Creative Whirl

Creativity is always at the forefront of my mind. I think we all have more creativity at play than we realize. I find myself at the beach watching my husband and daughter get lost in the thrill of agate hunting, so I have found myself yearning to seek something else to do on the sandy, beach landscape. It first began with looking for heart shaped rocks, which then led to making rock towers and now I make cairns (The name originates from a Gaelic term that means “heap of stones.” It was likely first coined by Scots who used them to mark trails across grass-covered, hilly landscapes. In the Andes Mountains and Mongolia, rock cairns were used to mark routes to safety, to food, and to villages–zionpark.com) It is a simple exercise in patience, but also simple beauty.

Stacked rocks that seem to balance with a gentle touch. Who knew It could be so addictive. It is a game that my creativity likes to challenge. My mind whirls in movement as it seeks different colors, shapes, textures to build the ideal stack. It made me think of nature artists and artists who seem to have such natural flow in the land of art. I have sinced googled artists to find people like Andy Goldsworthy who seems to create such imagined art out of nature. His works are unique, sometimes seemingly unimageinable in the way he stacks, teeters, twists and constructs materials together to make such incredible beauty. [look him up—worth the visit–couple of his below]

I am always drawn to art, especially the artists who seem to have such depths that seem endless. So, needless to say, while flipping through Netflix, I came across the documentary called Sky Ladder, the Art of Cai Guo-Giang. His name was not a familiar one to me, but when I saw some of his art, I recognized it. He has so many incredible mediums and depths that his imagination whirls in, but my favorites were definitely what he is able to do with biodegradable gun powder to make such incredible stories and beautiful landscapes across a sky. It was like a chalk fest on another level, with depth and creativity I had never seen. It lit me up with imagination and wonder. I wanted to run out and buy a canvas and throw colorful chalk to experience a similar explosion of color. It was incredible.

Then the story began to talk about one of his personal quests, a project that seemed to propel him to another level of creativity and imagination. After multiple attempts and having various issues stop the plans in the making, the Sky Ladder seemed to become a personal mission, a larger limit, a project that many felt was unachievable and had many nay-sayers, but to him pushed him and the project into existence. It was a wonderful journey and story of how dreams, projects, art, inspiration and imagination can guide, push, propel us to new heights, fresh ideas, to see things from different lenses and to believe that anything is possible—if we simply believe.

It is amazing to me that such a story can touch another on such a level. I came away from that documentary ready to create—even on a small scale. To see someone so passionate, so driven to see his dream become a reality, was awe inspiring.

It took me back to a couple of years ago when I was inspired to create a lantern walk in my little community. I bought hundreds of lanterns and hung them on a path in a nearby forest. I created hearts out of light ropes, hung numerous lanterns of variety from trees, made luminary paths, and lit up a small park for the greater good. It all ended at a giant “LOVE” sign that was four feet tall to take pictures with friends and family. It was a lovely event that had probably about one hundred friends and neighbors in attendance, but the night seemed to have magic and wonder for all who experienced it. It was imagined, created for a larger purpose, inspired to bring connection, love and light to a community and the artist within me seemed to sing with ideas for months. It was a culmination of a creative whirl!

I am going to get all my lanterns and come up with another creative culmination that will spark a little more light and love on another scale in another community. Thanks Cai. You have inspired!!

FOR PERSONAL INSPIRATION: Watch the Netflix documentary or read this article and video about Cai https://www.sixthtone.com/news/1002725/the-man-who-played-with-fire-

Go into your yard or outdoor space and find some medium to be creative with. Maybe start with a rock pile, leaves, twigs, chalk, water, bubbles, sand, anything you feel drawn to. Take some pics of your creativity.

Look up creative artists–whether they are caligraphy masters, nature artists, watercolor, musicians, photographers, painters, people who work with resin, natural materials like shells, etc. Find pieces that you are in awe of.

May you find something today that ignites a spark of something greater within you today.

-Peace, love and light to you. -H

PLAY!!

Image

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain                                                       an artist once he grows up.  -Pablo Picasso

Last night I spent a couple hours doodling with my daughter and two of her cousins. It was so fun to see the creativity, the spark of creation, the lines that whirled & then created the outline of a lion, a dolphin, a girls curly locks of hair. It always surprises me to see how in tune children are with diving deep within to find their belief in their own creative abilities.

First there were words of self-criticism, words of personal imperfection & disbelief in their ability. Then the drawing began. It turned into a chain of confidence boosters as one finished a small, doodled whale, then another was sparked into making a self-portrait…the chain continued on as they each complimented and cheered one another on in their pursuit of creation. It was neat to see the transformation within each little ten-year old girl. We doodled, colored, grabbed stuffed animals as inspiration for shapes and design & played for hours. It was so fun!! But the best thing of all…just letting myself play, to doodle like a little girl, to be part of the sisterhood of creativity & cheer each other on in the creative, play process.

So, today, I am going to give you (adults who have children within) some links to find play tools for your personal delight and creative possibilities.  Take some time over the next couple of weeks & just set aside some time to PLAY!! Pick a mandala to color, doodle, pull out some chalk & create on your driveway, listen to the Ted talk about the importance of play in creativity, sketch, whirl with markers, create a art journal, etc. Here are some ideas and links to fulfill this little request. Enjoy!

ImageFINDING CREATIVITY. IMAGINATION. the CHILD WITHIN

Creativity in business: Ted talk by Tim Brown: Tales of Creativity and Play Tim talks about the powerful relationship between creative thinking and play–with many examples you can try at home     www.ted.com/talks/tim_brown_on_creativity_and_play.html

Blog: http://playaboutit.wordpress.com/ Reflections on adult play in modern society

Color Mandala’s: Mandala’s are amazing symmetrical designs that are fun to color. Print one off and just fill in the swirls and patterns. It is very calming for the mind. Here is a great link for a variety of mandalas–http://www.colormandala.com/

Doodle & Drawing Ideas: link to Pinterest ideas   http://pinterest.com/majekmom/doodles-drawing-ideas/

List of 40 impressive doodle artists for your inspiration: http://www.creativebloq.com/illustration/doodle-art-912775

Create an art journal:  http://www.createmixedmedia.com/make/journaling/journal-doodling

Well, I hope these ideas get your creativity going. Take some time to let the child within come out and PLAY!! Have a MARVELOUS, fun-filled day!! My BEST to YOU.  -Heather

Get Creative!

628383_15013214The art of a people is a true mirror of their minds. -Jawaharlal Nehru

Art is a collaboration between God and the artist, and the less the artist does the better.

-Andre Gide

I thought since I was talking about creativity & making vision boards that I should add some additional tips and tricks to get you moving in a NEW direction. There is a lot to be said about the creativity of the soul…

Here are some suggestions taken from an article 21 Ways to Be More Creative

by Christine Kane and some other good stuff by me!!

1 – Stop watching television

Or better yet, get rid of the damn thing. Any time I teach writing or creativity, this is one of the biggies. TV is a mind-killer. It numbs you. It fills you with emotionally-charged images and over-simplified solutions. It dulls you. Turn it off. Even if this idea scares you, turn it off.

2 – Take a 20-minute walk everyday

It’s easy to become driven about exercise. You go to the Y. You go running. You think that a 20-minute walk isn’t productive or worth much. Take a 20-minute walk and allow the world to just be. Watch things. Stop and smell things. Notice birds. Let the world unfold and show itself to you.

3 – Write with pen & paper (or pencil and paper)

Keep a journal. Do morning pages. Write in long-hand. Typing on a keypad into a computer doesn’t always open up that tactile sense-loving part of us that loves to create.

4 – Write songs to your pets

5 – Dance around the House

Put on old disco (Earth, Wind, and Fire, baby!), or new Madonna, or swing. Put it on loud. Dance

around your house while you make dinner. Or start the day shakin’ your groove thang.

6 – Walk in the rain

I haven’t owned an umbrella in about 10 years. I love the rain. I love walking in it. I wrote the song Everything Green after I hiked in the mountains in the pouring rain. I was journaling about how alive everything was, and I wrote “It was all just rain and mud and wild and green.” That’s how I got my CD title. Walking in the rain can be a happy thing. (Use an umbrella if you want. Rain on umbrellas makes a good sound.)

7 – Make a collage

Magazines. Some Yes Paste. A scrapbook page and lots of crayons and paints and stickers. (And thou.) This isn’t a vision board. It doesn’t have a purpose. It’s just for fun and beauty and making something. I love collaging. I’m not great at it. But I’ve gotten better and better at laying out the page and learning what colors and shapes I love. I always feel more alive when I do one.

8 – Make a list of things you love

My song Loving Hands (on my first CD) was born out of a journal exercise I did where I just wrote a long list of all the things I love. That song remains one of my most requested songs. I had so much fun thinking of things that delight me in the world. Finding feathers, finding pennies, the sound of big flags flapping in the wind, the smell of my cat’s fur when she’s been out in the snow (she smells like a big box of wool mittens). I remember reading it to a friend of mine who just sat there smiling and nodding his head. Even though this was years ago, I still remember how much fun I had making that list.

9 – Write 10 postcards

Go pick out some really cool postcards, and then go to a cafe somewhere, and order your Genmaicha Tea (Okay, get yourself a Latte if you want) and write postcards to friends and family.

10 – Get up early and watch the sun rise

11 – Listen to music you’ve never listened to before.

After I saw the movie Tortilla Soup, I downloaded a bunch of Latin music from iTunes. One of my favorite nights in my memory this year was a hot rainy night thick with humidity. My husband and I opened up all the windows and doors. We pressure cooked (I love our pressure cooker) some black beans, shared a froo-froo mixed drink and made a fantastic dinner while all of my new Latin and Tejano music was cranked up. It was one of those really happy nights, partly because I loved discovering new music.

12 – Eat with your hands

Be a kid again. Make a meal and put the silverware back into the drawers. Eat with your hands. Have some friends over for a silverwareless dinner.

13 – Be quiet

Light a few candles after dark and just sit. Don’t meditate if you don’t want to. Just sit quietly and listen. Watch the candles. Allow for more silence in your life.

We are a noisy people. I hear people say they can’t stand silence. But it is in silence where we can hear the voice of our creativity. Maybe not at first. But it will come.

Drive with no music on. Make dinner in silence. Pay attention to your hands as you slice the veggies. Just be quiet.

14 – Take a nap

15 – Take photos. Real photos. Not digital photos.

My favorite camera is a Pentax K1000. It’s completely manual, and it’s how I learned to take pictures. I’m not very good. When I first moved to Asheville, I used to walk around town on Sundays (the whole town was closed up then) and take pictures of all the buildings. These photos are now a treasure to me because nothing is the same anymore. (Every building has been bought, remodeled and now is filled with stores that sell trickly fountains, Buddahs, and things that smell grassy.)

Take pictures of anything. And have fun in the old method of actually getting your film developed and the excitement of flipping through photos you haven’t seen yet.

16 – Make an event out of watching the full moon come up

One of the things I love about my husband is that he’s always looking for the perfect place to watch the full moon come up. He’ll make an event out of it. We pile in the car and go to this one field or to a bench on the college campus and sit and watch the moon rise.

17 – Read poetry aloud

Poetry is meant to be read aloud. The words and phrases will tilt your brain and open doors like you never thought they would. My favorites: Mary Oliver, e.e. cummings, Rumi, Pablo Neruda, Sharon Olds, Barbara Brooks, and Alicia Suskin Ostriker. There are lots of collections of poetry if you don’t want to pick just one.

18 – Go see a play or live music or live anything

Get out of the house and experience creativity. Avoid mega-blockbuster-Hollywood movies whose trailers begin with the deep gravelly voice saying, “IN A WORLD_” (And then bombs go off and Mel Gibson appears)

Live performance is an exchange. As an audience member you get to participate. I know this because I perform. Every night is different. Everything is about the audience. You receive so much more energy from live shows. Go see the symphony, even the small local symphony. See a play. See some improv. There is so much life on a stage, so many improvisational moments, so much about authenticity. You can’t help but take it in.

19 – Visit a gallery

See another artist’s creation. The downtown of any city is bound to have some great galleries. You don’t have to buy anything. Just experience the artistry of someone gifted in glass blowing or pottery or woodwork.

20 – Write a letter

When was the last time you wrote a letter? I just got a long letter from one of the women who participated in my last retreat. It was funny. And it was fun to read. And I kept thinking, “Damn. It’s been too long since I’ve experienced this.” Every time I write a letter, I feel clearer and happier. Not only is it more fun to make something for someone else, it’s also just a way to get out of yourself.

21 – Stop watching television

This is an important one. It bears repeating. There are so many better things you can do than watch American Idol

I hope during this time of reflecting on a new year that you will take the time to create, to go within to understand yourself better and know that divine gifts lie within.
Best wishes for a creative January.
-Heather