very good at that, too. 

Maybe it’s the seasons that change our creative move. The need to be outdoors more, alive and singing with the birds and dancing with the bees.

Yeah — I can see me doing both.

But there is a different feel to spring than fall, summer than winter. What excited you last winter often disappears or, better yet, metamorphoses into something new and different.

Do you change crafts as the Earth changes seasons?

We all stick to our basic first love. Of that I don’t doubt. But when I read blogs where artists are trying collages instead of knitting or making miniatures instead of pop up cards, I am delighted. One good friend has turned from crocheting to repainting and redecorating her bedroom.

It’s a great feeling to get your feet wet in self expression.

Even if we don’t know what we’re doing, the enjoyment of learning just for the sake of learning is unmatchable. 

Maybe that’s why so many have so many projects going at one time. I’m going to make a collage for my sister! I’m going to paint the landscape behind my house! I picked up this new book at a garage sale the other day; think I’ll start reading tonight! I’m going to sew beautiful trim on a bunch of hand towels! I’m going to … I’m going to … I’m going to …

And here we are. Starting all over again. Or continuing where we left off last week or last month. Give us a little background music, a little work area, and voila! We are off on another adventure.

I myself am fighting between continuing my next book, making enough Angel Tears for the craft fair in September, figuring out how to put a book online, and keeping the weeds out of my new pop up/out garden. I feel like I’m at the beginning of a mountain trail, but at least I know I have company on my way up.

How about you and your pastimes? Any new ones creeping in?

 

10 Ways to Kick Start Your Creative Project

Every now and then I get on a kick to learn something from the Internet.

Not how to make Chinese Raman Noodle Salad or How to Start a Fire at your Campsite, but ways to improve what you already know.

We really all do know alot. It’s just that sometimes we have to be reminded of how much we really know.

Lately I’ve been reading what to do before your first Arts and Crafts Fair; how to sell your product, how to fill the holes in the marketplace with your own goods.

In the past I’ve also read articles about how to bring more traffic to your blog, how to do research on the Internet (so you don’t waste half a day looking up things you already know), and what readers tend to go for in both style and topics.

Of course, I’ve also researched Faerie Circles and the Etruscan Civilization, so you can at least say I’m diversified.

Articles always say readers like lists. Lists of A, B, and C, or 1 through 10, of things they can do to do whatever it is they want to do better. In the past I’ve written a couple of blogs testing out these new waters: 9 Ways to Survive the Holidays, READ THESE (gimmicky) GUIDELINES NOW!!, and the Top 10 … no, 20 … no, 5 … List are all attempts to get a handle on how to do anything better.

They say people can’t resist lists. It’s like the best thing to be be able to check “things” off the list and show off how competent you are. Much easier than reading pages and pages of a book devoted to just one thought.

So here is my Creative List of 10 Ways to Spark Your Creativity:

  1.  Listen to music. Plato says,  “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.”  Find background music to suit your mood and let it play behind your creativity! And don’t be afraid to change it up!  I’ve been known to write to everything from Japanese Traditional Music to the Beatles to Schumann, and lately I’ve been crafting to HorrorBabble podcasts.
  2. Set aside a special place to organize your thoughts. Although many of us try and plan out our next creative project, it’s hard when the kids are wrestling in the next room or the TV is blasting a terrible sitcom from the 80s. It’s hard to work at a messy kitchen table or a bed covered with cats and dogs. Take a break with your pen and paper and find a place that hits that special spot inside.
  3. No matter how wild, obnoxious, or impossible your project sounds, write it down. Don’t let the size of the task dictate the amount of enthusiam it can build. I mean, you know you can’t build a castle out of old buttons or peek into the livingrooms of Hemingway or Prince Charles, but you can imagine it. Work out those details as if you could! Start opening those creative doors.
  4. Don’t be a baby. This was me the other day. Making Angel Tears, I had run out of 1″ round mirrors. All I had left was 1″ square mirrors. I didn’t want them — I wanted rounds. I almost lost a whole day’s worth of work pouting that I couldn’t move forward without rounds. Finally I got off my stupid high horse and made some lovely Tears with the squares. What a waste.
  5. Quilters and collage artists already know this, but collect fabric and designs and objects that just ring a bit familiar to you but to which you have no use for at the moment. I know this leads to overflowing scrap bins and buckets of odd sea shells and ladie’s gloves that have no real purpose except to take up space. But something about your collection called you — pick up the feeling of why it inspired you and just do something with it. The project will fill out as you go.
  6. Everybody had done everything that could be done in the world of Art. Or writing. Or Photography. Everyone has taken pictures of clouds, written a novel, or painted a picture. Everyone has researched fabric, history, monsters, and recipes. Nothing you create will be 100% new. So take what someone else has done and make it your own. Put your own spin on timeless projects and put some of your soul in it. After all, that’s one organ that never runs out of energy.
  7. This is a hard one. Don’t let others influence what you want to do. There is no problem asking for advice, taking a class, or cruising the Internet on how others did it. There’s no problem asking for creative criticism, basic editing, or suggestions on alternative ways. Listen, understand, then do your own thing. There is a reason you picked red for the grass or the Courier font. If it’s too “out there” and you know it, be prepared to listen, promote, and accept.
  8. Share your enthusiasm. I know most of the people around me aren’t as creative, as flighty, as dreamy as I am. They all have their own things to do, and most of them aren’t in the Creative category. Find someone who loves their craft and share your enthusiasm with them. They need an appreciative audience, too. I used to belong to a writer’s association, and I always got a high from attending conferences and meetings. Just to be with your own blood pushes up your creative needle.
  9. Don’t be afraid to experiment. I can’t tell you how many roads I’ve wandered down my whole life. I’ve painted with acrylics, stenciled walls, made throw pillows, painted murals, represented my BnB at the Renaissance Faire, written 6 novels and 30 short stories, crafted suncatchers, and collected second hand and Medieval eclectic furniture and wall hangings for my BnB. Don’t ever thing an idea you are really enthusiastic is too much to research. To pursue. If you really have a good feeling about your craft, study it. Research it Then make it your own.
  10. I never really thought I’d come up with 10 tips on being creative. I’ve rambled on for over a thousand words, and wonder if I’ve really said anything worthwhile.

Believe in yourself. Make a schedule, research, practice. Throw away, save, collect. Review, change, start over.

And above all — have fun. You deserve it.

 

Creative Monday

Creative Monday!

Actually you can say that about any day of the week, depending on the weather, your mood, your itinerary, and your energy level.

Creativity is much more than starting a new painting or designing a new pop-up card. 

But you already know that.

Being creative can mean taking a virtual online tour of magnificent museum slike the British Museum, London, The Guggenheim in Bilbao, in New York, the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, or the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. 

Reading is always a step towards creativity. There are milllions of stories out there of people who made history being creative — Steven King, Eleanor Roosevelt, Albert Einstein, Frida Kahlo, Henry VIII, Maya Angelou, Gertrude Stein. History is full of people with creative, interesting, exciting lives. 

One of my favorite ways of expanding my creativity is finding new recipes online. I tire of the hot dog-french fries menu, so I periodically take a stab at foods I’ve always been curious about but too lazy to buy or make. My husband recently learned a smashing egg foo young dish, and I have stepped out of my comfort zone lately to experiment with a classic French Chicken Basquaise and Cuban Ropa Vieja. Cooking is fun, eye-opening, and very rewarding.

I have also been listening to different kinds of background music while I craft, write, or walk. Lately I’m into Spanish Guitar music and Ambient Japanese Instrumentals. There are podcasts about nature, astral travel, and who knows what else that can tip your scales one way or another to play in the background.

How else can you be creative without investing all your spare time and spare change?

I’m sure you can come up with dozens of ways to expand your mind. Books from the library, free lectures, arts and crafts classes, wine and painting parties — the list is endless. There are crafting challenges and writing challenges and cooking challenges all over Word Press and Pinterest and Facebook — there’s always something to pique your interest.

There is no such thing as being bored in this universe.

All you have to do is take the first step. Make the effort to learn something new or hone a craft you’ve been tinkering with. 

 I haven’t been writing lately (except for blogs), and the itch is almost becoming unbearable. I want to write about “visiting” Paris and its countryside for a while now, which takes research research research. That’s exploring to me. That’s creativity in yet another form.

Creative Monday.

A chance to start again, to continue, to excel and fly and explore.

Take advantage of this opportunity you’ve been given. And spread it out all throughout the week.

 

 

Check Out What’s Outside Your Window!

I should have the word “Creativity” tattooed across my arm or forehead or something.

Not that I’m more creative than anyone else. Not that I spend more time creating than anyone else. Or appreciate Art in all of its dozens of forms any more than anyone else.

It’s just that that word is always dancing around inside and outside of my head.

Take my gif collection/selection of Monday.

Others might not be as mesmerized by them as I am. I get it. It’s moving computer graphics. It’s graphic design in motion. Gifs are taking one picture and making it move. Or several pictures and blending them into one another.

It doesn’t matter how they’re made — it’s that they are made that surprises and delights me.

Gifs are all over the place now. They are constantly being created, many highlighting movie stars or normal people doing weird things or saying weird things over and over again.

I find creativity in the original gifs.

The ones that bring waterfalls to life. The ones that make stairways to heaven or swirling galaxies. Or reflections in glass that ripple and mazes that forever hypnotize.

Like I commented to my friend Elaine who commented Monday —  I enjoy them because they take reality one step further.

And that’s what creativity does. Creativity with a capital C.

Artists take every day objects and make them special. Enhance them, embrace them. Change them. Change their fabric or their intent or our perception of them. Artists use a myriad of textures, fabrics, utensils, colors, materials, styles, and interpretations of influences around them to make their own special creation.

And it’s amazing what they come up with.

When I tell you that you, too, can get high on creativity, it’s true. You don’t have to understand every shadow and shade, every cut and stitch — you can appreciate someone’s work just for what it is. Someone else’s work. Someone else’s creative mind pulled out of the 4th or 5th dimension and made real here in the 3rd dimension.

You can do it too.

I know I sound like a broken record. A record with a skip. Ta da BANG. Ta da BANG. Over and over again. But I want to encourage you to explore the world of Creativity. See what the world outside your window offers.

Unique Artists. Traditional Artists. Visual Artists. Musical Artists. Graphic Artists. Gardening Artists. Woodworking and Glass Artists. Calligraphy Artists. Interior Decorator Artists.

You get my drift. 

YOU are the artist.

Go enjoy the world. And report back to me what you find.

 

 

Share the Wealth

 

I just love this stuff.

I just love when creative people share their creativity. There’s so much out there I think my head would burst if I looked at all of it, shared all of it.

All is a big word.

So today I’m going to share some great art from a few of those I follow. Take a few minutes and check them out. You’ll be glad you did. 

 

Annette’s blog Beauty Along the Road,  is about discovering beauty in all its ordinary and extraordinary manifestations. She is thrilled to announce the 2021 Creative Project Coaching workshop, Wild Ember Sparking. This monthly workshop series runs from March through October 2021 and assists you in getting your creative project off the ground, with clarity and purpose, and then supports your ongoing project. If you are curious, please check out the details: https://emeraldmountainsanctuary.com/creative-project-coaching/.

 

I’ve followed Michelle Lee and her blog My Inspired Life  for a bit,  and I enjoy the whole feel of her world. She has poems that will move you (many w/audio), stories that will entertain you, photographs that will uplift you, and people who will inspire you. Like us, she has gone through much, but the calm and graceful way she relates her poetry and experiences leaves a good feeling behind.

 

Elaine runs an award-winning blog filled with stories, poetry, and amazing digital artwork, called, appropriately, Elaine Rose.   Her work is fun and creative and brightens up my day. You can purchase her digital artwork, too!

 

 

 

Laura Kate at Daily Fiber is one of the most creative people I know. If she’s not quilting she’s knitting or trying out new styles in watercolors. Her work is amazing. I never know what she’s going to come up with next! To me she’s just amazing. You have to check out her work.

 

 

Ellen Appleby, based in Noosa Studio in Australia, is busy all the time with the ceramics and cards she creates. She has a very small following at the moment, but has large ceramics talent, but I hope she continues to post her work, for it’s delightful.

 

 

Even though I did highlight a work from The Alchemist’s Studio the other day, I can’t help but show off their work again.  The Studio specializes in raku pottery, which is a centuries old firing technique from Japan. They also make functional ware, pit fired pottery and other pieces of objet d’art. You’ll love their work.

 

 

 

Writing is always inspirational, as it encourages a lot of trial and error before it becomes a song on the breeze. Candia at Candia Comes Clean is so interesting because not only does she write, but has been experimenting with boussekusekeika, sestinas, rhyme royale, villanelles and other forms of poetry. She is exploring Japanese themes at the moment, so stop by her blog for an interesting time!

 

 

Sketchuniverse is a virtual meeting point to find and comment on any sketch, drawing or engraving, made by the historical masters. This blog contains so many new and exciting concepts, artists, and styles, along with traditional creative outlets. It is my inspiration for new and unique artwork. You must stop by sometime and just wander his galleries.

 

Another favorite of mine, Gwenniesgardenworld, is full of beautiful photographs of flowers, cacti, and trees. She has such an eye for nature — I even have a Sunday Evening Art Gallery devoted to her. 

 

I could go on and on with recommendations — I’ve already spouted about Purplerays,  spiritual enlightenment and self improvement quotes and images;  David Kanigan and Live & Learn, whom I’ve learned from for years; Jan Beek, sharing spreading love, joy, peace, faith and unity; notquiteold by Nancy Roman, a refreshing trip through getting older;  Tiffany and her Tiffany Arp-Daleo Art blog, a delightful stop for bright and imaginative paintings; and GrannyMoon’s Morning Feast, Healing Arts and Pagan Studies, anything you want to know about herbs, tarot cards, charms, and spring cleaning.

 
Good blogs are everywhere. Start one. Read one. Share one.

 

 

Everything’s Coming Up Roses

 

This past week has been the beginning of something good. Positive. Promising.

We are always warned not to get too excited about things we want to see or do or accomplish. After all, it may not happen. Then where will we be? Standing in the middle of the road with egg on our face because we got excited over nothing.

I’m here to tell you that’s the worst advice anyone could give you.

Anticipation is one of the most positive energies you can experience. It’s okay to be super excited about the last day of school before summer vacation or going camping with your family next month.

Why can’t you be just as excited about your creative future?

I got accepted into my first Art Fair last week. Whether shoppers will be interested in my wares is another story. THIS story is that I get to set up a booth and show off my sparkles and bring some smiles into other people’s lives.

Will I make any money? Probably not much. Will I make back my initial investment? Who knows? But I’m doing something I’ve never done before and am looking forward to having fun with it, no matter what.

I’m also excited because in a few months I’m going to expand my blog. I’m thinking of offering Angel Tears to my friends and readers, although I’m not sure how big of an expansion step I’m ready to take yet. But at least I’m thinking about it.

I’ve also started my second I Dreamed I Was In Paris book. There was a lot of research and stress and imagination involved, but I loved every minute of it. I do so love writing, and I want to experience that again. 

Speaking of writing, I also am going to put my first Paris book online for a free download just because. I’ve got other books, too, that I want to eventually share. I don’t care about being published. E-books? Maybe down the line. I’m more interesting in just making people happy right now.

People who hide their work, waiting for the right time to share it with friends and strangers, will never find the right time. No one is ever going to read or see your work if it stays hidden. 

And that’s sad.

What if no one likes my Tears? My books? What if I don’t recoup the investment I’ve made in time, materials, research, and physical effort?

Who cares?

Do you ever recoup your investment in dinners you make that no one eats? Do you recoup the effort put into learning new skills that your employer has no use for? Or the investments you’ve made in buying trombones and pianos for your kids who only want to play video games after school?

I always say it’s the journey that counts, not the destination.

Your thoughts may be, “Ah .. but when you get where you’re going, then what?”

I say, “Great! Where do we go next?”

Better to have a lot of places to see, things to do, dreams to aim for, than to sit home, never venturing out at all. Better to share than never to know.

It’s all there waiting for you. Go and have fun with your creativity.

After all — Everything’s Coming Up Roses for Me and for You!

 

 

Hope For Classic Editor

I have been fretting for some time about WordPress blocking access to Classic Editor.

I’m old fashioned. I’m technically challenged.  I’m lazy.

I like Word Press just the way it is. I don’t need nor want fancy new blocks and all that go with it. I’ve been around my block enough to know that I want to stay on my own one-way street.

So this morning I set up a little chat with the Word Press Support Group. This is how it went: (I’m red)

Support Chat

Is WordPress totally getting rid of classic editor? I know many who are moving away because of the change.

Hello there

Morning!

There are no current plans to fully remove the Classic editor as of now. The Classic Block will be in the editor for many years to come and we do still allow you to use the full classic editor for your site.

Thank you. I much prefer the “old” way and have talked to other bloggers planning on leaving wp because of the change.

Sure, that’s understandable! Many users really like the way the classic editor works and we wouldn’t want to just remove that from you.

How long will classic editor be available

I don’t have a date that I’d be able to provide as the WordPress community works on making those changes together, but as far as I know, there won’t be any changes to that for the next few years.

I will pass along the word. Thank you.

So there you have it.

To WordPress Support: you have great support people. Please don’t stop giving us a choice. 

To those of you who follow this blog and have backed away from your own because you are confused as to how to get back to classic editor: come back.

We all have our ways to get into Classic Editor. I’m sure there’s a legit, sensible way. But you know me. I’m hardly ever sensible.

I create a document in block; I type one word in the title then save the blog. I hit the “back” button and go to my left sidebar to “all posts.” I find the one I just created (the one with only one word), and click on Classic Editor.

Voila! I’m back in the Dark Ages! Where I like it just fine.

If you have a different way of getting to C.E., let us know. If you love the new blocks, Hoo Ha! I am proud of you. 

Keep blogging. No matter how confused you may feel. Creativity is our life line.

We can overcome and hold on to Classic Editor — at least for a couple a’more years.

 

 

 

What View Inspires You?

Is there a particular place you go to find inspiration for your craft?

Is there a view that inspires you every time you experience it? Music that makes you want to write or paint or knit or carve? Walks or vistas or scenery that triggers your creative muse?

Years ago I used to walk the path behind the University in my town. The paths took me past an open field, into the woods, down groomed and ungroomed paths, to a spot where a huge tree had fallen to its  forever-sleep position some time earlier.

I used to dream on those paths. I planned my B&B strategy there, my novels, my travels, the new-and-improved ME there. A lot of stories came to light in those woods — a lot of love and angst and fantasy came alive as I walked in early morning sunlight or late afternoon twilight.

That was many years ago. Before retirement, before grandbabies, before the pandemic. Days when I vainly tried to turn my data computer job into a writing job. When I dreamed of being published or being thinner or whatever daydreams haunted my world back then.

What made me think about this question today was that I drove down a winding road this morning on my way to the Vet. A road that I haven’t driven on, really, since I left/was let go of my job.

This drive inspired two novels and a couple of short stories and at least one poem I can think of. I hadn’t driven down this road for so long I’d forgotten what inspiration felt like.

Old inspiration.

I now walk my own little patch of woods, looking for faeries and a cornfield that leads to another world and an archway that takes me to Paris. I think my Angel Tears are somewhere in there, too.

But I think it’s time to walk a new woods. Sit on a new shore. Time to find inspiration in a new place, while keeping a foot in my current one.

It’s time to experience the transcending moment true inspiration brings.

How about you?

 

One Step Closer to Being Me

 

As quiet as a shadowed whisper, I have added a new page to my Humoring the Goddess blog.

Angel Tears.

Tears of joy shared by angels who bless us with love and magic (still working on that … rolls eyes).

I’ve finally committed full force to my new craft, which  means I am ready to craft, create, and sell my sparkling wares.

It’s all very exciting.

It’s all very frightening.

I have applied for three craft art fairs this summer. Too many? Too few? What am I doing?

I have already been turned down for one fair. That’s the game. I threw the dice and we’ll see what numbers turn up. Is sharing my crafts with others any different than sharing my joy for writing? Or art? Or my family?

I wonder why I’m so hesitant. So afraid. Why should it make a different if someone likes what I’ve made or not? Am I still not me?

This could lead to a whole psychological discussion, one I’m tired of having. Thinking. I’m going to do what I always tell others to do.

I always say — and I truly believe — that life is too short not to make yourself happy. When you make yourself happy you make others happy. The world swirls around us no matter what we do, and if you wait for others to make you feel better about yourself you’ll wait forever. So why not jump into the foray now and then and share what truly makes you feel good?

I have had fun exploring, creating, and sharing my suncatchers. If I come out with nothing more than new experiences, I have been very fortunate indeed.

Take a look at my new page when you have time. Tell me what you think! Have you taken the next step in your creative world? I’d love to hear about it, too!

P.S. If you can come up with a phrase about angels and their tears that would make a prospective buyer go “Wow. I get it!” hold onto it. I will be holding a little contest with a suncatcher as a prize. 

Sounds like an angel gift to me!

 

Creativity is Multi-Dimensional

There is something about artists that is unlike most of the population.

We all do the same things — eat, sleep, love, laugh, cry. We all juggle ten things at once, including kids, jobs, cooking, insomnia, and more.

But artists are often so diversified when it comes to creativity. We mostly stick to what we know — or do best — but then after a while we get an itch to try something new. Different. Easy or difficult, it doesn’t matter. We just want to try one more thing.

Bloggers I follow such as Laura Kate at Daily Fiber and Eva Mout at Ursus Art not only shine in their respective fields, but have expanded to include photography, miniatures, painting, knitting, quilting, and a dozen more worlds. I myself have drifted away from writing the Great American Novel #7 to making sparkling crafts to hang in the sunshine.

The point of all of this is to assure you that it’s alright if you put your heart’s desire and life’s work aside for a while to try something new.

Maybe it’s being hibernated by Covid-19 or a stinging winter or temperatures so hot you want to melt that makes you squirmy in your seat. Makes you want to do something new. Something different. Something quirky or something conservative.

It doesn’t matter. You don’t need permission to try a hand at something different.

In the coming weeks I am going to highlight some of the artists I’ve already showcased to share another side of their creativity. To be honest, sometimes I’d find a painting or sculpture or quilt that I just adored, only to go to their website and find a whole array of different projects, styles, and explorations. How do you decide which to show off to your followers?

How do you decide which of your own talents to showcase?

Let all sides of you shine. Show off your work on your website, on Facebook, email your co-workers or have a show off party where everyone brings something new they’ve tried! 

Life is here. Life is Now.

And we all are creative. In every sense of the word. Even if your creation is not up to “professional” par, try it anyway! Show it off! Go for It!

You have heard of “Nailed It!” , haven’t you?

 

 

Lesson #1,329 — Listen to your Gut

A little story, a little lesson, a little glory — isn’t that what life’s all about?

I follow many friends who do remarkable craft/handy work.. Laura Kate at Daily Fiber is always showing her handiwork, including fabric art, quilting, and her discovery of new painting techniques. And Tiffany at Tiffany Arp-Daleo Art is amazing at turning out new and unique watercolor paintings.

There are more. There are many, many of you with creative hands and minds.

But I digress.

Isn’t one of the purposes of a blog is to share knowledge? Experience? Art? Let me share all three this fine day. I will make it as brief as possible.

Title: Listen to your Gut

Scene: Downstairs at Granny’s house. Oldest grandson is outside with Grandpa; five-year-old is playing video games with Granny, almost-three-year-old playing with dolls nearby. Library/Craft Room door open.

J: Come on, Granny! Follow my guy! Pew! Pew!

E: Takes her dolls into the workroom. Granny glances in the door.

(Gut Feeling) I really shouldn’t let her in there without supervision.

(* = thoughts)

*She can’t really mess anything up in there.

“Curing”

 

(Voice over) You really should put your Angel Tears away when they are made.

(Self Voice) I’m waiting for my business cards to come. Then I’ll put them all away at one time.

G to J: Open that chest! Good job!

E: tinkle-tinkle-plunk!

(Gut Feeling) I better see what she’s up to.

J: Go this way, Granny! I got the money!

(Voice over) YOU REALLY SHOULD PUT YOUR ANGEL TEARS AWAY WHEN THEY’RE MADE…

*I guess I’d better go check on her.

So, as you suspect, there are about four 5′ strands of tears on the floor.

E: I help!

Granny goes to pick them up. A few ends are tangled (remember they are on super durable fishing line).

J: Granny — Come ON!

So Granny grabs all four and swings as she walks and puts them down on the board that’s on the table that’s holding two more finished tears.

Later that evening….

Here is where lesson #1,329 comes in.

LISTEN TO YOUR GUT.

I know it wasn’t anybody’s fault but my own. Too much in a hurry, ignoring the seriousness of the situation, not preventing disaster but creating more of it. Instantly.

I wonder if all crafters go through this humiliation.

I spent three hours trying slowly, gingerly, to untangle the mess. My result:

How many times does your gut — or to choose a more favorable word, intuition — tell you something is wrong? That Bad B is going to come after Accidental A if you don’t do something to change it?

But we lollygag around, dismissing our paranoia, not listening to that strong voice in our head (or strong voice from another) and assume the chips will all fall back into place perfectly.

I have entertained the idea of dissolving solvents for a chance to save some of the gems, but calmer voices said it won’t work. So I’ll at least save the Tears and start all over again.

If I had thought writing was tough, it doesn’t hold a candle to crafts.

Pay attention to that little voice when it screams in your ear. At least look logically at what it’s saying and stop and see if you really need to do something about it.

Maybe then your life won’t turn out to look like this:

 

 

Which One Are You?


I have been working on a product I hope to sell at art fairs next season — if there ever IS a next season.

They are called Angel Tears, and they are homemade suncatchers that indeed catch the light. And the breeze. And the snow.

The pictures aren’t very clear, but  you get the drift. 

Heh. The drift.

I am a long way off on mass production and advertising, but looking at pictures of the work in progress, they all suddenly felt familiar — which one of these hanging sparkles was me?

I can definitely see the stages of life in these reflections. I’d like to be the first one. Bright, magical, and sparkling, twirling gently in the sunny breeze.

But then there is the middle view, the one I am a lot of the time. Still sparkling, weighted with the snow of the world, yet managing to brush off most of it while I hang around waiting for something new to happen.

The last image is me more often than not. Disaster seems to hang on me like frozen sparkles, full of snow and ice, formations created by my constantly moving, and trying to do five things at once.

You may feel just like that third image right about now. Tired of the world, a twinkling star covered in dirty snow. But I guarantee things will get better.

Don’t let the world around you snow on your parade. Or craft. Creativity may lay dormant, but it’s always there. Waiting for you to come melt the barriers around it and take it wherever and whenever you want.

Sparkle is always sparkle, after all ….

 

 

 

The Birthday Raven Unicorn

Eight years ago I wrote this poem for my birthday. I hate acknowledging such advancement of age, but one must do what one must do to survive. So I must write and whisper “sixty eight.”

 

The Raven

The Unicorn

by

Claudia Edgar Allan Anderson

 

Once upon a weeknight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary

Over a many quaint and curious volume of forgotten recorded TV shows

While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping

As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my patio door.

‘Tis my dogs I muttered, tapping at my patio door.

Only this and nothing more.

Ah, distinctly I remember, it was in the bleak December

And each separate dust bunny made a mess upon the floor.

Eagerly I wished the morrow – vainly I had thought to borrow

A DVD from my son’s room, but sorrow – sorry he had misplaced Avatar

Just a DVD and nothing more.

Presently my channel surfing grew boring, hesitating then no longer

Dickens and Rennie dogs, said I, truly your forgiveness I implore

But the fact was I was napping, and so gently you came rapping.

And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my patio door.

That I scarcely heard you. Here I slide open the door

Snow piled there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing

The dogs so quietly sleeping, sleeping down the bathroom hall

But the silence was now broken, and the dogs were gently snoring

And the only word there spoken was the whispered words ‘sixty oh.’

Merely this and nothing more.

Open here I flung the patio shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,

In stepped a stately unicorn of the saintly days of yore.

Not the least chuckle made she; not a minute stopped or stayed she;

But with the air of a know-it-all, perched above my breakfront door

Perched upon the dusty wood just atop my breakfront door

Laid down, and smiled, nothing more.

By the silly and irreverent decorum of the smirk that she wore

Though thy horn be sparkly and spirally, thou, I said, art sure no dog.

Smiling and bouncy ancient unicorn wandering from the snow piles

Tell me what thy lady’s name is on the night of the Walking Dead finale!

Quoth the unicorn, ‘sixty, oh!’

The unicorn still beguiling, all my weary bones into smiling,

Straight I wheeled a foot stool in front of unicorn and breakfront and door;

Then upon the polyester sinking, I betook to linking

Fancy unto fancy, remembering all my years of glorious tales

What this full-figured, laughing, ditzy unicorn

Meant in singing ‘sixty, oh!’

Prophet! said I, thing of beauty – prophet still, if real or fancy –

Whether astral traveling or whether sent by Gandalf

Are you telling me age has no meaning?

Quoth the unicorn, ‘sixty, oh!’

And the unicorn, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting

On the dusty wood just atop my breakfront door;

And her eyes have all the seeming of a family whose love is beaming

And the ceiling lamp o’er her streaming throws her shadow on the floor;

And my soul from out that shadow that now is dancing on the floor

Now is singing ‘sixty, oh!’

Creativity — Again and Again

John Lemke

I know that word is my catch phrase lately, and that lately has extended for the past few years in all kinds of directions.

I never went to college; I was one of those work-right-after-graduation kinda gals. I never took formal art classes of any sort, but I’ve always been in love with creativity.

Being “stuck” in our homes because of this Covid madness, I am finding more and more people are striking out on creative endeavors of their own. If for a commercial end or a play end, people are connecting with that fourth dimension and having the best time hanging out there.

I’ve mentioned before that I have quite a few creatives in my life; one best friend crochets these amazing blankets and jackets; one creates scrapbooks that are museum quality; one has taken to making impressively creative signs to hang around the house or patio. One friend from long ago makes quilts to die for, and another burns the most amazing animal scenes into wood.

Online, everywhere I turn I am finding people talking about their crafts. Even if it’s only in passing. I follow a potter, a quilter, and a number of painters, poets, and writers. Some of those I follow take gorgeous photographs. It’s everything and anything.

It’s so much fun, isn’t it?

Just when I think I’m burned out of ideas and inspiration, I come across someone who has done something wonderful and it gets me going again.

Creative people don’t need to be crafters, either. Some are redecorating their homes, including murals, colors, and textures. Some create garden scapes every spring. Some are refinishing furniture or restoring old cars.

It’s all in the movement.

It’s all about allowing yourself to have fun. Not judging your quality or quantity or expertise.

It’s all about finding that sparkle that’s buried deep inside you and letting it tickle you.

I myself have created what I am going to call Angel Tears, mobiles of a single fishing line made with mirrors and colored crystals. The Angel Tear is the big crystal teardrop that weights the mobile.

Who knows where this will lead. An art fair, an online business — or merely Christmas presents for family and friends.

If you have an inkling about doing something creative, stop thinking about it. Just do it. Don’t judge, unless it’s with your technique that will only improve with practice. Don’t worry who will like it, buy it, talk about it, or throw it away.

That’s not the purpose of art. Of ART.

Let’s have fun this Covid season! What have you got to lose?

Tell me — what is your side creativity project?

 

 

Is Your Work Oatmeal or Coq Au Vin?

I find I’ve been following poets a lot more lately.

Funny, for out of the many worlds of creative art available for our perusal, poetry is not really my first go-to. But I am finding I am being drawn to the poets’ words more and more these days.

Perhaps they give me hope. Perhaps they make me smile. Perhaps now and then they break my heart.

Perhaps I enjoy them because, for the most part, poems are quick reading. Not like a book. (Hey.. want to read my novel? It’s only 225 single spaced pages!)

Maybe reading poems is akin to art. I can spent one minute or five minutes really getting into what’s being offered. The intricacies of artists like Gordon Pembridge and his woodwork, the papercutting skills of Masayo Fukuda, the sky photography of Matt Molloy, or the horror scapes of Zdzisław Beksiński can keep my mind occupied for more than five seconds.

Poetry can do that too.

I just read a poem by The Ink Owl called Sinister Countdown- Damned Love that left me with a haunted tingle in my soul. I just reposted my friend Ivor’s poem Faerie Pantomime that gave me pause for more than a minute. My friend Dwight Roth inked a haunting poem about books called A Found Book. Catherine Arcolio and her blog  Leaf and Twig share beautiful images and haikus every day.  One bite at a time. Jonathan Caswell‘s busy blog By the Mighty Mumford is full of short delights, sure to make you smile. Boundless Blessings by Kamal and Walt’s Writings always stir my heart, too. And my newest addition, Lucy of Lucy’s Works, writes the most haunting and beautiful poetry.

That’s just some of the poets whose paths I cross. Hopefully you have your wandering paths, too.

In the Northern Hemisphere we are starting to buckle down, cocoon, and gather food, drink, and supplies to keep us busy through the winter months. We’ve had plenty of practice the past six months with Covid 19, so now it’s easier to stockpile projects for the future.

I can’t believe that I’m actually entertaining the idea of writing a second book on visiting Paris. It’s still a bubbling cup of water, but I’m starting to get excited.

I also am working on preparing one of my books for free download on this blog. I mean, you all need something to read during the cold days!

So don’t let the Covid and the change of seasons get you down. Write a poem like my friends above do. Can’t concentrate on a whole book? Do a short story, Or a journal.

You may be streaming oatmeal instead of coq au vin, but practice is practice.

 

 

Creativity Blossoms on a Monday

Red October

After a weekend of beautiful weather, beautiful thoughts, and a few picture Art Galleries, I often like to start off my Monday blogs talking directly to you.

I always think about asking how your weekend was — if you even had a weekend. This blog is not like a chat room; I don’t get a lot of feedback from readers as to what they’ve done or what they think or what they feel. Which is just fine. Not many want to “emote” online.

Except for our President.

But I digress.

The face of the Internet has changed in the past twenty years. Like everything else around us, change is often necessary, not always popular, and scary. Maybe not while you’re going through change, but looking forward as change tries to zoom past you.

I truly believe in order to keep your sanity — and your edge — you need to find a way to work creativity into your life. Once a day if possible. You need to do something, try something, read something you’ve never done/tried/read before.

With a full work schedule, kids, grandkids, cleaning, homework, errands, and more, it’s not always easy. Nor, should I say, on the top of your list.

But we all have to find a way to make it so. (sounds like Captain Picard!) Only when we peek into the imaginations of others can we get a better grasp of our own abilities.

Some minds are waaaaay out there. I just did a little research on Aleister Crowley, an English occultistceremonial magician, poet, painter, novelist, and mountaineer, for a possible Art Gallery blog. Ummmmm, he is definitely waaaaay out there. Putting a hold on that idea.

On the other hand, I’m finishing reading the book Shōgun which has given me insights into the world of the Japanese in the 1500s, their art and their beliefs.

There is always something you can glean from things around you. 

I also truly believe that you should learn one new thing a day. Doesn’t matter what. Look at something new, listen to something new,  experience something new. And I don’t mean watch a new TV show.

With all of us being confined to our houses because of Covid, that’s easier said than done. I don’t always trust what I learn on TV or in a movie. After all, watching the movie “The Hunt for Red October”  I thought there really was a  caterpillar drive – “a ‘magneto-hydrodynamic’ propulsion system that renders the submarine silent by mimicking seismic anomalies.”

There’s not.

But it certainly was a creative mind that created one.

I’m going to start testing my Angel Tears this week (sparkles on a fishing line), and maybe … MAYBE … consider a sequel to my book “I Dreamed I Was in Paris.”

What creative, imaginative, outside-the-box things are you up to this week? 

 

 

 

Appreciating Blogs One Day at a Time

Adam Hillman

Well, haven’t I been busy this morning!

Every week (if not more often) I try and go through my Reader and read all the posts from those I follow. A daunting task for all of us, I know. 

But we followed this or that blog for a reason.

Sometimes we are pulled away from that reason just living our lives. 

Some follow blogs religiously. Every post, every day, every spurt of creativity. Some follow a thousand blogs. Some follow ten. Some follow blogs for entertainment. Others for ideas for their own blogs. Some follow to learn; others to explore. Some don’t follow any blogs — they just wander through the WordPress universe, stopping here and there, commenting, and moving on.

We all follow blogs for our own reasons. And often feel bad when we don’t follow them as often as we should.

I signed up to follow three more blogs this morning. Duh. I could have signed up to follow thirty more, but I want to be fair to those I read. 

As if there is fairness on the Internet.

I’ve stated in the past that not long ago I went through my Reader list and found dozens of bloggers who haven’t posted in a year. 18 months. I wonder what happened to them. Moved on, grew up, became a kid again and didn’t want to waste any more time writing. Who knows.

I try and be loyal to those I follow. Even those I don’t. Time is so precious these days, I know. We need to live every day to the fullest, blah blah. We all know that. And part of being “full” is reading what others think and feel now and then.

Nothing anyone posts is going to change the world.

Mine included.

But I just read a blog called “Unresolved Trauma vs. Unresolved Trauma ∞The 9D Arcturian Council,” an uplifting connection that made me smile, so maybe changing the world comes after all …

One blog at a time.

You will find meaning in life… — Purplerays

A beautiful thought, beautiful feeling, for the morning …..

 

You will find meaning in life only, if you create it.

It is a poetry to be composed.

It is a song to be sung.

is a dance to be danced.

 

Osho photo credit: Richard Sagredo – unsplash – Text and image source: The birds and the bees and the flowers and the trees https://www.facebook.com/695285933892742/posts/3407209282700380/

You will find meaning in life… — Purplerays

Rain and Boredom

Another rainy Fall day. Makes me want to take a nap.

In the meantime, I’ve been looking around for my energy. I KNOW it was here someplace. It’s been deteriorating steadily the last few years. You know — a chip off here, a dent there. But it was always there for me when I needed it.

Now with the rain and clouds it wants to play hide and seek. Good thing I’ve cleaned up and out a lot of clutter in my house in the last eight months.

But, like a lot of others I’ve talked to (or read from), there are a number of us who are losing our energy — creative, kinetic, spiritual, or otherwise.

Easy to blame Covid19. Why not? I blame it for ruining what social life I had. Not exercising? That’s my own fault. Upside sleep schedule?  You can’t blame the man who’s bringing home the bacon. Weather? I love the cool days and evenings.

I’ve been taking the easy way out for my lack of energy. I’ve been finding such great artists for my blog. But life is more than an art blog, isn’t it?

I’ve often thought of getting a part time job. Stimulate my energy and my mind. But not much is available when I’m available. And, anyway, I worked 50 years to be able to enjoy my time off.

I’ve been reading a lot every day. This time around it’s Shōgun . Love it. But reading is a quiet sport and it doesn’t take long for me to start jumbling up the Japanese words. I have been going through others’ blogs and reading their contributions — that’s been fun. I’ve even started going through every Twitter account I follow (only about 400) and reading and liking what they post.

Somehow this feels and sounds desperate, though.

I need a new idea for a short story. Or a novel. Or a set of novels. I think I’m only really happy when I write.

I have about a dozen starts in my Unfinished Folder that could use a jump start. Looking for the Unicorn (writing about dementia from the patient’s point of view), Grandfather’s Room (story about my daughter-in-law’s grandfather moving to assisted living), Of Elves and Madness (unhappy girl runs into sexy elf in woods and goes with him to his world), The Rock (another unhappy wife jogging through the woods — who knows what was supposed to be next?), The World is All An Illusion (wonder if that was the start of an ethereal blog way back when?), Speaking With Aliens (goofy factory worker talks to aliens through his TV), She Looked Out the Back Window (another disgruntled female getting ready to go for a walk in the rain… is there a pattern here?), Fairy Circle (little girl calls up a naughty fairy and years later it comes back to haunt her), Game, Set, Match (sharp, sexy girl meets man in bar .. I’m sure he’s a magical something…), Three Faeries Doing Faerie Things (read this outline and it doesn’t feel familiar. Was it someone else’s idea? A dream? Good and bad faeries fighting.)

A lot of starts, not enough finishes. Food for thought, perhaps. What do you think?

Maybe it’s time for that nap ….

 

 

Been Workin’ On The Gallery!

 

Have been working diligently on my Sunday Evening Art Gallery main site. Here are some of the newer galleries I’ve added….more images, more variety … Can’t wait for you to come on over!

 

Jellyfish

 

Kathleen Kills Thunder

 

Kathryn Vercillo

 

Franz Marc

 

Tohukiro Kawai

 

Tiffany Lamps

 

Diana Al-Hadid

 

 

Hope to see you over there!

Get Creative — Then Get Outside!

A beautiful summer’s day outside. I should be out there, walking, or at least fetching the dog, walking down the paths, daydreaming of new story lines or what color to color my hair.

Instead, I’m inside, sitting in front of my computer. Final editing, I say. Looking for dinosaur remote cars for my grandson, I say. Ordering the six disc Lord of the Rings/Hobbit movies, I say.

This is insane. 

I’m going outside in five minutes. I just wanted to share that I have found so many amazing, beautiful, unusual artists for upcoming Sunday Evening Art Galleries that I’m about to burst.

Humankind can be sooooooo creative. Amazing to the point where they put me to shame.

Happy, it’s okay shame, so to speak.

Here are a couple of pictures of upcoming blogs: Take a look and be amazed, too.

 

 

kalamkari

 

 

Jeff Bell

 

 

cars

 

Ellen Jewett

 

 

There are more, more, more. I hope I don’t overcrowd your Reader. But I want to get the majesty and quirkiness and beauty of the Arts out there where it is loved and appreciated — in your hands. 

Continue your creative quest. Keep trying. Don’t be afraid to be the same; don’t be afraid to be different. 

And share your creativity with those around you.  With me. With the world.

Gotta go outside now……

 

 

I’m Finished!

After months of angst and woe and apprehension, I have finally finished my book.

It feels amazing.

I am a lame duck in the writing world. I have written many a novel, a short story, a poem. But I don’t toot my horn often and I haven’t been published, except for an article here and there a number of years ago.

Of course there is editing editing editing to do. But I have followed the road to its end.

I am of the strange sort that it doesn’t really matter if I get published or not. It’s the thrill of the chase that sustains me.

Surely you have had creative moments where all you want to do is — create. You have this nebulous or fairly detailed idea in your head of something you want to make. Pick an art. It doesn’t matter. We all start from a seed, and, if we’re lucky, it grows into a fine, tall, sturdy tree.

Sometimes the seed splits and doubles and all you have to show for your progress is a couple of bushy, out-of-control bursts of color.

Other times, though ….

I don’t know whether I’ll try to get this one published or not. There’s always an e-book or whatever if I just can’t stand not having the world hear about Paris.

But more importantly, I have a finished creative product in my hands.

Something that came completely from my head.

Something that turned this way and that until it became a beautiful vase on the potter’s wheel. A landscape painting of immeasurable beauty. A song that gives you goose bumps every time you hear it. A movie that makes your heart burst out of your chest because it’s so poignant. 

It’s like birthing a baby. You don’t know what it will become, but your life has become richer for it.

Keep your creativity going. Don’t stop. Not if you really want to feel free.

 

 

Hamilton and Beyond

Last night I watched the play Hamilton on the Disney Channel. I have wanted to see this production since it came out four years ago, but never made it to a theater near me.

There is something about live performances that is nothing like a movie or a video or a string of pictures. It’s something fresh and raw. You share the energy directly with the actors; you don’t have an editor cutting out mistakes or miscues like in the movie world. You are right there with every breath they take. Every tear they hide.

This performance was amazing.

That is the first word that comes to mind when I think of the performance.

Amazing.

What is more amazing is that Lin-Manuel Mandala did it all. The music, the lyrics, the dialogue.

Every now and then you come across someone who is classified as a genius in their special field. Newton. Einstein. Currie. Plato. Aristotle. People who were able to think “out of the box.” So much so that they are the best of the best in their field.

I cannot judge if Lin-Manuel is in the same category as Einstein, but his creativity provided two hours of magic. Rapping, dialogue, story line, music — a magical explosion of creativity.

We are all genuises in our own way. Every time you create some sort of art you are expanding and changing reality to fit your own personal vision. Sometimes, if you are lucky enough, you pop through the ceiling and find a way to share your talent with the world on a massive scale. Lin-Manuel certainly did.

But if you can’t pop through that almost impermeable ceiling,  should you just give up and go back to your day job?

What if your creativity is your day job?

What I have seen, through all my years, all my desires and dreams, is that you just have to keep being you. You have to push yourself, both creatively and socially. You want to get more people to view your work — work on it. Want to move forward on the tract of notoriety? Work on it.

Fame doesn’t just walk in the door and say “let’s go.” It may knock and run, pass your door completely, or say “I’ll be back later.”  You have to work hard no matter what comes your way. Work hard to improve, to diversify, to perfect your craft.

And enjoy what you do every day you do it.

It took Lin-Manuel Mandala seven years to write Hamilton. He worked hard, created hard. He crossed the barrier from creative sprite to genius. Maybe you can, maybe you can’t. But never give up. Give your art all you have.

Einstein will be proud.

 

 

A Warm Monday

It is a wonderfully warm-to-hot Monday  here in the Midwest. The butterflies, although fewer in number this year, still come and check out the flowers on my deck, and at night the faerie fireflies tantalize me with hints of their world just beyond my sight.

My sinuses have been rearing their nasty heads lately — I don’t know if it is allergies or sinusitis or just plain old lady sinuses.  But they do make concentrating for any serious amount of time laborious.

It’s the kind of day to sneak in visits to the shaded part of the porch just to enjoy the breeze that tickles your hair and tinkles the windchimes.

If I were a sketcher it might be a perfect time to sketch the black and white butterfly who likes to alight on the white plastic rocker, or the indigo bunting who finds breakfast in the bird feeder.

If I were a painter I would highlight the multi colors of a potted zinnia or the bright pink geraniums that punctuate the lines of the deck, or the different hues of the variety of trees that line the yard.

If I were a potter I would mimic the textures of the leaves and the stones in the driveway and the webbing of the chairs and the beading of the macrame plant hanger in my next creation. My work would reflect the color of the sandy soil, the clay pots, or the weather-worn wood that surrounds my house.

If I were a song writer I would use the staccatos of the birds singing and the notes that accompany their song to create a new and fresh summer melody. I would include the tones of children’s laughter in the distance and the pitch of the dogs’ howls and the sound of the wind blowing through the pine trees.

If I were wood carver I would create wonderful pieces made from fallen trees in the woods. And if I were a creative artist I would combine the rocks from the driveway and the sand from the grandkids’ sandbox and make the most lovely rock gardens and if I were a gardener I would create amazing flower and vegetable gardens that would make the specialty grower jealous.

But I am none of these.

I am merely an average writer who is suffering from sinus pressure and a momentary lapse of inspiration.

Aren’t we all that at one time or another?

 

Happy Creativity

I’ve been having the most marvelous time these past few weeks writing my novel.

Now, hopefully we all have times of pleasure pursuing our creative endeavors. Otherwise, why would we bother?

But I had to chuckle. Not long ago I was writing blogs about fearing research (Research Overload) and overthinking and overwhelming (Am I/I Am Overthinking?).

These were, and ARE, legitimate concerns for most of us any time we think about taking on a project larger than ourselves. And we should  be cautious. We should give thought about exactly what we want to accomplish and how we will get there.

But once we push through all the intimidation, apprehension, and false starts, once we start moving forward on creating our dream work, we find that we can really enjoy the ride.

I found that I didn’t need to fill in the days and nights ahead of time. I didn’t need to have every encounter outlined, every reaction accounted for. That I could follow a general direction and fill it in one research day at a time.

Did I worry myself into an early grave? Hardly. But at the beginning it felt like it. 

At the beginning I couldn’t see how I could possibly create a life-like situation from a non-life situation. How I could be the participant in an adventure I never went on.

Then I started to write.

An introduction. A general feeling. A general direction. I loved to write, so I knew I wouldn’t let my inability to research or function stop me. I researched every place, every reference, every food. I thought about how I would react if I were really to see and do the things my lead character does.

And it became easier.

Your projects will become easier, too. 

Sometimes you do need an exact outline, an exact layout, of whatever it is you wish to create. You can’t willy nilly a landscape painting without wondering about the trees, the houses, the season. Same is true for the design of a mosaic or a mural.

Once you get that general feeling, that general outline, in your head, you can start creating. You can go wild, stay straight, or take a quick left turn, if that’s what your muse tells you to do.

You can break the rules once you know what the rules are.

I still have quite a few things to work out, including the big last night climax. I haven’t a clue yet as to who it is with or what it is or what they will talk about. But I know it will come.

Here’s to each and every one of you having a blast with your creations. Hard work pays off, if only in the heart, often in ways you cannot imagine.

And there is nothing greater than a payoff from the heart.

 

 

Get ‘er Goin’!

I thank you for visiting me and the Goddess this week while I was on vacation with my family up  nort’. Again. It is just a wonderful reprise to the daily grind of politics, viruses, hoarder houses, and such.

Even though these weekends are stressful as far as running around with three kids and three dogs, they are fulfilling. At least until my energy runs out. What these getaways also do is refocus my being to things that really matter in life.

But then you come home, kids go one way, you another. And there you are. Vibrating on the sofa, re-circling, refocusing, recharging and open like a toddler.

And you think — what now?

Who wants to go back to washing and folding laundry and doing dishes and mowing the lawn and sitting at a desk answering phones all day?

Who needs it?

If I have learned anything from this C19 nightmare is that most of us need it in one form or another. Kids need to get out of the house and go to school and see friends and stress over math assignments. Moms and dads need to get out of the house and go back to the office and deal with know-it-alls and office gossip and sales goals. Even retired grannies need to get out of the house and join community organizations that help people in one way or another and meet friends for coffee and get back to quilting or writing or whatever they do.

Sitting in the house day after day with nothing but the TV and radio is not good for the creative spirit.

I have written some of my best stories based on people I’ve worked with, places I’ve driven, conversations I’ve either overheard or had myself. The green trees and grass and wild fields around my house are beautiful, but after a while they lose their stimulation ability.

We need to be curious outside our parentheses. We can’t hide from the world and get settled in and do nothing. The world will keep changing but you will not. And one day visitors won’t be able to distinguish you from the beige flowered couch you sit upon.

After a while without people and places and things you find yourself with nothing to talk about. Grandkids can only tell you so many times about the fish that got away or how many hot dogs they ate one day. You can only talk about the old days so much before you finally become boring.

Without outside connections, without outside interactions, you really can turn into a slug. Even if you’re surrounded by grandkids and dogs.

If they aren’t stimulated by something new, neither will you be. If you can’t get out there and bring new and interesting things into their world they will turn out to be 8am-8pm internet slugs…. and so will you.

So, as much as I loved my time away, I am very happy to be back in my up and down world of the mind. I have projects to finish, projects to plan, projects to give up. And it’s only Monday!

Get on up and out today!

 

 

I’m Still Standing — And So Are You

I just finished watching the 2019 movie Rocketman about the early days of writer/singer Elton John.

Everybody has heard of Elton John.

But not everybody knows the extent of his talent and his vision. I certainly didn’t.

I could (and still do) boogy around the living room to Crocodile Rock and Love Lies Bleeding in My Hands. I can get sappy with Candle In The Wind and twinkly romantic with Tiny Dancer.

The movie brought home just how many talented artists are out there in this big, wide world. Singers, dancers, lyricists, composers — the list is just as strong as painters, sculptors, and fabric artists. Just as much amazing talent. Just as much amazing dedication. Just as much sparkle as anyone who loves the Arts.

Watching movie Elton John play the piano as a child brought me back to my own childhood piano lessons. I was barely a blink in the eye of the piano world. Not even a full blink.

The real Elton was a child prodigy, teaching himself how to play the piano when he was only four years old. He won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music in London. The rest is history.

I sometimes wonder if we pay as much attention to our children in the arts as much as we pay attention to them in math or economics. Talk always floats around about cutting funding for the Arts — it’s the first program to be cut in grade school and high school when funds run out, and not the first career parents encourage for their kids.

Things are probably a lot looser these days — but they are probably much harder, too. A lot more competition, a lot more talent. With social media and U-Tube and thousands more movies and concerts and recordings made per month than during the 70s, it’s hard to get by on talent alone.

That is why, when I see raw talent, whether young or old, domestic or foreign, I zoom in on it. Feel it. Explore it. Share it. Even if it’s only in passing, I find pleasure in those whose talents are fresh and raw and evolving and turning and growing.

Elton John had growing pains, too. Drugs, alcohol, dealing with his sexuality, his family — all played a role in honing his talent and legacy. Turning pain into perfection often works on many levels.

But we don’t have to always hit bottom before we hit the top — sometimes a developing artist has a fairly stable life.

That’s why, no matter what you have gone through, that part of your life is over. You can learn from it, reflect on it, then let it go. You take the beauty of who you are today, and let that guide you through whatever form of art calls you. 

You may not be as flamboyant and successful as Elton John, but you are every bit as imaginative. You and your art are powerful expressions of your growth and understanding of yourself and the world around you.

 

You know I’m still standing better than I ever did
Looking like a true survivor, feeling like a little kid….. ~Elton John

 

Keep Your Glitter!

How are you all doing this fine stay-at-home day? 

One thing I am discovering on my quarantine vacation is that now that I have the time to finally do all of the things I’ve wanted to do in 40 years I don’t feel like doing anything.

That includes TV marathons, long walks in the woods, cleaning and rearranging closets and drawers and rooms (for the 4th time), writing, crafting — even eating.

That’s not right.

I feel so blasé about everything. Except my stress. 

THAT I can’t seem to control. 

Between my brother-in-law in ICU for C-19 and the article I just read about rehab after ICU and my cat in the midst of dying and driving 200 miles round trip to clean twice a week, I’d say there’s just a little to be stressed about.

I’m sure your caseload is just as stressful. If not more so.

It seems to cluster and peak when you can least do anything about it. 

I guess it’s called going through $hit. We all have to do it, deal with it, move through it and past it. Standing still, running backwards, or beating your head against the proverbial wall does not make it go away. 

So you still have to go through it. 

You HAVE to find ways to go through it.

After writing this piece, I’m going downstairs and sponge painting my bedroom that I’m turning into a library. I will be making a forward motion in my stand-still world. I can take my time, pretend I’m Picasso, and leave the stress behind for an hour or two.

You have to do that, too.

Even though your energy level may have changed in this lock-down phase of life, you can’t let blasé-ism get you down.

Even if you have to listen to Benny Goodman or Ozzie or Justin Bieber, you’ve got to find your beat and jiggle it. Wiggle it. Paint it or dig-in-the-garden it or calligraphy it. 

You won’t be living under the blanket of C-19 forever.

But you will be living with yourself.

You’ve got to vent it somehow. Scream it or whine it or cry it or babble it. It doesn’t matter how you get it out — just GET IT OUT.

Make your  going through $hit colorful and sparkly. Like a rainbow or glitter or fluorescent painting. Make your statement loud and clear. Work it out! Get through it! We’re all in this together. And we’ll all get through this together.

Even if we all don’t like glitter.

 

More Art for the Stay at Home Crowd

I am home bound (like most of you), and see no exit for the foreseeable future (except to grocery shop). The world is stressing all of us out, and I myself can do nothing about it except to stay inside and away from the virus.

So…..

I have decided to post a few more Sunday Evening Gallery artists during the next few weeks. We need more beauty, more creativity in our lives. We can’t do much about what’s going around except stay in and stay away, so why not fill your world with unique and beautiful art?

On days I don’t introduce someone new I will repost some of my early Gallery artists so you can revisit their unique beauty.

Stay in, stay safe, and dream of green fields and fresh air.

We’ll be set lose soon enough.

 

Let It Go!

I just finished an extended, magical, mad weekend babysitting my three grandkids. It was heaven. It was crazy. It was the movie Frozen twice a day for three days. It was donuts and string cheese and playing video games and cuddling. My livingroom looks like a bomb was dropped in it, and it will take me a few days to recover from early mornings and Hot Wheels. I loved it.

It also brought inspiration through my door once again. 

The warmer temperatures are knocking at the door, the sun is making an attempt to shine a little more often, and I even feel a semi-warm breeze now and then.

I’m ready to write. I’m ready to go to Paris. 

I’ve got the whining out of my system, along with the cold weather blues, the stale doggie air, the messy house I’m cleaning. I’m ready to take it all in stride and spend my off moments walking through the Trocadero Gardens or past the Varsovie Fountain. 

I realize once again that my creativeness doesn’t have to make sense. As long as it transports someone from their everyday life to something new and exciting, the sights they see along the way are just that. Sights. 

Human beings are blessed with the gift of imagination. We are blessed with all kinds of “what if’s”. What if I walk an extra block in this direction today? What if I paint these trees pink? What if I add baby bells to this scarf? What if I write a story about wolves?

We are all allowed to doubt ourselves. Nobody said our thought processes were perfect. But we should know ourselves. When we can take that chance and when we should be careful.

I cannot write a straight visit-Paris-and-fall-in-love story. I love reading them, but that’s not me. But I can write a story about a woman who sits in a French garden and has a chat with Edith Piaf in 2020. I can write a poem about faeries leaving footprints in the morning dew-covered grass.

Our imagination is endless. We cannot be afraid of it. We know what is right and wrong, possible and impossible. And between those barriers is a world of practicality and improbability. 

But for whom?

Your own creativity has taken you in directions you’ve never thought possible. You have honed your talent, expanded your horizons, and improved from the day you thought of putting paintbrush to canvas. 

And the more doors you open, the longer the hallway and the more doors appear. Each doorway takes you to a different room, a different thought.

And isn’t that the beauty of being human?

I mean, if I can sing “Let It Go” from Frozen (complete with hand and arm movements) a couple of times a day with a two-year-old, anything is possible.

What are your creative plans for the week? 

Revel in the Arts

Svenja Jödicke

I have said many times before that inspiration is everywhere around us…. that all we need to do is OPEN OUR EYES.

This evening I was trying to catch up on reading individual blogs I follow and came across two that really made me proud of the creativeness around me. 

Laura Kate is the energy behind Daily Fiber, a blog about projects featuring fiber material. Not only is this woman into creating beautiful quilts, including designing her own, but she crochets, paints, and sews. What made her stand out in my mind was one of her opening blog: I’m taking a break from knitting and painting to do a little sewing. 

I love it.

To  me, she is a person who hears the song of creativity and follows it gladly. Her spirit is most likely drawn in ten directions at one time, yet wisely she listens to one song at a time while she keeps an ear open for the other melodies.

The Textile Ranger has devoted two blogs to her make-believe mall called TextileTopia and TextileTopia Part Two, filled with real-life artists and websites for readers to click through and enjoy. Her creativity is electric — it makes you want to quilt and sew and make small pieces of artwork and huge murals and garden and stitch and — you get my drift.

I am so turned on by others who are turned on by the Arts. Whether it’s a single pursuit or a confusing cornucopia of ideas and methods that have no direction, letting that creative Muse of yours out into the world does something wonderful to and for your soul.

I’ve been in a rut lately, taking care of some stressful family business, along with the darkness of winter and the adjustment to retirement. I know the best way out of the blues is to play with the rainbow of light and imagination and let my mind (and talent) go where it will.

I’ve got some great ideas for the new year such as making Angel Tears (a hanging cord that sparkles in the breeze), along with photographing some beautiful, falling down barns in my countryside. I hope I can share my adventures with you.

In the meantime, don’t fight the spirit that longs to be set free. Go with it! What have you got to lose?

Tell me about YOUR future creative plans!

 

Love The Arts!

Artist Trading Cards for International Artists Day

Today I went wandering around the Internet looking for images for an upcoming Sunday Evening Art Gallery blog about Reflections.  During this search I came across so many amazing images.

Amazing isn’t even touching upon the truth.

If I once thought there was competition to get my writing out into the universe, it is mirrored tenfold in the number of creative images artists, photographers, graphic artists, and other creative muses out there.

The world is an amazing place. Artists abound in so many ways, with so many ideas. I am blown away.

Google a phrase, an idea, then go to images or to the websites that pop up. Read the articles. Look at their pictures. Their backgrounds are as diverse as grains of sand. But each of their creations are unique. There are hundreds of versions of an image such as trees or ice or dreams. The visions are endless.

http://www.vetrovero.com/store/c39/Jewel_Bottles.html

Just like the Sunday Evening Art Gallery gallery I just posted yesterday. You have nightmarish paintings by Zdzisław Beksinski sitting next to paintings of lovely Indian women by Raja Ravi Varma, which are down the hall from unusual Chairs, which is some ways from Rita Faes who takes remarkable photos of flowers, who is way down from Pumpkin Carving King Ray Villafane, who is quite a bit away from the famous, beautiful Fabergé Eggs.

See what I mean? Such varied talent, such amazing work. Everywhere.

 

Daniel Rozin

Whether you paint leaves or embroider geometric designs or make stained glass, your work adds nothing but glitter to the Earth’s aura. Every time you write a poem, every time you carve a pumpkin or paint a watercolor landscape you add to the positive vibes of the world.

Just like these artists I came across online who did miracles with bottles or mirrors or paint drops, all you need is a dream and some imagination and the urge to do something fun.

I love The Arts. Don’t you?

 

 

My Creative Muse Is At It Again

nikitaliskov

Happy Monday creative muses!

Last week I told you that, for various reasons, I will not be going to Paris next fall to write. Which is just fine.

Just as I accepted that fact,  my creative muse swooped in and brought me an idea a new book (which I’ve  told you about). Her chatter, at first, is confusing and mind blowing. So much information, so many ideas, and with her Irish brogue it’s sometimes hard to understand everything.

But she also brought a new awareness to my aura’s circle. I believe that, of all of things I’ve written, this upcoming book will be the one that really works.

Do you ever feel that way with your latest creation? That of all of the things you have worked on, all the things you’ve made, that this is the one that is going to take you to that next level?

Do you listen to yourself when you hear that?

Now, “the next level” can be different things to different people. It could be the start of a whole new art collection. A whole new style or technique or genre.  It is usually something you’ve been working towards for some time. A contest entry, an art competition, being published. The next level is something every artist strives for.

I finished my blogs about How To Write Your First/Second/Third Book which I will be posting soon. And I am happy to say I am following my own advice.

I have a story line kinda worked out. When I solidify it I will write my synopsis. I think I’ve decided which point of view I’m writing as. And I have a lot of research to do on characters and settings, for that’s the kind of book I now want to write. I am missing one character I know I need but have drawn a blank on who it is. This is common, too. You don’t always have to have all the details, all the Ps and Qs before you start. Your creative muse will sooner or later bring you the piece you need to finish your puzzle.

When you get your idea and really begin to work on it, you can’t help but get excited about it. Excited about the research, excited about its development, excited about how you will start it and how you will finish it. All mediums are the same when it comes to that tingling feeling that “this is IT.” 

So what are you working on/researching this marvelous Monday?

And I’m talking to you silent readers in the background who are  starting something and finally are ready to talk about it….

Borrowing From Famous Artists

Where do you get your inspiration from? Not just for your stories, but for your paintings, sketches, for your photography?

I love it that inspiration can hit from any direction at any time.

The other night I watched the excellent 2000 movie Shadow of a Vampire with John Malkovich and Willem Dafoe, about the making of Nosferatu in 1922 (with a twist). At the beginning of the movie there was a collage of drawings, haunting in nature, perhaps from Nosferatu’s castle or medieval tapestries or whatever.

But these images are wonderfully unique. They would make great stories, great watercolors, great backgrounds for other worlds, other ideas. I see some unique inspiration coming from these. Just because they showed up in a horror movie doesn’t mean they have to stay there. I see abstract sketches coming from these; I see a story about an alien or elf magically appearing right in his horse’s path; I see a cross stitch in muted colors and poem about finding the light.

It’s easy to get inspired by walking through the woods, or watching a sunset. But what about an old movie script? Can you paint a picture based on someone else’s idea? Write a story based on someone else’s story line?

I say — why not?

Start with a Monet and end up with a modern lithograph. Start with an old Twilight Zone episode and ended up with a short story. Make a quilt based on  designs from Picasso or Juan Gris. Make a needlepoint based off a Medieval tapestry. Design an outfit that reflects the architecture of the Eiffel Tower. Use a photograph of a city skyline to make a paper cutting.

We are not stealing someone else’s ideas — we are taking their idea, a creation, and putting our own mark on it. Our own version of it. A pen and ink drawing can come from a passage in your favorite book; a sculpture can be inspired by a child’s painting on a school wall.

One of the creative paths I want to re-explore once I retire is painting. I enjoyed it so much so long ago…who knows what ideas will come to mind once I put brush to canvas? I can see me trying out these designs I saw on a vampire movie one night. I can try colorful drips and drops and splatters like the ones I watched Ed Harris, aka Jackson Pollock, made in the movie of the painter’s name.

I have so many things I want to try it makes my head spin.

That’s what I want you to feel. Take a design, a photo, a paragraph from a book and turn it into something of your own. It doesn’t matter if it turns out like you thought — that’s why we experiment. To see what spin we can put on someone else’s reality.

Have you taken other artist’s creations and turned them into  your own? Have you ever watched a movie or a TV show and thought “that’s really unique — I can do something with that….”? Share with us. Give us ideas!

And anyway — it’s not really “borrowing.” You don’t need to give it back.

Maybe I should have said — TRANSFORMING.

Isn’t that much more fun?

If You Can Do It I Can Do It

Been away for a weekend, loving every minute of it, now needing a vacation from my vacation.

But once reality sets in, when the kids go back to school and the weather starts to change, I start to think about my own dreams and desires and how time flies before you get a start on any of them.

Do you have dreams and desires and goals you have set for yourself that you haven’t quite reached yet? Are you doing anything about them? Are you saying “Mmmyeh…what comes comes…” and half way giving up since you believe they weren’t meant to come true anyway?

Or are you working on those dreams, manifesting your inside outside and really going for the gusto?

A friend of mine in here is a wonderful abstract artist, Anthony Grootelaar (MyMonkey Mind). I’m going to feature him in the Gallery soon. He has so much art created I’m sure he could wallpaper a mansion. I love his colors and his approach and his experiments and his plans. Here I am, telling him he should have art shows and go to art fairs with his wares and all these other extra-curricular things that he probably already has done.

I get pumped up when I see other’s successes.

I know a few other poets through this blog that are marvelous writers. I’m always telling them to publish a book of poetry or offer it on their blog or at book fairs. I’m all for the excitement and sharing of their talent with others.

I know painters, furniture makers, writers. They all are extremely creative and moving forward with their Art.

Yet where am I on my own cosmic sharing scale?

I would like to think that I, too, have a special talent that’s worth sharing beyond my personal computer or now and then on my blog. Yet I cringe when I think about sharing my talent.

For what if it’s not talent?

Why is it so much easier to be enthusiastic about someone else’s work?

There is so much beauty out there — so much creativity. So many new ideas. Forms of expression. Shining stars. I am all for others sharing their souls with the the world. After all, ~I~ am in love with their work — why wouldn’t others be?

But when it comes to our own work, we are our own worse critics.
I’ve been both ways. I’ve thought something was fantastic and it was terrible; I’ve thought something not that great and it was well received.

We will never know the extent of our greatness until we put it out there. And keep it out there.

We have to develop a thicker skin, that’s for sure. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and all. But more than that, we have to be willing to learn. from our creativity. To correct, to erase, admit we made a wrong choice, and start again differently. Better. Smoother.

I have so many plans for my future creative self. Things I want to write, art I want to make. And I want to share it with others. Maybe even sell some of it.

I know I can do it. I just don’t know if I have the patience to see it through.

But you all have taught me something. If you  can do it — I can do it. If you are thinking about it and working on it, I can be thinking and working on it too.

Let’s say together it in Morgan Freeman’s voice!

I think you can do anything you want!

Craft Me This …


I have to say one thing about a creative person — when they get in their “supplies” element, they are like a kid on sugar with a kicker of Mountain Dew. 

People ask us why we like to sit and sew beads on clothes or make little earrings or crochet row after row after row of rows or write boring scenery descriptions or woodwork a cigar box or coffee table. After all, it all seems so boring!

I wonder if these people have truly ever seen creativity let loose in a craft or other specialty store.

I just spent the day with two of my best friends hitting stores like Hobby Lobby and Michael’s and even Good Will. Talk about kids in a candy shop!

I myself am the novice of the group. I write, and also sew bling onto my t-shirts and other inanimate clothing. My other friends are marvelous crafters. One is big BIG into scrap-booking with an occasional crocheted blanket thrown in; the other sews jackets and crochets scarves and other things. One love LOVES paper and trim and little signs you past onto pages and patterned paper for special occasion pages. The other loves every color of yarn there is, along with long, lingering tippy finger tip touching of bolts and bolts of materials with quilts and little jackets in mind for her granddaughter. 

Me? I get brain freeze in the beads aisle. 

The point is, it’s easy to see why creative people love their craft. When in their element, when surrounded by people who understand why they stand in front of a rack of crystals-on-a-string for 10 minutes wondering what they could sew those onto, creative people leave this universe and enter an alternate reality.

In that alternate world they are Master Creators. They can make anything any time, any where, and it will be so magnificent even the angels will squint and say “holy moley!” Time has no meaning in a creative person’s alternate world; when you’re lost writing that perfect passage of love and passion or pensive thought, there is no time sheet. Love takes as long as it takes to write. No more, no less. 

As I’ve gotten older I’ve started surrounding myself with creative people. Not because I’ve changed friends — but because I’ve found out the people I’ve been around for a good chunk of my life are pretty creative on the side. I know painters, quilters, writers, lure makers, poets, wood carvers, fishermen, wood workers, sign makers, dog trainers, and more. Every one loves their craft. Every one of them strive to be better than they were yesterday. And aren’t we all like that in a way?

So some time when you’re bored, ask your neighbor or friend or co-worker what their creative craft is. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

And if you’re lucky, one day you will be wandering up and down the craft store aisle when a sticker or pearl bead or a piece of wood catches your eye.  Then we will be wandering through the store looking for you, calling out your name.

Holey Moley!

I Am Creativity

Just had our best friends over for dinner. Greek night. A time of good food, good times.

We talked a little about what we’re up to in our personal life. I told my friends I just wrote a ditty on the fly to remind myself that I am still a writer.

Do you ever take a break and then hesitate?

I have spent a lot of time lately final editing what I’ve written so I can print it out and share it with my friends.

I’ve also spent a lot of time collecting art for my Sunday Evening Art Gallery. I have found so many new artists, I am knocked off my feet.

But I’m a writer first. At least here on my sofa, in front of the TV.

Do you ever have to fly off and do something quick to reassure yourself you are what you are?

How funny the human ego is.

What is a writer? A painter? A calligrapher?

Just because you spend your spare time doing anything creative, does it make you what you think you are? Are you an artist just because you wield a paint brush? Are you a writer, even if you only write email copy?

I have learned you are whatever you call yourself. The world does not care for your title. Maybe  corporate America puts a value on what your company has called you. But in the scope of life, no one cares.

That’s why it’s important to call yourself what you are. And not be intimidated by your title.

Do you paint? Do you spend your spare time crocheting or scrapbooking or quilting? Do you scour the Internet for ideas for your art gallery or ceramic blog or your instructional video?

Look.

The world will go on whatever your call yourself. So find a title that fits your soul. Own it.

I am a writer. I may only write a couple of lines for email copy at work, but I am a writer. It doesn’t matter if I’ve written poetry or short stories or full length novels. I have written and preserved copy that can be passed on to generations. 

That’s all that matters.

Follow your calling and shout your “title” loud and clear.

No one will respect you until you respect yourself.

I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.

~Michelangelo

The elections are over, candidates came and some went, everyone believing they know what’s best for my/our community, our district, our state. One falls and the other takes up the march. In the end, the stalks of corn whistle and whine and sing the song of tomorrow.

I just started watching “The Agony and the Ecstasy” about Michelangelo. It begins by covering his amazing sculptures such at St. Matthew, the tomb of Juliano, and the Medici tombs, including the tomb of Lorenzo. He was 24 when he carved the magnificent Pietà of St. Peters, and 26 when he started to carve famous statue of David.

And he was 33 when he started painting the Sistine Chapel. That huge, vast, empty ceiling. 

33. What were you doing when you were 33? 

I was working in downtown Chicago and had been married for three years and had a two-year-old when I was 33. The little painting I did was more a passing fancy, and the writing I did would not explode in earnest until ten years later.

Some people are just gifted. Some people are just magic. Some people have something we will never have. 

I don’t think the competition back in 1508 was as extreme as it is these days. There was no Internet, no Facebook or no blogs. No telephones, no printing presses, no TV or Xeroxes. Oh, I’m sure there were many sculptors back then. Sculptors and painters. But to have your work noticed and remembered and studied and worshipped — that’s a totally different story.

I have no idea how to sculpt anything, no less chisel a man out of marble. I may paint my pithy version of an alien landscape, but I have no idea how to paint people and ceilings and landscapes.

He did.

He knew how to create art from blocks of stone and angels from paint at the same time people lived with thatched roofs and bathed once a year.

When you stop and take a look at the history of art — really take a look at how such marvelous creations were created in such sparse and simple times — you cannot help be be amazed. 

You don’t have to be “into” the arts to appreciate the talent and stories that echo through the hallways of time. A calling was all that was needed; a calling to an artist who had the talent, the patience, and the dream of making something bigger than themselves. 

You may not have the fame or endurance of the masters of old, but you do have the talent and the inspiration. Throw yourself into your art, and let it flow through you and onto your medium.

Don’t compare yourself to artists like Michelangelo di Ludovico Buonarroti Simoni or Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn or Marc Zakharovich Chagall. You are your own magic, your own muse. You hear music others can’t hear. Follow that calling. 

And take a look at some of the artists of the past. Learn about their art, their history, their passions.

Maybe you will see yourself reflected in their creativity.

Your Artist Is Right Next Door

I love television shows on creativity.

I am fairly humbled when I see what the competitors can do. It’s their life, it’s their future; it’s what they are when they wake up and what they are when they fall asleep. They are all just A-1 talented.

Some time ago I wrote a blog about Face Off, the show where artists compete in making science fiction, fantasy, and outrageous prosthetics. These artists are incredible. Movie-quality makeup.

And who isn’t fascinated by Chopped, where contestants make appetizers, main meals, and deserts out of a dizzying array of weird foods? Or Iron Chef, where these super-sized chefs make the most incredible, out-in-left-field dishes that make you drool? Where do these creative artists get these ideas?

There are plenty of talented people all around you, too. You just don’t know it. People who have given their soul and their free time practicing their art. They are probably in your department, or your neighbor, or your kid’s friends.

You just don’t know it.

Iron Chef competitors are in one layer of atmosphere. Prosthetic artists another. Their talents happen to be what TV producers are looking for these days.

But what about your friend (hi Christine!) who makes remarkable jewelry? Or your other friend (hi Robin!) who makes quilts and crochets sparkling scarves that could sell for $40 at the department store? Or your other friend (hi Christell!) who has the most amazing scrapbooks you’ve ever seen? Or your other friend (Yeah, you John!) whose work was so amazing I dedicated a blog and a gallery to him?

I’m sure there is a modern painter not far away, or a landscape artist, a sculptor, a calligrapher, a woodworker, or a garden artist right around the corner from you. Someone who makes birdhouses and engravings and magical cakes and deserts. Someone you’d like to know.

You can fill in the blanks with the creative people around you. Trust me. They are there. All you need to do is ask. Inquire. Look around. You will be amazed what your friends, co-workers, your friend’s kids are creating. Ask about their art. Ask if they have pictures or a blog.

You will be amazed at the talent around you.

And you’ll make them feel good about their work, too.

 

 

What If…

What If

Those are the words of imagination. Of exploration, of conquering new worlds. Of trying a new style of clothing, car, or food.

What If

I suffer from a lot of What If. None of it destructive, mind you, although it does hit me when I’m driving to and from work a lot (it’s on an empty back road so don’t worry…I still pay attention..). What if I drove into the middle of that cornfield? What if I turned around and drove straight to the airport and bought a ticket to San Antonio? What if I looked up into the evening sky and saw a dragon flying across the horizon?

What If can be fun. They can be dangerous. 

But they also can be illuminating.

What If takes you out of your comfort zone. Out of your self-conscious ego and self-damaging thoughts. It takes you to worlds where hobbits talk with faeries and American spies get thrown into Russian prisons. It makes apples purple and skin scarlet.  

What If makes you think and daydream without getting hurt. What if there really was a zombie apocalypse? I mean what if zombies were trashing the city, town, closest to you? What would you do? Where would you go? What happens if zombies are everywhere? And you’re stuck in your house? How long would it take you to run out of food? Would you sacrifice your dog or cat so they would go away?

Or what if you were walking through the park on a summer evening and a gnome walked out of the bushes and stopped and looked at you on your path? Or if a faerie landed on your shoulder? I mean, really! What would you do? How would you react?

What If can obviously take you in dark places. What If you and your friend drove off the cliff like in Thelma and Louise? What if you drank a soda that turned out to be poison? What if you fell down the stairs and you weren’t near a phone and lived alone and no one ever came to visit you?

What Ifs are a creative person’s best friend. You can take funny, scary, wonderful thoughts and turn them into make believe. Like a painting. A painting of walking down the street of 1890’s Paris is all make believe. The painter never walked those streets, saw those streetlights, or said good evening to people walking past in hats and long dresses and suits.

But they did say…What If I were walking down the streets in 1890 Paris? What would I see? How would they be dressed? What would the stores look like? 

I  wrote two novels about What If. What If by some accident you woke up in 1880? You knew nothing about the times, the manners, the ambitions of the people you encounter. What would you do?

Keep those What Ifs going. Write them down, paint them, grow them. Let your imagination take you on a magic carpet ride.

Which leads to…what if there really was a magic carpet and you could sit and ride on it? Where would you go? Would it be windy? Could you fall off? Would you fly into birds and bugs and….

Who are you, really?

Thanksgiving is now a memory, the extra pounds an effort.

But I am happy to report that along with an extra pound or two I also regained my enthusiasm for writing.

Do you ever go through those dry periods? Not necessarily that you don’t have anything to write, but that you don’t feel like writing.

Shame.

In search of my creative ways, I have gone back to basics of magic and sky and moon and night and the belief in elves and dragons and alternate realities. Not that I ever left that space — I just feel like embracing it more these days. No one knows if there is anything after this life. Heaven, reincarnation, inner-galactic rebirth — take your choice and go for it.

Get past the barriers of proof and direct experience and karma. Take a chance and believe in something that makes you feel whole. Do unicorns exist? Does it matter? We can’t see sub-atomic particles either, but scientists and the world believe in them. Why can’t we believe in time travel too?

Too often we live under other’s expectations. What we should wear, what we should say, how we should act, what we should believe.

I believe at 64 I am old enough to believe in whatever I want.

So I’ve decided to work on my second set of novels — not the simple time-travel ones, but the ones where the heroine gets transported to another part of the galaxy to help discover what happened to the king’s sister.

I mean — why not?

We can write and paint and dream anything we want. And I’ve decided I’m not going to let any correctional unit tell me different.

Don’t let those around you, from society to your girlfriend to your teacher, tell you what you are. What you should be. Want to be a bard? Be a bard. Want to be a witch? Be a witch. Want to be an abstract artist? Be an abstract artist! You can be a pirate that day jobs as a sales clerk, or detective who works in a warehouse during main hours.

Don’t wait until you’re 64 to decide who you are.

What are you?

 

 

How Do You Satisfy Your Creative Cravings?

I am of the belief that writing is as much fun as painting or photography or sculpture or any other Creative Art. Yes, it’s frustrating, time-consuming, methodical, stressful, and more.

It’s also inspirational, spiritual, cosmic, and thrilling.

My problem lately is that I’ve gotten in the driver’s seat of my fourth novel, and although I’ve worked out the story line and am loving writing about my space traveler, I miss writing a short story now and then. I have been perusing various contests and publication opportunities, and I find areas I’d love to try. This one wants a creature story. This one wants supernatural fiction. This one wants pirates and ghosts.

What fun! What adventure!  But what do I write about?

I think I hang out in novel land because the writing is long and real and I can keep the same idea throughout the pages. Short stories require separate thought, separate ideas. Unique ideas. And eventually my love of writing starts slipping on the confusing bed of ideas and plots and endings.

Do you hide in one genre over another? Do you have a desire to paint something totally different yet stay within your safe and more experienced area? Or draw something totally out of your comfort zone?

I have a folder of stories, some finished, some barely started. Few would fit into the guidelines I so fawningly follow. Most of my good pieces are written more on a whim of the moment — an impression on the drive home, an interlude between two or more people at the bus stop. My short stories are based on a bolt of lightning that directly hits me. It’s a lot harder if I’m out searching for that bolt.

I often encourage my blog readers to break through your self-imposed sanctions and to go for it. Reach for the sky — or dig deep into the cavern.

I still believe in that.

But I sometimes think it’s getting harder and harder to dig into that fertile creative ground and come up with something new. Something that will fit within someone else’s parameters.

How do you juggle all your cravings? Do you stick with what works or do you find time to experiment and go off in left field now and then? I’d love to know that there are other seasoned and non-seasoned writers who are as confused and excited as me.

Let’s see now…as the website says…think adventures and hauntings at sea, shipwrecks and buried treasure, treacherous waters, sea spirits, ghostly galleons, giant squid, kraken and sailors gone mad.

I can do that…can’t I?

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Edgar Artis

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Edgar Artis is an Armenian fashion illustrator who is using everyday objects and paper cutouts in order to complete his beautiful drawings.

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He draws women and in dresses them in something from the real world.

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Edgar uses flowers, feathers, burnt paper, fruit and all sorts of other materials to make  beautiful dresses.

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His illustrations are full of grace, imagination, and playfulness.

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These are not just your average fashion designs, but real works of art.

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Edgar’s art makes you realize that anything in life can be modeled into a beautiful moment of art.

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You can find more of  Edgar Artis’s amazing creations at   https://www.instagram.com/edgar_artis/.