Being Creative At Christmas.

Being creative at Christmas is one of the things I love about Christmas. Creativity and Christmas seem to go together.  This often seems to be a time when people make an extra effort to be creative.

There is a man near where we live, who just transforms his house at Christmas time.

Being creative at Christmas


Not only does he do this, he also makes up little packets of reindeer food and gives them out to the kids!

Being creative at Christmas


Other people will make their gifts, for the important people in their lives, or even make their Christmas cards.  In this day and age when we are surrounded by so much commercialism and cheap junk made in China, people are becoming more and more appreciative of hand crafted things.  To receive a gift that someone has taken the time out of their busy lives to actually make, to give us, means so much more. One of the most treasured gifts I have ever received was this beautiful hand worked bag my best friend once gave me.

Being creative at Christmas


This Week’s Question: How are you being creative at Christmas this year?

Look For Thursday’s Post: The Lovebirds

Next Monday’s Post: Emotions in art and Abstraction. How do these things relate to each other?

Procreate – Overcome some forms of creative block with this tool!

Procreate is a great iPad App that works in a similar way to Photoshop. This week I came up against a creative block in my current painting. I am working on an image that I have adapted from a photo. The problem I faced was converting a largely monochromatic image into one that celebrates colour. However as I was doing this, I didn’t pay enough attention to what was going on tonally and so ended up not being able to get the colour flow happening properly.  Below is a photo of the image at the point I became stuck.

Working with Procreate

Working with Procreate

After sitting and looking at it for a while, I suddenly remembered I had Procreate on my iPad.  So I took this photo and imported it into Procreate.

I then proceeded to try out some different colour solutions.  First I changed the colour of the sky…. put a pinkish brown rock in the front and coloured the rocks behind the figures…..

Yellow Sky in Procreate

Yellow Sky


I didn’t think this entirely worked so I changed the front rock to green and the rocks behind.

Green Rocks in Procreate

Green Rocks in Procreate


Nope….. not really happy with that either!  I decided to change the front rock to Orange next and see how that went…..

Orange Rock in Procreate

Orange Rock in Procreate

Ah now I’m getting somewhere!  This is as far as I have got so far.  But now it’s beginning to hang together.

If you are like me and have trouble visualizing in your mind’s eye, how something will look, this tool – Procreate is just awesome.  It saves so much time and paint this way. Of course it won’t look as good as when you actually paint it, however it can certainly help you solve colour and tonal problems.

The only downside to Procreate is that it doesn’t have a crop facility – really dumb! You have to export images into PS Touch to crop them.

Watch for the Thursday post in a few weeks to see how the painting eventually turned out!

This Week’s Question: Have you tried Procreate ? Are there any other apps you love that you would be willing to share with us?

Look For Thursday’s Post: The Dragon And His Mistress

Next Monday’s Post: Emotions in art and Abstraction. How do these things relate to each other?

How relevant is creativity to you?

There is so much talk about creativity these days, it has become the latest buzz word. First, everyone was on about innovation and now they are swinging the creativity axe.

Some businesses are even beginning to have creative think tanks and the more forward thinking ones are scheduling time for honing creativity skills, as they realize that
a. Creativity drives Innovation – and
b. That to keep up commercially these days requires Innovation in a market that is changing faster than anyone can keep up with.

How is this relevant to us as individuals? If you run your own small business how relevant is creativity? Consider this – there will always be some kind of competition out there. So how do you grab your slice of the pie? And if you are an artist – even though you may not think of yourself like this – you are a business person.  You run a small business.

The trick is to think differently. Don’t do what everyone else is doing. As Edward de Bono said, “You cannot dig a hole in a different place by digging the same hole deeper.”

Here are some ideas –
• Instead of looking at the problem straight on, come at it from a different angle. We have a technique in drawing called negative shape drawing.
• Take a look at this well-known picture below.

How Relevant Is Creativity - a different point of view

What do you see?

Can you see the white vase?  Most people can.  However can you see the two faces looking at each other?  This requires that you focus on the black space rather than the white one.  Therefore in problem solving ask your self what might my black space look, feel or sound like in relation to the issue I’m attempting to solve.  You must identify what your black space looks like.

This Week’s Question: How relevant is creativity to your life??

Look For Thursday’s Post: Heart Dancer – who is she?

Next Monday’s Post: How relevant is creativity?

Posted by : Kadira Jennings

Creating in a series,  leads to a wonderful unfolding of one’s creativity.

Creating  in a series leads to Cathedral Cove Lifting Off

What follows is the last in this series of Cathedral Cove paintings to date.  As I write this I am continuing to work on cave like images, but have since moved on to other places that inspire me.  Of all the athedral Cove images, these are I feel, the best and were only arrived at by creating in a series and painting my way through the other works.  So what we are seeing here is that series of works evolvingto a conclusion, and it is interesting to see how the subconscious flow allows somethings to emerge and take precedence, and others to fade away.

For example you will see in both of these works that the ground has fallen completely away and the angelic like figures have taken precedence.  These figures now dominate both works.

Then we can observe that the surrounding space, particularly in the Cathedral Cove VII,  has become almost womb like.

Creating in a series

Cathedral Cove VII 20″x16″

I have felt that presence very strongly while working with this cave in particular.  When you are standing inside there you feel, enclosed, almost cradled within mother earth’s arms, that you are within her womb in a sense!

Also this painting was a study really,  for the larger one and painted  on a much smaller canvas.  The brush work is more raw and the figures take up a much larger space in the picture plane than in the painting below.


Creating in a series continued - Cathedral Cove VIII

Cathedral Cove VIII

In the second painting as seen above, the figures are more elevated, they soar above us and are represented with a much stronger colour palette.  This is by far the more elegant of the two pieces. If you really want to push yourself, then creating  in a series is the way to go. I never dreamed I would end up with these paintings when I began my first left handed Cathedral cove painting.


Next Post :     The transition paintings




Cathedral Cove – Te Whanganui-A-Hei

Firstly I’d like to share a photo of this magical place, Cathedral Cove, which I visited earlier this year and is a favourite place of mine from my childhood. My second post in this series is to bring you the next two pieces in the three painting,  left-handed challenge that I have begun. Cathedral Cove Below is the second painting, which incidentally was painted from the first painting, which I turned upside down first.  I then proceeded to paint it, continuing with the left hand again.  I also used a palette knife in this painting as can be seen by the very textured appearance in the upper right hand corner of the work. When I had finally finished it, I turned the painting up the right way, as you see it here and was fascinated to observe that the cave had lifted off the ground in the process!

Cathedral Cove II

Cathedral Cove II 18×24″

The next one was a little larger and in it I worked to convey the idea of the interconnectedness of the elements, rock and air.

Cathedral Cove III

Cathedral Cove III 38×27″

Next Post: The beginning of the five paintings in a week challenge!


We spend hours and hours every day thinking, however is all this brain energy necessarily productive?  Is it always positive?  Thinking is another of  the qualities of an artist that we need to pay attention to. You would be surprised perhaps if you were able to capture every thought you have in a day and look at…

a. How positive is that thought ?

b. How constructive is it?

c. Are you over thinking?

We are educated to think in certain ways, which are actually detrimental to the creative process.  As creatives we need to learn to think all over again.  Truly original thought is a difficult thing.  Within the creative process we need to develop the skill of being able to think both for yourself and against yourself.

What does that mean – thinking against yourself?  As a creative you must develop the ability to think outside your habitual channels. Creativity requires discernment – the ability to recognize one’s own mistakes and not go into emotional meltdown over them.  More on that later….

You must be able to hold up the mental mirror and see and analyse that reflection for flaws and then look at ways to improve.

Right brain thinking - Left handed painting

Cathedral Cove – Left handed painting

Many times, over thinking can be one of our biggest impediments or stumbling blocks on the creative path.  Why is this?

It usually means that we have gone from right brain thought to left brain thinking patterns.  When thinking in a left brain mode, we go into analytical, judgemental and critical  thought patterns which distort or block our creative flow.  I find it fascinating, that since I have begun painting with the left hand, my non dominant hand, my work’s quality has increased in it’s emotional intensity, impact and spontaneous flow of energy.  The minute  the paint brush goes back into the right hand, I begin striving for perfection again and it really loses something indefinable but intrinsically present.

This seems like a paradox, and its true nevertheless. Take a look at some other paintings that were painted with my dominant right hand – you will see the difference right away. You will notice these works are much more detailed, have a design element and are much more highly structured, yet less emotional.

This Weeks Question: Have you noticed how your thinking process affects your creative process? 

Next week look for: Active qualities of an artist  – Gathering

Posted by: Kadira Jennings

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