Artist’s Qualities – Day Dreaming or Imaginating.

Day Dreaming is something not regarded with much favour in our culture. Not only does it seem to not have any worth, it is actually seen as something counter productive to the ‘real business’ of life. This is one of the limiting beliefs that creative people have been fooled into believing. Did your teachers or parents ever say to you any of the following, or similar…..

For heavens sake Johnny, get your head out of the clouds
You are such a dreamer
Stop gazing out of the window and come back to the ‘real world’
Oh – she’s off with the fairies, day dreaming again
Day Dreaming doesn’t pay the bills you know

Day Dreaming

Sound familiar? Something we have had actively drummed out of us as kids, is the ability to day dream. The missing secret most of our parents never knew, is that “day dreaming” is the key to manifesting what we want in our lives. Children instinctively know this. They are very good at creating worlds in their imaginations. Have you ever noticed how a child has no problem putting two totally unrelated things together and creating a ‘magical something’ out of it. I have noticed my granddaughter do this again and again. Connecting two things I would have never thought of putting together.

If you want to manifest something in your life the key is to see and feel it as if it is already there. Children can do this readily. The problem with adults is that they focus on what already is and therefore stop or block the allowing of what they actually want.

SoDay Dreaming or imaginating as I like to call it,  is a very important skill we need to relearn as adults.

One of the main problems we havewith this,  is that we see day dreaming as a waste of our ‘precious time’. We think rather, that the way to get what we want. is through being productive.   Nothing could be further from the truth! Like you, I was brought up embracing these erroneous thought processes and it takes time and effort to change them.

This Weeks Question: Do you ever still day dream and if you don’t what would you need to do in order to begin again?

Next week look for: More on Day Dreaming and Imaginating

Pix credit: Pinterest

Posted by: Kadira Jennings

I came across a great YouTube this week where John Cleese is talking about creativity. As always he is very engaging and he also brings some fresh insights into the creative process. He discusses conditions for allowing creativity and how most of the time we are in a closed mode of thinking. To get into the open mode – you need the following things…

  1. Space
  2. Time
  3. Time
  4. Confidence
  5. Humour

He then proceeds to elaborate on what these are.

Anyway here he is – check it out for your self it is well worth the time to listen.

I tried to embed the video but it just refused to be enbedded, so I do apologize but you will have to follow a link. I gather I’m not the only one having this issue, the forums are full of people talking about it – well that made me feel a tiny bit better after the 15th attempt to embed!!! Anyway – heres the link – its worth watching!

John Cleese on Creativity

As a consolation prize for having to click this link, I have decided to give you a quick glance at the work I completed this week.

Bronze Pear

Bronze Pear


This weeks Question: What space physically and mentally have you created for your creativity this week?

Last week I spoke about not being OK with lacking the time to be creative and how we arrive at this state of affairs through our own choices.

If it is not OK with you, what can you do?

My first suggestion is to sit down and do a time map.  How do you do this?

Beginning NOW, and for the next week make a note of all the activities you do in a week and how long you spend on each one. I know – I can hear your thoughts ….. I haven’t got time to do that, what a dumb idea…. etc etc. However if you can get over your inner Mr Negative Feedback person, this will give you invaluable insight into how to make more time appear in your day.  Why? Because you will get the chance to see where you squander your precious minutes, hours and days and how you might use them better.

Now Listen UP!!!

MOST IMPORTANT!    Please include things like………………………….

Time spent –

  • Chatting with friends
  • Chatting on the phone or to the neighbour over the back fence
  • Hanging out or doing washing
  • Answering emails!!!!!!
  • Work work
  • Preparing meals and eating them
  • Showering
  • Going out for coffee
  • Running around after other people like, kids, bosses, partners and needy friends

etc. etc. etc…… you get the idea.  WHY is it important or even useful to do this?

When you make time to do this little exercise you can then see, over the course of the week where most of your time goes and look at how some of those activities might be condensed or even eliminated.

Then build yourself a list of all these activities and prioritize them into 4 categories –

  • Things that Have To Be Done – ie. Meal preparation, work work, cleaning house/garden – weekly or daily repeatables etc
  • Things I’d like to do if I had time – Personal time
  • Creative Time
  • Things To Be Delegated

Now put this information into a mind map. – It might look like this.

Making Time To Create


This Week’s Question: How might you make time for your creativity?

Next Week’s Insights: What to do with this i information.


This week I want  to share with you the story about a special painting I completed  last year.  I invite you to step into a glimpse of a different world from the one you might usually walk in.

Creating a painting is like going on a journey  – one of those mystery flights where you know the general destination is Europe but aren’t quite sure where you will end up.   As my dad used to say ‘The map is not the territory’.


The painting journey for me often begins long before I even know that I’m on it.  Part of my creative process is to gather images and I tend towards, landscapes, old and weathered artifacts, reflections, shadows and close up views of things.  So even as I take a photograph I will often have no clue where it will end up in a painting, whether it will be  a small portion of it or the whole thing.

In this painting there are elements from Sommersby falls and adjacent bush walks, a farm in Tumbi Road , the lagoon at Wamberal and a clock in Sydney.  These elements are uploaded to the computer and  then layered, blended, chopped, stretched, faded and transformed in a photo editing program .

Some of this editing is first done on the individual images and then they are gradually layered, blended and added together to form something that looked like this:


This process is lengthy in and in the case of some paintings may take 2-3 days work, and involve as many as 20 to 30 layers in the image.

This is where intuition kicks in. I generally keep working until the piece feels right.  It’s a ‘knowing’ on some other level that pulls together all the elements of the design and meaning that need to be in there.

And this is only the preliminary step.  Next comes :

Preparing The Canvas:

I am currently using a complex method of canvas preparation which I have spoken of in this blog post  – The first stage of preparing it involves burning the edges  which you can see in this video. If your are interested some of the next steps can be seen in the video at the top of the blog.

After the canvas has been prepared and dried, The frame must be put together and then the canvas stretched and attached to it

Beginning The Painting:

The next step of course is drawing up the painting from the printed image.  The Guardians was relatively simple and took around 4 hours to draw, unlike the painting I’m currently working on which is only one third of the size and took me 10 hours to draw. Below is the final image that the painting was painted from.


'The Guardians' final proof
‘The Guardians’ final proof

After drawing begins the paint application.  I have been experimenting with a different way of working using transparent glazes of paint.  This means putting very small amounts of paint into a medium like liquin and then applying thinly to the canvas.   Did you know this method was used by  renaissance painters to render flesh tones.  Sometimes they might have used up to 100 glazes. That is why these works look so luminous when you see the originals.

In the Guardians I have used both this glazing technique to render subtle variations in colour and a scumbling technique for thick paint application.

'The Guardians' detail

Scumbling is done sometimes with the flat of a brush held parallel to the surface of the canvas and at other times using a palette knife, as I did here.  It was a bit tricky in this painting because there was no room for error.  It would not have been easy to remove the paint if I had made a mistake and with fragile glazed layers underneath – it would have been very difficult to re do them.

So that was the process for the work ‘The Guardians’ and here is an image of the completed work.

'The Guardians' ©2010 Kadira Jennings

There is one other thing that I would like to share about this work – something very special that happened while I was painting it and it didn’t happen until I was nearly at the end of the painting process.  I was sitting looking at it – I often do this when I work, just go into a meditative like state to allow the painting to ‘speak ‘ to me.  As I was doing this I suddenly noticed that there was a very large water creature like a dolphin taking up 2/3rds of the water!  Once I began looking there were more creatures, a kookaburra, a lion and even a fireman. I have enhanced them a little but not a lot.  I invite you to see how many guardians of the land you might find.  If you would like to share what you see please comment – I would love to know how this painting speaks to others.


One of the things about the age that we live in is that we tend to compartmentalize our lives in order to cope with the huge volume of stuff we have to do every day.

Therefore when it comes to being creative we also put that into boxes. A box for inspiration, one for creating, one for marketing and so on. Now that’s OK, EXCEPT when we get stuck in one of those boxes and find ourselves on a bit of a detour so to speak. One of the really big boxes we can get stuck in is the INSPIRATION box. If we are constantly searching for inspiration and feeling that we don’t have enough to get started with, we can end up producing nothing for a very long time.



Tap and hose pipe

A far better way to think about our creative projects is that they are a flow, a process. Yes of course we need the inspiration and excitement that generate a project, however we do not want to become addicted to the high of this stage of the process. Inspiration is like water that flows down a hose. It’s no use so long as it is stuck in the tap or if the hose has kinks in it cutting off the flow. It’s also no good to us if we are pointing the hose in the wrong direction.

So if you find yourself never being able to get started, or you get stuck in the middle of something, ask yourself where you are in the flow?


Creative Flow

Creative Flow


This Weeks Question: How well does the water of your creative process flow? Where are the kinks in your hose?

In the last post I was speaking about people being ‘full cups’, an affliction which unfortunately often affects people in authority positions – CEO’s, small business owners, long serving employees.

Now what do they all have in common? It could be called ‘the familiarity breeds blindness syndrome’. We are living in a rapidly changing world – something many people do not really fully comprehend as yet.  Old ways of doing things no longer work, business models are changing.  Methods that sold widgets 20, 10  or even 5 years ago  will not work well today. We have moved from the information age into the age of creativity.  There are a few major business on the world stage, some of the bigger corporations that have cottoned on to this and consequently, now employ  creativity experts on their staff.

What does this have to do with familiarity and blindness?  People or businesses that are in a rut tend to just repeat the same old same old.  Because it worked once it should still work. This approach however ignores one of the fundamental laws of the universe, which is that change is the only certainty. The advantage  creativity experts have is that they are trained to think differently, they don’t see the world through the same paradigm as everyone else and they are not attached to a particular outcome.  Therefore they can be open to all possibilities. They also have high pattern recognition skills, which allow them to follow paths, others cannot perceive.

The faster the world moves, the more need we have for creative thinkers, just to help the rest of us keep up.

Today’s Question: How are you managing to see around the blind spots in your own life?

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