What Shall I Create?

This is for some artists, harder than doing the work itself and the ‘What shall I create question really comes back to why are you painting/creating? I think at some time or other that all creative people struggle with this issue, and the truth is, that the more disconnected you are from yourself the harder this question is going to be for you.  This week, a girlfriend Prue, and I, began a series of Thursday night Skype sessions to help us stay connected with our own creative processes. Our first session, scheduled for half an hour ended up taking two hours instead. However we finished with a great result.

What shall I paint - partnerships photo

One of the things that came up in the course of the conversation was the issue of being blocked, where to get inspiration and so on.  As a result of this conversation, we have decided to make  a series of short videos, only 30-60 seconds.  Just very short bytes of the creative’s life.  Now the main reason we have embarked on this process is to help her, a budding film director, get past her screen writing block and begin doing some of the stuff that she loves to do instead of getting overwhelmed by a huge project.  Of course it will also have a great result for me as well as I will have 6 beautifully crafted short video bytes I can use in my own career as an artist.

The other benefit for both of us in this partnership is an interesting journey and story to share with our social media friends and followers.  So perhaps you can think of a friend you might partner with to help push both your careers forward.  Prue and I live 80 Kilometers apart – not too far to collaborate physically, but easy to stay in touch through technology.  We are also working in different media – which can be an asset, as we are both creative, yet bring different ideas to the table. Collaboration can also serve to keep you motivated and on track and help you to extend your own network, opening up new markets, collectors and mavens.

collaboration photo

Next week I will talk about this same issue from a couple of different points of view in terms of a visual artist.

This week’s question:Who can I find to collaborate with?

Look For Thursday’s Post: Mt Taranaki III revisited.…

Next Monday’s Post: More on Thursday evening’s chat…..Creativity Conversations

Posted By: Kadira Jennings

Creative blocks – childhood events that can cause them

So let me tell you what put me off art at a very young age, the thing that formed one of my major creative blocks.  You might think I took a shine to painting from the time I could manage to hold a paint brush.
Sadly, this was not the case for me. When I was around eight I remember sitting in class one day. We had been asked to draw a portrait., which I had nearly finished doing. In fact I was feeling quite proud of that fledgling art work. The little artist in me was alive and well for about twenty minutes. Until the teacher arrived at my desk.

catholic nun teaching photo

The picture above pretty much embodies the feeling I got from the nun looking over my shoulder as she came around the room.  She stopped and remarked on everyone’s work.  However when she got to me she just stopped and said nothing.  Standing there for several moments before moving on.  Well my little artist felt the world crashing down in a deafening silence.  I felt like I’d done the worst picture in the room, it being so bad that it wasn’t worthy of any kind of comment – good or bad.

It was a long time before I tried drawing and painting again. However there were two fundamental lessons I finally learnt from this incident…..

  • One,  that we can give any meaning we like to an event and that you can therefore go back and change your perception about that event.
  • Two, that at that time I began a pattern of needing others approval to feel good about myself. At the time I felt judged and found wanting. Lack of self-worth and self-criticism crept in, two terrible twins of resistance that followed in many areas of my life  and certainly on the creative path.

However shining a light into this memory, helped me understand my error and grieve for my little artist self, which in turn enabled me to move on and begin feeling proud of my work.

This week’s question: Have you gone back and mined your childhood for information about your blocks yet?

Look For Thursday’s Post:   A different kind of abstraction

Next Monday’s Post: Fun in France!! 

Photo by www.audio-luci-store.it

The calling to create can be stunted so long as you are sitting inside an invisible box that has boundaries of unworthiness –

The Calling To Create - invisible boxes

The Tattered Box of Unworthiness that hems you in and you can’t see.

 

 

it is very difficult to believe in yourself enough to take up that brush or pen. The older you get, the more responsibilities you have, the harder it is,  yet again.

You see, the minute you acknowledge that you are a creative being, is the minute that you start down the road of  – society, religions, families and tribes perceiving you to be selfish because you can no longer be devoted solely to them. And you know what – creativity is a selfish pursuit. IT IS!!

However, stop a moment and consider this…. what is selfishness?  Is it a bad thing, and what is the difference between that and self-worth. Are they mutually exclusive or inclusive?

You know most of us have grown up with the idea that putting yourself first is a bad thing, it is wrong and even worse it is soul damaging. This immediately creates all kinds of emotional problems for the aspiring artist within you.

Enter – Stumbling Block Number One!…. by its very nature the creative process is often a solitary one. We need time to be alone, to process and allow interaction with our muse.

The Calling To Create

Finding Inspiration

Now to follow this path, I am immediately forced into a decision that will take me away from the twin distraction demons of Family and Friends. You ask your self if you are being selfish by leaving your partner to mind the kids while you spend an hour in the studio. However, also ask your self, if you are not being selfish, by refusing to develop your unique talents and gifts, that, I might add, no one – ie NO ONE else in the world has.  You are unique.  What right do you have to deny the world the opportunity to experience the creations that no one else can make?

This of course creates another whole set of questions, feelings and problems which I will discuss in the next post.

This Week’s Question: What is your invisible box, that is hindering your creativity?

Next Thursday’s Post:Studies for the Southland Series

Next Monday’s Post: Selling Your Art

Posted By: Kadira Jennings

Pix Credits: Box of Inspiration by xJason.Rogersx , Pixabay

 

Creative Processes – talking about Resistance

Unfortunately most of us don’t recognize our resistance. Instead we sit safely in denial, in our illusion, pretending that the art class or the lessons in stage makeup are just something else that we are filling up our lives with. I know this because I spent 40 odd years of my life pretending I wasn’t an artist. 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 will stop you from doing your true work in the world.

  •  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 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

This True Work –   It’s what I call SOUL WORK.

This has nothing to do with religion.  It has everything to do with developing the deepest core of your self, which is why we are all so afraid of it.

Now Resistance and Self worth kind of over lap, because often resistance occurs owing to our lack of self-worth.  How does this manifest?

Well unfortunately, often owing to religious beliefs, we have been taught that we are worthless. We have been conditioned to decry our gifts, to exalt our unworthiness and so give away our power. This is why creative people are often found on the fringes of society.

Sadly we often, must disown our tribes, be they familial, political or religious, in order to move forward, free from the strictures that want to contain our creative spirits.  Creativity threatens the tribe because by its very nature it is perceived as anarchy.  It brings with it change and horror of horrors GROWTH!!  And Growth ALWAYS  challenges the status quo and threatens those in power.

creative-freedom resistance

creative freedom

 

You see, creative spirits need to be free. They cannot create within the bound confines of strangling political and religious systems. It is the work of creatives to push at the boundaries of human understanding. Which of course why so many of them are not recognized as a genius until after they are dead. Society takes a while to catch up and because it does, and for all the reasons stated above, creatives and free thinkers are considered revolutionaries ( which of course they are) and are often persecuted.

Stepping out of Resistance

Stepping out of Resistance

Therefore we have resistance.  We want to hide.  We don’t want to be different. The call of the tribe is strong.  We don’t want to take up the responsibility because it means admitting who we really are and then doing something about it. Sometimes hiding from ourselves seems a lot safer.

This Week’s Question: Can you list at least 5  forms of resistance you are currently using to avoid your creative calling?

Next Thursday’s Post: Waitete Revisited

Next Monday’s Post: Colour Mixing – The Blues

Posted By: Kadira Jennings

Pix Credits: Creative Freedom, Business design

 

Inspiration From Different Sources
Continuing on the theme of inspiration, from last week, where I was discussing the connection between music and art, I would like to share some surprising sources of inspiration for me.

When I began writing this post, I actually really needed to put my Thinking Hat or should I say my Memory Hat on, to uncover what does inspire me.

A starting point for me is often Photos, which may not seem very different or unusual.  However something I discovered recently, was that when you change your focus, you can go back to long discarded photos and find new sources of inspiration within them.  Sometimes we need to have gone through a previous journey of discovery in order to get to this place. A case in point is the recent change in my own work.  Below is a painting I did mid last year.

Cathedral Cove I 19x24" Oils by Kadira Jennings

Cathedral Cove I 19×24″ Oils

I spent much of last year painting caves and the inner workings of the earth you might say.  Now I am looking at her more visible outer beauty, which although readily available to everyone, is not always seen  by them. I returned to photos I had taken several years ago, not really ever thinking I would paint them, because at that point I couldn’t have done so, for two reasons –

  1. I didn’t have the necessary technical skills
  2. I didn’t have the viewpoint/vision that I now have.

Unveiling I sm

 

Part of this latter reason involves becoming more discerning, looking for the image within the image. In my next post I will look at cropping as a powerful tool to gaining a memorable image.  Some of this can be done with cutting tools, others requires working through and with an image in paint.  It is not until you have painted an image that you have drawn a particular essence out of it and discovered the possible jewel within it, that it can then becomes your next painting.

Next Thursday’s Post: Unveiling III

Next Monday’s Post: Cropping is a powerful tool

Posted By: Kadira Jennings

 

Enhancing Creativity II

So how did you go with enhancing your creativity last week?  Did you manage to toss TV for the whole week?  How did that feel for you? For some people it is really, really hard to do – it’s like giving up a drug for a week.  Did you feel a great sense of achievement at the end of the week?

We need to break the mold and make a new one.

So what now – you may ask?  The creative process often requires subtraction rather than addition in our lives.  This is what you have been doing the last week, if you followed my suggestions.  We often need to subtract in order to be able to add our creativity.

This week, I suggest you take this process a step further.  Ask your self the following questions and write down the answers, and do the following tasks.

  • Make a list of the biggest distractions in your life.
  • Make a pact with yourself to do without them for a week.
  • Observe how you feel when you consider doing this – do you get panicky, what fears come up for you, where do you feel it in your body?
  • At the end of the week, or even during your week  – write down your observations of what comes up for you.  What are the positives?  What’s on the downside?

What might some of these distractions be? Here are some suggestions….

  • Watching DVD’s
  • Movies
  • Email
  • Multi tasking
  • Reading
  • Music – unless you are a musician
  • Radio
  • TV
  • Your Mobile Phone
  • Your Kids, family or partners
  • socializing
  • House hold chores that don’t really need to be done – ie ironing handkerchiefs or teatowels

And I’m sure there are many, many more.

Subtracting your dependence on some of the things you take for granted, increases your independence.  It’s liberating, forcing you to rely on your own ability rather than your customary crutches.” Tywla Tharp.

Look For Thursday’s Post:  Southland

Next Monday’s Post: Art, fear and money

Post by : Kadira Jennings

Pix Credit: Inspiration Mind

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