Friday, January 30, 2009

Surrendering to Creative Cycles

12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women
By Gail Meekin

Secret 4 – Surrendering to Creative Cycles

Change thrusts us into chaos, and it takes time to reorder things and find a new route.

My change was cancer… I am a 33 month survivor…I will never be the same and that is not all bad. I have learned many lessons. I am out of the major chaos of active treatment and into the world of survivorship. I am lucky that I have time to reorder things and find a new route. I am lucky. Many diagnosed do not have the gift of time.

Responding to our needs for rest and new experiences reigns as a key requisite in fueling our creative cycles.

It is so true. I was not big on self care, until my life depended on it… literally. Now I have to listen to my body… to rest…to eat properly… to stop worrying…

Change is like a river that flows through each of our lives, and we need to learn to navigate its nuances.

It is not a new story… someone needs a major illness or catastrophy to make the needed changes in their lives. Cancer was my river… I was dumped into the rapids… it is calmer now, but I am still navigating my way on this new and different path.

Change has an impact on us as a creative vessel. Aligning ourselves with what life bestows upon us, accepting the inevitability of endings and emptiness, and envisioning new heights of growth and achievement honors the cycles of death and rebirth.

Change is good. Creativity is good. Health is good. Life is good. Surrendering is good.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Following Your Fascinations

12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women
By Gail Meekin

Secret 3 – Following Your Fascinations


It’s one thing to have an idea, but it’s quite another to trust your idea and follow where it leads. Following your fascinations means taking risks and venturing out from the safe harbor to the open seas.

To be truly creative, you must be willing to try and fail, and then get over it.

Fear… it is a biggie. I vacillate back and forth between what I would really like to do… the life that I would like to create for myself and the life that I have been living. I am trying to learn that I do not have to be perfect. I can follow my dreams, make mistakes, create my art, and get my message out to the world. Make a creative difference.

Cancer again helped in this area… it gave me a chance… no it forced me to get off of the merry go round of life. To really look at what I was doing, and ask myself “where do I want to go?” It gave me time to creatively play as I was not good for too much else.
Now that I am healthy I am riding this new ride…. A roller coaster…with ups and downs, feelings of fear and exhilaration, speed and abrupt stops. It is taking me to new places… I still have to deal with my fear, but also learn to relax and enjoy the ride…

Speaking of following my fascinations and venturing out…This week the CHA, (Craft and Hobby Association) show was in town. It was in my backyard I wanted to go to soak up any information that I could about licensing my artwork.
Like most trade shows it was overwhelming, but I asked a lot of questions and picked up a lot of information and advice.

I was looking to meet Claudine Hellmuth and Kelly Rae Roberts, but I missed both. But I met some other wonderful artists like Traci Bautista… I love her work and use of color. I met Jenny Doh from Somerset Studios and Lisa Guerin.

I have always loved finding out about people, their stories any advice they can give. Many people were so nice and generous with their information and then there are always a few who are just an interesting study in human nature.

One in particular, a licensing agent… who at first was very nice when she thought I was a buyer… then when I started asking her about artists and the licensing process and the artist she represented her eyes were looking everywhere except toward me. In mid sentence a buyer walked into the booth and she was gone. I was not offended… I realize it is a dog eat dog world, but an “excuse me” would have been nice. I just laughed and said “good-bye“to her. I did not let it ruin my day… it is just fascinating in a different way…

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Honoring Your Inspirations

12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women
By Gail Meekin

Secret 2 – Honoring Your Inspirations

In the madness of this frantic workaholic era, it is far too easy to rush by the roses and never see the world around you.

Cancer again helped me in this area… My greatest lesson learned from cancer is to stop and smell the flowers, but also to see them and the beautiful things that surround us each day.

When my husband and I would vacation to Florida (while living in the East) – I would find that I would get a flourish of ideas. They would just pop into my head. I am not sure if it was that we were on vacation so all of the clutter of everyday life was not filling up my brain or was it just being in the sun and letting the warmth relax me?

My inspiration comes from many things – I think mostly it comes from just taking everything in… being observant, looking, listening. I believe if we are aware of everything around us, ideas will come forth when we need them. I do not have a specific time that I get new ideas. Many times it is while I am in the shower or those few minutes that I am waiting for the kids. I now allow myself some time to actually think of new ideas…

During my cancer treatment the doctor would tell me to walk as much as I could. Just after my first chemo treatment, my sister and I walked to the grocery store – about ½ mile away. I had to sit and rest even longer that it took us to get there. As I got healthier it was easier to walk longer distances, but it was taking a big part of my day. I decided to try and build up to jogging – that way I was getting exercise but it was not taking quite so long. I HATE running, the more I focused on running the harder it was. I would try to go one more sidewalk block each day – or run to the stop sign etc. It was so hard. Then I decided I was going to think of something else, a new idea or something that I wanted to create. I found that I could run the distance that I wanted, because my mind was focused on something I liked instead of something I hated.

My problem has never really been to come up with the ideas (other than a few really bad projects in college – I can hear my roommate, Heather laughing at my lamp project from heaven) but to put them into action… I am sure this book will let me in on that secret a little later…

Friday, January 23, 2009

Acknowledging your Creative Self

12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women
By Gail Meekin

I have recently joined a Blog Group that is exploring the creative secrets in the above book. We will be individually posting our thoughts on each secret over the next 12 weeks. The book was originally published in 2000. I did not own this book when I read of this project on kellyraeroberts site so I am a little late to the party.

Secret 1: Acknowledging Your Creative Self

I have been an interior designer for over 25 years but I have not always been able to call myself an artist. I could tell others that “everyone is an artist”, but the hardest person to convince was myself. No longer… I am an artist and more importantly I believe it. I will always be a designer and what I have learned as a designer only helps to make me a better artist. They do not have to be mutually exclusive… in fact… they cannot be.

My biggest creative change came about while battling breast cancer. A major change or illness can redefine our lives whether we are ready or not. Cancer was my major change. Although her change was not cancer, Gail Meekin writes; “It was time to redesign my life in line with my limitations and with total allegiance to my truth” When I read this part of the chapter… I said “that’s me” re-designing my life after cancer!!

I too have recently read the Path of Least Resistance: Learning to Become the Creative Force in Our Own Life by Robert Fritz. Like Gail I too need “to focus on manifesting my vision of a balanced, fulfilling life.” (see goals 1999-2009 post – I have been trying to do that for 10 years)

For many years as a designer I acknowledged my creative self, but much of my creativity was solving someone else’s space and design problems. Now I am acknowledging my creative self that needs to shine through at this moment in my life.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

One woman's art is anothers mundane

While reading my copy of the January/February Somerset Studio Magazine I came across an article/interview of a young woman named Madelaine. She is very accomplished for her young age of 17. She is a photographer and digital artist and has been taking photos since she was 14.I like some of her images… mostly I am intrigued by the fact that she has an interview published and she is selling her work.

The part of the article that first made me laugh and then got me thinking was this question and answer:

Melange: How have you matured in your artwork since you have started?
Madelaine: Thankfully, I have matured very quickly. Of course I started out with your typical dead-center flower macros and bland landscapes, but, eventually I got bored of taking so many mediocre photographs. I researched and read all I could find about photography and looked at hundreds of different photographs and noted what made them good photographs. Being a self-taught artist has been a wonderful experience for me. I believe that now my art is much more conceptual, dramatic, beautiful and refined.

Your typical dead-center flower macros – ha,ha I burst out laughing - I am so excited that with my new camera I CAN take dead center flower macros!!! I already have probably over 200 of them since Christmas… (it does help to live in a sunny climate).

The last part of the interview that got me to thinking about my art over time:

Melange: Some would say your work is “macabre” or dark. What is your response to that? Is that intentional?
Madelaine: It’s absolutely intentional. I don’t’ wish to scare or offend people with my art, but I would not pretend that it is not dark. I was an actor before getting into photography and digital art. The emotion and drama expressed through performance has definitely influenced my visual art immensely. I wish to evoke emotion with my art, so that is what I do.

I got to thinking about the emotion that I have invoked in my art over my life. When I was 17, mine too was dark. I drew pictures of sharks devouring other fish. A hand at the ready to stab with a butter knife (there was a lot of emotion in that one).

Then I thought about how my work has changed in the past 30 years…

Now I like to take photos (macros)of flowers, collage about stopping to smell the flowers and love and friendship…

My work is not as dark… why?

Is it because I have lived the dark life…?

A dysfunctional family growing up (there was not a lot of “fun” in our dysfunctional – see stabbing with a butter knife), losing 2 friends to AIDS, infertility, losing a Mother to Alzheimers, battling breast cancer and chemo...

Will I have more dark in my life? I am sure I will, we all do, but right now I want to focus on the light.
The close up of a flower…
















the beauty that God has created for us to enjoy...

I guess that is why art is so great…if someone does not like your work – some else may and if no one does as long as you are happy that is truly all that matters. So I wish all the best to Madelaine… she has accomplished more at 17 it seems than many do in a lifetime. I hope that she will have more dark in her photos then in real life.

I will keep taking my macros…in fact I joined a site called Shutter Sisters ...they post a challenge each week and you can respond with your photos. I had heard about the site this past year and when I saw this week’s challenge I decided to DO IT. We had gone to the beach during low tide so here is my entry for

HANDS….


Friday, January 16, 2009

PR for Mothers with Cancer

I was approached in October by Worlds Health News Today.They wanted to interview me and my daughter regarding our involvement with Kids Konnected. While filming that piece I spoke about the MotherswithCancer site, the blogosphere and the support it can provide. Nancy – the interviewer was interested and she later contacted me about doing a piece on blogging and health.

We tried to involve more of our ”Mothers”, but the WHNT is based in Irvine, CA and the next closest member is about 4 or 5 hours away. The piece aired today on cable but you can go
here

I was hoping “WhyMommy” would have received more credit being the brainchild behind this site, but it ended up on the editing floor.

Overall, I am happy with the piece (Mario was pleased with his airtime) and I hope the other contributors are also.

As I mentioned in the piece – whether it is 2:00 am and you can’t sleep, 10 in the morning when the kids are in school, check in whenever you need us…

We are MotherswithCancer


Cross-posted at motherswithcancer

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

LOOK!... heArts

I love hearts... much of my artwork of late revolves, involves and consists of hearts. One of the creative women that I follow, KellyRaeRoberts loves hearts also. Kelly has been a source of much inspiration since September 2007 when I read her article(s) in Cloth, Paper, Scissors. She is the main reason that I started this blog. I want to be like her when I grow up (although, I am already older than her).

Kelly is leading the creative life and making a living from it...

She has a collection of photos: "heart shapes everywhere" . I sometimes look at these photos and wonder why I do not see these heart shapes... but then one day on my Balboa Island walk I decided to see what I could find.

You know what?

All you really need to do is ...

LOOK...

and you shall find...

So here are a few of the hearts I found that day...



Brick wall...











Stone patio











Sand













Gum













OK - are you ready? Dog Poop!!

I will be adding a new widget on the left to share my "heArts" with you.

Enjoy!!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Stomp!!

L and I went to see Stomp this weekend. What a performance!!

The creativity was unbelievable… they have been making music out of found objects long before it was fashionable to be green and recycle.

Brooms, tin cans, garbage cans, pipes, lighters, sand, newspapers, plastic and paper bags, soda cups – everything but the kitchen sink… no wait they used kitchen sinks also.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 1 hour and 20 minute performance. I thought of my kids when they used to play “band” with my pots and pans…

Stomp gives hope to all of the ADHD kids out there…

that get into to trouble because they cannot sit still…

there is a place for all of us in this world to be creative and successful.

If Stomp in is your town do not hesitate to take in the performance, you will not be disappointed.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Goals 1999-2009

I have been thinking about 2008 and my goals for 2009. Today the kids are back in school and I have some quiet time to get it all down on virtual paper. When I was perusing my old files I came across my Mission Statement for 1999. After reading what I wrote 10 years ago, I decided to keep much of it for my 2009 Personal Mission Statement. I have adjusted some of the specific goals, details really (we were planning for second child then and we still lived back in New York)

but I think the overall concept is still pertinent:

I would like to lead a balanced life:
· some time for my children
· some time for my husband
· some time for myself
· some time for my family
· some time for my work
· some time for my friends
· some time for my relatives
· some time for my art
· some time for nothing

I have had to add one item that I guess really did not enter my consciousness too much back then…

I want to stay healthy

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Challenge...

I have been thinking about Stella's challenge and I guess I would have to sum it up like this:

Memoir so far...

loved, laughed, creatively made a difference...

2008:

loved, worried past, worried future, growth... ( I have been reading Eckhart Tolle's book: A New Earth)

which brings me to 2009:

love, stay in the moment, live...

crossposted at motherswithcancer...

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