Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Creative Challenge #95

Jewelstreet took inspiration from The Artist's Way for this week's creative challenge.
"The challenge is to create something just for the sake of the process. Don't worry if it will sell or what the trends are. Get back to the basics of creating."

I really had fun doing this challenge! I actually had ideas overflowing! If I get a chance, I hope to do at least one more of them. Anyway, I decided to give needlefelting a try. The result, shown above combines my love of the Southwest, cacti in general, and beads. There always have to be beads, right?! This was my first needlefelting project, and I am pleased with how it turned out. I intend it to be a patch that you can sew on a jacket, a pillow, a journal cover or anything! I plan to list it in my shop.

If you are a regular reader of my blog, then you already know that I have been participating in this program. In fact, I'll be back in a day or two with the summary of week 12-the final week in the program.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Artist's Way Week 11

No Amount of skillful invention can replace the essential element of imagination.--Edward Hopper.

In this next to last chapter of The Artist Way program, we focus on the ways to nurture and accept ourselves as artists.

An interesting point here is "the idea that money validates my credibility"-a very hard concept to overcome. For someone like me who says they are creating as a hobby but still thrills with each sale, it is almost harder. I find myself on constant highs & lows as I sell something or wonder why something is not selling. The author suggests that my credibility lies with me, and I should create what needs to be created not what I think will sell.

Creativity is a fluid process with no end. We must always be ready to start again; be a beginner again.

I painted the above oil painting in my class a few weeks ago. I call it "Dawn of a New Day".

Friday, April 25, 2008

Dreams of the Sea

Here is what I came up with for the creative challenge of two weeks ago, curated by Jewelstreet. The challenge was to be inspired by any of the stories of the 100l Arabian Nights. Can you guess which story inspired me? If you guessed "The Seven Voyages of Sinbad" you win! Although I don't think Sinbad the Sailor actually came in contact with a giant lobster--well, he could have, right?

I'm still tweaking the base so I haven't listed it yet, but will soon.

This is a real, giant lobster claw that I spray painted with a rock finish in pinks & blue. Then I french beaded some flowers on a long wire that actually helps to anchor them inside the claw. I added some green moss because it reminded me of seaweed. At this point, I was stuck as to how I was going to get this most unusual vase to remain upright by itself.

Synchronicity played a role here once again, as I happenned at the same time to be reading Gift From The Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh, suggested by zazazu who is one of the curaters of The Artist's Way Blog that I have been participating in.
Anyway, in the book, Lindbergh is on vacation at the beach & (briefly)likens the stages of life to the shells she finds. That's where the inspiration for the shell base came from.

I took two similar size scallop shells and embedded them in a polymer clay base to which I added spirals to represent waves. The claw sits well in it, but I may add felt to the inside to protect the finish from being damaged. I may also coat the outside of the shells with a gloss varnish to make them shine a bit.

So tell me, what you think?

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Artist's Way-Week 10

It's a funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it.--Somerset Maugham

Allow me to toot my own horn for a minute...I am so very proud of myself for sticking with this program. I cannot believe there are only two more weeks left! I am already thinking ahead to getting Julia Cameron's sequel book, The Vein of Gold : A Journey to Your Creative Heart, although I might take a breather until the Fall.

This week again focuses on the myriad of ways that we unconsciously block our creativity. For some, it is the quick high of junk food followed by the inevitable crash into lethargy; for others, it is alchol, drugs, or overwork.

A more interesting part of this book to me focused on the periods of creative drought that occurs at various times--like when we just finished a project. Has anyone but me experienced the high of just completing a really neat project, only to be followed by the low of "what am I going to do next?" Julia Cameron asserts that these droughts are a necessity and that this seemingly bleak, empty time will bring us clarity. If you know that it has a purpose, you can get through it. I plan to be more aware of this when it occurs.

There are many more revelations and ideas in this chapter; I have chosen to highlight just a small part.

So, with only 2 weeks to go, what can I say about this program? At times it has been hard to stick with (but I am glad that I did), sometimes I could not connect with it, and sometimes it hit a little too close to home. But through it all, I feel I have at least regained my sense of excitement & creative play. Plus, I've "met" some really nice people!

Above is my latest brooch called, "Ode to Broccoli". Another piece made for the creative challenges with the inspiration being veggies. Oh, yeah, before I forget, I sold my "Here Comes The Sun" brooch which I created when I first started this program. You can read about it here.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I've been tagged....twice!

Awhile back I was tagged by Jewelstreet, and I was recently tagged by Art Box Diary. Since both tags were similar, I hope they won't mind that I have combined the tags. I won't tag anyone specific (my cyberworld is small!), but if you would like to play along, feel free to do so...Here's the rules:

1)Link to the person(s) who tagged you
2)List 4-7 random things about yourself
3)Tag 4-7 people & let them know on their blogs that they have been tagged.

So here goes:

1)My favorite color is purple.

2)My favorite foods are pasta and anything made with eggplant.

3)My husband & I met on a blind date and our first date was at The Bronx Zoo.

4)One of my dreams is to visit all 50 US states.

5)I have always wanted to go to Egypt to see the Sphinx & pyramids.

6)I've visited 12 foreign countries.

7)I speak some French.

So, there you have it!

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Artist's Way-Week 9

I am continuing to summarize each chapter and my progress using, The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron.

I really liked this chapter, called "Recovering a Sense of Compassion". It is all about remembering how to "play nice". And, perhaps more importantly, remembering to treat ourselves nicely. It also reminds us to that fear of...(insert failure, success, criticism, and the list goes on and on) is one of the major stumbling blocks to creativity. Often mislabeled as procrastination or laziness, it is defeated by treating ourselves nicely and remembering to take small steps. Remember to play, have fun and enjoy the creative journey. Yes, the end product is rewarding, but it is the process of getting there that feeds our creative selves.

Julia also spends a lot of time exploring "Creative U-Turns". Just when we are on the edge of our first creative success, we often find an excuse to save us from the risk of having to consistently be on the same creative level. How many times have you sabotaged yourself creatively in this way? Didn't participate in the show, talked to that gallery owner, or tried to write that short story? Julia suggests that to overcome these creative U-turns we must first recognize them, forgive ourselves and learn to ask for help.

I have taken most of this advice to heart and consistently repeat in my MPs the affirmative that "I will not judge myself so harshly." This one simple phrase has made the world of difference to me.

Good Weekend everyone!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Artist's Way-Week 8

Question: Do you know how old I'll be by the time I learn to (fill in the blank)?
Answer: The same age you will be if you don't.--Julia Cameron in The Artist's Way

How many times have we put off learning a new thing because we felt we were too old when in reality we are subconsciously trying to save ourselves the embarrassment of being a beginner? Or on the other side...Have we said, "I'll try that when I retire"?
We somehow feel foolish in the in between time of life. Somehow it is more socially acceptable to take risks that might appear silly if you are a youngster or a dotty old duck!

In Week 8 of TAW we are exploring such topics as artistic survival-learning to acknowledge our losses (being turned down by a juried show or website, our best piece gets messed up, our neatest thing doesn't sell, etc.) rather than pretending they don't exist. When something doesn't go the intended way...use it to say, "What next!", meaning where can this take me. Use it as a building block, rather than letting it be a stumbling block!

My favorite concept in this chapter is "Filling the Form". The idea that just like when you fill out a form, you take your creativity one step at a time. I've noticed that I've explored things in the MPs that are "explained" in the following chapter. For awhile now, I have been setting small goals for myself--parts of a project rather than trying to complete the whole thing in one day. It works for me and gives me a real sense of accomplishment when in the next day's pages I can say I met those goals.