How to Make Art Fun

2013_sketchbook_project_coverHappy Creative New Year everyone!

Well folks, I just finished my 2013 sketchbook for The Sketchbook Project. The deadline is 1/15/13 and I am way ahead of schedule. Art House Coop started this really cool project – “Together, thousands of creative people from around the world are forming a traveling library of artists’ books.” I participated last year and wrote about that experience in the Fairfield Writers Blog.

I love combining words and pictures. This year I used watercolor paintings juxtaposed with memoir in-the-moment-of-life writing. I had great fun making my book. Being a professional artist for so many decades has taught me a lot. Most importantly, enjoying myself is my barometer for making art. If it ain’t fun, I don’t do it. Listed below are hints for having fun with art (kind of like makin’ whoppee with life). Over the next several months I’ll write longer blogs about each one in more detail.

Adair’s List for Making Art Fun:
1. Keep it simple.
2. Use what you have on hand.
3. Don’t re-invent the wheel.
4. Lighten up.
5. Delete your inner critique (and delete again and again as needed).
6. Be playful.
7. Listen to your inner voice.
8. Allow for happy accidents.
9. Stop when done.

Creativity and wellness message for today: Ring in the new year with joyful artistic creations!

Staying Grounded Through Life’s Beginnings and Endings

This is a time of beginnings and endings. Are you feeling it? Big changes are happening. The planets and stars are lined up for seismic shifts. No one and nothing appears to be exempt.

Everyday there is a new change — personally, professionally, or with my loved ones. No organization or group is above the cataclysmic divides. There seems to be a gigantic cosmic eraser that is wiping out the old and making way for the new.

Henceforth, my mantra this summer is “Quiet Curiosity.” I’m curious where all these changes will lead. I’m hopeful, and to stay grounded I’m appreciating beauty where I find it. The photo of the blue hydrangea that you see here, I took it while I was on a 15 minute break from work yesterday.

Since I won’t be going away on an exotic long vacation this summer, I’m keeping a photographic sketchbook of “Pockets of Vacation-land.” Bits and pieces, trinkets and gems from my daily travels. A reminder that you really can find peace in your own backyard.

Creativity and wellness message for today: Be open to finding beauty when it presents itself to you.

Starting Where You Are

Spring is a time of change. Winter’s dreary dormancy gives way to daffodils delightfully swaying in bloom. Walking down a country road I realize that I can’t walk the same path twice. The smells, sights, sounds, all change at any given moment. The Greek philosopher, Heraclitus of Ephesus, said “You can never step into the same river; for new waters are always flowing on to you.” I remember a similar saying as an Alice Walker quote, “You can’t step in the same river twice.”

I’ve been stuck in a current situation of change and keep on trying to solve it by going back to old solutions. I haven’t been moving off square one. Then I realized on my walk that I need to invent a new set of solutions to the same challenge. I’m now inspired to think outside the box and create choices for myself that are fresh and untried.

Creativity and wellness message for today: Let the new waters that are flowing over you, steer you in the right direction.

Finding Beauty

Today is the Summer Solstice and I’m gearing up for my summer schedule. My work and personal responsibilities increase during the hot, languid days so I’m learning how to balance it all season by season.

This Spring, for a variety of reasons, most of our lush yard got out of hand. We currently can’t keep up with it! My summer mantra is “Finding Beauty.” I’m going to see the orange tiger lily and not the weeds. I’m going to write and not prune.

I’m giving myself permission to not have the prettiest yard on the street. I want to have fun this summer, spend happy times with my family and friends, and not spend all my spare time completing chores on our property.

After Labor Day I’ll let you know how I did. As usual I take a break from writing this Creativity and Wellness blog over the summer. If you want to stay in touch, come to my writing seminar Create a Writer’s Platform at the Darien Library on August 9. Or read my posts about writing and creating a writer’s website on the Fairfield Writer’s Blog. Or chill out, sip a cool libation and wiggle your toes in soothing water. Until September, enjoy your times of warmth and relaxation.

Creativity and wellness message for today: Choose the fullness of beauty.

Poetry in Motion

It doesn’t have to be

the blue iris, it could be

weeds in a vacant lot, or a few

small stones; just

pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don’t try

to make them elaborate, this isn’t

a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which

another voice may speak.

~ Mary Oliver

Creativity and wellness message for today: Be open to silence.

Be Ready for Surprises

I spent Saturday with my 89-year-old mom celebrating her birthday. At a local flower show we saw competitions for complex garden/art related theme exhibits and witnessed the Best in Show simple floral blossoms in minimalistic containers. My mom introduced me to several of her friends, we watched bees working in their hive, and enjoyed the day. Before leaving to bring her back to her apartment I stopped in the Women’s room. What greeted me was a most unexpected surprise.

A glass vase full of calla lilies sat poised on a countertop in front of a mirror, next to a dramatic frosted window. For me, this was the best display of the entire flower show! Taking out my new smartphone (a Mother’s Day gift from my sweet husband) I quickly snapped this picture. It’s a beauty I must say.

Creativity and wellness message for today: Be prepared, use your artistic eye to spot creative expression wherever it pops up.

P.S. I’m in the process of changing my website and this blog’s layout will change with it. I’m excited about the upcoming new way of communicating with you. Stay tuned!

Dance as if No One is Watching

Many Easters ago, my Springtime ritual was to arrive at a secluded beach alone, before sunrise, and dance my heart out. The corners of my lips still curl up as I remember those times of freedom and abandon. Now, being older, sometimes wiser, and definitely with less available time to myself, I gain inspiration from the anonymous quote, “Dance as if No One is Watching.”

Even if I am in a crowd of people, or busy with a very public job, I can imagine my bare toes in the wet sand, my fluid body twisting and swaying as the scents of sea and salt fill my pores.

Creativity and wellness message for today: Dance on, no matter what.

The Happiness Factor

Recently I lost a contest. Mind you, I’ve been submitting to contests for years. You’d think I had thick skin by now. However, I am human. Rejection still stings. By not placing in the afore-mentioned writing competition I felt a few moments of woe, but soon realized how generally happy I am writing. I wrote about the aftermath of rejection in the Fairfield Writer’s Blog but I’d like to put a different spin on it here.

When I think of tending a flower or vegetable garden my heart expands. I connect to Nature. The natural world is full of promise and patience. Seeds hidden under the soil sprout. Food for the family table is plucked at perfect ripeness to be enjoyed by all. My writing is like this. The act of writing, the art of writing, and the publishing of writing make me happy. Just like a farmer who wins a prize at a state fair for their robust chile peppers, I’m happy to be a writer and happy to write.

Creativity and wellness message for today: Take pleasure in what makes you happy, even if the world does not give you a prize for it.