unlikely inspiration

Jean Micael Bisquiat
I started reading Creative Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.  It has been a great companion for my mission of living a creative life and focusing on it this year.  It was on my list to read last year and it did not happen.  I have been diving into it today and I love it.

Today I was listening while I worked.  My new goal is to insert creative in to the mundane.  At work I am doing a lot of data processing and listening to books or podcasts really help.

Anyway, today I was listening and she was talking about wanting to start a garden. Then how that thought of a garden blossomed into wanting to know more about plants, and then a chain reaction ensued and then she wrote The Signature of All Things.  She talks about what if she just ignored that small voice that asked her to start a garden.  Read it.

Listening to her speak about that process reminds me of something I am currently following.  All the sudden Jean Michel Basquiat has been filling my thoughts.  I have always liked certain aspects of his art but have not really taken a plunge into the study of his work. I would wake up in the middle of the night after dreaming about a certain piece of his.  Finally I decided I could not ignore it any longer.  Now I am researching him, watching documentaries, movies, and looking at any piece of his work I can find.  He inspires me.  I did not think that could happen because of the way he died.  I just never thought someone who lived such a troubled life and then ending his life with a drug overdose would ever inspire me.  Now the way he lived his life and even his death have me looking at his work with a whole new set of eyes.  He was kind and with a soft heart but also rough around the edges and street smart. This beautiful mess he was inspires my own creative path.

thDustheads by Bisquiat

Maybe I will paint a piece inspired by him and maybe I will just let his creative path give me some freedom in my own path.

a creative life

2015-11-13 07.44.22How do you live a creative life?  I have been really thinking about this.

My situation now is this, I work now.  I work 37.5 hours to be exact.  My kids are in college or they are grown and have kids of their own.  I do have two dogs that I treat as if they were human and one really acts like he is human. Mainly it is just me, my husband, and our two dogs.  It does not seem like a lot to distract me from a creative life right? Wrong?

My brain has three stages of creativity.

1. I have creative waves.  I will go weeks oooooozing creativity (I almost typed “literally” oooozing).

2. I have days when I can go through the motion and even find sometime to muster up something to do creatively.  I mostly accomplish creativity at these times because I know what is coming next if I don’t.  (see number three)

3. Then I have days when it is crickets.  No crickets are more creative.  It is more like a brain and body full of nothing.  When this happens I am scattered (more than normal) and I can’t collect my thoughts or my direction.  I absolutely hate these times.

So, I have identified the problem.  What could possibly be the solution?

My plan of attack is….

1. Reading about creativity
2. Listening to Podcasts about creativity or that are creative
3. Organizing my time and spaces to set me up for success
4. Blog more about this topic so I keep it in the forefront of my mind
5. Set goals, mantras, and focus words that move me towards a creative life
6. Write or draw in a journal daily

I am going to try some of the things out and bring it back to the blog world like a shining beacon to attract more creativity in my life.

How about you?  How do you bring more creativity into your life?

creative freedom

Grandma and all her grandchildren at the time.
I started when I was young just like everyone else loving my creations.  I remember my first self doubt when I was young sitting at the ranch in my grandmothers office and she sat me down with an orange and some cloves.  She instructed me to make an ornament by taking the cloves and pressing them through the flesh of the orange.  I could choose to make a pattern or I could just cover the orange.  It was my choice.  Oh the pressure of this was more than I could bear.  It lasted about a minute and then my grandma said to me, “no pressure, just have fun.”  She explained the orange was going to be beautiful and smell wonderful no matter what I created.  She took away the pressure I was feeling and replaced it with freedom.

We all feel this pressure when we create sometimes. Some of us more than others.  Some of us do it by putting pressure for money, deadlines, and others self made pressure.  This pressure can suck the joy out of creating.  For me I decided long ago not to play along.  I never place a dollar amount on what I create.  However, I do fall into the deadline category sometimes.  It is a painful feeling to place pressure into my creativity.  Creativity is a natural thing for everyone.  It is a practice we should all partake of.  When we place pressure on our creativity we lose our creative freedom and therefore do not see being creative as a fun, freeing experience.

How can we be free creatively?

1.  By being kind to ourselves.  NO harsh self talk.  When these voices come into your head just ask them politely to go away and then see some good in what you have created or the creative thought you are nurturing.

2.  Don’t box yourself in.  If you are photographer and you want to paint.  Go paint.  I say this because I did this.  For a lot of years I stopped playing in paint and just played with my camera.  One day I decided to play in paint again and it is what I do most of the time.  I still take pictures and I adore photography but it is not my path right now.  Right now it is painting.  So I am following it.

3.  Start your creative process with the bold NO PRESSURE attitude.  Just have fun and enjoy it.

4.  Remember creativity is your God given right.  You were born a creative, we all were.   Do not put a place marker in your creativity.  Don’t compare yourself to others or let them compare themselves to you.  You do not have to be the best or even place yourself in some rank.  “You are you.  That is truer than true.  No one can be you better than you.” Dr. Seuss

5.  As far as deadlines are concerned, start early and give yourself time and space to finish things.

my creative mom

Rodney Grandpa Grandma

My mom was a creative person.  She found joy in creating.  When I say this, I really mean it.  She was they type of person that did not have to be the “best” at what she was doing she just wanted to be a part of it. She pulled so much joy from it.  Each holiday my mom made a homemade card for each family member. You looked forward to it.  Think about how simple this is.  My mom loved creating and it brought her joy.  Now you have people scattered across the country who several times a year are getting “happy mail” and they are experiencing joy.  Simple, right?

One of my goals in the past has been to learn from every experience I can.  Knowledge is power.  I feel strong when I am learning from those around me.

I am a list person and they make me happy.  Let’s make a list out of this lesson.

What I learned about JOY from my mom;

1. Do what you love.

2. You do not have to be the best at something for it to make you happy.

3. Share what you love with your family and friends.

Lesson learned Folks!

here’s to a creative year


Most of the time I have already figured out my year and what I want to do with it.  I will have a focus words and have broken that down into my “dreams” for the year.  At the end of the year I am normally pretty happy with how my year concluded.

Last year was a great.  I have a great life.  I have a beautiful and very lovely family.  Things are good.  To be honest ever since my mom died I consider every year that no one in my family dies or is terribly ill a really great year.  It is crazy how that one event changed so much of my thinking.

Anyway, this year I am struggling to pin down exactly how to accomplish everything I need to.

Highlights from 2015

1. I started painting on canvas

2. I took a class from my favorite artist…actually two of them.

3. I had my first semi solo art showing

4. Started daily creative rituals….most days.

5. Started meditation

6. Grandkids….they are always a highlight!

Things I am looking forward to in 2016

1. My 25 wedding anniversary

2. More art shows

3. Creative everyday

4. Continue doing a 365 photo project but add weekly DSLR shots

5. Getting my grandkids for one whole month

6. My dad and Trish coming to visit this summer

7. Going to Cancun with family and friends in May

8. Having my work on display all summer at Tonglen Lake Lodge
9. A healthier, happier me!

Have you thought about what you want for your 2016?

pure joy – art journal tutorial


  1. Write about anything (baking cookies, driving, parents, kids) and do not lift your pen (use a micron so it is waterproof). This will feel like rambling.


  1. Water down gesso and add a little color to it if you would like. Paint over words. Let the gesso dry and leave the gesso out because you will use this again.


  1. Layer ephemera using gel medium (Mod Podge). I coat the page with gel medium where I will be placing ephemera, then lay it down and then layer the gel medium over the top as well.  Press out any bubbles in the paper that you do not want there. Now, let dry.


  1. Choose three to four colors. (acrylics, water color pencils, watercolor crayons) Randomly paint over edges and such. Let dry.


  1. Lightly gesso over this layer and let dry.



  1. Drop paint on the page and take a credit card to apply the paint.

HF0A06907. Stencil with white on the page randomly.



9. Stamp or mark on the page with black randomly.  I just scraped black paint on with a card. Adding white and black to a page will give your page some great “bones” (foundation might be a better word) for when you add your art work.


10. Add art, stamps, quotes, or anything that feels right.  I am on a quest to learn how paint faces so I painted a face.

I love raw, primitive edges in my art so I try to not finish them off.  If I think too much I will spend too much time on the wrong subject.  I wanted the girl as my focus and the butterflies as my second focus. I left the butterflies very simple and used my opposite hand to sketch them.

I am trying to paint intuitively and not think too much about things.  Rumor has it that your art will just get better and better when it comes from the heart.

Happy Journaling!

diy post card swap

iHanna does a post card swap every year.  I just heard about it this year and joined in.  I have been involved in other kinds of swaps that you generally are only sending to one person.  This one I made 10 post cards to send out and I will receive 10 post cards.  How fun is that?!

First I dabbed paint on the cards and took a brayer roller over the top to make the backgrounds.

Then I drew on the pages of an old book.  Cut them out.  Ran them through the Xryon sticker maker

Applied watercolor to the images and attached them to the post cards. 

I use pens to outline the images.

Lastly I Mod Podged the surface.


Final Four art journal

My daughter and I sat down to watch the Women’s NCAA and chose our pics for the games.  I am not a sports enthusiast unless it is the X games or Olympics.  Sometimes I will give in if it is college basketball.  This year was much more fun because I brought my journal along.

I added some clips from the Time magazine article this week.  It was fun but it was sad when our team choice lost.

Denali Art Club

We met a Park Ranger in Denali Park

We (Sonya the neighbor and I) were invited to join a small group of ladies to go out and sketch in our books.  We had such a great time.  These ladies were awesome.  Sonya and I have finally arrived…we are in the cool kids group.  I can see sitcoms being made from this group of very creative women.  I can’t even tell you how awesome they are.

I am going to finish my pages tonight while I watch the new episode of Hart of Dixie but I thought I would show the pages so far.