Entries Tagged as: big

Big Enough, A Guest Post by Liz Kalloch

May 31st, 2011, Comments (15)

When Leah asked me to write a piece for Creative Everyday and told me that the topic for May was Big, I immediately thought of 6th grade. I know, not the usual synapse leap one makes when thinking about Creative Everyday but stay with me here.

When I started 6th grade I was pretty near to my full height. I don’t remember exactly how tall I was that year, I just know that I was taller than almost all the boys, and taller than my math teacher, who was a man.

I probably wouldn’t have noticed that I was taller than a lot of the other kids unless it had been pointed out to me. A lot. Yes, I was taller. But the message I heard was that I was taller than people that I really shouldn’t be taller than, i.e. boys and teachers. I internalised it as something not good about me.

So I started slouching.

I reached my full height some time in my late teen years, almost 5’ 10” (5’ 9-and-seven-eighths to be exact), and I slouched off and on into my 20s; and if I am being totally and utterly truthful, probably even into my 30s. After all, I had learned in elementary school that tall was not what girls were supposed to be, and tall didn’t help me fit in, and taller than boys didn’t get me dates to the dance.

Giving our power away to others often starts at an early age, and though we don’t call it that when we are 8 or 10 or 15, that is what it is. When we are 8 or 10 or 15, or hell even 43, it’s about wanting to fit in, it’s about wanting to be part of the pack and blend, and for each person it’s probably about so many other things that are personal to them.

So, what does being tall at a young age have to do with creating? We can’t control how tall we end up, that’s a matter for genetics and time to dictate, but we can decide how big our creative stature is going to be, and still, sometimes we slouch.
Maybe some people slouch with their creativity to fit in, maybe others slouch because they don’t want to be seen as bigger than their teachers or even their peers. A whole bunch of other people slouch when it comes to their creative expression because perhaps they were told by a teacher or mentor that they weren’t good enough, they didn’t get picked for shows over and over again, or they internalised an off comment and never let it go. Some other folks slouch creatively because they might be afraid they will be seen, really and truly seen for who they are and what they bring to the world.

One of my biggest slouches? Talking about my painting. Many people know that I am a graphic designer, that I have worked as a freelance designer for many gift industry publishers, and that aspect of my work I have no trouble talking about. Design industry. Trends. Paper. Licensing. Where my work fits in overall. Love to talk about all of that, and I do, while standing at my full height.
But talking about my painting, there’s where some of my slouch lives. People will say things to me like “oh, I didn’t know you painted too.” To which I most often reply with some variation of “mm-hmm.” And then I smile, do something awkward with my feet, and that’s pretty much the end of the conversation. {Slouch.}

We could analyse that scenario any number of ways and come up with a long list of psychological whys and wherefores, but the bottom line is my painting is important to me, and to talk about it makes it vulnerable. To step up and be the tall girl standing beside her painting could invite criticism. Or worse, someone might tell me I suck.
So how do you slouch?

In what ways do you duck your creative expression and step back in to blend with the crowd?
What are you avoiding stepping up to create?

In what ways do you feel too tall? too big? too exuberant? too noisy? too extravagant? too much?

When I am feeling the need to slouch and it’s time to paint, I have a few things that I do to get myself out of slouch mode. I step into my studio, and I imagine stepping away from all the tribes and packs that have gathered at the watering hole. The lions and the gazelles, the water buffalo and a hippopotamus or 3, an alligator hiding in the water, the small birds and the tall trees. I step out of the background and I consciously push my shoulders up and back (just like mum always told me to when I was a kid). Head high. Shoulders back. And I breathe. Sometimes for 5 or 10 minutes.

And then I start.

Be big and be who you are creatively: step up and address all the ways you might slouch when it comes to your expression and your creative self. Slouching is about blending. Blending is great, you are part of the herd, it doesn’t matter how tall you are, whether your hair is straight or curly, whether you wear glasses or not, you are travelling with a pack, and you are safe. The only thing is, in a tightly packed herd you are also part of the background.

Stepping out, stepping up to be who you are, stepping into your voice, into who you are is no small thing. It is Big. Your creative expression is big. You are big {shoulders back} and you are powerful {head up} when you stand up straight {breathe} and use your creative voice. Step out. Be big.

(All images in this post are by Liz Kalloch. The paintings are: Believe in Something, Bloom, Evolve, Finding Grace, Invitation to Travel and Enchanted Escapade.)

Liz Kalloch is an artist, designer, traveller, and writer who has worn many different creative and entrepreneurial hats–some of these hats she has even designed and knitted herself. Her artwork and life are focused on staying connected to her life path, clarifying and re-clarifying a life purpose and always trying to listen more carefully to that inner voice that speaks the truth. These days you can find her in the San Francisco Bay area where she runs her own freelance design and art creating business and blogs about it here. And you can see more of her work here.

Being Big Together, a Guest Post by Chris Zydel

May 25th, 2011, Comments (5)

BIG ... That is one of those words that has a lot of baggage associated with it... especially if you are a sensitive, creative type.

Big is related to being VISIBLE.  To taking up space. To coming out of hiding. To asking for what you want and need.

On the surface these all sound like really great things. We can look at that list and say "OF course that's what I want! Who wouldn't?"

But when we actually start moving in the direction of BIG we can find ourselves surprised by fear. And nagging feelings of guilt or apprehensiveness.

Thinking about taking up space can lead to a whole cascading chain of worry. "Maybe there's only so much space to go around? And if that's the case, does my getting bigger make me a greedy space hog?  Does it mean that I will be pushing someone else out? Or that I am taking something away from another person?"

These fears are based on the notion that there is only so much BIGNESS to go around. That not everyone gets to be big. Which stems from the belief that we live in a world of lack and limitation.

When you come from the reality of "not enough",  being big starts to get all mixed up with things like competition. One-up-manship. Hierarchies and being better than someone else. Looking through the scarcity-every-woman-for-herself-lens, being big means that someone else has to be small. That there have to be winners and losers.

And if winning means that someone else has to lose, and you are a heart centered, sensitive type person, that means that winning is no longer very much fun.

Under those circumstances, being big starts to lose its appeal. We certainly don't want to hurt anyone else. Or to be seen as too much, too self important, too grandiose. So we think that our only other option is to keep ourselves stunted. Hidden. Invisible.

These attitudes and beliefs around getting bigger also make an assumption that it is either or. Either we are part of a tribe, a group, a loving family where everyone is treated fairly but it means we give up our desire to shine. Or we get to be big and visible and even get a chance to shine but it means we end up lonely, isolated and excluded from the circle of love and acceptance.

n my studio I offer high quality paper that is of ample size, but students can tape the sheets together to make even larger paintings. It's a heady time when a student can let themselves spread out and take up some real space. When they can make a HUGE painting, one that can sometimes cover an entire wall.

Creating a giant painting is a dizzying and terrifying prospect, and most people need lots of encouragement and support to take this step. Which of course is present for them in great abundance at my workshops.

In the past year or so this desire to go big has moved through my studio like a glorious wildfire.  More and more folks have caught the big bug and I have watched as paintings have grown to gorgeously stunning and wildly gargantuan proportions. And yes, this HAS meant that I have had to build a few more large easels to accommodate the growth.

But it has been so worth it. Because each time one of my students took the risk to get bigger in this hothouse environment of love and respect and sheer abundance , their longing to spread out has been met with joy and excitement. By everyone. No one has felt at all diminished by someone else's expansion.

When someone gets BIG in an atmosphere where lack and competition don't exist it gives permission and creates a sense of possibility for EVERYONE. No one is left out. We all get to shine and shimmer together.

Which is really the way it should be. So I invite you today to take a risk to be BIG .... and SHINE ... to TAKE UP SPACE... and ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT.. in the spirit of creating that magnificent space of BIGNESS for us all!


Chris Zydel, founder of Creative Juices Arts  has over 32 years of experience as a compassionate and soulful creativity guide. Through her classes, workshops and training programs she has devoted herself to providing the support, guidance and inspiration that allows her many students to connect with the sacred force of creativity that lives inside of us all. Visit her website at http://www.creativejuicesarts.com

On Dreaming Big, Guest Post by Carmen Torbus

May 24th, 2011, Comments (6)

For quite some time now, I’ve referred to myself as a Bliss Follower, Big Dreamer, Mess Maker and lover of the words, “I’m so inspired right now!” So naturally, a blog like Creative Every Day and an artist like Leah would certainly draw me in. 

When my big dream of writing a book began to take shape, I knew I had to ask Leah to be a part of it.  I was absolutely elated when she said she would contribute!

Putting a little check-mark next to “write a book” on my Mondo Beyondo Big Dream List is a pretty surreal feeling.  I love Leah’s theme of “Big” this month and when she asked me to do a guest post, I knew I wanted to write about dreams.  It’s been a while since I’ve taken the time to share my Big Dreams, so I took a bit of a stroll through old blog posts and pulled out my journals to see where I’ve come on my list. 

It as almost a year ago that I shared my Big 3 and so much has changed since then, but what’s really cool is that although my circumstances have changed, the heart of my goals has not... talk about reassuring! 

My Big 3 last summer:

1. Develop and launch an empowering & inspiring, self-discovery, powerhouse course/seminar/extravaganza for creative dreamers.
2. Create a coaching/consulting/conspiring program for creative women and begin taking clients that are ready to get fired up & take action to rock their creative lives.
3. Start speaking to audiences of creative women.  The cheerleader in me gets all giddy at the thought of getting a crowd of creative women fired up!

Oh my gosh,  I still get all kinds of excited just thinking about these dreams.  Now that I'm working full time outside the home, instead of reaching for these goals individually, I want to combine the three and make them into one mega-big dream... an extra-messy, super-inspiring, blissed-out, art making, personal discovery workshop.  That one is a whopper.... scares the pants of me just thinking about it. 

My Big 3 now:

1.The workshop above.
2. Again.
3. And again. (to infinity!)

What are your big dreams?  What are you passionate about?  What gets you out of bed in the morning and tucks you in at night?  What makes your heart sing?  Dream Big - over and over and over again!

xo & belief in all things you,

Mixed Media Artist and Author of The Artist Unique, Inspiration and Techniques to Discover Your Creative Signature

p.s. from Leah: Congratulations, Carmen on the launch of your book, The Artist Unique! I'm thrilled to be a part of it!!

Being BIG, a Guest Post by Jennifer Lee

May 20th, 2011, Comments (6)

“Be BIG!” my high school speech coach used to say to me as I practiced my dramatic interpretation pieces for competition. He’d encourage me to take a wider stance, project my naturally quiet voice, and stand up straight.  Those were great tips for delivering a more convincing and engaging speech, but I think what he was really trying to teach me all those years ago was to have confidence in myself and to own my own power.

Being BIG, taking up space, and being seen can be very vulnerable and scary.

When I first started intuitive painting, I only painted on single sheets of paper. Until one day, I saw an image emerge above my sheet of paper and I needed to add another page to paint it. Over the course of several months, the painting grew to three sheets, then six, and ultimately to 18 sheets to create a wall-sized, crazy painting. Each time I realized that the painting needed more space, I would call my painting teacher Chris over and I’d then proceed to whine, pout, or stall… whatever I could do to resist letting the painting get bigger because it made me very uncomfortable.

I felt bad if other students in the studio had to move their stations because my painting was too big, I felt like a burden if I had to ask other people to help me add more paper or pin this unwieldy monstrosity to the wall, and I felt like I was being super obnoxious for having a painting that was so in-your-face ginormous (like, um who does she think she is?!). And mostly, I was shocked that I had so much bigness in me. But to see it spread out in front of me in bright, bold colors, I couldn’t hide from it.

Obviously this was my learning edge because every intuitive painting I’ve done since then has been huge. In fact, now it is part of my process to paint big. I love the feeling of being in front of a wall and moving my paint brush all the way across it, adding in color and shapes with abandon, and letting my whole body get into the experience. I get to stretch myself literally and figuratively. It’s freeing, wildly expressive, and oh-so satisfying.

I even realized that I love that feeling of standing up and moving things around a big wall so much that now I do my planning that way. In my office I have an entire wall dedicated to a huge calendar. I stand in front of it and write my goals and to-dos on sticky notes and it helps me connect with my big vision.

Let the big theme remind you that when you allow yourself to be big and take up space you’re honoring all of who you really are!

Jennifer Lee, the founder of Artizen Coaching and author of The Right-Brain Business Plan, spent a decade climbing the corporate ladder before pursuing her creative dreams. Through her courses, coaching, products, and writing, she empowers others to follow their passions.

Popping In

May 19th, 2011, Comments (7)

I hope you've been enjoying the guest posts this month! I've got some fabulous ones to come this month and next and I'm so grateful to the creative souls who've been sharing their stories here, while I'm deep in new mama land.

Annabelle is keeping me on my toes! I feel like the last two weeks have been simultaneously the longest and shortest weeks of my life. It's amazing to be filled with so much love and so much exhaustion at one time, but oh, her cute little face and sweet snuggles make it all worth it. I know she won't be this tiny forever!

Before I return to the world of babyhood and the endless eat, sleep, poop cycle, here are a couple posts I saw recently that relate beautifully to this month's theme of BIG:

First, this post and video from Laura Hollick about being seen. I love her tips!

Second, a beautiful, post in images from Vivienne McMaster on Roots of She.


Seven Pounds, a Guest Post by Eileen Valazza

May 18th, 2011, Comments (8)

Seven Pounds

Oh little one, you made everything so big.

The love.
I was pretty sure the love would be big, and it's true. I could stare at you for hours, with that soft giddy new-parent look on my face. The one that every parent in the world ever has had.

I saw a couple pushing a stroller down our street the other day and it occurred to me, holy crap, they love that baby as much as I love you.

And it seemed impossible, that there could be this amount of love in the world. We should capture it, use it to power everything and solve the global energy crisis.

The Fear.
Maybe I wasn't thinking about the fear ahead of time, or I underestimated it. Because the fear really blindsided me. I remember the moment it hit me, a few weeks after you were born.

Before that, I worried that I might do something wrong, that I might mess up and not do the right things for you. But in that moment I realized that we won't always be here, together, all day every day.

You are going to go and be a part of this world, and other people will put their marks on you. Someone might hurt you. Someone will likely break your fluttery little heart.

I think, how can I exist knowing this? That there is this living, breathing fragile piece of me so open to the entire world? How have other parents done this before me?

It seems impossible to go on living and be this vulnerable.

But you also made me so much bigger than I was before.

I used to be able to get lost in my own dark corners for days. Now I don't the option to indulge in that. It's scary to hit a wall, to be at the very end of yourself, and realize that not going on is not an option.

When leaving is not an option there is only surrender. And so again and again, more space opens up.

I don't know how you brought so much with you, inside only seven pounds.


Eileen Valazza is mama to 5-month-old Zane, and serves up moonshine for your creative business at the Hopscotch Distillery.

Guest Video Post by Goddess Leonie

May 13th, 2011, Comments (5)

Oh my, my dear friend Leonie is pure magic. Enjoy this guest video post all about living and creating BIG!!

Goddess Leonie is the creator of www.GoddessGuidebook.com, a popular creativity + spirituality blog for women.

Painting Big, a Guest Post by Connie Hozvicka

May 8th, 2011, Comments (10)


My parents got divorced when I was just a wee little kiddo--and for the first years my Dad would pick my brother and I up every other Friday for our weekend visit.  I was certain--100% sure that while we were gone my Mother couldn’t live with out us.  I imagined, quite vividly in my six year old mind, that the entire weekend my Mother buried herself under blankets, soaked her pillows in tears, and moaned out sporadically in agony--as she waited for her beloved children to return.


Especially me, of course.


So, one Friday afternoon I thought I would surprise her with a gift.  Something that she could look at and think of me--and not feel so sad and miserable in my absence.


I carried my poster paints, a small bucket of water, and that free paintbrush that comes in the watercolor kits downstairs to the family room.  I moved the furniture just a little bit closer to the wall so I could balance--and I began to paint a self portrait.


Mural style.


Right there on the oak faux wood paneling. 


I can remember that I drew the outline of my elongated body in blue and my hair, even though it was blonde--I began by drawing it long and wavy with thick black lines. 


I  remember exactly how it felt to paint that self portrait.  The power of moving my little body with each brushstroke.  The danger of balancing on the back of our mustard colored sofa.  The rush I got from creating a surprise gift for my Mother. 


The pure bliss of painting BIG for my very first time.


Then, unexpectedly, my Mother came downstairs.


Yep.  You can imagine what happened next.


But here’s the thing.  It doesn’t matter that my Mom was rightfully upset.  It doesn’t matter that she cried tears and even sporadically moaned out in agony as she scrubbed with bleach and other stinky chemicals.  It doesn’t matter even that I got grounded or that she didn’t fully embrace my gift.


I don’t remember all of that stuff. 


I just remember how it felt the first time I ever painted BIG.


And now, 30 years later, I’m back to painting BIG and it has cracked my life open into a canyon of beautiful possibilities, abundance, and welcoming surprises.  I’m no longer the person I used to be--instead I found myself again.  I picked up where I once left off.


When my Mother walked down the stairs.




Connie Hozvicka is the founder of DirtyFootprints-Studio.com--the home of the FEARLESS™ Painting Revolution which focuses on empowering creative souls to strengthen their intuition, connect deeper with Creative Source, and grow confidant as Artists through FEARLESS™ Painting.  Connie's online FEARLESS™ Painting workshop: BIG starts Sunday, May 22, 2011.  This is a 6 week adventure that will introduce you to the FEARLESS™ Painting Process and inspire you to paint BIG!


Creative Every Day Theme for May: Big

April 26th, 2011, Comments (12)

At the end of each month I will announce the totally optional theme for the following month. For the month of May 2011, the theme will be Big.

As always, this month's theme for the Creative Every Day Challenge is totally optional. Use it if it inspires you, continue being creative every day in your own way if it doesn't, or do something in between. You can sign up for the 2011 Creative Every Day Challenge anytime. More info can be found here and the sign-up page is here.

I'll be posting about the theme throughout the month on the blog to help keep you inspired. You can use the posts here for jumping off points or interpret the theme in your own creative way. If you need some suggestions, here are a few ideas to get you started. You could:

  • *Paint big! Tack sheets of paper to the wall and get painting. Add more sheets as needed.
  • *Dream big! Write down your 5 *big* dreams. Take one small step towards one of them.
  • *Get out in nature where you can feel small in a big world.
  • *Take photographs, looking up at large things. Or make small things look big with the angle of your shot.
  • *Take big risks with your work.
  • *Free associate in writing about what the word "big" means to you.
  • *Take up space with your body, your attitude, your work. Act big instead of small.
  • *Create a mural or draw an extra large chalk drawing (get help from friends or children!)
  • *Write large and loud.
  • *Draw with large, sweeping strokes. Get your whole body into the action of it.

How to use the CED themes:

If you're feeling creatively stuck or blocked at any point during the month, use the theme as a source of inspiration to get you moving. Feel free to focus on the theme in your creative activities for the entire month or as much as you'd like.

Using the theme is entirely optional for CED participants. Use it if it inspires you, ignore it if it doesn't. I'll be sharing posts throughout the month around the theme (among other things) to get you thinking about how to incorporate it into your life. I'd love to hear how you use the theme in your creative world.

And have fun with it!


*The art above is adapted from my piece, Lollipop Trees, which is available as a print here.

Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint you can on it. ~Danny Kaye