Sunday, 30 September 2012

Six Words and an Eggshell


Have you ever seen those six-word challenges? The ones where you are challenged to write your life story in six words?  They are amazing.  Six words strung together and voila!  A picture of a life. 
Incredible creativity -- the parring of words to the bare bone resulting in an image strong and resonant.

Jazzed by the idea, I figured I'd make mine, easy-peasy.  So I began.  I laced strings of adjectives, nouns, verbs and other grammer-related terms in odd combinations, looking for the six-gem necklace, but all I got was lumpy macramé (which I actually like but it wasn't what I was going for!).  The harder I tried, the more my strings of words twisted and snarled and came out looking like the discarded fishing line snagged at the end of the dock.

Finally, I put the pen away and stopped trying.  I didn't think I had it in me to put my life into a bite size morsel of prose.   I just was not creative enough.  And there is was -- six words that summed up my life.  I- just-was-not-creative-enough. :(

What a minute?  Had these words being rolling around in my head all this time?  Were these words  the ones that were keeping me from moving forward in a creative life? 

I decided then and there that I was not going to live that six-word life anymore.  It would no longer be my creed.  I was going to come out of my shell.  And there it was -- the six words danced their way from my soul onto the page -- I'm coming out of my shell. 

My toes did a little tap dance in their shoes because I knew, I knew, I knew what I had to do.  It was time to step outside my comfort zone and be creative in the best ways I knew how.  And that it would be enough.

To celebrate, I took this picture.....

It's a good reminder to get back out there whenever I get sidetracked by the wrong set of words rolling around in my mind.

Funny how six little words and an eggshell can change a perspective!

 -- Leah

The six-word challenges were started I believe, by Larry Smith of Six-Word Memoirs at SMITH Magazine.

Friday, 28 September 2012

An Awesome Surprise

I am so excited....!!  I just received news that I won a book giveaway today.  Quinn McDonald of had a copy of the new Carla Sonheim book  Drawing and Painting Imaginary Animals: A Mixed-Media Workshop for her giveaway and it will be arriving in a week or two.  Carla is a super artist - her pictures are whimsical and fun and creative.  I have her first book Drawing Lab for Mixed-Media Artists and I totally love doing the exercises.  Take a look at a couple I've done ....

Lab 8 Imaginary Creatures

Lab 19 Picasso Dogs

I can't wait to dive into Carla's new book.   I'll post some of the exercises when I'm done them.  If you want to check out Carla's work, go here .  Its worth a peek. 

And thank you Quinn for the book.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Mapping My Journey

There are so-o-o-o many great art blogs out there.  I've love exploring them.  One of my (many!) favorites is QuinnCreative  She talks about journalling, art, and everyday observations.  She's an amazing wordsmith who says she "lives her life in metaphors".  Ain't that cool?  Love it!

The other day in her post she suggested making journal pages with tea bags so I tried it out.
I turned mine into a map of my creative journey.  Take a look....

I used black tea and a bluebery one I think, plus some everyday table salt.  You can check out her post here  . © Quinn McDonald is an author, life- and creativity coach, and workshop leader. She is the author of Raw Art Journaling, published by North Light Books in 2011.

The day after I finished it, I realized that I hadn't named some of the islands.  But then it occurred to me that those might be the places I have yet to discover!  Could turn out to be the Isle of Joy or  Contentment Island or  The Rock of Totally Rockin' Art.   (I sorta hope it's the last one).  

My creative journey is exciting and scarey and amazing all at the same time,  and now I have a map to follow.  I'll keep you posted on my discoveries in this new land!

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Something I've Learned About Success

I LOVE art.  Actually, I LOVE anything creative.  It give me happy shivers up and down my spine when I witness a creation by someone else.  It doesn't matter if its a painting, a song, a greeting card, a poem, or graffetti on the side of a train. I experience it and I want to do the same thing.  Or something like it. Or something totally different but share in that creative process.  I want to be PART of it. 

The creative world has tugged at me since I was a child.  I loved drawing and glueing and coloring.  Somewhere along the way though, I let it fall to the side.  It became something I did when I had time, which in this day and age, is hard to find.  I put others things first, telling myself that art was not important, just a hobby when I had time.

Every once in a while, the need to make something would pull at me and I'd try something new.  One year it was quilting, another it was sketching.  I've tried writing, piano, scrapbooking, drawing, macramé necklaces, scrimshawing on found deer antlers for earrings, watercolor, acrylic, and the list goes on.  I loved it all but nothing kept me rolling with it.  Nothing told me that it was worth spending my time on.  Other things had to be more important, I told myself.  I thought it was because I hadn't found my passion yet; that one thing that would hold me so close that I couldn't live without doing it- the thing that would make me successful.

In the e-course I've been taking with Kelly Rae Roberts, I get to chat with and read stories from hundreds of other people at all different stages in their creative lives.  I am truly amazed and inspired by what I've learning from them.  What I get from Kelly Rae, and what I get from all these wonderful people is ...

Success is not in the sales, or the recognition, or the fancy awards, or the money or the number of tweets, hits or pageviews. It's not about how great you are.

Success is in the doing whether it be paintbrush to paper, words on the screen or stitches in fabric. It's in the sharing of ideas, hopes, dreams, laughter, problems, and connections with others.  It's in your growth as a human being- by facing fears, taking risks, learning from your mistakes.

Success is letting your soul sing to the world with your creations. It's looking inward to find you, and letting that you shine for all it's worth.

This is a sketch I did of my dog back in 2002.
This is the one that whispered,  "You may have something here.  Keep trying."
What I've learned?  It doesn't matter what I do.  All that matters is that I do it - with all my passion, committment and courage (thank you Kelly Rae).  Those last three words are the key for me.  These have been the missing ingrediants from my work.  I'm ready to put them in the mix!

This was not the post I set out to blog about today. You know what?  This not-knowing-how-things-will-turn-out-and-not-being-perfect is part of creativity.  A wonderful artist taught me that one day.  (Okay, I've learned it but I still need lots of practice!!)  Anyway, this is my post for today.  I guess I'll have to talk about the eggshells another time.

Thanks for tuning in.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Inspired by Art

Hi everybody! 

I've been playing around with the blog designs abit, trying to get used to all this stuff.  I'll probably change it up more than a few times.  Just like I used to rearrange my bedroom on a regular basis when I was younger.  The possibilities are endless...

So this past August my hubby and I were in Montréal visiting our daughter.  What an incredible city!  It was artsy everywhere I looked.  The buildings, the signs, the people.  Even the lamppost was wearing something creative!

One of our stops was at the Museum of Contemporary Art.  It was totally interesting--thought-provoking at times, and downright weird at others.  Sometimes I just didn't get it.  But I did see some pretty rad stuff.  One of the pieces I liked was a large work, about 5 feet by 3 feet and it was covered completely in orange one-inch or so circles.  I loved it.  So I made a card in the same style.

I used magazines to find the orange color, and made the circles with a one-inch circle punch. Glued with good ol' modge podge.

As soon as I started to glue, I wished that I could look at the piece again to see if he placed his circles rhythmically or randomly.  I started out very organized, then decided I liked the random glueing instead. Unfortunately by the time I figured it out, I didn't have much room to be random.  It turned out pretty good I thought. 

I learnt at art camp last summer that even if we use another artist's idea, we need to give credit.  My problem is I don't know the name of the artist who made my inspiration piece, so I hereby formally declare that my card is "after the artist who created the orange circle piece hanging in the Montréal Museum of Contemporary Art during the middle of August 2012".  Thank you for the inspiration.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Good-Bye Summer

Fall is here.  Much as I hate to say good-bye to the lazy, hot summer days, I do look forward to working at my art table again.  Seems it was always too nice to stay inside, so I didn't get much work done this summer.  A new-to-me kayak, walks with the dog, working in the garden, a bit of fishing -- all called me away after work and on the weekends.  I'm jazzed to get my art corner cleaned up bit (i.e. get rid of all the stuff that is NOT art!) then I'll post a picture of what it looks like.  It's not big, but it works for me.   I love these brown-eyed susy flowers.  Their brightness brought a smile to my face, even on a dull, grey afternoon.

Jumping In

Just like the title says, I'm jumping into the blogging world. I'm going to explore, create, and share.    It's scarey and exhilerating all at the same time.  What got me into this? It's been on my mind for a while, but the final push came from the Flying Lessons e-course by Kelly Rae Roberts that I started last Sunday.  My natural inclination is to wait until my ideas and blog space is perfectly set-up because the inner critic wants the control.  So I am stopping him cold in his tracks by jumping in without a solid plan.  I will learn along the way.  My palms - sweating; my heart - pounding; my soul - soaring. I've done it!