Entries Tagged as: blogs

Creativity & the Body with Jamie Ridler

January 8th, 2010, Comments (25)

I'm so grateful that i was able to have this conversation with Jamie Ridler about creativity and the body! When I first asked Jamie to chat with me about this theme, I wasn't sure exactly why. I knew she taught Nia and loved to dance, but Jamie's work doesn't center around the body. I just had a feeling that she'd have some particularly juicy things to share on the topic and boy, was I right! I hope you enjoy our chat below, which you can listen to here or right-click (ctrl-click on a Mac) to download and listen to later.

Click here to listen

Some juicy things to think about: What's one thing about your body that you're feeling grateful for today? What's one, tiny thing you do every day that you can do today with awareness and pleasure?

You can find out more about Jamie on her website where she blogs, leads groups (like the Full Moon Dreamboard groups Wishcasting Wednesdays, and super fun Next Chapter book groups), has a great podcast, and offers beautiful products (like Your Creative Spark and the brand new Soul Reflections course.) She's on Twitter too as @starshyne. Thank you, Jamie!!

Update: Sorry about the recording snafu! It's all fixed now!

Flowing out of 2009 and into 2010

December 31st, 2009, Comments (26)

What a magical day. It's a Full Blue Moon, it's New Year's Eve, we're on the cusp of another beautiful year of being Creative Every Day, and I feel like I'm inside a snow globe with these teeny, tiny flakes falling outside. I'm especially loving that it's a Blue Moon, since I'm such a moon girl and as you might imagine, my favorite color is blue (plus, I say that "once in a blue moon" expression quite a bit.)

I've just finished my full moon dreamboard for Jamie Ridler's dreamboard group and I'm using it to reflect what I want for myself in 2010: mainly more ease and flow. I have this image of a river in my mind. There's an ease to the movement of a river, but there is also motion, action, and continuous, steady flow. Perhaps the river is also in my mind because I find sitting near moving water incredibly soothing. I think I sometimes associate stillness with stagnation, but ease and movement are not so separate. I see that in the way that getting regular exercise helps me feel more calm, and how de-cluttering helps me feel more spacious and open. It's a funny little paradox that I'd like to have in my life in 2010: ease, flow, and movement. While I've been thinking I'd use the words "ease and flow" as my theme for 2010, I think I may use the image of a river as it captures more of what I'm going for. Why not?

The dreamboard above was based on a sketch from my sketchbook that I drew onto a larger sheet of watercolor paper. I created the river with gesso and bits of snowflake tissue paper to create texture. Once that dried, I painted over it with ink and acrylics. (By the way, this is a great way to recycle holiday tissue paper and make cool textures in your art!) I then drew in the figure and wrote in some words, such as: ease, flow, resonance, calm, and movement. When I mentioned wanting more ease and flow in my life earlier this month, Terri (@TerriFisher on Twitter) let me know that Rhea is the goddess of Ease and Flow. How cool! I'm sure I'll paint her at some point this year too.

The last few years, I've loved choosing a theme word for the year. I think I may have read about it first on Christine Kane's blog (by the way she's offering a free download about choosing a theme word for the year.) Last year, I chose the word "Leap" and it served me well. I made some huge leaps in my career and my life in general. I'm especially proud of having art on the cover and an article in Artful Blogging Magazine, being on the radio, creating my first online teleclass, in-person workshop with the fabulous Jennifer Lee, first e-course, growing my online challenges, buying our first home, and selling more art than ever before. I'm so very grateful for my wonderful family, friends, loving hubster, and our four fuzzy cats. I'm also thrilled with the amazing connections I've made with fabulous creative people this year, many I met through this blog. I feel so incredibly lucky to be part of such an amazingly supportive community.

It's been a challenging year in other ways. I lost my Grandma after a battle with Alzheimer's just before Thanksgiving, I had some behind-the-scenes technical issues and problems with boundaries, I had a health scare with my beloved cat, Sadie, and I found the whole process of moving to be exhausting. I also made the decision to come off anti-depressants after being on them for ten years (I did this over a long period of time with the help of a doctor.) It was one of the most challenging things I've ever done. It still feels like a bit of a journey for me, but I'm doing really well and I'm thrilled about that. Overall, life is good. So very good. And I'm so grateful for it all.

To help me close out 2009 and grow my vision of what 2010 will be, I've printed out Goddess Leonie's stunning Creating My Goddess Year Workbook & Planner. There are some pages in the workbook that go along so beautifully with next month's (totally optional) theme of Body for the Creative Every Day Challenge, so I'll share those here. And I'm going to be interviewing the lovely Leonie next month about loving up your body, so stay tuned for that too!

Actually, I've got so much goodness planned for next month, that I can hardly stand it! It's going to be an amazing year. I love the energy that's building already. I wish each and every one of you a beautiful close to your 2009. May 2010 be filled with wild creativity, uncontrollable laughter, quiet moments of delight, and loads of love. See you in 2010!

Recycled Ornaments

December 15th, 2009, Comments (6)

I've been enjoying what the Creative Every Day Challenge participants have been doing with the recycling theme! A few people have recycled items to make super cool Christmas ornaments. Seeing them reminded me of the clothes-pin reindeer I made as a kid (which I still own and love!) Those handmade ornaments are the best kind I think. :-)

Regina, at Creative Kismet, used old paper rolls, to make these adorable hand-painted ornaments. She's got a great tutorial on how to make them too!

And Melissa, at Dandelion seed on the updraft, embossed the lid from a tin of raisins to make a fabulous ornament. So creative!

Do you have any favorite ornaments made from recycled items?

Recycled Bits and Pieces in Art

December 11th, 2009, Comments (12)

A little sneak peek of something I've been working on for a book by arist, writer and teacher extraordinaire, Carmen Torbus, that I'll be featured in along with an amazing group of artists. So exciting! And it's so hard not to share the whole thing because I love the way it came together! But soon enough.

I share this little snippet because it fits well with the recycle theme going on this month for the Creative Every Day Challenge. In this piece and in a lot of my art, I recycle bits and pieces of paper to create the collage backgrounds for my paintings. In this small section, is a bit of to-do list stationery and some sheet music.

Where do these bits and pieces of paper come from? Well, like many creative folks, I'm a collector. I see interesting pieces of paper and I have trouble throwing them away. So, they get stored in boxes and eventually used in artwork. Sometimes I buy the scraps at fairs that sell antique goods in the summer, sometimes I trade with other artists for scraps (I loved doing this for a 6x6 collage project), and sometimes I find the bits myself in everything from my own scribbled notes, junk mail, and doodles on rice paper. My sister-in-law recently gave me a great stack of old blueprints that I adore using and my bff recently gifted me an old book of design forms. I like having the variety, so when I sit down to collage, I can pick through my supplies intuitively and use what works for me in the moment.

Sometimes it's easy to forget what we have, so it's good every so often to sort through it all. Whenever I do this, I'm always inspired by what I find and re-discover amongst the boxes. What are some of your favorite recycled goodies that you use in your artwork?

p.s. I was recently interviewed as part of the "Inspiring Women" series on the All Things Girl blog. All Things Girl is a fabulous zine filled with great articles, art, and interviews (and you can submit your artwork too!) that I highly recommend checking out!

Creative Recycling Linkage

December 9th, 2009, Comments (4)

After an intense period of creating over the weekend, I've been taking some time to rest with the hubster who has the week off. We've been enjoying a lot of relaxing, movie-watching, and reading. It's been lovely.

I'll share some of what I've been up to soon, but in the meantime, I've collected some super fun ways to play with the totally optional theme of recycle this month for the Creative Every Day Challenge:

* I love the look of this plastic bag wreath seen on Vickie Howell's blog. So cute with Target bags. I also loved Vickie's instructions for turning greeting cards into tree ornaments!

* Recyclart might be the coolest recycling find I've discovered this month. It chock full of amazingly creative artwork and diy projects that utilize recycling to make super cool things like this vintage button rings, inner tube vases, and beach plastic artwork.

* This cool project shows how to make a wastepaper basket out of...waste paper!

* Here's a great interview with artist William Wagenaar, owner of Reclaim2Fame and creator of super fun recylced, sculptural creations.

* I enjoyed this Craft Sanity podcast interview with author and clothing designer Cal Patch, someone who strives to make all her own clothing and do as much repurposing as possible.

Full Cold Moon

December 3rd, 2009, Comments (22)

Last night, in between a bunch of other projects, I took some time to sit in bed and make this little drawing for the full cold moon. I've loved making art around the full moons along with Jamie Ridler's full moon dreamboard group. This drawing represents my desire to have some more flow and ease in my life this month. In fact, I think I'd like that to be my theme for the year...flow and ease, ease and flow, like the babbling brooks I watched on a walk this afternoon.

Because of these behind the scenes projects going on, I may be quiet over the next few days, but in the meantime, do check out the information on the 2010 Creative Every Day Challenge that I posted about yesterday. I'm so excited by all the sign-ups pouring in! It's going to be a fabulous year!!

Trick or Treats

October 31st, 2009, Comments (12)


This week in The Joy Diet, which I'm reading with Jamie Ridler's book group, the focus is on treats or how you reward yourself. When I thought about it at first, I felt like I've been fairly good at treating myself. But when I looked more closely this week, I realized I'm good at treating myself in some ways more than others.

For example, I'm good at treating myself through distasteful tasks and finding small ways to make my day more enjoyable. For example, I love saving the Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me Podcast for when I clean the kitchen. I've been using enjoyable listening to make chores more fun since I was a teenager when I listened to musicals on my headphones (back when we used tape cassettes.) I still do this sort of thing with music, podcasts, or audiobooks while doing un-fun things like cleaning the litter and also with very fun things like making art. I love hearing a good story.

Earlier this week I upped the treat factor by asking some folks on Twitter for podcast recommendations. It was suggested I check out The Moth, Radiolab, Speaking of Faith, and some others, which I downloaded episodes of and scattered them throughout my day to make various tasks more fun.

Yesterday, I treated myself to some beautiful hydrangeas (see above), a bribe for going to the grocery store. Ok, so I seem to bribe myself a lot. A trick and a treat? But what I'm not always great at doing is treating myself as a celebration or just because. Thinking about little ways to treat myself well throughout the week was a great reminder though and I was grateful for that. I've got to keep that up as I dive into the busy month of Art Every Day which starts up tomorrow. Wee! Super excited!

As we wind up, this month of connection, I'm noticing how much I love to connect with folks online through places like Twitter, this blog, and the many challenges that pop up throughout the blogopshere. It's a beautiful thing. I'll be talking more about connections in an interview with Anne Paris, author of Standing at Water's Edge: Moving Past Fear, Blocks, and Pitfalls to Discover the Power of Creative Immersion, which will be posted later this week.

Happy Halloween everyone!

Connecting with Your Creativity

October 18th, 2009, Comments (17)

butterfly tree

This week's chapter of The Joy Diet, which I'm reading with Jamie Ridler's book group, was about creativity. Creativity! Yes, you think I'd be all over this like fudge on a sundae, right? Well, yes, I do love me some creativity talk, but his was a fairly quiet week for me.

It's interesting, but a lot of people reading the book are having strong reactions to it. While this has not been my favorite Martha Beck book, I'm still getting things out of it. I think for a lot of people, the book is going too fast, there's too much information, it's asking too much. And I do hear that. It is a lot to process and a lot to consider doing each and every day. I think part of the reason, I'm not having an adverse reaction to the book is because I'm holding it very lightly.

Perhaps I'll get less out of the process by doing this, but I've got a lot going on at the moment, and the only way I can do this book right now is to take on what's helpful and leave the rest. I play with the suggestions, incorporating them into my days as I see fit. If I don't do it perfectly, I'm not going to worry about it. Stress-free-book-clubbing.

There are books I've read where I've done every exercise and followed along with nearly every suggestion, as I've done in past readings of The Artist's Way, for example. And there are others that I've read without doing any of the exercises. This book is somewhere in the middle for me. I'm doing some exercises, leaving others behind without a second thought. It feels just right for me right now.

This week I've used the creativity prompts in small and subtle ways. Whenever I'd remember, I'd check in with myself about what I was desiring in that moment and then I'd think up a few creative ways to move in the direction of what I wanted. What I liked about doing this, was that it helped me to get playful with how I can get what I want and it helped me move from desire into action.

Ok, this is a super small example, but small is good too. I checked in with myself at one point this week about what I was desiring in that moment. What instantly came to mind was that I was super cold and I really wanted to be warmer. The funny thing is, that if I hadn't checked in, I might not have done much about the fact that I was cold. I might have just blown it off and kept going. Just checking in was a good thing for me. So then I thought, "Ok, I want to be warm. What are some creative ways I could get warm?" And I started to list off ideas in my head: I could put on fuzzy socks, I could put on an extra layer, I could do jumping jacks, I could drink hot chocolate, I could do some work around the house to get myself moving and feel warmer, I could take a hot shower, I could make soup or tea or hot cider, I could cuddle up with kitties under the blankets, I could turn up the heat, I could fly back to Florida, I could put on leg warmers and dance to 80's music, etc...

Beyond the fact that making this list was kinda fun and a bit silly at times, it did get me to to come up with some solid ideas to get warm and I acted on a few and felt much better. Was this desire a deep one? No. But it was great practice and I used the process later in the week to figure out how to take action on a deeper desire to work on a writing project that I was procrastinating on. By coming up with creative ways to get started, I found a fun way to get moving on it again.

How do you connect with your creativity? What creative ways can you move towards your desires, both small and large?

Connecting to Your Longing

October 8th, 2009, Comments (39)

connect pondsky

I have these pictures from a nature walk I took the other day and when I was thinking about posting them, I thought, "Oh, but you already did a post about connecting with nature for the connect theme! Write about something different!" But sometimes you've just gotta go with where your heart is tugging you.

It's kind of funny because of all the Joy Diet chapters (the book I'm reading with Jamie Ridler's book group), the one on Desire has been the most difficult for me. I'm not sure if it's because it gets harder as one chapter builds upon the next, if the exercises themselves are getting more difficult, if I'm losing steam, or if I have some kind of resistance to looking at what it is that I desire. I have a feeling it's the latter.

I've continued to get in my nothing time (mainly in the form of walks), I've done the truth exercises, but by the time I get to the desire piece, I've "run out of time" or "forgotten" or brushed it off. Hmm. And this is something I've been working on too, speaking up and saying what I want instead of being so easy-going to a fault all the time. Perhaps there's a fear underneath it all that something I want is too big, too grand, and the disappointment would be too great. Or perhaps I feel like I have enough and who am I to want more?

connect pondtrees

For now, I'm going to continue to practice Martha Beck's method of "picking a pebble" of any small desire and follow it where it leads. On my walks, I've been so thrilled with colors and shapes and have been so glad to have my iphone with me to capture snapshots of it all. I've been especially excited by reflections of sky in water and the shapes of leaves. Color and texture and beauty, oh my!

connect bushsky

I feel like I've been successful in following my desires in terms of inspiration. It's something I'm more familiar with, allowing myself to be pulled by the inner nudges that lead me to mediums, subjects, and experiments in art. And perhaps this is enough for now and maybe if I continue to practice this, my desire skills will expand into other areas of my life.

I guess I did end up writing about a different sort of connection here. And in reality I could write about connecting with nature and all the things that come up from doing that all month long! (Although I doubt I will.) But isn't it interesting to see where following desire can lead?

Where are your inner nudges leading you in your art? Are you following them despite what you may "think" about it? What are you longing to do creatively? And if you don't know yet, how could you connect with that part of yourself?

The Joy Diet – Do Nothing

September 27th, 2009, Comments (16)


I'm currently reading Martha Beck's The Joy Diet along with Jamie Ridler's online book group. I love Martha Beck's writing, particularly her books Steering by Starlight and Expecting Adam (if you enjoy audio books, I highly recommend listening to Steering by Starlight, which Beck reads), so I was super excited to hear about this choice for Jamie's book group.

The book talks about different daily practices for living a joy-filled life, each one building upon the next. The first one is to do fifteen minutes of nothing every day, which could be done through traditional sitting meditation or moving meditation, anything where you focus on stillness of the mind. Surprisingly hard to do for someone whose mind works a million miles a minute like mine does. I did a mix of sitting meditation and walking meditation throughout the week and was so glad I did. No matter what method you choose, anything that stills the mind is a good practice.

I've found that in many cases, art making is a great way to still the mind, especially when I focus on creating intuitively. So, it made total sense to collage the cover of my newest sketchbook with images of joy. I pulled images intuitively with the intention of selecting colors, textures, and pictures that spoke of joy to me. I added a little bit of glitter and paint  and voila, a joyful sketchbook to write in throughout the process of reading this book!

Sometimes just being still is fabulous, but I tend to prefer something that gets me moving physically too, like walking in nature or painting intuitively, but I'm going to keep playing with different methods and see what comes up.