Helping You Create Your Best At Home, At Work, and in Life

5/26/20

Create Inner Stillness


Sometimes after a creative flurry it's time to reconnect within, get still, and wait for inspiration for what's next. That' what I'm doing today. Creating inner stillness is always a good start to the day, and the best place to create from. Maybe try pausing and touch base often within yourself, too, while you create this day. 

5/19/20

Mix It Up

If you've found your unique creative way and it's working for you and you're enjoying it, yay, you, keep going! Yet, if we lock ourselves in to just one approach, technique, or way, we may get in a rut, doing the same thing over and over, and possibly distancing ourselves from a further Eureka! or masterpiece. 

I've been most comfortable sketching in ink then watercoloring, it's my go to method when capturing an idea. Recently, what with extra time while socially distancing, I took out all my art supplies (and I'm a bit of a hoarder in this department; I've had some of these materials for decades, mostly unused; and even included a set of Neocolor II crayons that I was given as a child when I was in solitary recovering from scarlet fever). I found an untitled painting by Ozz Franca and decided to try recreating it, or something slightly like it, with every art material I own. I started a new sketchbook, aiming to just play and experiment and mix up materials and styles for awhile. No pencil outlines first, just went for it on each page. You can see some of the results here

The verdict? I still love watercolors, but suddenly I'm also enamored with a variety of chalks, pencils, markers, inks, even ballpoint pens. I discovered I can make reasonably decent pictures even with crayons, love so many art materials, and really enjoyed mixing them up. I'm not sure how this will play out in my art and illustration, but I now have a sketchbook filled with a variety of techniques that I can browse for ideas when illustrating a new project. The learnings have given me confidence in my abilities as an artist, and have propelled me to want to create more.

Off I go to do that, and next time you get a chance, try mixing up your creative approach and materials. Try new things, let stuff come together in new ways to open your creativity. Don't try to make it perfect, just play, mix, mingle, and see what you get. 

5/12/20

Use Less and Save More


In times when many of us, including me, have lost our paying gigs, and there's uncertainty as to what will happen next, is anyone else out there noticing how quickly you use the resources you need for daily life, whether it's food, or supplies, or spending, or other? And as we hear good news on how nature is healing a little while we're staying home, does it make you wonder about your personal environmental footprint? 

When we think of conserving, big things matter most. Stopping deforestation and planting trees is the number one thing to help reduce climate change and clean up the environment for the future, so it's important we vote for good leaders who support the Paris Agreement and other green initiatives. Not wasting water, turning off unused lights and devices, turning down the heat at night, using low energy LED lightbulbs, and buying only what we need are things most of us can do. But also we can conserve health, practicing prevention to stay well. And we can conserve wealth, time, and energy by some of the choices we make. 


We can all probably do a little better at conserving, not letting things go to waste and protecting against future shortage or harm, and using our energy to create our best live. Native cultures around the world were keenly aware of the need to preserve nature so it could support them, often making decisions by contemplating "How will this affect the 7th generation?" We can all question the impact of our choices with an eye on the future, and look for ways to reuse, recycle, repurpose and reduce to consciously conserve. 


With extra time home and socially distancing, it's become clear that what matters most to me is relationships and the people I love; and having a sustainable, free world for my grandchildren and theirs to live as stress-free as possible. While in time-out socially distancing, I'm questioning how I can most efficiently use my money, talents, resources, and life energy and be prepared for what the future may bring. As I journey from room to room and see my unfinished piles and projects, I keep questioning, what's most important and worthwhile for me to finish now and going forward? That's where I plan to focus and consciously use and conserve my creative energy.

As you create today, how might you use less to have more for the future? How can you carve out your space and time to create something that, even though temporary, may positively impact your life and others'?

5/3/20

Make Magic

How do you make magic?

I'm in the process of making a little. For about 40 years, on again off again and mostly off, I've been trying/thinking/talking/stalling about making a children's picture book. Often I'd get an idea, begin with great heart, and then allow my saboteur to interfere, overthinking, over-editing, or listening to others' critiques over my own intuition. At the beginning of April, I had an idea and with great focus and passion I began. Within days, I presented it to my critique group, and felt mostly discouraged. I listened only to the useful parts of the feedback, and carried on, managing to prepare the manuscript and all the artwork in about 2 weeks. Yay me, I've finished my first kids' picture book! 

Because of the timely nature of the topic, I decided to bypass trying to find an agent, editor, and publisher and decided to indie publish, with help from a friend. For various reasons it's bounced back 3 times in the last couple of weeks for improper formatting. After watching some YouTube videos and much Google searching, I have fingers and toes crossed that today's submission will fly and hopefully I can share it soon. Till then, here's the cover reveal

I've had so many learnings from the process, and we'll see what happens next. My biggest advice if you're creating today: Decide what you're making and for who, why, and how, then, if it feels worthwhile and calls you, don't second guess, keep moving forward, focus, and do it. In this case, once I had the manuscript, I eliminated variables and decided what art materials I would use and how it would look. Then I stopped thinking/deciding except to sort out obstacles as they come up. What started as sketches almost effortlessly became a 32 page picture book in 2 weeks by sticking to one phase at a time, keeping my head and heart in sync on it, and not turning back. 

It might take years to create something, or weeks, or moments, depending on where you are and how you count. Just paint, or draw, or invent, or make, doing this step, and the next with great focus and enjoying the process. In time your practicing and exploring and intention will come together and you will create something magical.