Entries from: January 2008

Creativity from the Top of Your Head to the Tip of Your Toes

January 21st, 2008, Comments (18)

I love the way CED participants have been noticing the endless ways to be creative. Today, I was thinking about the little things that bring me delight. It's so important to notice those things that make you happy and bring them into your life as much as you can.


A few months ago, I'd seen a little girl running around with the cutest, sparkly shoes. They were so adorable that I giggled when I saw them. I think I even said, "Oooo, I want sparkly shoes!" Well, shortly after that I saw a pair of inexpensive, but super sparkly shoes for sale. It was already winter time and they certainly weren't super practical shoes for the time of year, but I've definitely gotten my $15 worth. I wear them around the house all the time like slippers, while going up and down stairs with laundry, and in my parents house when I visit to keep my toes warm. And I'll be able to wear them outside in the spring. They are blue (my favorite color), so sparkly, and they still make me smile when I see them. They make my feet dance when I wear them. That's always a good thing too. And my small, but fun creatactivity of the day was taking these pics of my shoes and a very curious Tabbers cat.


It was so nice to get home last night! The hubster and I were very excited to be together again and we had a really fun day today. We drove around and looked at houses (just from the outside), saw a movie (Cloverfield), and I even fit in a little nap with the kitties. It was a good day. The movie was good by the way. It was definitely spooky and fun. A friend of ours worked on the film, so we waited to see his name in the credits and cheered. Hehe.

Hope your weekend was a lovely and creative one!

Creative Every Day – January 21st – January 27th

January 21st, 2008, Comments (34)

CED2008 participants! Feel free to leave a comment here with a link to post(s) about your creative activities during the week of 1/21/08 - 1/27/08.

Happy creating!

Tiny, Little Things (that are actually Big)

January 20th, 2008, Comments (8)

A big part of what I'd like the Creative Every Day challenge to for myself and others, is to help us notice the little things and the small ways we can be creative. We may not have time to make a masterpiece every day, but we can always find some way (no matter how small) to be creative. And by looking at the many ways we can be creative in our lives, we bring ourselves into the now. In our computer culture, many of us (myself included) get a bit of information add, slowing down to notice the little ways in which we are creative in our everyday lives helps us to stop and focus on all the small things that make our life beautiful. And that's beautiful!

I was just over at Violet's Ink and she talked about a cool blog called Overlooked. I'd never heard of it before! But it's a new challenge that is all about the everyday little things in life. And in a bit of cool synchronicity, there's a picture on the blog of the mug that I posted a picture of last week...yes, the one that says "Do Something Creative Every Day." Gotta love that. :-) I don't really need another mug, but I think the Universe is telling me to get that one as a little reminder of my daily practice.

Today's creatactivity was varnishing up the two pieces I finished up yesterday and collaging the background for three more. I'm a posting maniac today!

Etsy Updates

January 20th, 2008, Comments (1)

3 of the prints I put up on my new Etsy store sold today. Hoorah! So, I've replaced those prints and added one more "Subway Stories" print there.


I also wrote about my etsy store along with some cool etsy shops I've enjoyed (just a few out of many I love to watch and buy from!) on my Blue Tree Blog. So, go check that out for some fun linkage. I'm going home in a couple hours and I'm so excited to snuggle up with the hubster, his homemade cooking, and some cute kitties to keep me warm. It is frigidly cold outside today. Brr!

Art and Picnics

January 20th, 2008, Comments (6)

Some new pieces, I've been working on. Still have a little touching up to do on these two and they need names still, but here's a sneak peek!

These two are 6"x6" and 8"x8". I did a lot of work on them last night when I experienced some night time energy again. The night owl in me enjoys making art in the evening hours. So, I stayed up late working on these and finishing up on the last one.

I started feeling much brighter in the afternoon yesterday and today the world feels much less heavy. Hooray for that! I think that the best thing to do with a low mood (if possible, it's not always possible), is to create with it. If I can turn that blueness into some thing, if I can use it as the paint in my brush, then I tend to feel better as a result. Sometimes just expressing that emotion can help to lift it away or at least lighten it.

If you're feeling low, try having what I call an "art picnic." I do this regularly and it's a wonderful practice. I'll set up on the floor and lay down old blankets and pillows and make myself comfortable. I'll put around me whatever art supplies I have: paper, glue, paint, cups of water, ephemera, old books, pencils, pastels and then I wait a moment to see what draws me in. What materials do I feel drawn to? What colors are calling my name? I let go of any expectation to create something "good" and just let myself create whatever I'd like to. I give myself permission to make "bad art." And I follow my intuition where it guides me. Very often I find my underlying emotions spilled across the page and by getting in touch with that deeper feeling within me, the one that might not be sitting on the surface, I feel more connected, grounded, and whole. Perhaps by working on the floor, I'm able to feel more grounded or perhaps by getting down low and meeting myself where I'm at, I'm better able to connect. Try it for yourself and see how it works for you! I have art picnics in every sort of mood, so you don't need to feel low to try having one! :-)


January 19th, 2008, Comments (10)

Catcloset I keep hearing, reading, and seeing the word, "comfort" everywhere lately. It was on the receipt of my purchase at a bagel shop this morning which was advertising a new sandwich that they called "creative comfort foods." Inspire Me Thursday this week is about moving beyond our comfort zones (and last week was also about comfort). Jen Lemen mentioned finding comfort in her clutter today. And those are just a few examples. Perhaps it is because I am seeking comfort at the moment.

I have clinical depression and the winter can be difficult for me. I've been doing o.k., but this past week has been a bit of a struggle. I have been endlessly exhausted, teary, and low energy. I say this because I know that this is a difficult time for many people and perhaps my words will help someone else who is struggling too. Fortunately, I've been through this enough to know that it will pass. I don't feel hopeless as I might have in the past. The best thing I can do is have compassion for myself, practice good self-care, and keep taking those baby steps forward.

My week at my old job ends tomorrow night and I'm looking forward to a snuggle reunion with the hubster and my kitty meows. (The picture is of my kitties, Sadie and Emma, snuggling on a box in my closet.) I hope that if you are needing some comfort today, you will allow yourself to seek it out, to relax and soak it in.

More Creatactivities and Some Daily Inspiration

January 19th, 2008, Comments (3)


Above is some of the creatactivities I did on Thursday. The daytime itself was pretty quiet that day. I was very low energy and blah. But in the evening, a burst of energy had me working on the background for more Subway Stories pieces and drawing in my sketchbook. Yesterday, I did one of my favorite things - I went to the library and just walked up and down the aisles looking at books. I went down the aisles as if I was in a grocery store, looking around at the diverse subjects that I passed and grabbing anything that sparked my interest. I did this until I had a pile of books so large that it was a bout to topple over. Then I found a comfy chair in the back and looked through the treasures I'd found. I made little notes in my moleskine journal occasionally, but mostly I just read. This is a wonderful thing to do when you're in the need of some inspiration.

I got a super sweet email from artist, Amy Bogard the other day and I wanted to share her blog with you. I love the title of it, Micromovements, because it speaks to the baby steps approach that I truly believe in. Amy does some gorgeous work, she is just bursting with creativity. And I really loved her daily art project that she calls "the daily dog" in which she draws her dog or someone else's dog every day. Here's how Amy describes the project:

Exercise is good. This applies to art practice as well.  And just as one's body can stiffen up and slow down with out a good stretch of the legs now and then, so can the art flow.  Part of my artistic process and practice is to sketch. I always carry a sketchbook. It is my lifeline to list making, quote collecting, thoughtful musing and, of course, drawing. As much as I love to draw, there are occasionally times when I feel restless and have a hard time pinning down something to draw. At these times I turn to drawing my dog, Caskie, who is usually at my feet, not bored at all, ready for the next great adventure (or nap, or squirrel, or mole). By paying attention to this quirky creature who shares my studio, I lose the sludge in my brain that is backing up my process.  I find myself in the moment, and in that way, I am more like my dog than not...ready for the next adventure.  So, much like that daily walk with my four-legged child, a daily sketch (of a dog or anything!) keeps me exercised and primed for new ideas to come around.  This is what my Daily Dog exercise is all about. Try it yourself (you dont even have to have your own dog...I sometimes borrow other dogs to draw) and let me know what you come up with!

Thank you for the inspiration, Amy!!

Inspiration for Your Creative Heart

January 17th, 2008, Comments (10)

Talk about inspiring. I've seen this talk linked on several blogs, but just listened to it for the first time today. If you haven't listened to it yet, I highly encourage you to do so. The talk is one of the TED talks (which is a super cool site definitely worth checking out) which has numerous free videos of inspiring lectures available for your viewing pleasure.

The one I watched today was by Isabel Allende. Her words made me laugh and cry and more importantly, think.

Actually, I've been meaning to link to this section of the TED site which has videos under the theme of "The Creative Spark." Perhaps you could let some of these talks play while you go about your creatactivities?

I've linked to this TED talk by illustrator Maira Kalman before, but if you're over at that site anyways and looking for something else to watch, I really loved that one too.

In case you were wondering, TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. It started out as a conference bringing together people from these three areas and has since broadened out to different areas including the TED talks, which aim to share the worlds most inspiring voices. That in itself is inspiring.

You've gotta love the power of the internet in the way it allows us to listen to these inspiring voices we might never have heard. Yesterday, my best friend mentioned reading in the paper about the Arts and Crafts movement that is happening. She said she wasn't aware there was one. But when I think about the challenges to buy handmade, the explosion of etsy and all the wonderful indie arts websites around, I think what appears to be an explosion has been made possible by bringing together crafty people who might never have met otherwise. And through this amazing energy of crafty people all around the globe and the connecting that the internet provides, the inspiration has rippled out to people and places that just needed that little spark to begin expressing themselves. Truly amazing.

Creatactivities = Creative Activities

January 16th, 2008, Comments (9)

I've coined a new word. See definition above. Creatactivities. I like it! :-)

Feeling a bit overtired today, but I've been keeping busy and I'm excited for a new Project Runway tonight! I met my best friend in a nearby town this afternoon to keep her baby entertained while she had her hair cut and then we got some lunch together. Making a baby laugh is a sure-fire way to brighten your day! In the afternoon, I plunked myself down in the cute coffee shop where I'll be hanging art next month and worked on adding items to my Etsy shop. I joined Etsy years ago just to buy things there. Watching the site blossom has been incredible and sometime last year I decided I'd add some of my art to the mass of wonderful products there. Well, I got the banner up and then never added anything to it. It's been on my to-do list for a little too long. Well, I started on it today. So far I've added four prints, they're all printed on 8.5"x11" velvet fine art paper and they're available for $25 each. I'll add some more prints there over time and hopefully some greeting cards too! Getting the Etsy store up and making the baby laugh were great creatactivities (creative activities) for me today.

I've been working on this new "Subway Stories" piece called "Boylston" for a couple days now. I just need to do some touching up, seal it with varnish and then it'll be done. This one is a slightly larger 10"x10". When it's complete, I'll add some close-ups with the stories in them. In the meantime, I snapped a picture of it this morning, taking advantage of the bright sun reflecting off the snow. Speaking of snow, driving around in this winter wonderland we've got going on in New England has been really fun. Everything is just coated in the stuff. And with the roads clear and the tree branches hanging over the road, it feels a bit like I'm driving through these dream-like snow tunnels. I have to admit, it's gorgeous.

There has been some totally awesome creativity going on, so do pop in on your fellow CED2008 participants! And by the way, I believe the list is current, but if you don't see your blog on there, please let me know. And if you've just discovered this challenge, it's fine to join in now!

Some juicy inspiration for you:

- This article from Lucia Cappacchione is about creativity as a spiritual practice. She begins by saying what I've heard over and over, but still bears repeating because I don't think we all feel this deep in our bones, and that is, "we are all creative." Cappachione writes,

The medium in which you create is irrelevant. It doesn't matter whether you write a business proposal, play a piano sonata, or prepare a delicious meal. You may be seeking to resolve one of life's mundane problems or express deep feelings and insights through poetry. Embrace your creation as a lover and you can break through to another realm. When you stick with it for better or for worse, your creation pbecomes your guru (Sanskrit meaning"from darkness to light").

- Geoff emailed me about his site, artistaday, which profiles a different artist every day of the week. It's a great site to see some new and interesting art!

- And I really liked this blog post from artist Deb Chaney about celebrating small successes. It's so easy to forget to do this. I know I'm always wishing I did more. But stop for a bit, right this second, and feel great about all that you have accomplished. Breathe that feeling in. It's important.

O.k., I'm going to take my sleepy self into some cozy pajamas and relax.

More Subway Stories to Share

January 15th, 2008, Comments (12)

So these are the finished products here that I've been working away on. And I've got another one that's nearly done and now I've got my camera too, so I can take some pics. I'm calling this one "St. Mary." All the "Subways Stories" pieces are named after subway stops. It's 8"x8" with acrylic paint, collage and ink on a wood panel. Below is a detail of the piece above. The man on the left is whispering prayers, someone he loves is ill. The woman on the right has noticed this man is distraught and is wondering what she can do.

This next piece (below) is called Prudential. It was made with the same materials and it's also 8"x8"

The detail below shows a bit of the story that I've written within their bodies. The woman on the left is bringing home ingredients for a dinner she'll be making for a new boyfriend. She's worrying about it and hoping he likes Greek food. The man on the right is listening humming along to music, feeling motion-sickness from reading on the subway, and pondering the story he's reading.

These pieces and a bunch of others will be shown and for sale at Nahcotta next month.

And it's time for dinner, so I'll be back with more art and some fun links soon. Happy creating!