Making Art and Magical Carrots

“Write it. Shoot it. Publish it. Crochet it, sauté it, whatever. MAKE.”
~ Joss Whedon

 

I’m finishing up the last little bits of my secret project just now.

It’s a project that has involved a lot of planning, and more writing and oracle card consulting and rumbling through my many bowls and boxes of crystals than I’d figured on.

And it has also needed art.

That’s okay. A beautiful friend of mine, Sally, made some art for me ages ago. That art was originally destined for a book I was creating before my Lyme diagnosis and treatment necessitated me shelving that idea for a while. Sal’s art was perfect for this new project, so we purposed some of it for this one instead.

Another talented friend, Bek, has been playing with that art and using her graphic design skills to bring things together for me.

But now we’re coming down to the wire with deadlines, and I needed more art. Art that was odd. Art where I couldn’t seem to find suitable images that fitted what I already had.

Art that would be miraculously sourced before my Friday night deadline, only hours away.

What was I to do?

In the end the answer was horrifying and obvious. I was going to have to make that odd art myself.

I felt a bit sick.

There were no suitable excuses. I had paper and pens and paints and brushes. I had pictures in my head of what was needed.

Before I could change my mind I pulled out all my materials, sat down and began.

As I did, I heard the very loud and stern objections of almost every art teacher who’d ever taught me as a child or adolescent.

Shut up! I said to them. It doesn’t matter if it’s craptastic, I reminded myself. Holding my tongue on just the right angle to aid concentration, I began.

First I painted a magical carrot. (It looks more crisp in person!)

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Then I drew a Lucky Dip bag.

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When I was finished I eyed them off objectively. Could I use them, I wondered?

The answer was yes. If I am crazy enough to create a project that requires such oddities as magical carrots and lucky dips then surely my wonky art will suffice.

I spent an afternoon furiously creating the rest of the images I needed. I was intent and focused as any five-year-old. And just as defiantly proud of my final efforts. Did I mention I’m deep in a period of Sustainable Madness right now?

What else was magical and mad (besides that carrot) was how much fun I had!

Who’d have thought that art and carrots could be so good for the soul?

Image from quotesgram.com

Image from quotesgram.com

Colour Me Calm

Image from Sodahead.com

Image from Sodahead.com

“Give crayons. Adults are disturbingly impoverished of these magical dream sticks.” ~ Dr. SunWolf

 

I’ve found a wonderful new form of meditation.

It’s colouring.

To give myself a calming break in a busy day, I take five or ten minutes just for me. I sit quietly with my tube of pretty pencils and my fairy book (thanks, Thanh – loveliest present ever), happily choosing colours which I then apply to the page.

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It’s a joyful and reflective process. Often my colour choices are quick and completely intuitive. Sometimes they require me to sit and gaze restfully at the page until I am drawn to a particular pencil.

It doesn’t matter if I only shade one or two tiny feathers, or make a few spots of detail here or there. It’s the process that is calming.

It’s the losing myself to the picture and the forming colours that is relaxing.

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I never thought that, as an adult, I would take up colouring books again. I’m not confident with drawing. I have never thought of myself as particularly artistic. But to have an outline on a page, and to use my imagination to bring that page to life? It’s a delightful activity.

If you can’t find a colouring book you like, do a quick google search of colouring pages for adults or colouring mandalas for adults. You’ll find plenty of beautiful images to download and print, ready for you to work your own colourful magic.

For stress reduction, nurture and reconnection, colouring is a simple activity that I highly recommend!

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A Little Taste of Our Sanctuary

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“Each positive thought is your refuge and your sanctuary, where in that thoughtful moment, you are safe.”
~ Bryant McGill, Simple Reminders: Inspiration for Living Your Best Life

 

It’s our final day of the 2014 Soul Sanctuary Retreat, and I thought I’d share just a tiny part of what we’ve been doing.

We’ve come together and we’ve made magic, we’ve meditated and we’ve shared stories that help with our healing and becoming.

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We’ve made a collective mandala, that holds all of our energies, personalities, love and positive intentions.

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And we’ve turned that mandala into individual talismans with crystals and colours that support us, and our power chakras. Yep, that’s right. We made gorgeous jewels!

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We created Vision Boards to uplift us in the coming months, and to remind us of what is important in our lives, and the future we wish to actively manifest for ourselves.

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We’ve made a personal Sacred Mandala that holds our poetry and philosophy for 2015 – they are symbolic of all that is dear to us and all that we are becoming.

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We’ve wandered through the gardens, having time in nature, and connecting with the earth. And we’ve feasted on a smorgasbord of delicious fresh food, all local and organic and cooked by our own personal chefs – Deb and Claire. (We love you!!!)

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We’ve talked with fairies and Guides, learned how to do readings for each another, and found ways to deeply tap into our own intuition and inner knowing.

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We’ve played with essential oils, learned new ways to ground, connect, release and nurture ourselves. We’ve had healings and been given oils and essences just for us. We’ve enjoyed massive nurture, friendship, laughter, a few tears, and loads of hugs.

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In short, it’s been a fabulous time.

I can’t wait for Soul Sanctuary 2015 so we can do it all again!

 

Enhance Your Creativity

“To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it.” ~ Osho

Sometimes life loses its shine, and gets a bit ragged around the edges. When we’re in that space of busy-ness, exhaustion, or when we’re fighting the good fight, our Muse may desert us. When our creativity is gone, we often begin to despair that it will ever return.

But don’t be disheartened. There is so much that we can do to encourage her back into our lives.

Here are some simple steps you can take to get your creative mojo back:

1. Take a night off and do something that really unwinds the tangles in your mind. That might be a bath, reruns of ‘Friends’ or ‘Star Trek’, a glass of wine and a pizza, going to bed early with a good book or a lover, or simply turning in for some much-needed sleep.

2.  Eat well.  Brains need good food, and good hydration. Fresh wholesome food and plenty of water can work wonders for restoring inspiration.

3.  Go for a walk.  Walking does something magical to our brains. Walking clears out the cobwebs, grounds us and gets us firmly back into our bodies when we have been spending too much time in our heads. While we are out wandering our minds begin to find their own creative energy again.

4.  Start an Ideas Book. Most of your good ideas give you a momentary boost, and then are soon forgotten. An ideas book will put all of those flashes of inspiration in one place.  If you use one often enough you’ll soon start to see themes emerge. Before long, the Muse will be whispering in your ear, and you’ll be back in flow.

5.  Listen to Music.  Music is proven to lift our mood, increase the feel-good neurochemical dopamine, stimulate thought and build new neural pathways. Music also relaxes us, allowing thoughts and ideas to rise more easily to our conscious awareness.

6.  Read a Book.  Reading stimulates our imagination, and triggers images, thoughts and ideas that can lead you back out of the creative  wilderness.

7.  Learn something new. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the banjo, Italian, composting or poetry. When we learn new things, it creates a cascade of new pathways and new possibilities as we fit the fresh information in with our existing neural frameworks. Inspiration often strikes as we practice these skills and develop different approaches to existing situations.

8.  Do puzzles and other games that stimulate your brain. The brain needs to be exercised. As you work with these puzzles your brain becomes faster, more attentive and your memory is enhanced.  An exercised brain adapts faster to information input, and forms new pathways that can overflow benefits into many other areas of your life.  (I have been using Luminosity for about 6 months now, with great results!)

9.  Spend time laughing and socially connecting with people. Humans are social animals and we need hugs, interaction and social affirming. It sets up a flow of good chemicals in our bodies, relaxes us, and fills us with well-being.

10. Dance.  Yep, that’s right.  I’m a big fan of gumboot dancing in rain-soaked paddocks, but you could also dance in your pyjamas in the loungeroom, rock out with your friends at your favourite live venue, boogie with your kids or your pets, or go tango-ing with someone special. Dancing makes everything good again!

I heart this gumboot ballerina! Image courtesy of www.melslifeasasahm.blogspot.com.au

I heart this gumboot ballerina! Image courtesy of www.melslifeasasahm.blogspot.com.au

11.  Practice your creative passion.  Show up on a regular basis and do some small thing.  It doesn’t matter how small – just engage with your creative project. A friend of mine who is an amazing textile artist hit a very rough spot in her personal life. For months she couldn’t create, but every day she went to her studio. She cleaned out cupboards, put beads into jars, tore images from magazines, cut buttons and swatches from old clothes, framed canvases that had sat in dusty corners for months. And eventually she found that she was tinkering again, and that led back into making art.

12.  Meditate, or practice a moving meditation such as yoga, tai chi or qi gung.  Meditation clears out the clutter in your mind, and leaves it full of stillness.  In that energy of stillness the Muse will begin to sing to you, or show you a slide show, or thread your thoughts together like beautiful jewels on a necklace.

13.  Practice Gratitude. When we are grateful for life, and show appreciation, the dark clouds begin to lift, the fog clears and we find ourselves able to value and appreciate ourselves and the world around us, no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in.  Creativity is a natural byproduct of that state of emotional grace.

14.  Go somewhere new. Nothing quite connects the dots in new ways, or hands you whole new patterns and concepts like the stimulus of a fresh set of images, sounds, smells and experiences. When we live only in familiar surroundings, all sensory input tends to fade into the background and we become lost in our heads. New places require a high level of engagement.

15.  Choose to be optimistic – no matter what your current circumstances may be.  Alice Herz-Sommer explains this far, far better than me…

PS: This post is part of my 2013 Creative Challenge Project.  If you’d like to read more, visit these posts:

Join my 2013 Creative Project Challenge

Creative Project Challenge – February Check In

Lost your Creative Mojo?

When the Muse vanishes – thoughts on the loss of Creativity

How a Garden Can Teach You To Be More Creative

Do you really need to start with a Grand Gesture?

Image from www.hiola.tk

Image from www.hiola.tk

“You just have to keep on doing what you do. It’s the lesson I get from my husband; he just says, Keep going. Start by starting.”~ Meryl Streep

Is there something you really want to do? Is there a dream or a goal, a vision you hold for the future?

Maybe you want to be a published writer, maybe you want to be a healer, or an architect, maybe you’d like to be lean and toned, or perhaps your dream is to travel through France, speaking fluent french and soaking up the lifestyle…

Well, my advice is this: don’t wait for things to be perfect, start small, but most importantly just get started!

I see so many people fail to take off because they put too much effort into a grand gesture – letting the world know that they are here, talking things up, making things look good – and not enough effort into actually doing the thing.

If you want to be a healer, just start.  Maybe you need to do a course.  Or maybe you’ve done the course, and now you need to work with people. You don’t need fancy business cards and a room in some swank practice. Just start where you are. In your home. At a friend’s. Let it grow organically.

Do you really need to spend thousands of dollars on a flash new computer and all the latest software in order to write your best-selling first novel? Perhaps the old computer, a notebook and a pen, and a good back-up system will work fine for now.

2012-05-17 07.34.52No matter what your dream, a grand gesture is not needed. In fact, that grand gesture may steal so much enthusiasm and momentum from you, or so overwhelm and intimidate you that you never really begin.

Almost every great business, every victory or success, started from humble beginnings. Don’t be afraid to start small.  The only thing that matters is that you are brave enough to begin! The Universe inspired YOU for a reason. So why not start? Who knows where this might take you. And when you start small, there’s no pressure. Instead there is possibility, stretching far out in front of you…

I’m standing on the sideline, cheering you on. Bless ♥♥♥

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How a Garden Can Teach You To Be More Creative

fruit-apples-apple-tree

“Gardening is cheaper than therapy and you get tomatoes.”  ~ Author Unknown

Gardening is a seasonal thing.  There are tasks to do in every season, but Summer tasks can’t be easily undertaken in Winter and Winter tasks aren’t so suited to the Spring.

What does this have to do with creativity you may ask?

Why, my dear friend, everything!  Creativity has its seasons too, and once you begin to understand that you don’t need to fight against nature, you can begin to work with flow and rhythm. All creative projects follow a similar path to the seasons.  Recognising what season you’re in is the first step!

Winter

Winter is the time for rest.  It’s a dark, quiet place with the occasional storm or blizzard. But it’s from the darkness that our ideas come.  Winter is not a doing time. It’s a thinking time, a planning time, a snuggling up under the doona with a book time. You can’t force anything to grow in Winter, but it doesn’t stop you dreaming about Spring, or the harvest you’ll make come Summer.

If you are in a cold hard place creatively then treat yourself kindly.  Don’t panic.  The seasons always change. And as they do, you’ll change with them.  In the meantime, go clean out your kitchen cupboards or have a cup of tea and flick through a garden catalogue to inspire you. If inspiration does strike, well it’s fine to buy a few packets of seed, attend a class on composting, or sketch out some designs. But don’t even try to plant anything.  The garden’s not ready yet and anything you plant won’t survive and thrive in such inhospitable conditions.

Ice on a barren winter garden.

Ice on a barren winter garden. Time for dreaming, planning and getting ready for Spring.

Spring

Spring is work time!  It’s the season for setting out solid foundations. You set out your beds, dig some good compost through them, and plant out all your tender seedlings. If you only have a loose plan so far, Spring is the time where we firm up the details.  It’s also where we get the supplies we need if we didn’t take care of that in Winter. Good ideas are like those tender seedlings – they need special care.  There are some good ideas about that here: Protecting a Good Idea.

Every day or so you’ll need to come back to your garden and do some work; fertilising, weeding, watering, trailing tendrils of climbers up the trellis you have created for them.  You’ll be able to enjoy some early harvest, but mostly Spring is about setting a solid foundation for what’s to come. Get into good gardening habits. and keep learning and practicing!

Getting your garden beds ready to plant out for Spring!

There’s work to be done! Getting your garden beds ready to plant out for Spring…

Summer

A Summer garden provides a bountiful harvest.  Everything grows quickly and easily, although vigorous plants may need extra staking, and you’ll still be doing the usual jobs – feeding, weeding, tending, watering.

Some of your produce may need to be rejected or written off – a bug might get into your tomato, or a bird might eat all of your figs.  That’s the nature of gardens – they are never 100% perfection.  Gardens are always a work in progress.

The crop you had high hopes for might fail to thrive, but the butter beans you poked into the soil as an afterthought might take off in spectacular fashion providing you with never-ending buckets of delight.  Share your harvest and enjoy!

So much to harvest! Image from www.getintogardening.co.uk

So much to harvest! Image from www.getintogardening.co.uk

Autumn

In Autumn we collect seed and put it away for next spring.  There are different jobs to do now.  We’re still tending our vegetable patch, and there is still harvest, but we are spending more time mending, tidying and getting the most out of our crops. We bottle and put away produce to keep us going through winter. It’s also where we review what worked and what didn’t and what we’ll do differently next time.

Autumn is a season where we may call in some help. You might let the chooks into the garden to eat up all the slugs and grasshoppers.  You’ll start pulling out the failing plants, and a neighbour may come with a rotary hoe to churn the old plants back into the soul, nourishing your beds for next spring. You might thumb through some books to find out why your beets rotted in the ground, and how you can prevent that next time, or whether you should even be planting beets at all. You’ll feed and mulch and look after that soil so it’s ready for another productive year.

Letting the chooks (chickens for you non-Australians) into the end of season Autumn Garden.

Letting the chooks (chickens for you non-Australians) into the end of season Autumn Garden.

Creativity, like gardening, has its seasons.  Of course, you could be like some modern manufacturers and grow all your tomatoes in a hot house at maximum yield year round. That’s very productive, I’ll give you that.  But I bet you won’t be able to taste the Summer sun in those fruit, or the tang of a late frost. Seasons give their own magic to gardens and to art.  Bless ♥ xx

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PS: This post is part of my 2013 Creative Challenge Project.  If you’d like to read more, visit these posts:

Join my 2013 Creative Project Challenge

Creative Project Challenge – February Check In

Lost your Creative Mojo?

When the Muse vanishes – thoughts on the loss of Creativity

Lost your Creative Mojo?

Image by Shareen M

Image by Shareen M

“Creativity – like human life itself – begins in darkness.” 
~ Julia Cameron 

Have you taken the pledge and signed up for my Creative Challenge Project yet? It’s not too late, and hopefully, if you stick with me, by the end of this year you’ll have something finished, a new skill or interest, or a bigger project in progress.

As I encourage you to embrace your creativity in 2013, I’ve had a steady trickle of private messages and emails from people who feel that somehow their creativity has left the building. For some there is a sense of loss, for others a quiet desperation.  How do they get their mojo back?

Having been in exactly that dark place at times too, I’m not going to try to jolly you out of your funk (as with depression, it doesn’t work and makes you feel worse!), or make trite statements that are supposed to inspire but that always leave you – the struggling, lost one – feeling lacking and even more useless or stuck. Instead I’m going to have a conversation about the nature of creativity as I have found it. Understanding the creative process has been a source of comfort and personal power for me. And it has allowed me to become far kinder towards myself.

Over the next four weeks, each Monday, I shall look at ways to understand and enhance your creativity, and to nurture this important energy within you.

Even if you are brimful of creative ideas and projects right now, long experience has shown me that there will be times ahead when you struggle with self-doubt, lack of creative direction, low enthusiasm and zero inspiration.

Don’t panic. There are always things that can be done to bring you from that place of stuckness back into flow.

The areas I’ll be covering are:

  1. Situations where creativity vanishes
  2. The seasonal nature of creativity
  3. Ideas for creative replenishment
  4. Emergency tool kit for blocked creatives

I look forward to our creative collaborative energies this year.  I know it can be a magical year for you, and one you will look back on with a sense of fondness and accomplishment. Humans were born to create, and creating is one of the best kinds of soul medicine.

Much love to you, Nicole ♥ xx

Image from www.vol25.typepad.com

Image from www.vol25.typepad.com

Creative Project Challenge – February Check In

Creative Mind - Image by jixar

Creative Mind – Image by jixar

“The concept of creativeness and the concept of the healthy, self-actualizing fully human person, seem  to be coming closer and closer together, and may turn out to be the same thing.” ~ Abraham Maslow

At the beginning of this year I threw out an idea to you – to become part of my Creative Challenge Project for 2013. (If you haven’t had a chance to read that post you can catch up on it here.)

I promised that as well as asking you to publicly name your project, I would be posting check ins to keep you on track. So here we are at the beginning of February and it’s time for our first Challenge Activity and for you to update us on where you are at.

The interesting thing about creativity is that once you really commit to it, unexpected creative project magic and other strange but pleasing synchronicities will begin showing up in your life.

Creative people are multi-faceted, and it is healthy for them to express that creativity in many different ways. This month’s challenge activity will help you explore that!

Creative Challenge Activity for February

Creativity is a place for exploration, dreams and adventures.  Some of what you do will work, and some of it won’t. What works is art, what doesn’t is experience.  And to be a creative ‘artist’, no matter what your field, you need both.

So here are some simple challenges to keep that creative fire burning through February.  You may want to record them in your journal, and explore them in more detail.  Give yourself permission to feed your hungry inner artist!

1. Commit to some creative time. Don’t see it as needing to be productive, instead thing of it as play time. Take out your diary, calendar or day planner and find yourself one hour a week every week for the month. Call this time your Creative Engagement. If you can devote more time to creativity that’s great, but everyone can manage a one hour window. Go mark those times in your diary NOW.  Block them off.  Make them a personal invitation to yourself. Something you look forward to.  Something that makes you feel that delicious combination of anticipation, edginess, comfort and thrill. This is your time for actually working on that project you named back in January.  (if you haven’t named a project scoot back to that post here – it’s not too late!)

Image from www.probablyactually.blogspot.com

Image from www.probablyactually.blogspot.com

2. Now give some thought to how you will spend those little creative blocks of time.  Jot down a few ideas or a rough plan beside each Creative Engagement. Feel free to explore this even more in your journal.

Image from www.tulipandturnip.blogspot.com

Image from www.tulipandturnip.blogspot.com

3. Creative Date.  Your Creative Date is separate to your Creative Engagement.  We’ll be doing a Creative Date every month.  It’s a date you spend on your own, filling up your well of ideas. The reason you need to do it on your own is that when you plan an outing and invite other people, so many of you (me included) end up making it about the other person’s comfort, enjoyment and fun. Dear friend, in 2013, you need to give a little care back to yourself, so fly solo for this date time. It doesn’t mean you need to be alone – you may find yourself at a book store, a workshop, a craft fair, an art gallery or a knitting circle.  But you need to be there just for YOU.

So find one hour a month (it can be twenty minutes if that’s all you can spare, or more if you have that luxury of time) and go explore something that inspires your creative juices. It may not be directly related to your creative project.  It just needs to help put you into a space where you are free to think about new ideas, and be inspired by the world around you.  Take some time and journal a list of places you’d like to visit and things you’d like to do this year to inspire you and give you new ideas. During the year keep adding to your list.  It’s important to have a wide range of things to choose from.

Image from www.neesienatters.blogspot.com

Image from www.neesienatters.blogspot.com

4. Dress like an Artist. This is just for fun, but honestly, it works! Pick a day and do one thing with your appearance that makes you feel more like your inner vision of yourself.  It might be wearing a button on your lapel, some lace at your collar, or a striking necklace. It could be purple hair, a crazy vest, or an ultra-cool band t-shirt.  Choose something that is a secret language with yourself,something that reminds you of your project. My pirate book project is dear to my heart.  Ideas I’ve used include a lick n’ stick tattoo on my arm of a pirate boat and a skull and crossbones, a bracelet with little skulls on it, a funky pirate necklace and a satchel to hold my books that has a pirate motif on the front of it.

I found this cool pirate dog at etsy...

I found this cool pirate dog necklace at etsy…

And don’t forget to leave a comment below and tell us about what you’ve been up to creatively. I’ve done a few hours editing on Mapping the Heart, cut and pasted all of last year’s Gratitude Challenge posts to turn into an ebook, and ordered a delicious tapestry pillow kit from www.erhmantapestry.com – here’s a picture of it:

FireFlowers-stilllife-600

Join my 2013 ‘Creative Project’ Challenge!

Image from www.my-inner-voice.blogspot.com.au

Image from www.my-inner-voice.blogspot.com.au

“Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things” ~ Ray Bradbury

It’s the start of a fresh year, and all these days are stretching out in front of us, begging to be filled. And just like last year, they will get filled. With shopping, sleeping, working, couch surfing, housework, coffee, yard work, cooking, worrying and maybe a bit of fun stuff. Whether we plan it or simply let it happen, this time next year, all 2013 will be is a bunch of lived days, and we’ll be looking at the possibilities of 2014.

But what about your art?  What about the creative project that’s always on the back burner? The thing you’d love to do, that you DREAM of doing, but never actually get around to?

Image from www.anonymousartofrevolution.com

Image from www.anonymousartofrevolution.com

My ‘Creative Project’ Challenge for 2013 is this:

Be bold and brave and take a moment to publicly name the project you’d like to give energy to this year in a comment at the bottom of this page.

Then throughout the year I’ll blog check-ins and little things to help keep you on track.  Your commitment to the project is about making time through out the year to work on your project. And you can all reach out and support each other, no matter what your project might be.

Maybe you want to take art lessons.  Maybe you want to work out how to use that expensive camera you bought. Maybe you want to write a novel, or edit a novel, or illustrate a children’s book.  Maybe you want to build a vegetable garden or knit a matching set of jumpers for the whole family by Christmas.

I have found that by being part of a creative-purposed group, my wonderful writing sisterhood – Sisters of the Pen – my productivity, accountability and sense of connectedness to my writing has improved.  I’ve gone from thinking about being a writer to actually writing!

So how about you? What creative project will it be for you this year?

Image from www.creativeeducation.co.uk

Image from www.creativeeducation.co.uk

Let yourself get excited.  Give yourself the gift of a whole year of little windows of creative time.  Imagine what might happen…

Are you in?  Will you join me?

Go ahead, and sign your name below.  Let’s make 2013 a year of Creative Action. That’s the kind of energy I want to see in the world!

Dr Sketchy – Beautifully Burlesque

Image from byronbay.net.au

“Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it.”

~ Salvador Dali

 

My brain is still in a post-virus muddle.  Clarity comes in fits and starts, and then fog washes over me and my brain disappears entirely.  Trust me, this is not conducive to writing.

So, what should a writer do when they’re in no mind to write?

Draw, of course.

I’m the first to admit that I’m no artist. A couple of years ago, while completing Julia Cameron’s excellent program in her book The Artist’s Way, one of the activities involved drawing for a week instead of writing.  I was horrified.  Did I mention I’m no artist?

Back then, at the suggestion of a friend, I went to a Dynamic Drawing class at the Byron Bay Scout Hall (having NO idea what I was getting into – what was I thinking???).  I thought it would be an ‘art class’ that would teach me ‘art’ principles, and that we would draw fruit bowls and flowers.

Instead I was handed some butchers paper and a stick of charcoal at the door,  a wonderful man named Ron Curran began philosophising about art and emotion and freedom from fear, and then a nude model jumped into the middle of the room, and we were asked to draw in timed poses, starting with one minute per drawing. There was no time for me to freak out, no one was judging me, and in the end I actually enjoyed myself immensely after I got over my initial awkwardness at, well, everything…

Doesn’t every athlete benefit from cross-training?  Surely this must work for creative types too?

All ready to make art!

Last night, in celebration of life and its glorious possibilities, a small group of us – who are grateful for not being dead – went along to Dr Sketchy’s monthly Anti-Art School at Byron Bay.  With their motto of Dames! Drinks! Drawing! and their adults-only burlesque themes, we figured it would at least be entertaining, and it was low-key enough that I could lounge around in my pale and wan state, as comfortably as if I was at home on the couch.

Dr Sketchy’s involves a wonderful host leading the audience through a series of timed drawing exercises of gorgeous burlesque models, as well as music, performance and some witty repartee.  You don’t even have to draw – you can just enjoy the show. And to my relief, there were people of all levels of artistic ability represented.  We pulled out our BYO art materials and away we went…

I’m not giving up my day job any time soon, but it was fun to try something different, and to allow myself the pleasure of creating for the fun of it, with no expectation except to express myself, and satisfy my creative curiosity.

Effort number 2…

By the end of the evening I had evolved from stick figures to the beginning of something a little more shapely. And discovered a new-found appreciation for the skill involved in tassel dancing.

Will drawing, however badly, improve my writing? Who’s to say, but there’s a part of me has a hunch that it will…

Effort number 6…