Category Archives: creativity

FIND YOUR TRIBE

STEPS TO CREATIVITY #1

Finding your tribe is first step in living a creative life. Call them what you want, your tribe, your posse, your clan, your family – just call them! Find them! These are the ones that will support you and want the very best for you. The right group will:

CITY EMERGING

CITY EMERGING

 

KEEP YOU MOTIVATED

ENCOURAGE YOU

INSPIRE YOU

GIVE YOU SUPPORT

 

Did you know that geese travel 75% fast when they travel in packs? So, it stands to reason if you find your tribe you will gain momentum and reach your goals faster.

You can ask them to hold you accountable for your goals too (an accountability partner has worked for me – but she moved on – I need a new one!)

But, remember the word – RECIPROCITY. To really have a tribe you can trust, you have to give it back. You need to encourage, inspire – in short – cheer them on!

Find a mentor! Thomas Edison mentored Henry Ford. Thomas Jefferson mentored Lewis and Clark. Paul Robeson mentored Obama. Maya Angelou mentored Oprah. Woody Guthrie mentored Bob Dylan. Ralph Waldo Emerson mentored Thoreau. Warren Buffet mentored Bill Gates.

Where are you going to find your tribe, find your mentor? First of all, get out there, go out into the world! Keep trying! Take a class, go to events!

Be curious. Be brave. Make connections!

WEEK ONE – 21 STEPS TO YOUR MOST CREATIVE SELF

FIND YOUR TRIBE

Call it whatever you like: your clan, network, posse, gang, pack,  your family. But take the time to find them!!!!  These are the people that accept you as you are and want the very best for you!

The right group will help you:

STAY MOTIVATED

GIVE YOU THE COURAGE TO TAKE RISKS

INSPIRE YOU

ENCOURAGE YOU

GIVE SUPPORT WHEN NEEDED

Finding a community will empower you and give meaning to your work.  Your creative work is more than a hobby and they know it!

Your tribe will add momentum to what you are doing. Think of geese that travel in packs.  It is said the geese travel 75% faster in a group than when they are alone. So, doesn’t it make sense your creative goals and dreams will come to fruition faster if you find your tribe?

Your tribe should be people you trust, people that genuinely care about you and your work, that will cheer you on. But, remember, reciprocity is key. You also have to encourage, inspire and cheer too,   And you must do it honestly (just keep your ego in check and don’t be judgemental).

Being around others opens up the floodgate of more possibilities, ideas and opportunities.

Find a mentor. Pavarotti had mentors throughout his career. Jonathan Williams mentored Robin Williams. Nicholas Cage mentored Johnny Depp. Thomas Edison mentored Henry Ford. Thomas Jefferson mentored Lewis & Clark. Paul Robeson mentored Obama.

Where are you going to find them? First of all, get out of your house, go out into the world.

Case in point – recently the Women’s Caucus For Art in Georgia hosted DrawFourDays. A group of almost 20 women got together for four days and drew . I was unable to take part, but I did visit. What did I find? I saw friendships being forged, respect among the participants and creativity beyond anything I imagined.

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Maggie Bethel at the artist talk along with other wonderful work done that week. photo by Ruth Schowalter

maxine hess talking about her work

Maxine Hess talking about her work on her right

in front of Helen De Ramus and Kate Colpitts drawings

In front of drawings by Kate Colpitts, left, and Helen De Ramus, right

Be curious! Be Brave! Get out there and mingle! Who knows what could happen!

Next week Week TWO of 21 Weeks to your Most Creative Self:  Believe

 

21 WEEKS TO YOUR MOST CREATIVE SELF

What is creativity?  According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, it is “the ability to make new things or think new things.”

imagesEvery human is born creative.  However, as we get older society teaches us to suppress creativity (remember, you must color within the lines!). Interestingly, when you ask people who they consider creative, RARELY will they refer to themselves. Most think instead of Mozart, Shakespeare, Gershwin, Ansel Adams, the list goes on and on.  Right?

 

There is also the romantic notion of what a creative person is like. Most people think of them as being sensitive, temperamental, mysterious, often misunderstood. wuthering-cover

 

Okay – I admit, I think of Heathcliff wandering the Scottish Moors.

 

 

 

 

 

despondentOr a despondent soul.

But, this isn’t true. First of all, creativity is not based on intelligence. Being creative does not mean you have to make art.

Living creatively means looking at the world around you differently. Your imagination leads to thoughts, thoughts become words and words become action. Creativity is not worth anything if you don’t do anything with your ideas.

Let me repeat that

Creativity is not worth anything if you don’t do anything with your ideas.

A study in 2012 found 8 in 10 people feel that creativity is critical to economic growth, and over 60% of those surveyed feel creativity is valuable to society. BUT, 1 in 4 people believe they are NOT living up to their creative potential.

Do you believe some people are born more creative than others? I believe not. Creative people usually do six key things throughout their life (called The Innovators DNA).

Make connections between different things

question everything

observe

network

experiment

and most importantly, practice

Living a creative life is being fully alive.  When was the last time you felt fully alive? Think about this for awhile.

Believe you can change the world!!!

Spend some time this week thinking about what inspires you to create? It doesn’t have to be a work of art, it can be baking a cake, writing a joke, putting your clothes together differently, taking a different path to the grocery store. It can be anything! Find you passion!

Share what you think creativity is.

For the next 21 weeks I will share an action I believe will make that creative muscle grow stronger. Next week, Find your Tribe!

 

 

April Reading

I’m a few days late in posting this – but here are the books I read in April – some better than others.  Some were almost forgettable – now I know not to buy books at the Dollar Store – simply because they are there.  Here goes:

BODY SURFING by Anita Shreve:  I usually like Anita Shreve, but I found this book predictable, somewhat tedious and just okay. The most interesting thing about the book is she is revisiting a house that has been in a couple of her previous novels, most notably The Pilot’s Wife.

SAVAGE HARVEST:  A Tale of Cannibalism, Colonialism, and Michael Rockefeller’s Quest for Primitive Art by Carl Hoffman:  With a title like that, it was hard not to be drawn in.  As I was reading it, the story kept popping up on the news (from NPR to CBS Sunday Morning)!  Michael Rockefeller disappeared off the coast of New Guinea in 1961. It was long thought and accepted he had drowned.  Now after 50+ years and alot of research, this is possibly a true account of what happened.  This is a story of a different culture, a detective story with cannibalism and headhunting, and a little art thrown in on the side. Michael’s collection of primitive art was donated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

A STRANGER LIKE YOU by Elizabeth Brundage: I usually love books about Hollywood, but this was at the Dollar Store – and frankly – I’d forgotten I read it one rainy afternoon!

THE WRITING CIRCLE by Corinne Demas: Another book from the Dollar Store – but this one was somewhat better. The writers in the circle are professional published writers, which made it a bit more interesting. It was “okay”.

THE GREEN LINE by E.C. Diskin: I read this in one afternoon – as I do most legal thrillers. The Green Line refers to a a train line in Chicago.  While I was aware of civil forfeiture, this spells it out and shows how innocent people can be stripped of their personal property without due process. While it is somewhat predictable with a very crooked police force, it was still fun to read and learn about this unbelievable law!

A PLACE AT THE TABLE by Susan Rebecca White: This book started out in familiar territory, my home of Decatur, Ga.  The original inspiration is the friendship  of Atlanta Chef Scott Peacock and his friendship with renowned Southern chef and author Edna Lewis. The two main characters, Bobby Banks – a gay man from Decatur and  Alice Stone – an African American that grew up in Emancipation, NC.  come together in a New York restaurant, where their love of home cooking draws them together and secrets are revealed. I enjoyed this book!

A MAN WITH A BLUE SCARF, On Sitting for a Portrait by Lucien Freud by Martin Gayford: Martin Gayford is a well respected art critic, and this is his telling of sitting for seven months for a portrait by Lucien Freud, widely regarded as one of the best figurative artists in the 20th Century. This is a great book about the creative process, as Gayford took notes throughout the process. Interestingly, when the painting was completed, he sat again for an etching which took another nine months. I plan on reading this again, as this is a great look into a great creative mind.

EMPTY MANSIONS: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr.;  What a story! Her father made millions in copper mining – he is the “clark” from Clark County (Las Vegas). They had a 121 room mansion on Park Avenue. Huguette and her mother were big music lovers and art collectors. Huguette played the violin, painted, but was extremely shy. One of my favorite stories is about a musician playing in their house and her mother suggested he start a quarter, but he told her the problem was they didn’t have enough instruments. So – she took a Cezanne off the wall, went to a gallery and sold it, came back and took the musician with her and bought FOUR STRADS!  2 violins, 1 viola and 1 cello.  Huegette also collected dolls and doll houses, loved the Smurfs, the Jetsons.  She became a recluse, spending the last 20 years of her life in a hospital (she wasn’t sick!). Amazing story!

PLAY. CREATE. SUCCEED by Jean Hamilton-Fford: This was sent to me by the author as we are in a blogging group together. The subtitle of this is “Radical Thinking for a New Age”.  There are so many golden nuggets in this!!!  I read it quickly to get an overview – I wll definitely go back and re-read it slower and work through it. In reading through this, I realized I haven’t been playing much lately.  I’ll write more on this later when I delve deeper into the book!

Another book I have picked up is COLOR: A NATURAL HISTORY OF THE PALETTE by Victoria Finlay .  This is a fascinating book, but extremely dense. I have read the first chapter on the color Ochre.  Each chapter could be it’s own blog post! (Maybe that will happen!)

One thing I realized in writing this list this month – I spent too much time readng things I didn’t fall in love with – I was just using up time.  So – no more buying dollar books unless I have some background on the book. I’m going to take more recommendations  – starting with a book left in a comment last month – THE OLD WAYS – A JOURNEY ON FOOT by Robert McFarlane, thank you Helen DeRamus!

I’ll take recommendations!

 

 

SPRING CLEANING = CLARITY

I am in day six of a 10-day Detox.  That’s 10 days without caffeine, sugar, alcohol, meat, dairy, soy and processed foods.  But – it is 10 days with FRESH WHOLE FOODS!!!! This is my 2nd one this year, and I can say it really makes a difference. So – since my word of the year is SIMPLIFY, I took a day this week and cleaned out my pantry and refrigerator. Along the way I decided to stop using plastic containers all the time. This is my before picture!

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Pantry Before

Pretty much a mess – kind of embarassing it got this bad!  So – I proceeded to take EVERYTHING out. I checked the dates on all my spices, threw away the beef broth (I haven’t eaten red meat in months!) threw out all opened food and got rid of everything I no longer eat. Well, I am not the only person living here, so a few things stayed.   After filling SIX bags of trash (this included what was in the refrigerator too), and beginning the conversion to using glass containers, this is the result.

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What crazy things did I find? I found three containers of tumeric, two containers of cinnamon, expired red pepper, two bags of flour (and I rarely bake), Morton’s Salt.  I also had multiple produce bags in a drawer below filled with nuts.  So I remembered I had a labeler I’d never used, so I went to town making labels and putting everything into clearly marked glass jars. This felt SO GOOD.

So – on to the refrigerator.  After shopping for the detox – I just crammed everything in the refrigerator.

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refrigerator before

At this point, I did a little research and found How-To Store Fruits and Vegetables from the Berkeley Farmer’s Market.  It was subtitled TIPS AND TRICKS TO EXTEND THE LIFE OF YOUR PRODUCE WITHOUT PLASTIC. I looked at all the expiration dates and tossed out some mustard and other things like bar-b-que sauce.  Now – my refrigerator looks like this:

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refrigerator after

Gone are all the plastic produce bags. Gone are all the rubber bands.  Yes, there is still a plastic container in there, but that has individually portioned vegetables that we add into the dogs food daily.

All of this makes it all seem more appetizing. In doing this – I repurposed a few things that are now in my art studio.

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new purpose

Here you see plastic containers that I can use to store things in my studio, Morton’s salt that I use for texture and also as an abrasive, and the plastic containers food comes in that i have long used instead of a palette.  I was so proud of myself, I went and bought myself a present!

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NEW JUICER!

What should I clean out next?  It is amazing when you purge like this – how light and invigorated you feel. – it brings a kind of clarity.

I’m ready to clean out the bathroom, my closets (which I did recently) and then my studio!  But – instead, today I am enjoying some fresh juice, a salad and a book on the deck and listening to the trains in the distance.

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THE LIFE!

What have you done to purge and how did you feel?

 

 

 

SHADES OF GREEN

 

Shades_of_green

Yes, green is definitely my favorite color. After receiving a prompt from Jes Gordon this week to write about our favorite color, I decided to do a little research about the color green.

I have always considered green to be restful, peaceful and natural. This may be partially because it is often a balance of warm and cool undertones, as it comes from blue and yellow.  It is also the most pervasive color in nature.

In the middle ages, green was worn by merchants and bankers.  Mona Lisa is wearing green.  However, there were no good vegetable dyes that didn’t fade with sunlight and washing. Green dyes were made out of fern,  the juice of nettles and leeks, the digitalis plant to name a few.  Finally in the 16th century a dye was produced by first dying the cloth blue and then yellow. 

For painting, monks used verdigris, made by soaking copper in fermenting wine, as well as ground malachite.  During the Renaissance, painters began painting the faces first with an undercoat of green.  In the 18th and 19th centuries, synthetic green was made, however, some contained arsenic!

The romantic movement in literature and art was associated with green. Goethe believed green was the most restful color, and bedrooms should be decorated with green. 

Green was George Washington’s favorite color. It also symbolized magic in the King Arthur stories (which I love by the way!) It is the color used in night-vision goggles because the human eye is able to discern the most shade of the color green.

Popular phrases using green are:

Green Thumb – the ability to make plants grow

Get the green light – approval to move ahead

Green Room – where performers relax before appearances

Greenback – legal tender

Green with envy

Greenhorn – a novice

Turn green – when you look pale or sick

I looked up a green personality – and it is a real idealized version of me!  Me at my best maybe/  People that consider green their favorite color tend to be practical, kind, generous, they love to learn, are loyal, bored with details and tend to be observers.  

“Green how I want you green. Green wind. Green branches.”

Federico Garcia Lorca

How does green affect you? What is your favorite color?

 

 

 

WHAT’S NEXT?

As part of the C4 blogathon, todays prompt is to list five goals to achieve in the next 30, 20 or 10 years, goals to achieve in the next five years and goals for the next 12 months.  I’m going to approach it a little differently because I have a few major goals in each category.

Goals for the next 12 months:  First of all, this has been a trying year. My mom is getting older and at times forgetful. I found out on New Year’s Eve someone had ordered a debit card from her bank and proceeded to make regular withdrawals. Also – a couple of her credit cards have been compromised. So – one of my major short term goals is to get all of this straightened out, become her power of attorney, get her will revised (she did it in 1987), and in short – become the parent of my family.  On top of that, I work full time in advertising. This is the busiest time of the year and this year is the craziest it has ever been.  So, another goal is to set and stick to priorities with my family. 

I have a couple of lighter goals – I want to be able to touch my toes – basically get back in shape. Also, my word of the year was “simplify”, I’m on a path to make my life more sustainable – but I have to work on the organization more and I don’t want “things” anymore, I want to live a “life”.  (I don’t keep my books anymore, I sell them back on Amazon now – and trust me – I am a reader!)

I will have the images of my work organized.

I will blog regularly.

I will journal regularly.

I will get back into the local art scene – I’ve been a little absent lately. I’m on the board of directors for the Women’s Caucus for Art in Georgia, but basically, I am organizing the book club – so I want to get more involved.

In five years, I no longer want to have to work in an office.  Case in point, I missed yesterdays blog because I didn’t get home until 8P and worked a little more. It is now 9P, and I just checked my emails from work. So – can you tell? I can’t continue doing this. I plan on going to a financial adviser and getting on a 3-4 year plan.  With that, I will have a steady income from my art world. I have this “dream” to teach on-line classes. I don’t have this idea solidified, I don’t even know what I want to teach right now, but I do know I love connecting with people across the universe with the same interest in art.  (Currently I’m trading collage materials with people across the globe, what fun to get stuff from Iceland and Sweden in the mail.)

I plan on going on a fabulous art-retreat, I have researched Berlin, and also there is a teacher in Maine that I’m interested in.  

When I accomplish this, the rest will fall into place. 

In closing, yesterdays prompt was sharing a favorite work of ours – so I thought I’d sneak an image in here.

Spring moon ©vickie martin

Spring moon
©vickie martin

 

MUSINGS ON EXPLORING AND EXPERIMENTING CREATIVELY

C4wardMarch200

 

I have committed to 15 days of blogging with C4 – an organization in Atlanta that – according to their vision statement – helps Atlanta artists learn to make a living from art. This is a great way to connect with other like minded artists receiving a prompt a day.  

What is my purpose here on this earth and why do I exist?  To quote Emerson, “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” Living a life well lived is finding your true voice and your gift – and the purpose is giving it back to the Universe.

Why do I create? I have to. I am a learner.  I am an observer. I am an experimenter – I’ll try anything once (within the law of course). Observations lead to dreams, which leads to explorations and to the path only I can see.  The path I will forge, not a path I can follow.  “The things that make me different are the things that make me me.” A.A. Milne

Yes, I believe it is a better life lived when you sometimes fail by being original than succeeding by copying others. 

“I am seeking. I am striving. I am in it with all my heart” Vincent Van Gogh,  Maybe a more simplified version of this for a t-shirt saying, maybe just SEEKING and EXPLORING, PASSIONATELY.

 

 

FEBRUARY READING RESULTED IN SNYCHRONICITY

I vowed this year to keep up with what I’m reading and share it on a monthly basis. I hope to get some new ideas for books too – because I read every day!P2280049_1444This is a sample of what I have stacked up to read!  Here is what I finished in February:

Everybody Was So Young: Gerald and Sara Murphy: A Lost Generation Love Story  by Amanda Vaill.  This was such an interesting biography.  Gerald and Sara lived in Paris and then the south of France. There they entertained Picasso, Hemingway, the Fitzgeralds, Stavinsky and others.  Gerald was an artist – and despite being exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art – he packed up his brushes and abruptly quit. It is said the couple was the inspiration for the characters Nick and Nicole Driver in F. Scott Fitzgeralds Tender is the Night (I need to reread it now). Both Hemingway and Picasso may have been in love with Sara. The couple were friends with the Fitzgeralds until their sad demise. They also remained close to Hemingway. But if wasn’t all fun and games, there was alot of heartbreaks along the way. My synchronistic moment:  about 2/3 of the way through the book, Sara befriends Calvin Tompkins, who remains in the book until the end.  Last month I read Off the Wall: A Portrait of Robert Rauschenberg – written by – Calvin Tompkins. 

Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey. This consists of little stories about daily habits of 160 artists – consisting of novelists, playwrights, painters, philosophers, scientists, composers and more. I could write an entire blog on this book and I plan on going back through it and keeping track of which rituals appear with frequency. Many of the people profiled took long daily walks and carried a notebook to jot down ideas. Thomas Wolfe wrote standing up in the kitchen. Trollop made sure he wrote 3000 words every morning before going to his job at the postal service. Stravinsky was unable to compose unless he was positive no one could hear him – and then stood on his head to clear his brain. Balanchine did his greatest work while ironing. The list goes on – enjoyable read.

The Blind Contessa’s New Machine  by Carey Wallace. I picked this book up on a bargain table in a book store (yes, in a real brick and mortar book store).  And yes, I did choose it based on the cover.  But it was a delightful find – a very small book.  It tells the story of an Italian contessa who goes blind and no one believes her, except for a local inventor and long time friend, Turri. Wanting to communicate with the Contessa, he builds what is thought to be the first working typewriter. I loved the magical realism in the dream sequences in the book, and I loved the fact it is a book of fiction that is based on a very obscure historical event.  Isn’t the cover inviting:

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The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro. Claire is an artist who makes a living reproducing famous works of art for an online company. She is approached by THE GALLERY OWNER in Boston to forge a Degas from a copy.  This is one of the paintings that was stolen in the famous Gardner Heist.  If you don’t know the story, click here.  Briefly it is the largest art heist in history when in 1990 two men went into the museum in the middle of the night and stole 13 pieces of art – none have ever been recovered.  All is not what it seems and I couldn’t put it down.  Another SYNCHRONISTIC moment in reading – forgers find a painting by a lesser known artist from the period of what they are forging and use that canvas.  In this book, a painting by the artist Meissonier was used.  Last month I read the book The Judgement of Paris, The Revolutionairy Decade That Gave the World Impressionism by Ross King.  Lo and behold, this book followed the career of Edouard Manet and Ernest Meissonier, who was the most successful artist in Paris at that time!  (and generally overlooked now)

Gustav Klimt, Painter of Women by Susanna Partsch. I haven’t read the entire book, but I have enjoyed looking at the plates in it.  Klimt is one of my favorite artists.  Below is an image of The Kiss – one of the most beautiful paintings ever.  If you ever get a chance to see a Klimt in person, don’t miss the opportunity.

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What am I reading now – actually I’m between books.  I did start a book about Henry VIII, but I realized most of the major characters are beheaded and I kind of lost my way – maybe I’ll pick it back up.

Last thing – what am I watching?  I discovered House of Cards and binged on it one weekend. I’m up to episode 8, I feel another binge weekend coming up!

What are you reading or watching?  Give me suggestions.

P2150046_1446Ziggy likes to get in on the action too – he’s been caught pulling art books off the bookshelf. Why?  it is a mystery to us!