Category Archives: THOUGHTS TO PROVOKE CREATIVITY

THE CLOCK MOVES ON

Standard

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERY ONE, I hope you enjoyed my 5 DAYS of GIVEAWAYS – I have been very busy in the studio over the last week completing a “SECRET” project I am submitting for publication……….here’s a little peak at some progress…………

As a new year commences & I have hardly noticed the last one gone, I am reminded how quickly our life flashes by. In the process of my “SECRET” project, I have been reflecting on the book of Ecclessiastes and the Jewish folk tale of King Solomon…..gam zeh ya’avor. This Hebrew phrase, often mistakenly thought to appear in the Bible, means “This too shall pass.” Some surmise that it was derived from Psalms 57:1, but most Jews attribute it to a folkloric parable about King Solomon – here’s the story:

“There was a king who had the most magnificent collection of jewels in the entire world. It was the source of his greatest joy. One night he dreamed that somewhere in the world, a magnificent ring held the power to make a sad person happy, and a joyful person even happier. The dream was so real to him that he decided that he must seek and possess this ring.

“He offered a huge reward to anyone who could find it. After everyone else had given up their search, one of the king’s servants continued to scour the world for the magical ring. Finally, he too was ready to give up, when he stopped in to one last shop. There, the owner said that he, indeed, was in possession of this ring!

“The servant offered to pay whatever price the shopkeeper asked, but the man refused payment saying, ‘No, your king needs this ring. Take it as my gift.’  “The servant rushed to the palace, entered the king’s chamber, and presented the ring to him. Upon opening the box, the king found a plain, unadorned metal ring. Could this truly be the precious, magical ring he had dreamt about? Then he noticed three Hebrew words engraved on the ring. ‘Gam zeh ya-avor – this too shall pass.’

“The king was puzzled. And it took him many years to realize the true magical power of the ring, in time, he came to realise that all his wisdom and fabulous wealth and tremendous power were but fleeting things, for one day he would be nothing but dust.

When he was truly sad, he would look at the ring and it would remind him that “this too shall pass,” and he would be consoled. And when he experienced true joy, the ring reminded him that “this too shall pass,” and he learned to hold on and appreciate those precious moments of joy. Soon the king realized that this truly was the most valuable ring in the world. He lost interest in the rest of his collection. All his dazzling jewels and gems paled when compared to the plain ring with the three Hebrew words, ‘gam zeh ya-avor, this too shall pass,’ and he always wore this ring of greatest value with pride on his royal finger.”

Abraham Lincoln made reference to this parable in an 1859 address, and there is a custom among some Jews to wear rings inscribed with the phrase (or its acronym), particularly during or after having coming through a seriously trying period in life. It’s an apt tale for the passing of another year, with the precious blessing of our darling new grandie, Ariel Faith……welcoming a season of emotional sunshine – after a long black winter……..watching the gradual deterioration of my mother-in-law in her twilight years, some changes in our family living arrangements, acknowledging the loss of some of my physical capacities this year & the purging of long held trinkets & treasures & the timely handing on of various significant family pieces in preparation to move from our home of the last 20 years………the good and the bad……..material & immaterial……..this too shall pass…………. It reminds me of the rewards of patience, the fact that no season, despite how good or bad it is, lasts indefinitely and the wonders of the cyclical passage of time.

This amazing montage of 365 days of photo’s sum up the year of 2010 in about 2 minutes – that’s about how fast the clock seems to be spinning for me right now.

Advertisements

from the guilt box

Standard

I have something that I am sure NO OTHER ARTIST has in their studio!!   It’s kinda ‘the elephant in the room’ – I know it as my guilt box! My guilt box is something that kinda evolved gradually in the year before I began studying.  For anyone who knows what this means, it was the year of living with a black dog in the year that our business collapsed & we lost two little grandblessings.  A corner started to evolve,  that I avoided, it contained a growing pile of  beginnings of projects had become ‘stuck’ for one reason or another. 

I became paralyze and stopped beginning things, because I didn’t think that I was going to be able to finish them, so it wasn’t worth commencing.  I DO read my own advice to others! LOL!

The following year, (2009) I began studying art full time as a kind of therapy to ‘jolt’ me out of the ‘dog kennel’…………..but still the pile in the corner remained, and expanded.  It kinda happened as projects for leisure ongoingly took a back seat to the need to endlessly ‘produce’ artwork for one timeline after another for college, on subjects that I really didn’t have a great deal of interest in, but was obliged to complete & go through the process.  Works in Progress (WIP’s) were frequently packed up to ‘clear the decks’ for the current ‘SCHOOL’ project & WIP’s soon became Projects of Waiting (POW’s – waiting for inspirations, supplies, time, help!!) gradually slipped into the Unfinished Objects (UFO’s) & and then, as inspiration & momentum was lost along the way, gradually joined a growing list of things on my ‘guilt list’. 

GUILTY because
– I had bought/hunted out supplies especially for this project & now it was languishing, I have wasted time & money
– It is outside the expected time line (postage date, agreed timeline)
– I can’t think of an idea that doesn’t seem to lame to even begin to complete the task of completing
– The work I have already done isn’t what I want it to look like & I don’t know how to make it better
– I have completed/are doing other things instead of the thing I ‘SHOULD’ be doing/completing

OK!!!! IS THIS SOUNDING LIKE A PSYCH CONSULT?  AM i ALONE HERE????  Does YOUR studio have a ‘box of guilt’ in a corner or a drawer???? or do you all just begin & complete projects in one hit, and THEN move on to the next thing???  As we will be moving house soon, and I am going to have to literally pack up EVERYTHING and PAY to have it stored………..it will cost me money to retain these projects.  I MUST MAKE  A DECISION & I am a shocker when I don’t know what to do – I do nothing – it has been both my personal & professional undoing – but it is painfully true!  SO – here’s my plan – one month at a time – on the first of the month (I HAVE EXCUSED DECEMBER for pending Christmas projects) I am going to get something out of my guilt box or my pile of UFO’s.  I am going to give myself the whole month to ‘deal’ with them – ie make progress, send it back, complete it, decide how I am going to move forward……….at the end of the month – if it is still in the same state as the start of the month – it will be taken apart as ‘salvage’ – cut up, torn up, supplies separated, etc.  THAT’s my plan anyways!  SO the pictures you see here are October’s contribution.  I have had this journal (GULP) for about 18 months – sitting in my drawer, with the page below semi painted.  I wasn’t happy with my ‘Lady of the Lake’, I wanted her to be regal & kind of stately, without being pouty – I have painted & painted this mouth about TWENTY-SEVEN times!! LOL!!!  She still seems pouty to me!  Anyways, it’s done  & I had a delightful couple of late nights painting the ‘midsummer night’ pages at the top as penance (do an extra spread) before the darling little book goes home to it’s rightful owner.

THESE ARE THE BOOKS INFLUENCING MY ART THIS WEEK

also the article in CLOTH PAPER SCISSORS
Dec issue article ‘Artist Heal Thyself’ by Lorretta Bendetto Marvel

18. Trust Your Wings

Standard

Trust_your_wings_web It was only when I looked back to see what number I was up to, that I realized how long it has been since I posted any ‘Thoughts to Provoke Creativity’. (see catagory at the side).  I also realized that when I did – I was talking about the same thing as I was going to post tonight – so perhaps – this post is just a cathartic message to myself – Keron – Trust Your Wings.  I have so many things that I really want to do & before I get very far down the track with them, in my mind I have already talked myself out of them – which is ridiculous.  Of course there are things that I am not going to do as well as others, however that doesn’t mean that I am not able to still pursue things that are not my best skills.  OF COURSE I am talking about drawing.  I have done 3 canvases in the last 3 nights – only one of them is worth bringing out into the light of day (well – my online audience – LOL!)   So this is my New Year’s resolution collage – to be a bit braver – to take more risks & to Trust My Wings!

A Charming Afternoon

Standard

Charming_afternoonI have had great fun this afternoon playing with my op-shop & garage sale ‘finds’ bringing all sorts of ecclectic bits together to make charms for the Artistic Journey’s Gyspy Journal Swap (18 of them) AND for Paper Trader’s Gothic Arch (6 of them). I have also integrated some of my jewellery making findings & beads to bring them together.  I have used lots of turquoise, russett & metal bits for the gypsie pieces, they are quite random & each one is unique. The Gothic ones are still in formation, as I signed up for the swap about 3 months ago, there has been plenty of time for my ritual of ‘hunting & gathering’…….so anything that looked remotely Gothic I have Charming_afternoon_2snaffled it up & put it in my ‘project box’……………..Speaking of project boxes…..how do others ‘collect’ for a project????  I know that some artists only sign up for a swap AFTER they have completed pieces to send…….WHOA…….I could never do that…….FIRST I commit…….then I hunt & gather…..then I mull over what I have collected & look at what else I might need….I find it incredibly hard to get started on a project if I don’t have materials that I feel I can produce something with & that inspire me……I have tried just painting backgrounds in journals when I am having a museless day…….BUT I have found I can never finish them, they remain background pages

Charming_afternoon_3

& don’t ever get filled, because I just dont’ get inspired by that.  I have recognised the ‘Hunting & Gathering’ phase as a key part of my creating a piece or a project………….oh, but then I hate myself & think that I really can’t do this, & why did I even sign up for it…..I go through all of the hate & self loathing & self deprecation……then I start creating, working with what I have gathered………then the adrenaline kicks in & I become obsessive…….& I don’t want to sleep or work……..just art……..usually through the process, I grow to hate, like & love various pieces…..usually it is the addition of a single element, or a change of colour, or some minor change that helps me to like it more & it all comes together in the end……& I am usually happy enough with the outcome.   I have found great liberty in recognizing my process……….because as I am going through it (and it is usually a variation of what I have described above) I will some times get stuck & not even want to LOOK at what I am working on…..it is then that I move on to something else, I look at my lovely books or go shopping for some inspiration (good visual merchandising ALWAYS inspires me).  Being able to recognise where I am in my creative process enables me to know there is light at the end of the tunnel – I just have to ‘sit with’ being stuck & not get too agitated sitting there!  I know the things that can move me on from there……..I just have to facilitate them.

16. Permission to Dream

Standard

Permission_to_dream_web I have not felt overly creative this week after a bout of serious illness at the end of last week, over the weekend & into the start of this week……..in thinking ab out it, I thought about something that I have long known & held to…..you have to give yourself Permission to Dream, in order to create.  Then you have to give yourself Space to Dream, to facilitate an actual creation happening.Space_to_dream_web  In your world…..is it ok just to spend time day dreaming & just allowing thoughts & creations to form???   Then when they do, do you allow your self to ‘muck up’ in order to discover & perhaps record them in some ‘draft’ form for later use?  While I KNOW that it is essential & I really can feel when I haven’t done it…..this isn’t always easy for me.  I am busy with my work a day world & owning my own business, there is always work at home…..(arghhhhh…..book keeping & accounts!!!)…. having my own art studio (it may only be a ‘desk or table space’ for you) has help immensely with this.  I can shut the door to my studio when I am working (to prevent paper assaulting me or a current project luring me in!!! LOL!!) & try to ignore the invoices & statements around me in the office, when I am in ‘art’ time.  Think of ways you can allow yourself to dream.  Within appropriate limits, I am attempting to turn my driving time into this.  I hate it with a passion and spend about 80hours a month commuting.  I have a SERIOUS problem with road rage & I want to work on it!  So I am trying to think of ways to channel the time into something productive & distracting…….I listen to books on tape, I make my phone calls, etc…….but they soon become ineffective……….I don’t want to ‘dream’ too deeply & run off the road, but I have bought a new little visual art diary to have in my console for when good ideas pop into my head! 

ps EVERYONE who knows me well, knows that my daily commute is the bain of my life.  I am just WAITING with baited breath for the day that they can truely ‘Beam me up, Scotty!’

15. WIP or UFO

Standard

Passion_web When does a WIP (work in progress) become a UFO (un finished object)?????  This question has been posed by one of the people in one of my on line groups and I thought it was worth discussing a bit.

One artist said that a project/piece of art transforms from a WIP to a UFO exactly at the point that you would rather it disappear than you have to finish it!  That probably aligns with my own thoughts somewhat…….I currently have a few pieces on my workbench that I know I will get back to, but haven’t ‘found’ the right thing to go on with them these would include a deco I Lost_in_translation_webstarted while I was away in Tasmania at Christmas, the recent assemblage I made using Da Vinci drawings & a couple of inspirational bits that I know I am going to turn into something, I am just not sure what yet!  On the other hand, there are other things on my table that I know I ‘MUST’ do, and that’s where the inspiration flies STRAIGHT out the window!  I must admit, they are all a particular genre…….’scrapbooking’………which I have done in the past, but doesn’t hold any inspiration for me now.  As the resident family artist, and having made scrapbooks for a couple of people in our family & for 2 out of 3 of my kids……….there is an expectation of continuity! (time for ‘fessing up….I haven’t finished the kids ‘thankyou’ album from their wedding 18 months ago, let alone finished the little album I started for Princess ‘L’ 6 months ago……..OR EVEN COMMENCED anything for little Toby Caleb…..now 3 MONTHS old!) I guess the problem is that I MUST do them, so I don’t feel creative about them. 

UFOs are bad for your creativity because they constantly remind you of failure – get rid of them!  (WIPs are fine, as long as there is still a spark of hope that one day you will finish them)

Try to get rid of your ufos. (if you can, it will release you to go on & make other things).  Your headache will vanish & your back ache will lift as the weight vanishes from your shoulders.

As a case in point, I started the ATC’s above about 3 months ago out of scrap bits in my ‘bit’s box’ (I box I have nearby that I gather all my ‘post project’ offcuts & ‘bits’ in)  They were nearly there, but not quite finished.  I recently got some new Basic Grey rub ons (the loves of my art life….lol) & they we the unifying factor that made the composition come together…….. I then added some ‘Opalite’ stamping ink……& a couple of other bits & they were done.(keep reading below if you want to know more about this ink)

SO, the happy story is, forlorn looking bits can turn in to something beautiful in time if you still believe in them.  What are you hording that you just are not going to get back to????…………THE WORD………….GET RID OF THEM!

Read the rest of this entry

14. IMAGERY – what do you want your art to say?

Standard

Child_angel_webHow do you chose the right imagery for your collage…….the type of image you use, totally changes the look & feel of what you are creating.  Take the two images here of angels.  The black & white image is a less formal view of angels that produces the reaction of awwwwwww…….isn’t that so cute/adorable/sweet…………. so depending on what you put with it, a composition can be directed to provoke this reaction from your viewer…..(cute/adorable/sweet).  Of course, you can use an image like this to create a juxtaposition, in the sense that if you had a very sombre verse, or a touching poem, or had used deep strong sombre colours……..(eg something about dying or death, or aging [believe me, THAT feels sobre somedays, as I squint at the screen!! LOL!] this could ‘soften’ the feel of your text to dampen some of the ‘sobre’ style of it. 

The coloured image has a more litergical, formal sense about it,Litergical_angels_web that implies perhaps religion, a more traditional sense of an angel, which would say a different thing altogether.  It is HIGHLY probable that if you wanted to use an angel image that either one of these would work (obviously depending on the size & colours you have used),  but they would give the viewer a totally different impression & illicit a completely different feeling when they look at your work.  For me………my compositions often are inspired by seeing an image that I just HAVE to work with.  (mind you, I am SUCH a FREAK, I droooooool over colour charts and colour books…….it’s a disease……….I am having shots for it……….LOL!!!……..alas it has always been so for me, so I don’t think there is a real lot of hope of being cured from this!!!) 

Often I contemplate it while I am working (how do you think that I come up with SUCH good room designs for my customers????  It is the influence of my art!) & think about where I would use it (in an art journal page?  on an ATC? [scale is always an issue with ATC’s], sometimes it is enough of itself to inspire a whole different style of project (I have just commenced my FIRST altered book as a result of finding an image that I couldn’t put down!)  Imagery surrounds us everywhere in advertising, signage, visual merchandising, packaging, promotional material, magazines (not just craft magazines), be on the look out for something that moves your soul!!  Somewhere_between_merge_web

Read the rest of this entry

13. BE INTENSE

Standard

Cartalogue_town_planning_webIf I there is one comment that I have had reflected back to me during my life time over & over it would be that I am ‘intense’.  When I was much younger, this hurt my feelings.  It left me thinking that I needed to be something different to be ‘socially acceptable’.  As I have grown older, & begun to understand myself better, I understand that it is my intensity that enables me to see the fine detail in things, to see nuances in colour, to articulate my feelings & make accurate observations of things.  It is also the thing that enables me to look past when something currently is, to what it could be.  I have grown to understand it as the ‘shadow’ side (& sometimes taxing side) of the creative me.  Intensity exilerates an artist.  It is the passion that births the drive to create & is at the conception of all creations, regardless of their eventual outcome – good or average.

12. The Seed of a Creation

Standard

Most people in a natural sense, understand the laws of sowing & reaping.Power_of_food_pear_web  You plant pear trees, you get  pears.  You cannot plant the tree then leave it to it’s own destiny to mature as a high yeild tree.  A farmer would be thought negligent (if not stupid) if he/she planted trees, left them for the year & came back expecting a crop.  In order to produce a crop the tree needs water, nutrients, tending, pruning & protection from the elements that could endanger it’s survival.

The thing that most people fail to realize that it is relevant for all of life.  You can’t create out of an empty void.  You need to ‘water’, ‘feed’, ‘tend’, ‘prune’ & ‘protect’ your creativity.  Let me explain:

WATER – water is life giving & sustaining, it can bring instant relief………a tree or plant can be wilted & looking ordinary, however with water, in just a few hours, it can be revived, leaves perked up & lush again.  We touched on this a couple of weeks ago, can you identify what it is that ‘waters’ your creativity?  As I said, for me it is something visually inspiring, & a simple way I can facilitate that is with beautiful books & shopping.  I can be devoid of all inspiration, & see something that is inspiring & that induces a creative flurry I can’t ignore.

FOOD – seeing other artist’s work, going to art shows, learning new techniques, all feed your ability to create………not to emulate……….but to provoke you to new heights…..to challenge what is, & inspire you to what could be.

TEND – sometimes we need to ‘tend’ our creativity by accepting where we are right now, not being TOO hard on ourselves. I tend to be a ‘pusher’ (LOL!!! like you haven’t realized THAT already!?!?!) but sometimes I need to be kind to myself……& accept that not EVERY piece of work is going to be a ‘Mona Lisa’. The fact that I am creating means that today could be the day that she appears!!!

PRUNE – I cannot tell you how highly I value TRUE constructive critism. Darling Jenene graciously encouraged me on Monday about my watercolours, which apart from pears & leaves (which I seem to be doing ok at) look pretty lame at the moment. She gave me some helpful tips & ideas of how to move forward…….I am not sure that I am doing any better yet, but I have some new ways to move forward (LOVE the rock salt effect J!)

Pears_green_web_1

PROTECT – Having just said that I open myself up to criticsm, by the same token, you cannot be swayed by ‘naysayers’. ‘Every person with a new idea is thought to be struck with moon shine madness’ (says Gilbert to Anne as she pioneers being a woman author – Anne of Green Gables) Recognise who are people that have opinions you can respect & accept as ones put forth in the interest of your growth as an artist. Although you will hear others, don’t give them the same ‘weight’ of credibility or importance. As a visual communicator, (see earlier ‘thoughts’ for the explanation of this) I cannot stress enough the importance of ‘protecting’ your imagination. What you fill your ‘vision’/’sight’/’eyes’ with is what will occupy your mind. I CANNOT watch movies with gory, bloody scenes, or grotesque figures….it fills my mind & I have no room to create beautiful things. It occupies my thought life & prevents me from sleeping……….not good.

In short, few people are artists by natural talent alone, it is a combination of spark & fire & hard work that creates masterpieces, and much ordinary work is produced along the way. Go, enjoy life, create….!@

10. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT FAILING?

Standard

There is SOOOOOOOOOO much baggage tied up in this for me that I could keep both Oprah & Dr Phil busy for the rest of their lives….. LOL!!!….. sufficient to say this is an area of challenge for me having been valued for what I did rather than who I was from my family of origin………. BOOO HOOOOO I say…..get on with life……….every now & then this ugly dragon rears it’s ugly head when I am arting…….It takes a huge amount of energy to protect ourselves from failing & shielding ourselves from experiences & imagined threats of failure.   When you give yourself permission to fail, mistakes become an important part of the creative process.  Remember……every artist was first an amateur. (Ralph Waldo Emerson(1803 – 1882), Letters and Social Aims: Progress of Culture, 1876)

I am telling myself this as I continue to try and turn spheres into apples!!!

Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb. (Sir Winston Churchill (1874 – 1965)   Hmmmmmm………not feeling very joyful or glorious right now……….but, I think that I am making some progress……………my recent Apple Harvest below.

Red_apple_1_webGreen_apple_1_webGreen_apple_2_web Cut_apple_web_1

What scares you about art?