Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Artist Way--Week 3

"Watch out for what you pray for; you just might get it"
"Answered prayers are scary. They imply responsibility"-from TAW by Julia Cameron.

This week, TAW program explores the concept of synchronicity. I once heard synchronicity described as ripples in a brook--that every thought and action affects the universe, if you will. Another way to look at it is that if you surround yourself with positive ideas and wish/pray for something, doors will be openned to you. The power of positive thinking. Don't say, "Can I?"...say instead, "I Can!".

It is uncanny that this is the second time the readings have mirrored what I have been exploring in my morning pages! Just last week, I spent 2 days trying to figure out exactly what it is I want to happen with my art. There are days that I feel like I want to be a well-known artist (read, acceptance) and days I fear that I wouldn't know what to do if that happenned to me. I know now that this way of thinking alone probably hampers me from moving in the direction I am meant to go!

Have you seen evience of synchronicity in your life? I'd love to hear about it!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Artist's Way-Week 2 Continued

"More than anything else, creative recovery is an exercise in open-mindedness"-Julia Cameron in The Artist's Way.

Each week, I am trying to pull a quote from the book and talk about it.

So what is open-mindedness? To me it is so many things; the main ones being: paying attention especially to your surroundings and perhaps the more obvious, being nonjudgemental.

I am trying to slow down my pace in life. How often I seem to being going from point A to point B without remembering to enjoy the journey. It is very indescriminate; it happens when I'm driving somewhere, when I'm doing everyday things, and when I'm crafting. I tend to rush through the means to get to the end! If I am to "fill my well", that is, to replenish my creative reservoir, then I must teach myself to pay more attention even when I am doing something I've done 100 times before. To really see what is around me.

Being nonjudgemental requires acceptance-that not everyone is the same or sees things the same way, patience with differing opinions and ideas, and practice to teach ourselves to be accepting. It includes being nonjudgemental with ourselves which is often the hardest thing to do. I am so much more critical of my own work! But, as I always say, realizing or identifying the problem is half the battle, and I am trying to not be so hard on myself.

Stay tuned for Week 3!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Artist's Way-Week 2

This week has been a little harder for me to keep up with tasks. School is closed this week...need I say more? I have, however, kept up with the morning pages. They continue help me sort out my thoughts to banish the bad ones and order the good ones. They also help inspire me and help me hold onto ideas. Here's a summary of my week.

Task 2: Where does my time go? Five major activities this week? Laundry, ironing, shopping, cleaning, cooking. Although this week is not a good example--the activities are basically the same. While I cannot cut out any of these--I have learned to delegate more. It really doesn't give me more time, but less stress!

Task 3: List 20 things you enjoy doing: cooking, baking, going for walks, playing solitaire on the computer, traveling, indoor gardening, listening to music, reading, painting, crafting.

Task 4: Pick 2 things from the list above that you avoid--for this week's goal.
I can't really say I avoid any of the above.

Task 6: Five more imaginary lives: Ballroom dancer, Chef, Teacher, Romance Novelist, Translator.

That's as far as I got this week. I'm working on coming up with the ten small changes and will post them later.

I appreciate all the visits & comments on my Artist Way posts. Thank you, all!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Here's a tip for you!

I just learned a little tip and thought I would pass it along. I discovered this as a result of doing morning pages for The Artist's Way course. The first thing I discovered is how helpful it is to write everything down. It clears the mind of the small things and opens it up to creative ideas. I figured if it works for that it would work for designing also...

If you know the subject you want to work with, but are stuck for ideas, write it down and just brainstorm. Here's my example: Alaska-I thought of glaciers, mountains, salmon, bears, eagles, totem poles, button robes--there were many more, but you get the idea! Somewhere in there, I know is a creative idea. You can further break this idea down--say you want to work with glaciers: cold, massive, the deep aqua blue of the ice being so dense, the cracking sound they make when huge chunks calf off.

You can apply this same thing to materials. For example, think, "What can I do with feathers?" Trust me, the ideas will flow out. The more you do this, the better it seems to work.

All these ideas will train your mind to "wander" onto something the previous thing made you think of. I can't stress enough how helpful it is to write these ramblings down! I hope I've explained this clearly!

Happy Creating!

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Artist's Way with a Creative Challenge Mixed In!

"To be an artist: I must remember that it is my job to do the work, not judge the work"-Quoted from The Artist's Way By Julia Cameron. (Link to the blog appears on the right)This statement really made an impression on me.

I decided to see if I could apply this idea when I was trying to come up with something for this week's creative challenge. For anyone not familiar with these challenges...briefly, they were started by Jewelstreet in the Etsy Etc. forum. Each monday she posts a new challenge idea that is meant to provide inspiration. (You will also find a link to Jewelstreet's Etsy shop on the right)I have benefited a great deal from these.

So, this week's challenge was to be inspired by the word "shadow". I chose to make the source of shadows, a sun. This is the absolute first time that I have ever made anything without judging every little step! I just got out the polymer clay and beads (those who know me know there have to be beads in there somewhere, LOL)and enjoyed playing with them. The result is the brooch above. I am pleased with myself! I even listed it for sale in my Etsy shop.

Everytime doubt crept in, I just pushed it aside! This program really works to change your way of thinking. I cannot wait to see what is up in week 2!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Artist's Way--Week 1

"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up."
-Pable Picasso

I don't think any truer words were ever spoken. Although only in week 1 of TAW program, I have already discovered so many things about myself...one of them being that I have forgotten how to have fun when I am creating. I am much too serious about my projects. And, sometimes, much too thin-skinned. I am my own worst critic.

I made a conscious effort over the last day or so to create something for the sheer joy of handling the materials. So I dug out the polymer clay & beads (always have to have some beads in there, LOL) and enjoyed the tactile experience. I will post it here tomorrow.

Summary of Week 1

1)I've kept up with my morning pages and am still finding it sometimes a chore to fill 3 pages and sometimes I almost run out of room.

2)My Artist Date is pending. Hopefully tomorrow.

3)Enemies of my creative self-worth: Me! I cannot honestly think of anyone else that has not encouraged me. I cannot recall any bad comments--I hope I'm not repressing it all! LOL!

6)3 Champions of my creative self-worth: My late mother, my husband, our daughter--I could list several more!

8)Five Imaginary lives: Museum Curator, Archeologist, Tour Escort, Poet, Actress.

I am so happy to be a part of this group of supportative people. Although we are all essentially working on our own, just knowing that there are others out there going through the same thing is very helpful!

Happy Valentine's Day Everyone!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Artist's Way, continued...

"To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong."-Joseph Chilton Pearce.

One of the worst enemies of my creative self-worth is a lack of trust in my abilities & ideas. Whenever I am painting or crafting, I am so sure that I won't know how to do something or it won't look recognizable, that I sometimes follow step by step how-to. Before anyone starts yelling about copyright infringement--that is not what I am talking about. I'm saying if I want to paint a sunflower, I have to look at a picture of a real one. Or, I have to learn a technique before I can attempt something. I never trust myself to just do it! I've been taking some oil painting classes & even there I feel the constant struggle to be perfect. As my 84 year old Dutch teacher tries to free me up to paint more abstractly, I strive to sharpen the lines and make everything look right and recognizable.

This frustrates me because I can remember being another way. I can remember when I never imagined something would turn out wrong. I can remember when I would just make something "from scratch" right out of my imagination.

As I continue along with The Artist's Way, I hope I can lose this fear of being wrong and gain some trust in my creativity in the process. I feel I have taken the first step by just recognizing it!

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Artist's Way

I am embarking (with some other souls) on a journey to work through my creative blocks and hopefully gain more confidence in myself and my art. From time to time I hope to post my progress here. I have never done anything like this before, and I am hoping that I am up to this.I plan to do my best to stick with it. Wish me luck on my journey!

The program is called The Artist's Way-A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron. A Blog has been set up by Karen Beth, here, for anyone wishing to take part or follow along.

First, a bit about myself: I was always, dare I use the word, creative as a child, but I grew up in the age where being an Artist was not something one did as a living. I had a very supportive mother, but even she encouraged me to do something more stable. Here's the condensed version: After 15 years as a medical secretary,I got married, my boss retired, I had a baby and settled into a very nice life with baby & a very supportive husband. Looking back, all through this time I never stopped creating as the walls and shelves of our home will attest. Once the baby was old enough, I was at a crossroads of what to do now? I started doing craft shows and little by little built up a following there and when the shows started dying out, I found ebay as an outlet. Then came etsy and my own website. Now, said baby is 15, and I have more time to myself. So why am I not more motivated to do what I love? Why aren't the ideas just tumbling out? I hope to find this out on my journey and learn why I am my biggest stumbling block.

At first I couldn't see the purpose of "morning pages". When I started on Saturday, I thought I'd never fill 3 pages. Today, Monday, I almost ran out of room. They allow me to put some things to rest and to think out other things.

Okay, before I lose what little confidence I have in baring my soul, I'll end here.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Inspiration from India

Well, if you read my previous post, you know I was working on my creative challenge project for this week--to be inspired by India. I proposed 3 things that might inspire me, and Dawn from the Etsy shop, ElementsbyDawn, guessed it right! I was inspired by the National Bird of India, the Peacock.

I made 3 french beaded peacock feathers that can be used alone in a vase or added to more beaded or silk flowers. They are available in my shop and as a special for only my blog readers, I will ship them for free. Just mention in notes to seller that you saw the free shipping offer on my blog & I'll send a revised invoice right out.

Inspiration always comes to me via the animal kingdom, but I already have a tiger in my shop. I also wanted to try making a lotus/water lily, but quite honestly, the beaded flowers just aren't selling on Etsy liked I hoped they would. Part of the reason I think is because I have not found the perfect category to place them in and, therefore, I think they are not easily found. They still sell fairly well on Ebay, but there you have to be prepared to start them out low priced & perhaps sell them that way, too. I plan to add some new things to my Etsy shop, but since I enjoy making the flowers so much, I will probably continue to do so.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Creative Challenge #84

Well, it has been awhile since I have talked about the Creative Challenge on Etsy. For anyone not familiar with this, you can read more about it, here.

So, this week's challenge was to be inspired by India. At first I thought this was the hardest thing I ever had to think about. I have to admit I cheated a bit and "googled" India to see what I came up with. As anyone knows, there is a wealth of information on the net.

Take for instance, the emblem of India, shown above. Now, I recognized this image having seen it may times as a stamp collector. When I read the description, I realized how little of it I actually saw! Borrowed from theholidayspot.com/Indian Emblem, "It features 3 lions and the 4th being hidden from the view. The wheel appears in relief in the center of the abacus with a bull on the right and a horse on the left and the outlines of the other wheels on the extreme right and left. Inscribed below the abacus in Devnagari script is: "Satyameva Jayate", meaning, 'Truth Alone Triumphs'. This is a quote from Mundaka Upanishad, the concluding part of the Vedas.

The four lions (the 4th being hidden from view) - symbolize power, courage and confidence rest on a circular abacus. The abacus is girded by four smaller animals - guardians of the four directions: the lion of the north, the elephant of the east, the horse of the south and the bull of the west. The abacus rests on a lotus in full bloom, exemplifying the fountainhead of life."

Totally interesting, but it still didn't give me my challenge project idea. A little more digging did, however. I discovered...
The National Bird is: the Peacock
The National Animal is: the Tiger
The National Flower is: the Lotus or Waterlily

Can you guess which one inspired me? Stay tuned to find out!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Saturday Night Sale--Join me starting at 5 pm EST

Here's a preview of my Saturday Night Specials beginning at 5 p.m.:

Until midnight in Hawaii (6 a.m. Etsy time)put "SNS" in notes to seller & wait for an adjusted invoice before paying. Happy Shopping!

My sale is in the Valentine Section only tonight!
I am currently at 57 sales.

Sale #58 25% off
Sale #59 20% off
Sale #60 15% off and an extra surprise!
Regular shipping applies; however, if you spend $25 or more after the discount is applied, shipping will be free!
If you see something that you think belongs in the Valentine Section, convo me & tell me why & I just may move it!

French beaded flowers, beaded art dolls, beaded suncatchers, holiday items,and I just started listing handmade quilled supplies for card makers & scrapbooking.

Link to my Valentine's Day section.