Sunday, June 30, 2013

Creating Challenge Day 181--Learning

I just signed up for this art journaling class by Junelle Jacobsen called Wildflowers!!! Can't wait to dive into the videos, art journal pages, paints, decoupage, and mess!

Creating Challenge Days 176-180--Haikus

Day 176:
I'm feeling behind
On my Creating Challenge,
So I'm catching up.

Day 177:
Not really caught up.
Busyness sneaks up on me.
It happens. Oh well.

Day 178:
What? Another day?
I miss my paints and sketches.
When will I be done?

Day 179:
Creating happens
In ways I can't count sometimes.
I can accept this.

Day 180:
Now I'm catching up.
People think I've been cheating?
I am. Deal with it.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Creating Challenge Day 175--Collecting for Collages

After completing a big project (see my Creating Challenge Day 172 blog post!), I find I need time to rejuvenate before diving into another one. It's a perfect opportunity to clear out some magazines, so today I cut out words and images that resonated with me and dumped the remains into the recycling bin.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Creating Challenge Day 174--Writing Music!

Who knew this would pop out when I began this Creating Challenge? Today, while dinking around on my piano, a little melody began dancing its way across the keys. I recorded it so I'll remember it. We'll see what happens to this little baby...

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Creating Challenge Day 173--Preparing

Today I covered some burnt-out lightbulbs with paperclay. I also created wire hooks to place in the top. I've seen these decorated and used as Christmas ornaments. I plan to play around with them and see what emerges.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Creating Challenge Day 172--The Benefits of Creating for the Gifted Adult

I am pleased to blog for this year's New Zealand Gifted Awareness Week (#NZGAW) Blog Tour. What follows is my own post. If you're interested in following the entire blog tour, please click here. Thanks to Mary St. George, gifted educator extraordinaire, for inviting me to participate!
I created this ZIA (Zentangle® Inspired Art) using black pen and Derwent Inktense Pencils.
One hundred seventy-two days ago I embarked on a 365-day Creating
Challenge. I declared that in 2013 I would create something each day. It could be big or small. It could take ten minutes or two hours. It could involve learning or producing. I really didn't care. I simply wanted to challenge myself to develop my artistic acumen.

One hundred seventy-two days into this adventure, I have indeed stretched and grown. I've tapped back into long neglected skills in music and writing. I've played with improv. I've put on the identity of artist, wearing its paint- and ink-splotched smock with honor and humility. I've learned about shading and shadowing, colors and mixing them, two-point perspective, figure drawing, origami, digital creating, and much, much more. But most of all, I've learned to let go and set my brilliance free.

I photographed this rose using my Fujifilm FinePix S2000HD camera. Then I pulled the image into my iPad picfx app and applied various filters such as Bokeh 6 and Canvas. Finally, I pulled the entire file into the Over app to add the text. (Over is Starbucks' current freebie app. I must admit, however, that I was suckered into paying for in-app fancier fonts--but it's for the sake of art, so who can complain?) 

Mary St. George, my friend who has witnessed both my creating challenge and my passion for gifted adults, invited me to "write an illustrated little something about the benefit to gifted adults in dabbling in the arts." The topic went to my core, and I appreciated the opportunity to ponder the benefits of dabbling in the arts. Though I've experienced them, I've not thought about them...until now.

I must admit that in typical gifted adult fashion, I went all intellectual on the topic. I pondered the various characteristics of gifted adults and how the arts tap into each of them. I reviewed Dabrowski's overexcitabilities and mused on how artistic expression addresses at least four of the five (Sensual, Psychomotor, Imaginational, Emotional) and at times the fifth (Intellectual). I mindmapped the whole thing. It was going to be a brilliant blog post.

Instead, you get this one. As I attempted to write that brilliant blog post, I sucked all of the life out of the topic. It came from my head not my heart. And while we gifted adults have agile minds, I find for myself that life comes from the heart. As well, the heart births art. When I looked there, the blog post began to write itself. And perhaps that's a lesson for us all: first tap into our hearts for the passion then allow our minds to serve that vision.

I created this image on my iPad using the Paper by FiftyThree app and a Bamboo stylus. Paper by FiftyThree is sheer fun, and I highly recommend it! And if you're going to do art on the iPad, you must possess a stylus. So, obtain one. Now.

What benefits do I derive from dabbling in art, writing, music, and other creative outlets? Here is an incomplete list:
  • I have fun. I tap into the natural childlikeness that we gifted adults possess in spades. I feel four years old again as I use my hands to smear gesso onto a canvas and paint acrylics over it. I like making messes that may result in nothing. I lose myself in process, and time flies. 
  • I allow my right brain to rule. My left brain can be very bossy. Remember a few paragraphs ago how it attempted to commandeer this blog post? Well, art puts my right brain in control. Art gives me the opportunity to bypass my thought processes and let something else emerge, something I cannot always articulate in words.
  • Conversely, I allow my left brain to rest. Everyone needs a break at times, and that includes my left brain. Sometimes I simply need to get away from analysis, scheduling, organizing (actually, I escape from that last one quite often). Writing a whimsical poem or noodling on the piano can give me that release. Then when I return to left-brain tasks, I have more energy.
  • I deepen trust in my intuition. I need not develop any reasons for squirting spray ink onto a canvas other than to believe an ink splotch belongs there. (Sorry, Rorschach.) Instead, I can spray to my heart's content and see what develops. From there, I can take another risk led by my gut. So far, nothing catastrophic has happened as a result of anything I've painted, written, or played on an instrument. That's good odds.
  • This leads to my next benefit: I eschew perfectionism. Rights or wrongs don't exist in art. Yes, some "rules" exist, but the creative always knows that rules can be broken. Beckon to be broken. "Out of the box" is nothing compared to where art can take us. Pursuing perfection in art, therefore, is really battling windmills. Instead, we journey to strange lands of our own imagining. Perfection doesn't exists. It's too small a notion in these parts.
I began this painting with the goal of sharing it in this blog post. However, it is still a work in progress. It's a 16-by-20-inch canvas smeared with gesso then covered with acrylic paint, spray ink, and modeling paste. This is as far as I got before needing to publish my blog post. As it stands now, it represents the idea that we can be in process with our artwork as long as we need.

  • I always have something to learn. Boredom, the curse of many a gifted person, is, like perfection, non-existent in the arts world. I can always go broader or deeper. Or broader and deeper. I can dip my piano-playing fingers into a new style, or I can find more difficult pieces in a style I've already discovered. This benefit of arts keeps me interested and on my toes.
  • I can express my creativity and individuality. I've spent much of my life trying to fit into the boxes other people tried to stuff me into. Even at times in creating art, I've tried to meet people's expectations. But now, I no longer allow those restrictions. And art gives me ample opportunities to be myself and express what's in my heart.
  • I can offer beauty to the world. We gifted people have a strong sense of justice and morality, and that can sometimes overwhelm us. When I am creating, I feel I can both give myself a vacation from those intense thoughts while at the same time battling their sources. I truly believe that creating is the force that conquers the destruction we witness and experience in this world.
The above is a short list of benefits to the gifted adult who dabbles in the arts. I know many more exist. Perhaps you're a creative who has something to add to the conversation. Please do!

And if this article has prompted you to begin your own creativity practice, welcome to a life of wonder, energy, and fun! If I can at all support you, please let me know. I encourage you to start today. Find a ten-minute window of time to sketch a doodle or write a haiku. The benefits are immediate and waiting for you to claim them.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Creating Challenge Days 167-171--Creating in Preparation for Something Bigger

For the past number of days I've worked on my blog post for the New Zealand Gifted Awareness Week Blog Tour (#NZGAW). I've brainstormed the text and created images to illustrate the post. Check out Creating Challenge Day 171 for the published post!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Creating Challenge Day 166--Making Art Journals

I have an idea for two new art journals. They are for my kids, so how fitting is it to use some of their cast-off books for these art journals? I'm using a process I outlined in this previous blog post. It involves tearing out pages, a good tension release activity!

The process also involves smearing the remaining pages with gesso, and if you've been following me for long, you know I enjoy this immensely. I feel as if I'm back in preschool, fingerpainting to my heart's content!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Creating Challenge Day 165--Sidewalk Chalk Drawing

Today, a beautiful summer break day, my daughter and I broke out the sidewalk chalk.

Why not even try tangling in the medium?

Creating Challenge Day 164--Letter Writing

This summer I'm finding myself writing more handwritten letters than I've written in a long time. I find it refreshing to slow down, pull out pretty paper, and scrawl words across the page using my favorite pen. These days, in the world of instant communication, I do believe writing letters is a creative art.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Creating Challenge Days 162 & 163--Gathering, Brainstorming, Percolating

I have a newly gessoed, blank, 16-inch by 20-inch canvas sitting in my art room, and it begs for adornment. I've stared at it for a few days now, and have decided to pursue inspiration. I've culled through papers and cut-out magazine pieces. I've sketched. Here are some results of my play:

As well, I continue to brainstorm for a blog post I've committed to write, musing and mind mapping.

I realized I was not giving myself credit for creating while involved in these pursuits. Sometimes I forget that creating isn't just product. It's process. And sometimes--maybe even most times--process is the best part!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Creating Challenge Day 161--Mind Mapping

I'm creating a mind map for a blog post I'll write soon. I'm using the Mindjet Maps app, and enjoying brainstorming this way. Here's an example I quickly developed to show you what it looks like:

Friday, June 7, 2013

Creating Challenge Day 158--Ten-Minute Sketch

Can you guess where I was today?

Creating Challenge Day 157--Ten-Minute Sketches

Took myself on an Artist Date to the local free concert in the park and drew a few ten-minute sketches. These are really different for me. I tend not to draw big scenes, favoring close-ups of smaller objects, so I wanted to challenge myself.

Creating Challenge Day 156--Garden Doodle 2

I'm having fun creating these Garden Doodles with Paper by FiftyThree!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Creating Challenge Day 155--Garden Doodle

As I mentioned the other day, the Sketchbook Challenge for June is Garden Doodles. Here's mine, which I created on my iPad using the Paper by FiftyThree app. I must thank Sue B for the inspiration to use this tool for the challenge!

Creating Challenge Day 154--Guitar!

I'm finally learning to play guitar! After decades of owning one, trying to teach myself, trying to cajole someone into teaching me, I finally am learning! A friend began teaching me, and I am so excited!

Creating Challenge Day 153--Sketchbook Challenge

This month's Sketchbook Challenge theme is Garden Doodles. I'm excited about this theme as it brings playfulness into sketching. My inspiration has come and gone over the past month, but who can't create a quick, simple doodle?

With that in mind, during my walk today I took quick snapshots of garden scenes I might doodle in the near future.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Creating Challenge Day 152--Art Journal Page

Today I completed an art journal page I've been assembling over the past month.

My son recently got his driver's license, and I've seen this scene in real life a few times now!
You can see my process of building this page by looking at past blog entries (here and here and here). I've written some personal journaling on this page too (not shown). What a fulfilling and satisfying way to process a huge change in my life!