Entries from: February 2009

More Fun with Words

February 5th, 2009, Comments (5)

Caroline from Caro's Lines posted a link to this neat site where you can spell words with flickr photos. How fun! I used it to spell out my word for 2009:

letter L E30 A p-sf2

Caroline also linked to a great challenge for all you shutterbugs out there. I think it's also another fun way to play with words and creativity! The One Word Project is being put on by the Shutter Sisters blog. Once a month, participants will be given one word to use as the inspiration for a photograph (which you can then post to the group on flickr.) For February, participants are invited to choose their own word. Very cool, eh?

L11 A25 Mobile 013109 085 G9 h-ca2

And now for something completely different...Another way to have good creative fun with words is certainly in a good joke. And I love to laugh. Despite my short stature (I'm 5 feet and a half inch), my laugh is outrageously loud. :-)

Today, a link from A Cup of Jo brought me to this ridiculously funny site, Old Jews Telling Jokes, which I noticed was designed by fellow Creative Every Day Challenge participant, Leah from LeahCreates.com! The Old Jews Telling Jokes site is hilarious (warning, the jokes are all dirty!) perhaps because it reminds me of my joke-loving dad (who is just old enough to qualify for an "old" Jew according to this site...I don't think he'd appreciate that) my dad's brother, and a little bit of the hubster's grandmother (the hubster and I both have one Jewish parent.) I particularly like the joke from the website owner's mom.

Letting Your Art Speak

February 4th, 2009, Comments (15)

rosa murillo ilse
Rosa Murillo's Ilse

Recently, artist and blogger, Rosa Murillo, posted this image on her blog and wrote,

I have this old pocket calendar from 2008 that I decided to use as sketch paper, and this face showed up yesterday. Her expression makes me uneasy. Like she wants to say something, but somehow doesn't. I read somewhere that when you draw you are actually letting your subconscious speak. So what I am trying to say?

I left a comment suggesting that Rosa try putting a speech bubble on the adjacent page to let the woman speak. And I'm so glad she did because look what this wise voice (Rosa named her Ilse) had to say!

rosa murillo ilse speaks
Rosa Murillo's Ilse speaks

I think our art often has messages in it for us. Sometimes these messages come from somewhere deep in our subconscious, sometimes they are bursting to get out. Giving them a voice in our artwork can be a lovely, gentle way to receive them. It might not always be a face, but since we can be playful in art, you could make any symbol speak if you wanted to.

For example, if birds are showing up a lot in your artwork, you could try drawing a bird in your sketchbook and then draw a speech bubble next to it. Give yourself permission to write whatever comes to mind, no matter how silly, weird, or outrageous it may seem.

You could ask your symbol:

  • What do you represent?
  • What message do you have for me?
  • What is it that you are trying to teach me?
  • How would you like to be expressed?

Then allow yourself to write in a stream of consciousness style. Your symbol may have just one word to share or a whole page. And if nothing comes, that's o.k. too! Just giving your artistic symbols room to speak to you, may open something up internally.

Sometimes I'm just not clear on what a symbol means to me until it's been around for a long time. Sometimes someone else will see the symbol in my art and say something that triggers the answer for me. It's fun to explore the imagery regardless of whether or not an answer comes. There's lots of juicy stuff to explore on this topic, but for now, I'll let you stir with this other way of playing with words and art if you feel called to do so.

Other ways to have fun with words:

  • Dawn Doran of the Knitting Gnome Blog has shared another challenge that fits well with the words theme this month. This time it's an ATC (artist trading card) challenge for kids! Check out all the details here.
  •  Rowena of Warrior Girl shared a link to a group writing project at Burning Lines where the participants contribute to the writing parts of a story. Cool eh? If you're interested in participating, contact Rowena at rowena dot murillo at gmail dot com.
  • I love the TED videos (if you've never seen one of them, you're in for a treat!) This one is of Jonathan Harris, an artist and computer scientist, who does things with art and words that just blows my mind!! Be sure to check out the very cool We Feel Fine project that Jonathan created.

Playing with Words in Art

February 3rd, 2009, Comments (13)

sketchbook swap blah I decided to play with words in art last night as I watched some of the Super Bowl with the hubster.

I used a moleskine that I'm drawing in as part of a sketchbook swap and drew in a few pages just to see what might come up if I drew. The first drawing was inspired by the slouchy pose my husband was making at one point in the evening. I imagined the buzz of thoughts running through his head, all leaking out and landing neatly in a nearby fishbowl.

I sometimes enjoy writing what I imagine the figures are thinking about in my art, like I did in my "Subway Stories" paintings, in which I collaged Subway maps and train schedules, painted a subway scene over that in acrylic and then within the figures I drew what I imagined they were thinking about. "Subway Stories: Green Line" is below. (The original is sold, but you can buy prints of it here.) I'm doing a commissioned Subway Stories painting for someone who met their soon to be husband on the train. So sweet. I usually think of art as a way to express what I can't say verbally. I suppose words in art are just another way to tell the story.

subway stories green line

Another page from my sketchbook swap moleskine. More words, this time just the action itself, "jump!" I seem to have a thing for striped tights at the moment.

sketchbook swap jump

Looking for more word inspiration? Well, I've got loads of it!

  • Ms. Dawn Doran from The Knitting Gnome blog emailed to let me know about this cool art and writing collaboration called Spark, art from writing: writing from art. Here are the details from organizer, Amy Souza: The next artistic/literary exchange starts on Feb 13th; ends Feb 22nd. Again, pick 2 days (48 hours) in which to work. They don’t have to be contiguous. You send your inspiration piece to your partner (and Amy) by the 13th; send me finished work by the 22nd/23rd. The theme this time is “hope.” Not sure how it’ll work out, but if you have an inspiration piece that says “hope” to you, send that to your partner. If not, just send her whatever you want. But I’m asking everyone to look at their partner’s work through the lens of “hope.” Again, it’s so vague, you can define it how you want, and if nothing comes to you through that lens then forget it and just let the piece inspire you. You need to let Amy know if you're interested in participating by this Friday, February 6th, by contacting her at or get more info on her site here.
  • Blogger, Writer, and Massage Therapist, Heidi Fischbach is offering A Month of Living Curiously, a month of inspiration and guidance via email sure to spark your creativity through the wonder of words. Check out all the details here!
  • I loved reading the written responses to my painting at Pictures, Poetry, and Prose yesterday! Laura mentioned this in the comments, but I wanted to be sure that everyone knows that she is always accepting submissions from artists. What a wonderful way to collaborate and join the creative energies of visual art and the written word!

Pictures, Poetry, and Prose

February 2nd, 2009, Comments (8)

Write and you are a writer. - Laura Jayne

I came upon a fabulous site last month and immediately wrote to the blog owner, Laura Jayne, to tell her I'd love to feature her inspirational blog in February, when the Creative Every Day Challenge's (totally optional) theme is words. What a perfect fit!

Pictures, Poetry, and Prose is a blog that features a daily photo or piece of artwork as a writing prompt. Laura encourages leaving your written response to the artwork in the comments section. After a week, she selects one of the writing samples to feature beneath the artwork.

I love the way Laura encourages people to use the prompts in any way that is meaningful to them. She even has a neat little timer on the side of the blog which you can use to time your written response to just 5 minutes (only if you want to!) I like the idea of the timer because it limits the amount of time you spend on it and also breaks it down into a doable chunk of writing time. I've used time limits for writing exercises before and somehow it was helpful knowing there was an end and beginning to the free-form writing.

Today, Laura is featuring one of my pieces (thank you, Laura!) and I'd love to see what kind of written response it inspires in you!

Images are a great jumping off point for creative writing. Try the Pictures, Poetry and Prose challenge or if you'd rather do something more private, paste a picture into your journal and use it as a prompt for a bit of poetry, fictional, or autobiographical prose.

Creative Every Day Challenge: February 2nd – February 8th, 2009

February 2nd, 2009, Comments (39)

Ced2009Welcome, Creative Every Day 2009 participants! 

Feel free to leave a comment on this post or use the "Mr. Linky" widget below to link to a post (or posts) about your creative activities during the days of 2/2/09 - 2/8/09.

The use of this widget is not required. It's an optional method of sharing your creativity that makes it easier for others to check out what you're up to. You can use it to link to a blog post or posts during the week listed. Or if you have a bunch of posts and don't want to link to all of them, you can link to your main blog page once. Do it in a way that makes sense and is fun for you! You can also take advantage of the great CED flickr group to post your images and see what others are up to.

To find out more about Creative Every Day 2009, check out the details here and then if you want to sign up, leave a comment on this post or email me to let me know (a link to my email is in the upper left sidebar.) When you contact me, please let me know how you'd like to be listed in the list of participants, which resides in the right sidebar (I can list you as your name or as a link to a blog if you have one. A blog is not required!) If you start posting links on the Mr. Linky widget without letting me know that you're participating, I may not see that you're new, so do let me know! Also, if you notice that your blog is not in the sidebar and you thought you had signed up, let me know, so I can get it up there as soon as possible.

The totally optional theme February is Words! I'll be posting about the theme throughout the month. You can find out more about how you can use the themes here.


Happy Creating!!

I learned...that inspiration does not come like a bolt, nor is it kinetic, energetic striving, but it comes into us slowly and quietly and all the time, though we must regularly and every day give it a little chance to start flowing, prime it with a little solitude and idleness. --Brenda Ueland

**p.s. In the transition to my new server, I may have lost some of the Creative Every Day participant links. So, please check to see if your blog is still listed in the right sidebar. If you don't see it, let me know and I'll add it again. Thanks!**

Happy February!

February 1st, 2009, Comments (17)

I can hardly believe it's February already! So, we've moved into a new month and the totally optional theme for the Creative Every Day Challenge in February is Words! You can learn more about the theme here. There are so many ways to play with this theme and I hope you'll have fun playing with the possibilities. Personally, I think play can be a continued theme for each month as I want to encourage playfulness in everything we do!

sketchbook snuggle cats

One of the ways I use words in my art is in my sketchbook. On the page above, I was taking notes and doodling while listening to a podcast.

I've always been a doodler, I can't help myself. When I was in school, all of my notebooks would be covered in doodles and drawings in the margins. A few years ago, I learned that this doodling I was doing was actually helping me to pay attention! It turns out that for folks who aren't audio learners, doing something with your hands often helps you to soak in the information you're listening to. I had no idea! It made me feel much better about my constant doodling when I was attending a lecture, sitting in a class, or listening to a podcast. And it's so true for me! I noticed that when I'm able to doodle or write down what I'm hearing, I take in the information so much better than if I were just listening. Is this true for you?

While I'm not taking any lecture-type classes at the moment, I do enjoy listening to radio shows and podcasts and sometimes I like to take notes about what I'm listening to. I keep a sketchbook nearby for that purpose and the notes usually become a combination of doodles, drawings and words. If you're feeling nervous about putting words in your art, this may be a great place to start! Just play in your sketchbook and see if the words you write lead to images or if the images you draw lead to the written word. No one needs to see it. Just have fun with it!

If you're looking for something fun to listen to, check out the Craft Sanity podcast with Project Runway Contestant, Daniel Vosovic. I listened to it while painting last night and really enjoyed what he had to say.

Or you could check out my chat with Connie, of Dirty Footprints Studio, on her blogtalk radio program! I loved talking with Connie (she's such a sweetheart!) about everything from symbols in artwork, creating from your heart, and silly socks! Thank you for inviting me to talk on your radio show, Connie! You are a natural radio host! And I got such a kick out of the call from Karen!! Thanks for calling in, Karen!

I spent some time yesterday working on the "Listening" painting. I'm liking it more and more now, but it's not quite done yet.

wip listening 3

Hopefully I'll have a little more time to work on it today before I sit down to watch the Superbowl with the hubster, who is cooking up quite a feast for the two of us.