change photo

Change, Love it or Hate it, You Can’t Leave it

Change seems to be my theme this week. And I guess that’s appropriate at this time of year when many of us are embracing the New Year and wishing to move forward in our lives. The creative process requires us to deal with change on a daily basis. However, unfortunately, most of us are resistant to it, in our art practice as well as our personal lives. And there are many of us who dabble in our creative processes and yet never fully own them. I am very familiar with this story because I spent many years of my life pretending I wasn’t an artist. That label artist seems to scare would be artists to death. I know all the distractions, excuses and rocky stones on this path of Resistance. They are old well-loved friends, hard to leave behind.

Here’s a list of a few of the things that might stop you from doing your true work in the world, the work that makes your soul sing, and is not work at all. That will stop you from  embracing the change that will be necessary in order for you to do so. The things on this list require us to make changes, and deal with the resistance if we are to overcome its hold on us.

  •  I’ll do it later – when I have time
  • When the kids are going to school – I’ll have time then
  • It would be selfish of me to spend that money on art supplies when my partner needs a new widget for his car
  • I’ll just do (x) before I look into it
  • Who am I kidding – me, a film director, dancer, artist ………. fill in the blank
  • I’m too old now
  • Everyone else has a head start – they will always be better than me
  • It’s just a pipe dream
  • I don’t have any talent

You see, we live in a world that preconditions us to fit into the society we are born into. If you think about schools and the things you’re forced to learn even though they may not fit your abilities and personality. We are often brainwashed into accepting a career that we don’t love, and a way of living that doesn’t suit who we are. Not only that, if you are an artist, you are caught up with all the bad press around what it means to be an artist.

I am sure you know how that goes. Artists are weird people, they get into drugs, they are lazy and wild etc. And of course, there is The Starving Artist syndrome that we are all taught, a philosophy of lack and non-abundance.

The idea of their child becoming an artist terrifies many parents.

change photo

The thing is you see, that many artists are different, and are not understood by the general run of society. Why is this? It is because artists are agents of Change, and they often put out ideas that society at large is not ready to deal with. They point out things that need changing in the world and they are on what ‘Abraham’ calls, The Leading Edge. This means that their position in society is often not accepted because after all, people don’t want change. And yet in order to function optimally as an artist one has to deal with change on a daily basis in the course of creating an artwork, and making space for art to flourish within their lives.

 

Is never too late to follow your heart’s desire, but that will require you to make changes!

 

artist photo

 

For more on this topic and a deeper look at our resistance see this post

Photo credits:

TheDigitalArtist (Pixabay)

geralt (Pixabay)

 Larry Lamsa

Creativity At Christmas

Creativity At Christmas,Gingerbread House

Gingerbread House

 

Creativity At Christmas – One thing I love about Christmas, is that it is a time when many people dip into their creativity. There are numerous ways that we can be creative at Christmas. Here are a few of them:

  • Making our own Christmas cards 
  • Preparing delightful dishes for Christmas dinner
  • Making our presents for others
  • Taking time to wrap gifts thoughtfully
  • Gingerbread houses

We have all become so embroiled in the commercialization of Christmas that it is difficult to retain sight of the fact that Christmas is about giving and receiving. I should add to that the all-important word MINDFULLY, giving and receiving. How often do we leave everything to the last-minute and rush about trying to find something appropriate to give this person and that, not having a clue what they would really like? And that is something else again – why don’t we know what they would really like.  Have we asked them? Our lives are so busy, so rushed – when do we have time to mindfully stop and really consider what we are doing? Gifting creativity at Christmas seems to have gone out of fashion and become steamrollered into quantity versus quality amidst the frantic pace of our 21st-century lifestyles.

Sometimes I think we lose sight of what’s important. This year I took a night off work so I could take my granddaughter to a gingerbread house making night. This was great fun for both of us and we spent time together, working and playing together, with her bossing me around as she loves to do. However, she also came to the realisation that in order to complete the task we had to co-operate. (So important learning was also given within this experience.)

I have not attended one of these events before, and it was great to see a whole room full of people, many of whom didn’t know each other, collaborating and having fun together. It was a night of belonging to a tribe, the tribe of gingerbread house makers. And importantly it was a night of creativity at Christmas. There was no competition involved, just everybody creating the most delightful houses that they could.

The less is more principle springs to mind. When you think about the joy we have on receiving a handmade present from one of our children compared to a cheap mass-produced item, there is no comparison really. One year a friend gave me an exquisitely hand embroidered bag that she had made and I was so moved by this gift. There were hours of work in it and the fact that she had made this for me was actually quite overwhelming. This bag must be 30 years old now and I still remember the beautiful feeling I had on opening it.  My friend gave me something far more than just a bag the day she gave me this gift. She gave me a gift that has kept on giving to me for 30 years and it was a gift that said to me – I see you, I know your heart, I love you and value our friendship. 

 

Creativity At Christmas,Hand Embroidered Gift Bag

Hand Embroidered Bag

 

This friend has given me many beautiful treasures over the years, I still have them all, and my heart is filled with joy and gratitude every time I look at them.

When someone takes the time to create something for you, it is a measure of their care and love. It is not about how good the gift is, how ‘perfectly made’, or it will ruin my decor or will I look geeky  if I wear this chunky bracelet – these judgments are all about us not the giver of the gift. 

However, I think we should take note that many of these things are falling by the wayside now, for example, a lot of people now send their Christmas cards by email. Many of my students were remarking just today that they hardly ever get Christmas cards anymore and they were quite delighted to receive mine. Not that I actually made them mind you, well they weren’t hand done, but they were digital images that I created and then had printed on cards, so there was still an element of my own creativity there.  The funny thing was, that they opened them together and didn’t work out right away that I had created the images on the cards until one of them turned one over and saw my logo on the back. Then everyone went back and had a second look at their cards which were all different, and you could see the delight on their faces at something that wasn’t just bought from the store. You can see how gifting creativity at Christmas, rewards both the giver and the receiver.

creativity_at_Christmas,Xmas Card,kadira_jennings

I think there is also another really important point here, which is illustrated by the example I just gave. If we think for a moment about how the students received those cards, at first really only giving them a cursory glance until someone else discovered that they might have more meaning. It was only then that they went back and actually had a really good look at the cards. So we have here a lesson in receiving as well. If you think about how children open their Christmas presents, they rip through them going on to the next thing and the next, and until they’re all gone. And the more presents they receive the less appreciation there actually is for each gift. I wonder what Christmas would be like, if we only gave handmade gifts, which also means that we would probably get far less of them. But how much more might we appreciate them and how much longer might those gifts keep on giving to us if they were specially made just for us.

This, of course, means that we need to be a lot more organised, we would have to begin creating these gifts at the beginning of the year not rushing out to buy them three days before Christmas. We would have to put a lot more thought into what we actually want to give them, and what we think they might like. Then of course, we might have to give up some of our precious time in order to create it. However, the gift in that for us is that we get to use our own creativity, and experience the joy that there is within that activity, that fills the soul like nothing else.

 

 

Your Creative Genius

This week I want to bring you some thoughts about creativity from someone who is not an artist, but a writer. You may be familiar with Liz Gilbert the author of Eat, Pray, Love. Below is a video, her TED talk, on the subject of your elusive creative genius. She covers many ideas that all creatives grapple with. Enjoy

 

Among the ideas she discusses is that creativity always leads to suffering, depression, anxiety etc, and she questions whether we really want to maintain that view of creativity. It’s really the whole view of artists that society has adopted, that of the starving artist syndrome.

artists painting photo

Why do we have such a negative view of the creative arts as a lifestyle and career? And I would also question, why does society not support their artists to a greater degree. What is so ironical is that if you stop to think about what are the most important and valuable things in the world.

What has sold for more money than any other commodity – that thing would be a painting. It’s amazing how artists are often vilified, and certainly not encouraged in their career choice, and yet the product of their labours are among the most highly valued things on this earth. Somehow to my mind that doesn’t quite add up.

Pix Credit: orijdotson (Pixabay)

dahalia,flowers.florals,flower_art,kadira_jennings,unfolding_in_the_studio

What Is Unfolding In The Studio This Month? Well, I have spent much of this month working on a new painting. So rather than a long blog post this week, I have put together a video of the whole painting from start to finish.  Well, not quite finished actually.  I have got paint on all the canvas, It is going to take me at least another whole day painting session to go around and put glazes and finishing touches to the work.  It has been quite a marathon this one,  as it is a fairly complex painting.

This is a fairly large work, measuring 102×84 cm or 40″x33″.

 

 

What’s coming up next….I have begun a rather large collaborative project with a photographer friend.  My next works will also be flowers or plants, however, they are being created from a different mindset.  So I will be sharing some thoughts and images of that with you soon.

This Weeks Question: How does collaboration help your creative development?

Look For Next Week’s Post: Creativity Crisis! I’ve Lost My Muse – How To Find It?

hidden insights,creative process,creativity,the seed
Get your Hidden insights, into the creative process now

In gaining hidden insights into the creative process we have to consider the fact that we all process differently. What works for one person may not work for you or I. Of course has been much written about the process of creativity. There are however several key steps in this process regardless of whether you are creating a large project, a painting, design whatever it might be.

 

1.The Seed

It begins with a thought, an idea, the seed, which you have to act on. It’s a risk because you don’t know if it’s going to work but you have to go for it if you believe in it.

2. Mulling It Over

Next step can be to throw the idea out to someone else, friends, community, your mentor,  the people who are going to support you on your journey. Engage and involve them. You might not take this step at this point for a simple thing like a painting, however it might be good to take if you are thinking about putting an exhibition together with a whole series of works. Discussing your ideas with someone helps to flush them out and gives you a chance to make course corrections and so on.

3. Be A Sponge.

The creative process does not happen in a vacuum. In order to create we need input which then equals output. At this stage, you need to act like a sponge, soaking up many different ideas. Look at different mediums, other artists, go to galleries, look in magazines or trawl Pinterest. Our minds often put disparities together to create a new and wonderful thing. If there’s nothing in there to put together then you get nothing coming out. Zero IN = zero or garbage OUT!

4. Crafting

In the stage you are building the skeleton. Is the armature that everything hangs off. If you don’t have a strong foundation to your idea it will collapse. Therefore establishing structure is very important. I often use mind mapping at this point to get my creative juices flowing in some useful and quirky directions.

5. The Shadow

It is at about this time that your shadow will arrive. Fear, dread, doubt, and many other nasty little negatives will pop up, all determined to derail you. This is when you are ready to throw in the towel and that nasty little voice in your head, will try to convince you that there are a thousand reasons why you should do so, all seeming to be quite plausible. I find this stage turns up no matter what the creative thing is that I’m doing. Every painting I’ve ever painted has gone through a patch where I felt – it’s not working, it’ll never be any good, and you might as well quit while you’re ahead.

FEAR SHADOW photo

These are the first five hidden insights into the creative process. There are five more to come which I will place in next week’s Post. It is often a good thing to know where in the creative process you actually are, particularly when you get to the shadow part. To recognise this is where you are and deal with it accordingly can certainly speed up your progress.  We will explore this further next week.

This Weeks Question: Do you have any hidden insights into your own creative process you’d like to share?

Look For Next Week’s Post: More on creative Process – well my process – an update on emerging works.

 

Photo by mripp

So it’s hello and goodbye to the Coromandel Peninsula. Parts of this place are like heaven on earth and I feel very blessed to have had the privilege of growing up and holidaying here as a youngster and later coming back to own a little piece of it. They say Home is where the heart is and this beautiful piece of land will always have a special place in my heart.

Today I leave these green shores for arid OZ. Although I have to say that before I came the weather in OZ had been spectacularly wet. More like NZ weather really.

So this post is really offering some images of things experienced in the last 10 days and wanting to share some of the beauty…..

Coromandel,Pine cones in the sand

Pine cones in the sand

 

 

 

Coromandel,Sail Rock

Sail Rock

 

Coromandel,Pohutakawas on the cliff top

Pohutakawas on the cliff top

 

And so it is goodbye to the land of the long white cloud until I can return once more.

Look For Next Thursday’s Post: More highlights from journeys across the water

 

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