All posts tagged: creativity

circles and shadows pattern

Finding the Upside

For this month’s topic, I will highlight a form of visual poetry I have been creating during this time of self-imposed ‘social distancing’. So, this is my attempt to focus on the upside of isolation; an opportunity to explore creative projects I enjoy, but at a deeper level. However, I will begin with a personal insight from earlier this week.  You see, as I come to grips with the COVID-19 pandemic that is totally changing our daily lives right now, it occurred to me that my life has *already* been shaped by another pandemic. I grew up with a keen awareness of the sudden, devastating and traumatic power of influenza. I was aware of this because a beloved Aunt’s mother was struck down by the Spanish Flu when she was just a small child (1918-1920). Her widowed father re-married and he had two more daughters, the younger of which became my adoptive mother. My Aunt V loved her step-mother (she called her “Mamma”) but the loss of her first mother was always acknowledged as a …

Ebb and Flow

Hibernation Mode

Most people do not know that I enjoy soft-block carving and printing. Years ago I carved stamps of different sizes of this 7-petaled, “CREATIVITY”, Adinkra symbol. I used my stamps this month to finish up a sketchbook I titled Ebb and Flow. It needed to be mailed by February 15th to the project organizers and I was very happy to have the pressure of this hard deadline to motivate me to do something creative as I have not been feeling well for several weeks. I will spare you all the details, but I caught a horrible cold on top of a recurring nerve pain in my lower back. These and other issues have kept me home bound (aka “hibernation mode”) for most of this winter, however I am proud to say I have been using my alone-time constructively. In addition to working on the Sketchbook Project (which I will briefly outline further down this page) I have spent an inordinate amount of time decluttering and sorting through all of my art supplies. For example, every sheet of …

Becoming collage

Magnets and Distractions

My back is messed up. No use in going over why this happens to me periodically. I will accept that it is for me to deal with even though the initial cause was out of my control. Yes, I know what I am supposed to be doing to avoid a recurrence of this pain–yet it continues to plague me. I should avoid sitting for long periods of time in folding chairs. I should get up at least once an hour and walk around. I should not sit hunched over my computer for 6 hours straight. I should lose weight. I should practice yoga more consistently; the list goes on and on. I understand that other people deal with chronic pain and have much more intense experiences than the few weeks I am disabled by sciatica pain and random back spasms. Perhaps they have ways to deal with it other than the ice packs, ibuprofen, bedrest and stretching exercises I use as my main healing techniques. Mostly though, I wait and DISTRACT myself with work, sleep, …

Heartfelt Tokens – Miniature Collages

I have not blogged much about the visual art I enjoy creating. For this first month of 2017, I thought I would start out the year by posting one of my favorite projects–I call them “Heartfelt Tokens” because these small tags are personal one-of-a-kind collages that are really creatively satisfying to make and fun to give as gifts. If you are intrigued, and think you might also enjoy making them for your friends, family, and unexpectedly kind “strangers”, instructions and supplies are listed below. In general, I find it very relaxing and meditative to create collages of all sizes. In the future I hope to  write more about some of the creativity classes I used to teach that made use of this accessible art form. It’s great to have tokens already prepared for quick gift giving or timely thank you. I like to take them on trips because they fit easily in my carry-on and are a personal way to acknowledge a unexpected birthday or other occasion, or to thank someone for a kindness.   …

The 7 Deadly Sins – A 2016 Resolutions Exercise

Wow! It has been a very full year–travel, music, friends, family and many creative moments. One of the things I am most proud of is that I was able to post at least one article here each month. Starting and maintaining a personal website was one of my 2015 resolutions and I intend to keep going! Thank you to everyone who took the time to contact me with encouraging comments. For 2016, from the many possible promises I could make to myself, I decided to focus on resolutions I could commit to that would nourish me as a person and as an artist /musician. I started by contemplating my 2015 achievements, and analyzing my attempts at achievement (otherwise known as brooding over my mistakes and failures.) Then, for some reason known only to my subconscious mind (is that redundant?) in the middle of this thought process I remembered something I saw recently about the “7 Deadly Sins”. Now, totally sidetracked by this concept, I will share a few random thoughts on these sins to close out 2015. Hopefully, at the end of …

Unexpected Treasures

While thinking about the things that make me happy, things that cost little or nothing at all, it occurred to me that I discover, appreciate, or see little treasures every day, whether I am outside or at home–everyday surprises, unexpected treasures. These treasures can be as simple as time spent in conversation with a friend or someone you just met, discovering a beautiful architectural trim on a building down the street, appreciating a special space you have purposefully created in a room, or experiencing something unexpectedly profound–something that causes you to feel connected to the universe, comforts you, or challenges you to go in another direction. Finding and exploring a treasure can happen when your mind is relaxed and open, or when it is stressed and occupied with other thoughts.  There are no rules, and seeing something cool can happen at any time. When I started writing down all the inspiring things I encounter each day (more about this in my post Keeping Notebooks) I realized how much these little things mean to me.  I will sporadically share some …

Keeping Notebooks

While contemplating my life, with a focus on things I do everyday, I decided to write about a tool that has become very important to me – a simple notebook.  (I prefer the 5″ x 8″ lined 80-page spiral-bound style as this fits easily into my bag.)  It is my personal “external hard-drive” and helps me keep track of my day-to-day activities, as well as providing quick storage of creative ideas and prompts.  I carry one with me every day; it’s always available for use, unlike the internet. My system for TASKS Over 20 years ago I worked with a woman who told me about how she kept track of tasks she needed to do.  I tried her system and it immediately helped me get organized at the office. I modified the idea a little and have used it ever since to make sure I get things done in all aspects of my life. Basically my system works this way: If I am in a meeting and I am asked to take action on something, or if I am on the bus and something I need …