Stretching Creatively

I guess it’s been almost 20 years since I tried writing a poem longer than a Haiku.  For some reason, the words never seem to flow as easily as images in my visual art so when the opportunity to take a one-evening workshop on creative writing came up, I seized it.  While I could easily slide into a groove, producing a body of artwork that is distinctly mine & similar in style, I like to stretch creatively– pushing the boundaries of my imagination & ability, growing as an artist.

The writing activity that inspired me the most was one called “If I were…”  The facilitator finished the phrase with words such as “a piece of furniture”, “a sound”, a color”, “an animal”, ” a food”, & “a place in nature”.  We numbered a piece of paper from 1-16 & finished the phrases as quickly as possible so our subconscious could override our active, logical, over-analyzing minds.  From words including “rocking chair”, “purr”, “lapis blue”, “lynx”, “chocolate fondue” & “a bed of moss under a tree”, I shaped nonsensical sentences then turned those sentences into a poem.  Here’s the result of that exercise…

The Odalisque

Lynx languidly reclines on her mossy bed beneath the firs.

Holding court, she coyly swirls figure eights

in the melted chocolate with her lustrous tail.

“Infinity”, she purrs, “Infinity.”

 

 

Dainty paws pluck from her plate

fears carefully considered then…

Dunked in decadent darkness & swallowed with satisfaction.

Demurely dabbing at puddles of chocolate caught in the corners of her smile,

“Fearless”, she purrs, “Fearless.”

 

 

Lynx stretches luxuriously in lapis-tinted twilight.

Harpsichord hammers out a haunting refrain

as rocking chair sways in time.

“Sing your song”, she purrs, “Sing your song.”

 

 

Her seductive Siren call lures me into the fondue.

Like amoeba evolving from primordial ooze,

I emerge from my chocolate baptism,

enveloped in warmth, reborn & reminded,

“Simply be”, I purr, “Simply be.”

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Birthing My Self

Although I’ve chosen not to have children, I view a period of desired change & dramatic growth as a pregnancy of sorts.

In this metaphorical pregnancy, the intuitive self senses the stirring of a new idea, the need for a career change, or the desire to live somewhere else.  We prepare by doing all that’s in our power to make the transformation a positive experience, fear & doubt mixing with excitement.  We practically sizzle with anticipation.  As the desired change comes closer to becoming a reality, we feel an escalating impatience for the process to be over so we can settle into our new “normal”.  While labor can be induced, we recognize it’s better to let creative ideas, experiences, & relationships unfold naturally… at their own pace.  When the time is right, we’ll birth our authentic Selves & accept the changes with strength, confidence, & a positive outlook.

Waiting

WAITING

Ready

READY

Take a look at my Art Gallery page to see all my recent work. 

Check out the pieces for sale at www.etsy.com/shop/PureSusan

Love Is All You Need

“All you need is love, love.

Love is all you need”

The Beatles

Valentine’s Day can trigger a range of emotions from joy (if we are in a committed relationship with someone who remembers the holiday without being reminded) to disappointment (if our loved one forgets to buy us flowers or a card) to loneliness (if we don’t have a special someone in our lives at the moment).  I dare say we put too much emphasis on what other people say, do, & think.  We delude ourselves into believing that our measure of worth is determined by someone else but it’s not.  It’s truly not.

You are divine, uniquely you, & beyond compare.

What if you took part of tomorrow, a day that symbolizes LOVE, to love your Self no matter what a significant other, family member, or friend does or doesn’t do?  How liberating!  Your happiness won’t hinge on their actions or words!  Imagine that!!!  If you empower yourself with the ability to love, nourish, & nurture YOU, you’ll feel light & positive energy radiate from every pore. Its all connected– love, happiness, peace, acceptance, joy– and you can give those gifts to yourself by being your own best friend, your biggest advocate, & strongest supporter.

Have you heard the saying, “You can’t take care of anyone else until you take care of yourself.”?  The same is true of love.  You can’t truly love someone else until you learn to love your Self.  All of our other healthy relationships spring from our healthy relationship with our Selves.

There are many simple & inexpensive ways to show your Self love.  Answer this question truthfully, “What nourishes me, bringing me joy & a sense of peace?”  For me, it can be time on a nature trail, lounging in a hammock under the maple tree, reading a book as I float in my kayak, a patchouli-scented bubble bath, sketching with colored pencils, slowly sipping a chilled glass of Chardonnay, eating a spoonful of batter when I make my boyfriend brownies (hope he’s not reading this), or just meditating while my dogs snuggle against my legs.

Give yourself a Valentine by practicing Self love tomorrow, the next day, & the many days after that.  You deserve the best you can give you.  Happy Valentine’s Day!

Cobwebs in My Creative Space

I knew it had been a long time since I played in my creative space when I saw a big, silky cobweb connect the ceiling to the top of my art table.  How did this happen?  Creativity is a key component of my life yet I diminished its worth, letting anything & everything else get in the way.  Setting aside the things we love isn’t healthy so I took a couple of hours to clean my art space & reacquaint myself with the treasures waiting patiently on shelves, tucked into storage bins, & hidden behind cabinet doors.  This reawakened my creativity & inspired me to start a new project.  Gathering the paints & objects that “spoke to me”, I went upstairs & decided to transform an old table into something new.  First, I painted it a glossy red, then covered it with gypsy-inspired objects.

It’s important to reevaluate our priorities once in a while, making sure we allow space in our lives for who & what matters most.    To see Gypsy Table & other art work that I have for sale, please visit my shop at  www.etsy.com/shop/PureSusan.

Write- For the Spiritual Journey

At long last, the final collage of 12 for my series titled, “For The Spiritual Journey”.  Write represents our desire to put our spiritual beliefs into words. Closely connected to mediation & prayer, writing is the concrete act of expressing who we are in relation to the Divine.  It gives our beliefs substance & provides an opportunity to share with others if we so choose.

Write: An expression of what we value & believe

Writing takes many forms including sacred texts such as the Bible & the Koran, spiritual poetry, a sermon waiting to be shared with a congregation, a journal of private thoughts, a Lorica written & recited for protection in the Christian Monastic tradition, a Book of Shadows for recording spells & rituals in the Wiccan tradition.. the possibilities are endless!

I write because it helps me articulate my connection to the Divine in all its many forms & provides a starting point for conversations with others who wish to explore spiritual matters.  Writing can build community & aid in understanding if we write, & read with open minds & open hearts.

Here is the entire series of collages.  My own spiritual practice does not include all of these but I include them in my series for you to consider.  Namaste

MEDITATE

DANCE

SERVE

STORYTELLING

RITUAL

READ

DRUM

PRAY

CREATE

SING

VISUALIZE

Inspiration Everywhere

Though I had no time to create any new artwork of my own this past week, I took down the old & display the new inspirational objects that I’ve been collecting lately.  Like a little kid displaying their school work proudly on the refrigerator, I display items that inspire me in one way or another.

Postcards, magnets, & photos are displayed where I can see them every day. I soak up the inspiration.

Just about anything can stimulate my imagination.  The two large bulletin boards I have hanging in my studio hold items whose patterns, colors, & textures fill me with new ideas.  Look closely & see what kinds of items you can pick out.  Do you see the tiny piece of tracing paper in the shape of a leaf?  It has the words “I love you” written on it.  My niece left countless notes of “I love you” all over my house at the end of her last visit.  They gave me happy tears for days as I found her hidden messages (even in my clothes hamper!).  I highly recommend leaving love notes around the house for someone you care about.  What a wonderful feeling they bring!

Everything from handmade paper ribbon to a decorative paper plate can stimulate my imagination.

This board displays a variety of items including inspiring notes from friends who encourage my creativity.

If you’ve been keeping up with my post, by now you know that there is nothing more inspirational for me than nature.  However, I also find surprisingly stimulating objects just about anywhere I go.  Next time you shop at a store near you, approach it with a child’s eyes.  Look around with wonder at what is displayed.  Something is bound to give you that sparkly, shimmery “This makes me want to create something new” feeling.

Do you have a place to display items that motivate or inspire you?

I’m a Tree

I’m a tree when it comes to my art, rooted in the solid earth of knowledge & experience

while reaching my limbs to the sky for inspiration & a fresh outlook.

Although I have professional experience in such diverse areas such as screen printing, collage, glass engraving, & graphic design, I’m always willing to learn more about my craft.  I love what I do but I want to keep growing creatively.

Where can we go to grow?  Local colleges, art associations, & community centers offering adult ed classes are good places to start the search.  On-line workshops make it possible for us to study with artists from around the world.  Right now, I’m sitting on the East coast while studying with Alisa Burke, a West coast artist.  “The Art of Abstraction”, one of her on-line workshops, is giving me the opportunity to revisit some old skills in a brand new way.  Check out this class & all of her others by clicking here-  Alisa Burke workshops

This class is exactly what I need, a reminder to “PLAY” with color, line, & form.  Alisa doesn’t ask me to forget my BFA degree or years of experience; she asks me to let go of the rules & let my intuition take over.

What do you need for personal or artistic growth?  Whatever it is, I hope you find it, too.

Read- For the Spiritual Journey

I have loved reading ever since I could hold a book.  One unforgettable summer day when I was no more than 6 or 7, I relaxed in a lawn chair at my grandparents’ house & immersed myself in Grimms’ Fairy Tales, the first book that I read cover to cover in one sitting!  I recall my grandmother bringing a sandwich & chips on a paper plate so I could eat & continue reading at the same time.  She wisely fed two hungers at once.

In college, I had an English Lit professor who introduced me to great literature & also explained the concept of banned books.  What?!  I couldn’t imagine such a thing was (and frightfully still is) true.  People have tried to suppress ideas that they don’t agree with for ages.  Race, gender, sexual preference, religion, & cultural differences are used to justify discrimination by narrow-minded people acting out of fear & ignorance.  The good news is that while they seem to “win” in the short-term by banning or even burning books, wisdom, love, understanding, & tolerance ultimately win in the long-term.

Reading opens the heart & the mind

My collage, Read, shows a very tranquil person studying a text.  We don’t know who this is or what is being read.  It doesn’t matter.  The point is the subject is reading… immersing in ideas that may or may not agree with firmly-held beliefs, stretching & growing as an individual.

Each book I read takes me to a faraway place, teaches me something I don’t know, or opens my mind to opinions other than my own.  Reading is the key that not only opens doors but can blow them right off their hinges.  By reading, we may find that we have more similarities binding us together than we thought.

Deep gratitude to my grandparents & others for exposing me to great world literature, allowing my imagination to take wing, & introducing ideas that have shaped my life.

 

So Much Art, So Little Time

I’ve had my share of periods notoriously known as “Artist’s Block”, very similar to what writers experience when the desire is there but the ideas are not.  It happens to all creative people sooner or later.  I’m not exactly sure what cleared my block but I do know that meditating, walking in nature, going on field trips to fun places, & surrounding myself with positive people contributed to the shift inside of me.

I now have the opposite problem, a wonderful, energy-charged problem– too many ideas & too little time.  Please don’t misunderstand, I’m not complaining.  Far from it!  I’m humble & grateful for this flow of inspiration that has sprinkled my studio with canvases, blocks of wood, & art journals in various stages of completion.  What’s an artist to do?!  You might say, “Finish them, Silly!”   And I will.  But right now, I feel like a child with too many toys on Christmas morning.  What do I play with first?

See my dilemma?

I'm loving this art journal spread!

Love the background but have no idea what it will be.

 

 

Soul Wish: Discover Your Heart’s Desire

Have you ever felt like you need to regain your sense of direction?  Maybe after ending a relationship, finding yourself in a professional “rut”, or realizing your spiritual path needs a bit of illumination?  I created a workshop for people who know themselves intellectually, but may need a little help getting in touch with their heart again.    I ask participants to turn down the volume in their brains so the voice in their heart can be heard more clearly.  Then, we set to work.

1.  Consider your purpose in creating a Soul Wish collage.  What do you want to know about yourself?  2.  Go through a pile of magazines quickly, allowing your intuition to select what images & words speak to you.  Don’t analyze; just CUT!  3.  Arrange the images on poster paper.   4.  Glue them down in a way that feels right to you.  Keep in mind that a lot of space or no space between images can tell you something about yourself, too.  5.  Hang the board somewhere private but where you see it often.  6.  Lovingly listen to your Self.  Journal or meditate on your Soul Wish collage.  Even as you journal, allow thoughts & feelings to flow through you without your brain editing, analyzing, or criticizing.  The collage will speak to you; listen.

Keep in mind, you can repeat this activity any time you feel your life is going through a major shift or any time you need to get in touch with the real you.

An example of a Soul Wish collage. You can see common elements.

A strong desire for the simple things in life.

Longing for love & laughter.

The Soul Wish collage I created during my second workshop.

An exciting time of growth & possibilities.

Dreaming is the only way to make your dreams come true.