Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Artist's Way-Week 7

"When a painter is painting, he or she may bein with a plan, but that plan is soon surrendered to the painting's own plan. This is often expressed as "The brush takes the next stroke."-Julia Cameron in The Artist's Way.

This week's chapter focus on recovering a sense of connection. The first main concept explored is Listening. Learning to listen to the ideas floating just below our consciousness. Julia Cameron tells us that we are honing this skill with our morning pages and artist dates. If it seems hard to believe that we are openning our minds to new inspiration by emptying our minds and doing fun things, well I'm right there with you. But, this morning, as I began exploring in my MPs the idea that they are not doing anything for me, lo and behold, not one but two ideas popped onto the page. It is like someone was yelling at me...."Oh YES THEY ARE!" Not everything needs to be concrete to work.

It is also important to learn to listen to syncronicity-the little voice of coincidence that happens in life. As I began painting last week in my oil painting class, I was dismayed that the painting was not coming out the way I saw it in my mind's eye. I commented (I thought)under my breath, "This is not coming out the way I planned." The person next to me heard me and said, "Next time, don't plan!"

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Artist's Way-Week 6

"Most of us harbor a secret belief that work has to be work and not play, and that anything we want to do--like write, act, dance--must be considered frivolous and placed a distant second. This is not true."-JC

The week in TAW, the author, Julia Cameron, asks us to examine our beliefs about money and its role in blocking creativity. What does luxury mean to you?

I have to admit I had a hard time with this chapter. Money & material things have never been that important to me. I see the negative side of money. Over and over in many situations I have seen money be "the root of all evil". I have seen it break apart families emotionally. While to me it equals security and freedom both, it is hard to abandon one to pursue the other. I still have a hard time spending it on myself. I am fortunate to have a husband who actually gets joy out of seeing me buy myself things--Sorry, he's an only child!

Luxury, on the other hand is different! To me luxury is being able to stay home and pursue my crafts! To have most of the day free to do as I please. As I am learning, however, sometimes I need to put myself before the housework, etc.

I'm still completing the morning pages 7/7 and doing many if not all of the tasks. If nothing else, I am proud of myself for sticking with this 12-week course!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Happy Spring!

For happiness one needs security, but joy can spring like a flower even from the cliffs of despair.
--Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Even though it is a windy, overcast and cold day here in the Northeast, I bring to you the first sign of Spring. This is a photo of some plants we have in containers on our back porch--they have been in my husband's family since the 1950s! Unfortunately, he doesn't know the name of the plant--if anyone does please let me know.

These are the hardiest plants we have-we don't take them in for the winter--I do let the leaves that fall remain in the pots to provide some warmth, but I suspect it is my mother's instinct that seeks to protect & nurture them, and they would be fine on their own. They grow slowly to maturity and finally bloom with small, delicate purple flowers in August. Over the course of the next several months, I will hopefully remember to take some progress photos!

Happy Spring!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Featuring...A Pretty Rock

A Pretty Rock is a Etsy store based in Atlanta devoted to creating handcrafted limited edition jewelry.

From her profile: "Yazmin Wickham of A Pretty Rock creates one of a kind or limited edition pieces of jewelry. Brought to life with carefully selected gemstones, mineral stones and freshwater pearls, the collection is meant to lend affordable, quality elegance to all."

Here are just a few of my favorites:

Made with Rhodolite garnets and freeform keishe pearls these earring are a breath of Spring!

This bracelet is called "Reef Dreams". I'm fond of anything water/ocean related so this caught my eye right away. Created with coral hexagons and a translucent sea blue/green faceted chalcedony diamond, it has a sterling silver starfish charm.

A stunning necklace with a beautiful filigree charm and more eye-catching keishe pearls!

Visit A Pretty Rock, here.
Visit her blog, here.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Artist's Way-Week 5

"Look and you will find it--what is unsought will go undetected."-Sophocles

I haven't been much of a blogger lately...mostly because I have been trying to concentrate on The Artist's Way program and being creative. I can't believe it is week 5 already--and that I have been able to stick with it. (Only 7 more weeks to go!)

This week is called "Recovering a Sense of Possibility" and it has been an eye-opener already! We are asked to look at how you limit yourself by thinking there is a limit to what we can receive and what we deserve. According to the author, "Recovery is the process of finding the river and saying yes to its flow, rapids and all." Be open to new possibilities--don't say no, at the least entertain the thought and say maybe.

Is this you?...Do you "make nice"? Do you worry about everyone else need's first, forsaking your own? Are you afraid that if you pursue your art that you will appear selfish? Beware the self-destructive virtue trap that many artists fall into. Aimed at identifying this behavior this chapter helps us realize that this is yet another way we block our creativity ourselves.

I had the opportunity in the past to take oil painting lessons. The painting above was one of my latest efforts. I knew this class would be offered again, and I signed up again because I enjoyed it so much. I wished the classes were longer. In a moment of synchronicity..the same instructor decided to teach another class (different day, different location), and I decided to take that one, too. Synchronicity, too, that this was the chapter for this week, because I almost did not take it thinking it was too much time away from home/family. Silly me!

I think I just may be getting somewhere!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Artist's Way-Week 4

One of the hardest tasks this week is "Reading Deprivation". What is that you ask? spend the week doing no reading-no books, magazines, newspapers, and you are especially wary not to replace it with computer, TV, radio, blog reading,etc. As Julia Cameron says in her book, "It is a paradox that by emptying our lives of distractions, we are actually filling the well" (of creativity). The gist of this being that sooner or later you will run out of housework, laundry & other real or manufactured chores you have to do & will be forced to play & have fun!

Easier said than done! As an avid reader, I am finding this almost impossible! (Here come my excuses & justifications!) Since I am spending a good part of each day being creative, I am allowing myself to read while eating lunch and when I finally sit down for a few hours after dinner. Another reason for this is that I am reading a book my daughter read in high school & she wanted me to read--we are enjoying discussing it.
Do you think you could manage to do this?

I dusted off the watercolors this week & created the above aceo. It is a piece I created for Jewelstreet's creative challenge on Etsy. The morning pages were instrumental in helping me come up with an idea using the word "pebble" as inspiration. I kept writing it over & over along with anything that came to mind & I eventually thought of bumps which I gave the frog with dimensional paint. It is listed in my Etsy shop.

Have a great day!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Chapter 3 of The Artist's Way, though titled "Recovering a Sense of Power" was more about openning up my eyes to me. Here's a mini review.

Indentifying and listening to Anger-although any anger is not directed towards my art, I discovered how much it intrudes on my creative thoughts and alot of the time banishes them entirely. When I am angry, I don't feel like doing anything!

Synchronicity-I woke up to the sale of a big piece yesterday. It is enough of a sign to me that I create things worthy of making someone happy.

Shame-Since I honestly do not have any criticism in my life, I took away from this section that I should "let go" of past hurts. Drawing from last week, everytime I have a thought of something negative that happenned in the past, I try to steer my mind away from it.

Growth-"Easy does it" and "Practice being kind to yourself" and "Baby Yourself"-little steps at a time. Again, to me, it is all about living in the moment. Admittedly, it is hard being a Wife, Mother of a teenager and finding time for you, too. This is one that I constantly have to work on.

Accomplished: MP 7/7, most of the tasks, artist date.

I have no idea if I am approaching any of this the right way--I suspect there is no wrong way. At least it has me thinking again. Thanks again for all the comments and encouragement.