Entries Tagged as: play

Move with InterPlay: An Interview with Cynthia Winton-Henry

August 19th, 2009, Comments (9)


This week I had the honor of speaking with Cynthia Winton-Henry, co-founder of InterPlay. I was introduced to Cynthia and InterPlay by the lovely Gretchen Wegner, and I was immediately fascinated by the process.

InterPlay fits so well with the Creative Every Day Challenge theme of move this month because it's all about unlocking the wisdom of your body through movement, stories, and interacting with community. Plus, it involves some of my favorite things: play and permission.

I spoke with Cynthia about how movement impacts creativity, what an InterPlay class is like, and she shared a simple InterPlay exercise we can all try during this month of movement! You can listen into the conversation below or right-click and save it to listen to later.

Listen here.

You can find out more about Cynthia, InterPlay, and find an InterPlay class near you right here.

Did you try out the exercise Cynthia suggested? What did you think of it? To learn more and see someone else do it, check out this post and video over at Gretchen's blog.

How does consciously moving your body impact your creativity?

Good Stuff Galore!

August 14th, 2009, Comments (6)

I've got other posts swimming around in my brain since I wrote the Swimming Lessons post, but I had to stop and share some of the good stuff going on!

greeting cards

Firstly, I've got some gorgeous new greeting cards for sale in my art shop. They're lovely. Right now there are three to choose from and you can purchase one or save money by buying them in a set. Checkity, check them out right here.


Secondly, time is absolutely flying by and it's nearly time for another Art Picnic Teleclass! The next one is happening Saturday, August 22nd from 1-3 pm Eastern time. This is a great opportunity to schedule in some creative time for yourself and learn some tips and tools to help you get going when you're feeling stuck with your art.

Third, I'm super excited about making my second appearance on the Connie's fabulous Creative Juicy Life radio show this Sunday at 6pm EST. I'll be on with my pal, Jennifer Lee to talk about living the creative life and our upcoming Creative Play Workshop, which is taking place in the Boston area on September 19th. If you can't listen into the call live, you'll be able to hear a recording of the call here. EDIT: Due to technical difficulties, the radio show was canceled and rescheduled for Sunday, September 6th at 6pm EST.

cp2 large

The Creative Play Workshop is going to be a blast. Lots of giggling, creating, and mess-making will be happening and we'd love to see you there! There's an early bird price for this workshop through August 31st and space is limited, so be sure to scoop up your spot here.

Lastly, I've been doing lots of tedious, behind the scenes kind of work this week and haven't had as much time as to get around to see all your fabulous work. I plan on doing some blog-hopping on Sunday though! Tomorrow the hubster and I are going to do some measuring at the new house for things like curtains and blinds. Weird. We've been living in this bachelor pad type apartment for so long, it's going to be quite a switch to do things like actually decorate!

Hope you all have a wonderfully creative weekend!

Swimming Lessons for Moving Out of Your Comfort Zone

August 12th, 2009, Comments (17)

wip bodyscape
work-in-progress where i'm practicing taking some risks!

The painting above is a work-in-progress, where I'm painting over part of a very old mixed-media piece. I do not know where it's going yet and it's in the stage where every step is a bit of a risk.

As I said at the start of August's move theme for the Creative Every Day Challenge, I also interpret "move" to mean taking risks. To me, risk taking means moving out of your comfort zone into the land of the scary, the exhilarating, the dangerous, and the empowering. I immediately thought of my pal Jessie's Be Brave Challenge and our recent discussion about how sometimes every movement we make as we create can be an act of bravery.

Earlier this week, I went into town to put up some flyers for the Creative Play Workshop I'm leading with my friend Jenn in September. I'm super excited about the workshop and have been happily talking about it online, but putting up flyers in person scares the crap out of me. Don't laugh. Heh. It sounds totally ridiculous when I write it out. I mean, what's so scary about hanging up flyers anyways?

The things is, it doesn't matter how ridiculous your fears seem to you (or to anyone else for that matter), they're your fears and you don't need to be ashamed of them. But once you've noticed them and acknowledged their existance, perhaps you'll want to nudge at those boundaries a bit.

Swimming Lessons

When I was little, I took swimming lessons at a local pond. I wasn't the greatest swimmer and as much as I loved splashing around in the water, sometimes the depths of it scared me. One day, the teachers told us we were going to learn how to dive. We were instructed to tuck our head, point our hands out in front of us, curl our back, and then kind of roll and drop into the water. The pond we swam in was a muddy one with teeny fish swimming around in it. When we stood at the far end of the dock, toes over the edge, all shivering in our little swimsuits, you couldn't see the sandy bottom. All you could see was dark, dark water.

One by one, kids dove off the dock. Some rolled in with grace, natural swimmers. Others belly-flopped. I stood frozen, with my toes curled tight over the wooden edge, staring at the sun reflecting off the water, breathing fast, and not wanting to dive. I didn't want to go into that dark water head first. Time passed. The teachers waited. I just couldn't get myself to step off the edge.

One teacher coaxed me. She then tried counting down, "1,2,3,...go!" I didn't dive. Eventually she pushed me in. That wench. I can laugh about it now, but how many times have you been rudely pushed through your fears? Some people would prefer the push. If that's you, then find someone to push you! You might like that bootcamp exercise class that I tried and despised this year. Heh.

But if you don't like being pushed, there's another more gentle approach.

Stick Your Toes In: You know how when the water's cold, some people will wade in bit by bit and others will just dive in to get the cold over with? Neither way is wrong. Try out both styles and see what works best for you. If the baby step approach works best for you, go with that. Slow steps forward is more than ok. Honor your style of approaching the scary stuff. What teeny-tiny step could you take with something that you're avoiding?

Splash Playfully: Before the swimming lessons, I used to play around in a neighbor's pool. I would never go underwater without plugging my nose because of a few times when I breathed in water and it stung like crazy. But one day, I was playing games with my friends and I ran straight into the water without plugging my nose first. I breathed out and came up for air with no troubles. And just like that I could swim underwater without plugging my nose. What playful or sideways approach could you take with something that's difficult for you?

Treat Yourself: At the pond where I went to swim lessons, there was always a visit from the ice cream truck. I love picking out a treat after a hard day of swimming. When I went to put up flyers this week, I stopped to get my favorite iced tea from Peet's. Sometimes knowing there's a treat at the end of your action, helps you get started. What are some ways you reward yourself?

Spread out Your Towel and Rest: A day of swim and sun would always leave me tuckered out. But I also realized recently that any kind of risk-taking, especially when done in bunches could leave me feeling exhausted. If that's the case for you, put in a little buffer time around activities that stretch your boundaries. Give yourself some space to rest and get rejuvenated. After hanging flyers, I gave myself some time to sit in the air conditioned bedroom and watch Project Runway Canada on youtube (don't tell me who won. I haven't seen the end yet!) Do you give yourself time to relax after you've moved forward on something big?

How's the Water?: After you've completed something that moved you out of your comfort zone, notice how you feel. I often feel super empowered after conquering a fear and it often energizes me to take it one step further or conquer a fear in another area. Other times, I just feel drained. How do you feel after you've taken a risk?

Dive at Your Own Pace: I did eventually learn how to dive gracefully, but not at the pond. I learned in a more comfortable environment (back at the neighbor's pool), without any pressure or pushing. Don't worry so much if you're not moving along with your art, business, or whatever as quickly as you think others around you are. Respect your pace, keep moving forward playfully, and have fun with it. You'll enjoy the journey much more.

Play with moving out of your comfort zone with your art, your writing, your movement this month and let me know how it goes for you!

Wreck This Journal with Fire!

July 24th, 2009, Comments (20)

We're nearly done wrecking Keri Smith's Wreck this Journal for Jamie Ridler's fabulous book group. It's been a total blast! I've had so much fun wrecking, meeting other wreckers, and making my first vlogs! How cool! I was saving this bit of wrecking for close to the end. I think I was both looking forward to burning a page and a little bit scared of it (I'm more of a water girl than a fire girl.)

I set up with my laptop on the porch (you get to see me in my post-workout glory...sorry, I didn't dress up for you guys. hehe) and set out to burn a page. And I had some problems. You can check out the video to see how hard it was for me to burn the darn page. But I made up for it by dancing and singing with my journal, talking to it, and wearing it in a special way at the end. :-) Yeah, I'm just a teeny-tiny bit nutty.


I'm headed off for a brief trip to the Cape to visit with family this weekend. I hope your weekend is a wonderfully creative one!

Other good stuffs:

-If you know of anyone in the Boston area, be sure to tell them about the Creative Play workshop I'm teaching with the fabulous, Jennifer Lee on September 19th! There's going to be art-making, giggling, and loads of creative goodness! You can get all the details and sign up here.

-The super sweet, Jess Gonacha is looking for submissions for pecannoot. Go on over and share your art about abundance with the world!

-I love Andrea Scher's work (her jewelry, photography and writing) and she's just teamed up with Jen Lemen to create the Mondo Beyondo e-course. It sounds fabulous.

-On Monday (2 pm EST) Connie of Dirty Footprints Studio will be interviewing Chris Zydel of Creative Juices Arts on her blogtalk radio show. I adore both of these creative powerhouses! You can listen in to the interview over here on Monday or head on over now to check out Connie's past interviews (there's one with me from March in the archives!)

Creative Play Workshop: Creating Time for Yourself

July 22nd, 2009, Comments (11)

a timely message

I've been enjoying writing these posts on the theme of self for the Creative Every Day Challenge this month because they help to remind me about how to take good care of myself, how to celebrate, how to move past self-doubts, and how to meet myself where I'm at with my art. Taking excellent care of yourself isn't something that comes naturally to many of us, but it's a key part of living a creative life.

For many of us, things that we consider frivolous or unnecessary come last, so while we make time to do errands and clean and meet other obligations, we're less likely to schedule in time for pampering, art-making, rest, or play.

I believe that we are more present in our lives, more alive, and more available to those we love when we nurture ourselves and our creativity.

Sometimes that nurturing comes in the form of creating time just for you. If you find that despite your intention to make the time to play, you're just not getting to it, it might be time to make a creative date, the kind you schedule in on your calendar. You may need to ask a loved one or babysitter or pet sitter to help you out. Do that. It's ok to ask for some help making your creative date happen. I often use signing up for a class as a sure-fire way to show up for myself. (Something about paying for something guarantees that I'll show up!)

cp2 large

If you're in the Boston-area and looking to schedule in some creative time for yourself, then I'd like to invite you to join Jennifer Lee and I for a live workshop: Creative Play: An Afternoon of Intuitive Art and Creating from the Heart, happening Saturday, September 19th, from 1-3 pm. Get all the details and sign up here.

Jenn and I are so thrilled to be sharing this class with you! We'll be getting playful, creating collage art from our intuition, and learning tools to infuse our daily lives with creativity. And there will be giggling, lots of of it.

We've got an early bird price of just $40 through August 31st, but space is limited, so do grab your spot if this creative playdate calls to you!

Surviving Self-Doubt

July 21st, 2009, Comments (40)

Subway Stories: Orange Line

An artist is the one who can fail and fail and still go on. -Agnes Martin

Self-doubt is something that plagues most creative souls at one time or another. We may be going along, feeling great about our creations, and then something happens that shakes our confidence. Perhaps we get a rejection to a show or someone makes a nasty comment about our work. Perhaps we compare our work to someone else's or our inner critic gets really loud. Or perhaps self-doubt just sneaks up on you out of nowhere, whispers in your ear, and suddenly you'd rather do anything, but make art. Self-doubt feels awful, but it comes up, so how do we move through it and return to our creativity?

Be Gentle: Don't beat yourself up over your self-doubt. It's easy to go there, to think, "Ugh! Get over it already. Stop procrastinating and just do it. Sheesh!" Yelling at yourself may work in the short term, but it usually turns into a viscious cycle of beating yourself up, avoidance, more beating yourself up, followed by procrastination, some more beating yourself up, with a kicker of feeling like dirt. No fun. Instead of going to your drill sargeant voice, try going to your gentle mother voice. Try telling yourself something like, "Hey, it's o.k. that you're doubting yourself right now. It happens. I know you're wonderful. What small step could you take to feel a bit better?"

Keep a Kindness Folder: Sometimes we need to be reminded how fabulous we are. Try keeping an appreciation folder (I keep a folder in my email for just this purpose) where you can collect kind emails, letters, notes, tweets, etc. When you begin to doubt yourself, go to your folder, read a few of the notes you've saved, and soak up the love.

Write a letter to yourself: Feeling appreciation and love from others is wonderful, but we are also capable of giving ourselves love and appreciation. I've found it's helpful if you can write to yourself (maybe your artist self) from your wiser self. You'll find your kind, wise self will know just what to say to lift you up.

Begin with Baby Steps: I mentioned this briefly in the first step, but it's so important that I had to make it its own step. One of the best remedies for self-doubt is action. I prefer to begin with gentle action, action that is full of kindness and permission and playfulness. And the best way to move into action when you're in self-doubt mode is to start small. Start with a doodle on an piece of junk mail, write a silly haiku, dance around your living room, sing in the shower, or play with crayons. Let go of the need to make a masterpiece and for now, for this moment, start with something that brings you delight, one teeny tiny thing.

Remind yourself of your accomplishments: It's easy to forget all that we have already accomplished. Take some time to make a list of how much you're already achieved. Looking back over old diary entries can sometimes help remind me how far I've come. On a smaller scale, you can keep an "already done" list each day to keep track of all the things you've done instead of focusing on what you didn't do.

Keep taking risks: It's amazing to me how despite our self-doubts, we keep putting ourselves out there. And I want to simply encourage you to keep taking those risks, big and small, in your life and in your art. Taking risks helps squash those pesky self-doubts in a powerful way. Your risks may be trying out a new color, learning a new style, reaching out to a fellow artist, submitting your work to a show, posting your work online, or opening up a shop. Not all our risks will have the results we want, but every risk gives us the inner knowing that we are capable of more than we realize.

More help with self-doubt: Re-Thinking RejectionRe-Thinking Success

Wreck This Journal with Sticks!

July 18th, 2009, Comments (22)

wtj time

I'm still having fun with Keri Smith's Wreck this Journal for Jamie Ridler's fabulous book group! I missed posting about it last week because of a crazy-busy weekend, but I've continued to wreck and play within the pages. I did this little video this week of me painting with unusual utensils. It got messy. :-)

Here's a little collage of some of the other wrecking I did, including a scratched mermaid, circles on a half-damp page, the word "home" written over and over, an ugly drawing (of a frog barfing up fly bits), cutting through several layers, and I drew in a big of the birds I saw in the dripped ink pages. I think the orange shapes look like fish, but I haven't drawn them in yet. 

wtj collage

And below, the envelope page. This one was fun cause I doodle on evelopes all the time. It's hard to find paper that I won't doodle on if it holds still long enough.

wtj envelope

And that's all for now, happy wrecking everyone!!

Seeing Yourself in the Moon

July 7th, 2009, Comments (27)

If the Moon Came to Dinner

Tonight is the Full Buck Moon and I celebrated in my favorite way by painting the moon, one of my favorite subjects. I have a couple new moon related pieces up in my art shop, including the one above, If the Moon Came to Dinner.

During the day yesterday, I was thinking about the Full Buck Moon and the Full Moon Dreamboard group that the fabulous Jamie Ridler runs on her blog (p.s. Jamie is launching a new website tomorrow with give-aways!)


Jamie's group does the Dreamboards in a collage style, which I totally love. But I've also been enjoying doing painted versions of these dreamboards lately. Above is what I did for the Full Pink Moon last month. As I pondered the Full Buck Moon this month, I started to doodle in my sketchbook and drew a woman with antlers. From the circles hanging from her antler prongs I drew circles containing the things I wanted to bring forth.

buck moon red

I took the little sketch I made yesterday and made the mixed media piece above in my art journal. The hubster fell in love with it before I finished it with the words in the circles, so I'll be handing it over to him. To finish the process, I did a second one in my art journal (below), this time writing in the words of things I want to bring into my life, expand upon, create, and grow during this full moon cycle.

buck moon blue

To play with this idea for the self theme for the Creative Every Day Challenge you could keep in mind what you want to bring into your life during this full moon cycle and then try one of these methods:

Do a collage version: Tear through magazines and pull out any image that catches your eye. Don't think about it, just go with your gut. After you've pulled a pile, look at your selections and place the images that really sing to you on a piece of paper. Arrange to your liking, glue down, and then hang your dreamboard somewhere you can see it daily.

Write it out: Sit quietly, breathe, and ponder what you'd like to bring into your life. Then pick up a pen and do 20 minutes of free writing. You could describe your ideal day as if all the things you're desiring are already in place or just write freely about all the things you're wanting to draw to you.

Mixed-media: If you do the collage version, you could take the collage you create and paint over it, letting some of it show through. You could paint additional images on top of your collaged dreamboard. You might add writing to the collage. You could collage your own painted, drawn, or hand written elements into the piece. You might simply put some writing in an envelope and attach it to your collage. Or you could create mini envelopes in the collage to place one word, such as "money", "health", or "inspiration."

Paint: With the ideas of what you want to draw to you held loosely in mind, allow yourself to paint intuitively. Let yourself go with whatever colors or images pop into your head without worry about what it means. Keep painting until you come to a natural stopping point, then step back, and see what has come up for you. Put your painted dreamboard somewhere where it can continue to inspire you throughout the month.

Make a book: Create a small book or keep a blank journal where you can paste, draw, and/or paint images of things you want to draw into your life. I keep something like this by my bed and enjoy tearing images from catalogues and magazines and pasting them in. It's very relaxing.

Make a box: Collage a box as your dreamboard with images and words. Use it to hold collage material or written bits to put in future dreamboards or art journal pages.

Have you ever used any of these ideas? What other ways can you play with the dreamboard idea?

What is that you want to bring into your life during this full moon cycle?

Wreck This Journal with Smooshy Paint!

July 3rd, 2009, Comments (32)

I've been having a blast playing with my copy of Keri Smith's Wreck this Journal for Jamie Ridler's book group. Fun! If you missed last week's update, I brought my journal in the shower and gave it a good scrub. And it did not want to dry, despite being wrapped sweetly in its own little towel, so I took Lisa's advice and put it in the dryer briefly. I didn't want to start a fire, so I only got it mostly dry in there. When I took it out, it looked like this:

wtj curledpages

Oh my. So, I spent some time uncurling all the edges and now the book looks like it had a perm, but it's mostly fizzled out. Hehe. It's still a little damp, but I've carried on with it. I actually like some of the effects that writing on a damp page has. In this week's video you can see my current favorite page and then you get to see me in action, squirting paint and ink onto the pages to make a print. So purty! I already see something in the print that was made, so I'd be curious to hear what you see there! If I end up playing with the ink/paint blot further, I'll post a picture.

Making a video could be another way to play with the self theme for the Creative Every Day Challenge this month! You could simply show yourself live, read something you've written, make silly movie, or just share something about yourself. I'd love to see you! I know the first video I did for Wreck this Journal was really scary, but it's become a lot less scary with each one I do. It might be a fun way to strech yourself!  In the meantime, I want to wish a happy 4th of July to everyone in the U.S.! Happy 4th! And to everyone, I wish a wonderful, creative, fun-filled weekend!

Meeting Yourself Where You’re At With Art

July 2nd, 2009, Comments (16)

elephant night
elephant night

Art is one of the most soothing things I can do when I'm feeling cruddy. And yet, I still forget or I putter around without picking up the paintbrushes. It's a fairly simple task to pick up your pen and write or pick up your paintbrush and paint, but the starting can be hard. Especially if you have any voices in your head saying, "I want to make something good."

Phooey, I say. Let go of the making-something-good or making-something-special voices and meet yourself where you are, right now, in this moment.

It's true, it might not be pretty. It might not be what you expect.

elephant night detail

Allow yourself to be surprised.

Simply show up and begin. Begin with simple tools. A few colors, a piece of a paper, a pen. Leave your fears of failure at the door. For just this moment, it doesn't matter if what you create is "good" or "bad." Just let something flow out. A few brushstrokes. A few lines. Where does that take you?

Last night, I started with a scrap of paper that I'd done some playful marks on previously. I wet part of the paper and grabbed a bottle of ink that my cats had playfull rolled down the hall earlier. I squirted some ink on the wet paper and delighted in how it spread and curled and formed fantastic shapes. I then squirted blue paint directly onto the paper, shapes began to develop. Orange came next, a field. And ink spots looked like houses. A figure appeared on the right side. I stepped back, looked from a distance, then peered closer. One of the house shapes looked like an elephant, so I made it appear. The sky was lit with stars.

Before I started painting I was feeling some angst about a variety of things, including the weather. But afterwards, I felt light and alive and more free. That's some of what expressing yourself can do for you. When you allow yourself to create, not what you might wish you were creating, but what you need to create now, in this moment, you'll feel more alive, more connected, more at peace.

This is what I aim for when I'm creating, this connection to where I'm at in the moment. It's the way I found myself creating in the art picnics I developed and it continues to be a magical experience that I just adore having.

How can you meet yourself where you're at in your art?

p.s. The next Art Picnic workshop has been scheduled for Saturday, August 22nd, from 1-3 pm EST. You can get all the details and sign up here!