Entries Tagged as: inspiration

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, 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.

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!


Gratitude for the Small Things

April 30th, 2011, Comments (13)

To finish up the month of Small (can you believe it's the end of April?), I thought it'd be nice to take some time to reflect on all the small things we're grateful for. It can be so easy to get caught up in the things that stress us out, bring us down, frustrate, or sadden us. But there's always much to be grateful for, even if those things are very small.

Perhaps this weekend you can make a short list of the things you are grateful for. Start with five things. If you feel like continuing, stretch that list to 15, 25, 50, or even 100 (I've done this, you can too!)

I took a long walk yesterday, moving slowly, but oh so grateful for the movement, the gorgeous day, and the colorful scenery. One of my favorite things is flowering trees that bloom in Spring and my neighborhood is currently filled with them, all so beautiful that it makes me giddy. So right there, are several small things I'm grateful for: mobility, a long walk, gorgeous weather, beautiful flowering trees, and taking pictures with my iphone. Some other things I'm feeling grateful for today are my sweet husband, soft kitty paws, the white noise of the air purifier, ice water, and Alba pineapple quench lip balm.

So tell me, what are 5 small things you're grateful for today?

Some small things I’ve been up to

April 22nd, 2011, Comments (10)

Keeping with the small theme, here are some of the small things I've been up to in the last week. I finished up a total experiment in sewing, using some fabric scraps I had from my first big sewing project, to make this little bird. He's perfectly imperfect.

My littlest pal (my best friend's 3 year old) and I made beautiful play-doh art (this was entirely directed by her.)

I've been taking loads of tiny photos with the Instagram app. If you use the app, have you heard about postagram? It's a cool way to get your instagram photos in hard copy, in the form of a postcard. I'm going to have to try that out.

I've also been putting the finishing touches on the nursery, including painting a growth chart tree which I'm in love with. Here's a sneak peek of it in progress. I promise to share photos of the whole nursery in all its glory very soon!

I also got a copy of the small and lovely new book by Patti Digh, What I Wish for You. I love Patti's writing. You can find my painting, The Unknown, on page 70!

I hope your weekend is full of small beauties!

Featured Creative Every Day Challenge Participants

March 31st, 2011, Comments (11)

Every so often, I love to share with you a glimpse into what some of the amazingly talented people participating in the Creative Every Day Challenge have been up to this month. I know it's hard to find time to see everyone's work, so hopefully this will give you a peek at some things you might not have seen otherwise. I wish I had time to share even more. You are all up to such amazing things and it's so inspiring!

First up are these sweet little owls from Karoline of What Karo'Line Did Next. I might have to try making some. I love owls too!

This gorgeous necklace is from Amanda Jolley of Hidden Art. I saw it on Flickr and fell in love!


This lovely collage about Home is from Rachel of art + food + friends. I love the Emily Dickinson quote in it, "Dwell in possibility."

I love the shadow in this beautiful landscape illustration by Nelleke verhoeff of yepr illustrations and inspirations.

I'm totally smitten with these gardening markers created by Ines of Daily Forward Tumble.

This tree sculpture was created by Jamie of Spunkyness. I love how she says it's a container for dreams. I think trees would make great dream containers!

And speaking of trees, check out this grand Eagle's nest captured in photography by Little Drum of The Dreaming Tree!

I'm loving the wonderful variety of work and the new worlds I see through your creative eyes. Thank you for sharing parts of yourself and keep on creating!

Look Up, Look Down, Sparkles Giveaway!

March 19th, 2011, Comments (44)

Earlier this week, I went on a walk. Oh, glorious Spring! It was so nice to be outside.

One of my favorite things to do on a walk is to take along my iphone and snap pictures. Simply having the camera with me helps me see things in new ways. It reminds me to look up at the sky, to look down at my shadow, and to notice the little moments of beauty that are everywhere.

It also got me thinking about how creativity can be inserted into the smallest bits of time, like a short walk. This is the idea behind Sparkles, Jamie Ridler's creative e-course, which brings you 31 days of quick-to-read, 5 minute exercises from lots of inspiring, creative guides (including myself!) I love the idea behind this project because it's so true, creativity can be brought into your life, even when you feel like you have no time for it. And even when it feels like five minutes couldn't possibly enough, time can impossibly expand once you begin, and you'll be amazed at what you can get out of it.

Here's a sparkly idea to get you started: Go out for a short walk with a camera. Focus on looking up and taking pictures of what catches your eye. Or try focusing on your shadow or the shadow of other objects on different surfaces. You'll be amazed by what you see when you start paying attention to these things. 


Sparkles registration begins March 22nd and I'd love to give away one spot in this course! Even if you don't win the spot, I highly recommend checking it out. It'll be a great, creative adventure!

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this post, before 12 pm EST on Monday the 21st, telling me your favorite way to bring creativity into your life when you just have a little bit of time. I'll announce the winner on Tuesday. Good luck!

Update: The giveaway is closed, but you can still join in the fun. Sparkles registration is now open!

Full Wolf Moon and Other Goodies

January 19th, 2011, Comments (9)

With tonight being the Full Wolf Moon, I sat down after dinner to make a dreamboard, something I used to do with collaged images, but in the last year or so I have enjoyed drawing or painting them. I thought it was a good thing to share during the month of cosmos! In this one, I intuitively drew a tree growing from a wolf, with the various branches holding things I want to manifest, such as a healthy body and baby. Have you made a dreamboard for the full moon before? You can find out more about them from the amazing, Jamie Ridler.

I've got a couple other goodies to share too!

1. The lovely and talented, Liv Lane is celebrating the one year anniversary of her Happy HeART giveaways and to help her celebrate, I'm giving away one of my prints! All you have to do is stop by and leave a comment here.

2. My calendar publisher offered me a great discount after the holidays, so I picked up some more, so I could pass the savings on to you! While they last, you can grab one of my 2011 calendars for half off! And if you'd like a drawing on your birthday in the calendar, simply order a second item (greeting card, print, or original art.)

3. The Soul Art TV series of interviews of Creative Revolutionaries has been so fun to watch! If you haven't checked them out yet,  you can sign up here (they're free) and get a whole bunch of free gifts in the process! I'll let you know when my interview is up.

Being a Beginner

January 14th, 2011, Comments (27)

I'm learning to sew. Crafty skills, where precision is key, are not my forte, but I want to learn well enough to make simple things like pillow covers, curtains, little baby items, and some things for myself. So I signed up for a few lessons at a local fabric shop. Last week we played around with the machines and today we started on a simple bag.

We used samples from a fabric book to make the outside of the bag and pocket, and other remnants for the lining (which you can see sticking out the top because I haven't sewed the lining and outside together yet.) And next week we'll make straps and sew it all together. I'm excited about this imperfect little bag. How fun to be a beginner, learning to do something new!

Next we'll be working on a pair of pants (loose, pajama-like pants, that I'll be able to wear after the baby), so that we can learn to sew from a pattern. But what I'm most excited about tackling is these little booties (on the cover, below) I saw in Anna Maria Horner's book, Handmade Beginnings. Gosh, they're cute!

Trying something new is always good for the creative soul. It sparks the imagination while getting us excited and thinking in new ways. Are you learning anything new this year?

While learning something new, can you allow yourself to let go and embrace imperfection? I sewed the back part of the pocket inside-out by accident today and just laughed it off, but sometimes it's hard to not get frustrated when our first experiments are a little off. I know I can get easily frustrated when I'm not naturally good at something (like all sports-related activities), but I'm really trying to let go of that while learning to sew. Give yourself the space to be a beginner, to make mistakes, to play, and see what happens. So much of art and creativity is about happy accidents and what you do with them.

p.s. For those of you who sew, where are your favorite places to buy fabric?

Squirrel in a Snow Storm

November 8th, 2010, Comments (14)

Day 8 of Art Every Day Month. Not every day can in a direction you like and today's art did not go the way I hoped. Ah well. I do like the little squirrel, inspired by the crazy squirrel I've seen flying through the air to get on top of our bird feeder during the crazy wind storm we're having. He's an acrobat! And it was still fun to play.

And by the way, weather gods, I'm not looking to call the snow forth by painting snow! Heh. I'm not ready!