Sunday, August 30, 2009

30 Days of Creating September 2009

Join in here as we participate with a network of people over the next month for 30 days of creativity. Thirty Days Of Creating is simply that. Create something, anything, every day for thirty days.
What's the theory and why would I want to take part? Habits are one of the most powerful training tools we have, ultimately helping us to be happier in our lives. When we do something each and every day for just a couple of weeks, we put in place the foundations for a habit that can last a lifetime, a habit we can then expand into virtually unlimited potential. We're going to give our creativity a little exercise each day by doing a workout together-a little something each day. How does this apply to creative people? As creative people, the longer we go without creating, the harder it becomes. So by creating each and every day we can gently stretch our creativity, warm it up and get it in shape, so that within thirty days (usually less) we're creating not just once a day but many times a day, without any effort whatsoever. We'll switch our creativity on, call it up, give it permission to gush forth and flood us with creativity!

How can I create a whole new creative project every day? The simple answer is: you don't need to! Thirty Days of Creating is about creating a little something each day. It can be a few lines of poetry, a journal entry, a sketch, a few melodies on a piano, a walk outside with your camera, making an interesting recipe, learning a new dance, or any of a thousand other way of being creative. What's most important is not what we create but simply THAT we create a little something -- every single day. This habit gives our creativity quotient (CQ!) permission to flow.

Couldn't I do this on my own though? Yes of course, all this would be very powerful on its own. But here we'll have a whole community of like minded creative people to share with and to support you and spur you on. That kind of encouragement is priceless, and the combined energy of the group means each of us create more frequently and fully than we can under our steam, and for some of us, maybe more than we've done in months, even years...

So my friend, are you with us? Just leave your reply below to let me know. The creating begins on September 1st. You can post here daily or post on your blog and link to me here at Quinceberry (and I'm linking back to the main CCS site). I'll be posting a list of all the participating blogs so we can visit each other. Feel free to use my "30 Days of Creating" artwork if you like. However you work it, I'm glad you're on board!

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Vision Journaling Workshop-Week 2

I've been remiss in posting the work I've been doing in my vision journaling workshop with Kathryn Antyr from True North Arts. I've been doing it - just haven't actually stopped to photograph and blog it! We're actually a couple of lessons beyond this one now, but I will post my work one lesson at a time, so these are actually from two weeks ago -- but you won't mind, will you?

Our task was to think about our values and to synthesize down the ten things that were most important to us in our lives. Then we made ATC's of them, using pics from magazines.

The ten I chose were Family -my own and the greater families to which I belong, Creativity-Encouraging it in myself and every person I meet in life, because too often it is discouraged, Passion -all the passions, especially the driving force that keeps us committed to our task, Humor -part of my culture and my nature to laugh together with friends, Loyalty-hugely important to me, giving and receiving, Education -I'm a teacher after all - learning and teaching, Nature -being in nature revives and inspires me, preserving nature is a commitment, Leadership -encouraging, modeling, learning, Flexibility -such an important skill-it can be taught and learned, Community -the place where all the rest of these takes place and without it my life would be nothing.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The High Line

If you live in New York City, you may have already visited the High Line, or at least know about it. If not, let me take you on a short journey there.

The High Line is a 1.45-mile-long elevated steel structure built in the 1930s to carry freight trains. It currently runs from Gansevoort Street, in the Meatpacking District, through the West Chelsea gallery neighborhood, ending at 34th Street, next to the Jacob Javits Convention Center. The last train ran on it in 1980.

As a monument to the industrial history of New York's West Side, a group of visionaries here saw it as an opportunity to create an innovative new public space, raised above the city streets, with views of the Hudson River and the city skyline. Its conversion has been a global model for the reuse of transportation infrastructure and greening opportunities. Friends of the High Line, founded in 1999, is a community-based organization which began as an advocacy group and is now transitioning to a conservancy.

If you are planning a trip to visit the High Line, keep in mind that there are many wonderful restaurants in the area for lunch or dinner. Or, you can grab a fabulous picnic lunch at the Chelsea Market and bring it up to eat at one of the benches along the High Line. It's a great destination to plan into your day.

My sketch is related to a class I'm moderating on the book The Decorated Page by Gwen Diehn. The application is information gathering.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

This week's art journal

The ending of it was cut short due to size restrictions and didn't really reflect the way I wanted to end it, so below is how it was meant to really end.

In 1964 President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights act after three civil rights workers were murdered in Mississippi, but that didn’t stop the violence that was going on in many American cities. Beatlemania was in full swing as girls with teased hair screamed along to songs like” All my Loving” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” Muhammed Ali was still Cassius Clay as he won the world heavyweight championship of boxing from Sonny Liston, and in September of that year I turned 8 years old. It was, as someone much more literate than I has already said, the best of times and the worst of times.

My big sister was 9 years older than me, When you’re 8 and she’s 17 you might as well say you just about don’t have a sister for all the differences between those two ages. Our "relationship" then was more like annoying, scruffy little pest and mascara and eye-liner beauty queen. She climbed stairs to podiums to sing with choirs and I climbed trees to eat my lunch. She gave speeches in beauty contests and I went to speech class for my lisp. She wore beautiful satin gowns and I borrowed (and ruined) those gowns playing dress up. You can probably see where this is going.

We lived in one of those small cape cold style homes the Government built for returning G.I's after World War II. These homes were built for efficiency - and among other conveniences they included a "Wonder Room" - so dubbed because it converted to a dining room by day via a table that pulled down from the wall and a bedroom by night by virtue of a Murphy bed that pulled down from a closet by night. By the time I was born my parents' home had undergone the third of what would become an endless parade of renovations over the years. The Wonder Room existed, for me, only in folklore and photographs.

But despite the renovations the house was still small and there were really not many places to go for solitude except a damp cellar or a crowded attic. My imagination became crucial for me as I tried to negotiate the shifting sands of

culture and family in the world around me. Last year President Kennedy was shot. This year I got a pogo stick and

fell in love with Paul McCartney AND Mick Jagger. Vietnam images were appearing on t.v. And there would be no

Brady Bunch tv show for another 5 years. My imagination was my anchor and my lead - the place where I put all of

this together and came up with my life vision.

I'm grateful for that imagination today because it has taken me on all sorts of paths I would otherwise never have traveled. I could never have envisioned a world that looks the way our world looks today and certainly never have seen the places I've been so far. I've had some dreams fulfilled, some deferred, and always seem to have a list of new ones I'm working towards. Through it all my imagination has never failed me.

About my sister. As I said earlier, she's still 9 years older. But now she's also my good friend.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Five Degrees of Inspiration

What Inspires Me?

1. Reading. Without a doubt, reading is the single thing that informs my creativity and fires my ideas. Whether it is an art technique I read about and want to try or a concept I'm pondering and want to discuss with others, reading is the single most effective way I learn about my world. I would be lost without my ability to read.

2. Music. Music moves me in a way that almost nothing else can. If I'm lonely it cheers me up. If I'm tired it gets me moving. If I'm nervous it calms me down. When I want to write or create, there are specific instruments, especially piano and violin, that I listen to in the background to stimulate my mind. It never fails for me.

3. People. There are some people who just understand me and inspire me. They are tuned in to the same frequency that I transmit on - no fiddling with the knob needed. We can finish each others' sentences. You can almost see the energy flowing between us when we get together.

4. Nature. There is something about being in a forest that brings me back to my beginnings, my childhood, a time when every thought was a realistic possibility. For creativity to exist, that has to be a sacred trust.

5. Independence. I can work in a group or alone and be happily creative either way. In a group I need to be able to retain ownership of my ideas and fit them together with others as part of a master plan. I can't give my identity up to be part of a group or I lose my happy creative vision.

for more visit Inspiration Avenue

What is the difference between nurturing and enabling?

Who nurtures you? I was supposed to answer that question this week in my Artist's Way group, and I had to really think about it, especially the difference between a "nurturer" and an "enabler." I hear those two terms all the time on Oprah but I'd never really thought about what they actually mean to me.

I realized that the helpers in my life are those people who are honest with me, who tell me the truth about things, who encourage me and lift me up so I can take the steps I need to move forward and achieve something new and often exciting when maybe I didn't have the vision to see the possibilities myself. They don't do things for me, but they let me know they have confidence in my ability to do them for myself.

The enablers aren't truthful with me. They tell me what they think I want to hear or give me what I want whether or not its good for me. They will make me happy in the moment, even if it's bad for me in the long term. I know when I've been with one because of the feeling I have after I'm with them-- a little like that moment after you eat a piece of cheesecake and think about all the calories now residing in your stomach.

On the other end of things, it's not always so easy to be a nurturing friend -- sometimes it can be downright scary when you have to find a way to tell someone the truth about themselves or to say no to them about something when "yes" would have been so much easier. I've been on that end myself as a friend, a sibling, and a parent. That's when you find out whether the person you are talking to is a "frend" or an "acquaintance." But that's a different blog for a different day.