Entries Tagged as: studio

Honoring Your Inspiration

January 16th, 2009, Comments (38)

The second chapter of The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women, which I'm reading with a book group here, is all about honoring your inspiration. This is so important and part of the reason why I keep sketchbooks within arm's reach at all times. It may drive the hubster a little nuts because of the excess of paper I have around me, but if I'm having lots of ideas, it's so helpful for me to get them down. For one, I feel better after releasing the ideas from my head and I also capture lots of bits and pieces that I might have forgotten had I not taken the time to sketch, write, or scribble some stuff out.

There's a lot packed into this particular chapter, it ranges from carving out a sacred space, to creative ritual, to play! Yes, according to author, Gail McMeekin, play is an important factor for us creative people! So for you Creative Every Day Challenge participants who have been resisting getting playful, now's the time to give it a go! I'm planning some posts for next week about how to get playful if you're feeling really stuck around it.

At the end of the chapter, there's a challenge about taking a "Creative Style Inventory." I'll share my answers with you here:

  1. When did your creative awakening or reawakening occur? I've always felt like I was a creative person, but there was a period, right after I graduated from art school where I felt a bit dead creatively, like my fire had been put out. It can be hard, especially for us sensitive folks, to go through something like art school and come out the other side feeling good about what we create. I left with the feeling that everything had to be a certain way, a "right" way and as a result, I felt little to no desire to create. Nothing felt good enough. It took me awhile to break free of the art teacher voices I heard in my head when creating. I had to get back to being playful (part of the reason I think play is so important) and I also got back to creating from my intuition (something I'd been discouraged from doing.) I literally got away from the easel and started creating while on the floor, I took classes in intuitive art making, and began to really enjoy the process again. I had to find my way back to the joy in creating, but in a way I'm glad I went through that process as I feel much more in touch with my creative side now than I did before. 
  2. What talents do you have naturally? I think I'm a natural peacemaker, I tend to put people at ease. I'm an artist. I'm good at encouraging others. And I'm naturally silly. :-)
  3. What elements (fire, water, wood, air) draw you toward them? I'm drawn to all of the elements at different times, but I'm drawn most strongly to water. It soothes me.
  4. Where and when do you create? Where and when do you wish to create? I create mostly in my home studio space, but I can create just about anywhere. I create usually in the afternoon and evening and I'm fine with that.
  5. What activates your creative energy, and what drains it? My creative energy is activated by inspiring reading, movement (like taking a walk or yoga), playing, journaling, and taking classes. What drains it is too much time in front of the computer or television, sleeping too long, and overwhelming messes (some mess is o.k., but it can get to a point where I can't handle it anymore.)
  6. Do you use creative rituals? Sometimes. I usually begin creating by closing my eyes, taking a breath, and giving myself permission to make "bad" art. :-)
  7. Does nature influence your creativity? Absolutely! I'm constantly inspired by the forms of nature, the color combinations I see in the world, the cyclic patterns of life. It shows up in my work constantly.
  8. What has been your greatest creative hurdle so far? Probably the one I mentioned in answer to question number 1.
  9. What time of day are you most receptive to inspiration? I don't know that there's a particular time of day...A lot of my ideas seem to come in the evening when I'm feeling a little tired or in the hypnogogic state just before sleep. I think it's because my mind is tired enough to let subconscious imagery slip through which creates some fabulous images for me.

After looking over what I've written, I think what I most need to do is do a little cleaning and clearing in my studio space. I've been slowly tackling it throughout the week, but a more concentrated effort would be a good thing. Makes me want to do one of Jennifer Hofmann's office spa days!

A Lovely Day to Share Some Inspiration

May 3rd, 2008, Comments (7)

Last night, I started working on a new painting. It's got some very soft and summery colors going on, reminds me of a bleached out Grecian scene, which I'm enjoying thoroughly. Paint is yummy.

I've been noting some lovely stuff going on amongst the Creative Every Day Challenge folks and thought I'd pass some of it along. Sometimes there's almost too much inspiration out there! On occasion, I need to pull myself away just so that I don't spend all day looking at inspiration and not do anything with it! Well, some days it's good to be a sponge. Sometimes you do need to soak things in, fill the well. And then some days are action days, where you need to wring yourself out and see what all the various experiences, conversations, books, quotes, blog posts, art, design, nature, food, dreams and synchronicities will become when you stir them all together and create. So, are you ready to soak up some inspiration? Good, let's go.

- Jim (a new CED member) has a delicious recipe for steamed artichokes that I'm going to make this week. Artichokes are so beautiful aren't they? Jim has also joined in the May sketchbook challenge. They have a blog for it here and the pages look awesome!

-Hanna of iHanna's Creative Space moderates this awesome flickr group all about art studios! How fun is it to peek into other people's spaces?! I have a wild fascination with seeing the interiors of other people's homes. I love looking at real estate sites to look at potential future houses, but I also just love looking at how people decorate.

-Wendy has posted a video tutorial on making your own stamps.

-Have you heard about the 100 mile diet?  Magical Muse is participating in a 100 feet diet challenge! She wrote about some of the things she's making at home (sounds yummy!) There's so much creative thinking going on with challenges like this. Very cool.

- Waltraud has made the loveliest little ipod bag for her daughter. I love the colors and fabric!

For me, this morning's creativity was expressed in a pancake sampler made with the hubster. We made plain, banana, and blueberry varieties. And oh, they were delicious. :-) Hope your weekend is a wonderfully creative one!

A Studio in Progress

April 16th, 2008, Comments (6)

The last couple days the spring cleaning bug hit my studio. Wee! I decided to get rid of some of my old crappy plastic drawer units, in which I stored paint and all manner of odds and ends, that were falling apart and replace them with sturdier pieces. The hubster had a small bookshelf that he was throwing out and I found an ikea rolling cart (above) that I've had my eye on on craigslist for half the price (and I so love it!).

Granted, I still have *a lot* of work to do for this space to come together, but it's already feeling more open and inspiring. I rearranged the furniture, so my desk is closer to the window and the center of the room is more open. Ahh, a change as simple as that can make such a difference. I'm totally enjoying my space again. Above you can see part of my bookshelf (which was all organized until I started moving things around again, but it's getting there), my desk, and my inspiration area (it's crept off the inspiration board onto the wall.) Below you can see my mega scanner and the where the light comes in.

The hubster and I are in a bit of weird limbo as to when we'll buy a house, so it's been hard to know how much we wanted to fix up a space that wasn't ours. But I think we've both been feeling that our space, while not our own, can be fixed up a bit to make it a more pleasant place to live. Just a little shift in thinking made a big difference there.

Oh, and I wanted to mention that I everyone at Artfest was super nice! I didn't want anyone to get the wrong impression from my post. My ugly feelings were all my own doing...it stemmed from all those insecurities that can pop up in large groups and such that can throw you for a massive loop. Plus, I just hadn't prepared myself for the intensity of the experience, the sense of overwhelm, and the exhaustion I'd feel. But, on a good note, I did come home full to the brim with inspiration and now that I'm getting my energy back, I can start to put that into practice. Speaking of retreats, this one with Kelly Rae Roberts and Mati Rose in Italy sounds amazing!

Art Cards and Artful Arranging

February 28th, 2008, Comments (15)

Above is a set of 6 art cards, each is 4"x6", that I'll be sending off to the very patient recipients of the giveaway I did back in early December in honor of my 200th post on this blog. Eeks! I'm not sure why it took so long. I wasn't sure what I wanted to give away and probably doing a giveaway right before Christmas wasn't a great idea. But, bottom line, I figured out what I wanted to do and had some fun being playful with them. I collaged the cards last month then put them under some heavy books to get them extra flat. I then got caught up prepping for some art shows and didn't take them out again until this week.

Yesterday, I looked at each piece individually and let my intuition guide me as to what to paint. In one of them, I'd already used a part of a print of a painting and then I collaged some definitions (for the words light and guide) on top of that. So I didn't do much to that one except to embellish it with paint and some sparkly bits. I rarely add sparkly doo-dads to my art, but since I was experimenting I took out a little box of sparkly goodies I got in a swap last year and played with adding three dimensional items to each piece. In the peacock one, I added sparkly sequins to its tail; in the all red one, I added a piece of an old watch; to the dancing figure, I added a sparkly flower to the end of her necklace; and to the pale girl, I added a small metal piece that says "Artist" on it to complete the sentence "You Are An Artist." These were so much fun to do! I finished them up today and they're drying now and I'll send them off to their owners soon.

It's good to play. Everyone needs more play in their life. For the base of these cards I used old postcards. They're wonderfully sturdy and make a great (and free) base for collaging or painting. You could put gesso on the cards and paint or draw onto it or collage over the whole surface. You could make your own art flashcards with reminders to do things like: Play!, Be Creative Every Day, or "What are You going to do with Your one Wild and Precious Life?"

I've been expressing my creativity by moving art around the house the past couple days. I put a lot of it up at a local coffee house on Monday, which meant that I had some empty space on my own walls and so I shifted things around. I had put a couple pieces up on the wall in my studio and noticed that I had a bird theme going, so with a combination of my art and art of others I made a great little arrangement. I'm totally digging it!

The top piece is my painting, Flying South and below that from left to right is an adorable painting from Amy Ruppel, a gorgeous teacup painting (the teacup has two birds on it) from my dear friend Jessie, and another of my paintings, The Key to These Roots. It can be wonderfully inspiring to switch things up now and again. Changing the color of your bed sheets, putting fresh flowers around the house, changing the arrangement of family photos on the wall, re-arranging your furniture, changing the items on display on your mantle, or putting a bunch of bright oranges in a blue bowl out on the kitchen counter are all small ways to create inspiring sparks. Finding everyday ways to bring creativity into your life is a beautiful thing. Happy creating!

Cat Naps and Creative Fun

February 27th, 2008, Comments (6)

Yes, another picture of Tabbers sleeping upside down. This time on a sweater. It's just so cute though, I had to share. :-) Tabs, or as I've been calling him lately, Mr. Whiskers, thinks his main job in life is see how many places and ridiculous positions he can sleep in in a twenty four hour period. Yesterday, I saw him taking power naps in bed, on the couch, on top of a bag, on a sweater, on the bathroom rug, on top of the kitty tree, on top of the kitty castle, in a plastic tub, in two different boxes, in my lap, and in several doorways. He's a busy guy!

I'm feeling loads better today and got a lot done this morning. Last night, I made some new to and from labels for shipping out art and today I printed them out and put them to work on some prints getting shipped out. Above is the to label. I blocked out my address, so that's why there's a blue stripe in the middle. And below, a couple of my larger prints waiting to be packed up. Those two are Lighthouse and Dark Tree.

I'm really enjoying A New Earth. It ties in to a lot of things I've read and oddly enough, there are some similar messages in The Now Habit which focuses on conquering procrastination. Author of The Now Habit, Neil Fiore actually has a blog (who doesn't these days?) with links to some of his work, such as the website about his book, Awaken Your Strongest Self. There are some audio links included there that talk about separating your sense of self from your ego which is what A New Earth has been focused on in the first few chapters. Interesting stuff.

A Month of Inspiration

January 31st, 2008, Comments (15)

As promised, here are some views of my inspiration board:

inspiration board

Go to my the flickr pics (click on the pictures) to see all the notes about the individual items on it. Here are some details:

inspiration board close up

inspiration board close-up

What I'd like to have is some bigger boards and a magnet strip to collect inspiration and hang art from. But in the meantime, I'm happy with the board I've got!

My space is filling up with "Subway Stories" art and it's just about ready to be packed up so that I can drive it up to Nahcotta tomorrow.

I spent some time this morning writing out my creative acts of the last month. Yes, it's been a month, which is wild! Great work to all you amazing creative folks out there. I really appreciate all that you are doing and sharing and trying. It's awesome. I think next month, I'll try and keep track of all my activities as I go, instead of looking back through to see what I blogged about and trying to remember the days when I didn't mention something. I know I did something every day, but trying to remember the details is not going to work. Hah. So, while I didn't record every single creative thing I did and the list doesn't account for all the fun inspiration, synchronicity, and connections; I tried to make note of what I where I focused most of my creativity on each day. Here's my list:

January 2008's Creatactivities:

  1. painting in my art journal
  2. doodling and drawing in my sketchbook
  3. made an Amazon widget
  4. made a painting/collage called "Memory Cycles"
  5. drawing in oil pastels
  6. drawing in sketchbook with suggestions by my mother-in-law
  7. sketching, updating website
  8. creative thank you notes
  9. writing/designing newsletter, playing games with friend's kids
  10. making up a recipe for the first time, collaging, writing book
  11. painting with the power out
  12. working on subway art
  13. more subway art
  14. and more subway art
  15. even more subway art
  16. opened Etsy shop, made best friend's baby laugh while best friend got her haircut :-)
  17. drawing in sketchbook, subway art, wandering in library and pulling inspiring books.
  18. working on the subway art
  19. same as above
  20. doodling
  21. took pictures of my sparkly shoes and my big fuzz ball, Tabbers
  22. picking out flowers to decorate the house with, doodling over an old drawing
  23. working on subway art
  24. making soup and presenting it artistically. yum.
  25. subway art
  26. re-vamped my inspiration board
  27. subway art, mini-collages, drew in sketchbook
  28. subway art
  29. worked on book
  30. subway art
  31. subway art, bird drawing

I just love focusing on the creativity in my everyday life. And I wanted to mention that it's not too late to join in the Creative Every Day 2008 challenge! I think joining in anytime is perfectly o.k. So, if you've been thinking about jumping in, leave me a comment or shoot me an email.

Having the weekly post where people can leave a link to their creativity posts seems to be working well. Next month, I'd also like to focus some posts on what others are up to. If you have any other suggestions/ideas, feel free to let me know! Back to work for me.

Creativity Snapshot

January 28th, 2008, Comments (13)

Here's a look at the table I was working on today. You can see some of the "Subway Stories" pieces that I've been varnishing and painting the sides of, my sketchbook that contains a poem by Hafiz that has inspired two ideas for artwork, and a bunch of quickie collages done on gessoed postcards. I think I was starving for color after doing so many black and white pieces "Subway Stories" pieces in a row.

For the mini collages, I used scrap papers I had in my collection of random stuffs plus pieces of prints oopses. A print oops, is simply a printing mistake or experiment that happened when making my prints. Instead of just tossing the paper (which is expensive), I've saved it and today I put some into these little collages, which are 4"x6". I will probably paint, write, and or work on these collages some more, but I thought you might enjoy a little peek into what I've been up to today. I've felt in great creative spirits which is always nice.

And now, I've gotta go off and do some house chores...not exactly the most fun part of the day, but it's gotta get done. So, in the spirit of CED, I'm going to approach it with some fun and creativity in mind. It's funny how such a small shift in perspective can make it all seem like less of a chore and more of an experience. For example, I need to do some dishes. Not so exciting, I know. But if I shift my thinking, I remember my apple green dish washing gloves from Williams and Sonoma that make me smile, I consider lighting a candle, enjoying the tulips in the kitchen, listening to Yo Yo Ma as I work, and the yummy smell of soap bubbling up in warm water. Sounds lovely to me now. Ahh. Happy creating all y'alls!

Flowers in the Winter

January 23rd, 2008, Comments (6)


Yesterday's creativity involved doodling on an old drawing, picking out colorful tulips at the store, and putting them in vases to brighten up a gray day. Flowers in your home are another super sweet and simple delight. You may think that you need a special occasion for flower buying. You don't. Treating yourself to a bright bunch of tulips is a wonderful way to take care of yourself and bring more color and creativity into your life. The pictures in this post are from my trip with the hubster to Seattle last summer. We were visiting the Pike Place Market and my mind exploded in color at the sight of the flowers they had for sale there. Gorgeous flowers in every shape and color. They seemed larger than life, so full and thick, almost surreal. Perhaps its the moist Seattle air that makes the flowers so gorgeous? And they were incredibly cheap too!


I mean,  look at those peonies!  I stuck my face in a few to take big whiffs and feel their soft petals. If I lived in Seattle, my home would be overflowing with flowers, I'm sure of it. Wintertime in New England, flowers are not so cheap and full, but I did find some cheery yellow tulips with reddish pink edges that look quite lovely in the blue vase I have in the window. And two extra tulips are in a little red vase in the kitchen too.

Brightening your space in small and large ways can be a wonderful way to express yourself creatively. Simply changing the arrangement of your furniture can give such a fantastic change of perspective and new energy to a space. I'm trying to figure out how to rearrange my studio right now.

Here's some more juicy inspiration for you:

- The blog housemartin is all about home decor and floral design. If you're needing some floral inspiration, do check out all the gorgeous pictures there!

- Kara of Mother Henna has a cool online exhibit of art relating to Peace on her website A Peace Of... Check out the cool art there and maybe submit something you've created!

- The website Normal Room shows pictures of interiors from around the world. Loads of fun interior spaces to see there!

- Lastly, from one of my favorite websites, decor8, check out Holly's flickr group of Creative Collections. I love the cool and quirky collections there.

Day 19 – Traveling Girl

November 19th, 2007, Comments (13)

I did a doodle of this girl on a stack of suitcases in my journal before bed one night. So, today, I flipped through my journal, saw the sketch and decided to bring her to life. I thought about the different ways I could do it with collage or watercolor or acrylics or pencil...and I decided I wanted something colorful, but with sharp black lines, sort of illustration-style. She's about 5"x7" on watercolor paper with acrylic paint and ink. I love her purple suitcase with the tag hanging off it. I think this may stem from my love of boxes which can easily move into containers of all kind which make me incomprehensibly happy. In fact, even though Bridgette claimed her post wasn't exciting, her picture of her basement studio space today thrilled me. All those little compartments and boxes and containers and drawers and doors. Eee! Love it! I get totally befuddled when it comes to creating something like this for myself, but I do adore the look of it. I bought a bunch of things from the Container Store for my office/studio and it's coming along. When we buy a house (hopefully in the spring), I'll work on some organizational pieces like the one Bridgette got from IKEA, but in the meantime, I'll work with what I've got which isn't terrible by any means, just a little cramped. And hopefully less cramped when I'm done with it.

Some people have mentioned wanting to continue doing art every day after the month ends. That's awesome! I say go for it! December is usually a busy month full of family obligations (I've got a big family!), so I won't be making that commitment, but I've had something else in mind for awhile now. I'm thinking in January that I'm going to begin a year of being "creative every day." Yes! Just like my blog name! I do find ways to insert some creativity into every day, but making this my intention for the year will be an affirmation, a sign to the Universe, that hey, I'm here and I'm committed to creating. And hopefully it will help me continue to stretch and grow in ways I might otherwise procrastinate about or avoid all together. I'd make a list in the sidebar for anyone interested in joining in (just like I did for art every day month) and there could be a new flickr group to go along with it.

I don't plan to post a piece of art every day in 2008. I will simply plan to do something creative each day. I may not post every day, but I will post about my creative acts. Anyways, I wasn't planning to talk about this tonight and it just slipped out! I'm excited about it! Anyways, I will do a more thought out post in the near future with more details about how I'm planning to do this along with an invitation for anyone to join in. For now, this traveling girl, is going to relax. I need to get some quiet time in before we head to NYC for turkey day in a few days. Ciao for now!

Day 16 – New Moon Bird part II

November 16th, 2007, Comments (15)

I started this one earlier in the month and finished it up today. I did some work on it with charcoal, sealed it up, and then tried something new with this resin stuff I bought awhile back. I did my best to keep the room ventilated, covered my mouth and nose and wore gloves. I mixed the resin with a hardener (they came together in separate bottles), did a pour over the piece and then let it sit for a half hour. Then I blew on it to pop any remaining bubbles that had surfaced, put a box over it (to prevent dust...and more importantly, cat hair from getting on it while it was sticky) and put it on a shelf to dry. It's past the point of worrying about dust now (according to the directions, this part takes 7 hours), but to fully cure it's supposed to sit for 72 hours! Sheesh! I don't think I'm patient enough to do this sort of thing regularly, but it does look very cool. I've admired this process in a few different galleries and it can look really amazing with collage underneath it. The resin becomes like this thick sheet of glass over the piece, making what's underneath even more vibrant. On the box of materials, it says it's like 50 coats of varnish. One big problem with it, is that it's really hard to show what it looks like in a photograph. You can see a bit of the shine in the reflection in the lower left corner above, but that doesn't quite cut it.

Maybe you can see it a little better in this side view? Anyway, I think it's super cool in person and now that I've tried it out, I may give it another go at another time. But I've got other projects to tackle first.

I've been busy, busy adding art and prints to my store. I wish it wasn't such a process, but it's getting done, bit by bit. I'm getting back into a flow with my business. I haven't quite found the balance yet. Business is getting done, yes, but I still need to fit in more exercise and do things around the house and finish cleaning my studio (which is coming along nicely...and slowwwwly). Sometimes I feel like that turtle in the comcast commercials. Well, better to get it done slowly than not at all, right? Right. Right-o. Right-a-roonie! Have a wonderful weekend!