My Blog 2012 in Review

Thank you to all my 2,300 readers and 494 followers!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,300 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 4 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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!

Creativity, Voting and Independence

My dad came with me when I registered to vote. I was a bright-eyed, rebellious young artist and he was a smart, rebellious seasoned man of the cloth. Of course I wanted to register as an Independent. Even though I was trained in the schools of good Southern manners, and minister’s daughter polite protocol, my thoughts and actions didn’t always follow the mainstream.

I was all set to register, when my dad uttered one simple statement. “It’s okay if you register as an Independent, but just remember, if you do, you won’t be able to vote in any of the primaries.” In that moment I realized a bigger picture of politics and being eligible to choose the candidate of my choice for the President of the United States. That privilege didn’t just come once every four years, it was an ongoing commitment.

Every time I vote I think of my dad and wish he was still here, so we could talk politics. He and I used to talk art too, as we explored the world’s museums. This brings me to the creative part of this blog. Anyone can be inspired to do something, but it takes an independent spirit to have sustained courage to put it out there for the world to see or hear or read.

Artists and choreographers, musicians and writers put their thoughts and feelings into something concrete, and share it. Politicians endeavor to do the same. They don’t use pigments or prose or pianos. They attempt to communicate their visions and to show us in their actions, their ideas for a better future for our country.

Creativity and wellness message: Vote from the inner gallery of your own conscience.

Centering Stones

When I was younger, single, and in college I read a lot of Anais Nin books. She spoke to the artist, the rebel, and the feminist in me. Now years later, I came upon this quote that sums up the delicate balance that I continue to live daily. I bet many of you do too.

“Our culture made a virtue of living only as extroverts. We discouraged the inner journey, the quest for a center. So we lost our center and have to find it again.”
~ Anais Nin

Creativity and wellness message for today: Claim your balance, discover if you really are an introvert, an extrovert, or an ambivert (both). Then actively seek ways to find your center. When you do, the world will follow.

A Song of an Artist’s Soul

Yesterday I was talking with a neighbor when tears briefly welled up in my eyes. We were talking about art and design. I felt sad that I wasn’t spending enough time for my artist’s soul. I realized I’m longing to put pen to paper in textured, tactile ways. Daily, I’m writing and designing, but it’s all online. I’m not feeling the tug and pull of a wet paint brush. I miss the salty smell of red carmine and the sulphur overtones of vermillion.

Being a fine artist is all about the touch, smell, sight and sound of making art, not just the end product. It’s about getting messy and making happy mistakes. It’s about hearing the calligraphy nib on a hand-tooled wooden pen scratching toothed paper. Give me the sweet smell of amber in gum arabic and the sharp bite of black touche on a Bavarian limestone.

Drench me in the crisp scent of tautly stretched canvas. Let me run my fingers along the deckled edge of handmade paper. Lie me down with solid Sumi brushes and let me listen to bright white paper as it wicks up watery midnight-colored ink.

Creating this ode to the senses of art refreshes me. I’m now pleasantly anticipating my next artistic sojourn.

Creativity and wellness message for today: Sing the song of your own artist’s soul.

Soothing the Raw Edges of a Creative Life

I’m getting ready to lead my writing critique group and should be preparing my writing to share, but instead, I’m writing to you in my first post of 2012. As artists, writers, creative, and divergent thinkers, we can attest to being vulnerable, scared, and paralysed. Life alone can do this to us then we add, of our own volition, the stress of putting our tangible expressions out there, into the world to be viewed and judged.

Yesterday I was reminded, yet again, about the benefits of meditation. Disclaimer–I’ve been meditating for years–but it sure does help when someone else tells me how good it is! I’ve included an essay by Orna Ross here, it is so well written and inspiring too. Jane Friedman posted it on her blog and I learned of it through Facebook, ahhhhh the joys of sharing through social media.

My favorite line is:
“Meditation soothes those edges and creates a place of safety from where we can take risks.”

Creativity and wellness message for today: Claim your essential self.

P.S. Should I forego my shower and meditate instead?

Art Show Gifts

Recently I entered two paintings in a local art show. Mind you, I hadn’t submitted work to an exhibit in two years. Life just got in the way. Concentrating on choosing the right framed watercolors from my studio (a clean corner of the basement), I felt my excitement mounting at the thought of showing my work again. I used to eat, sleep, and breathe art before I got a real life. Yet, every time I step back in the stream of art my pulse quickens. I’m in my element again.

The art opening was glorious, and I was thrilled when one of my watercolors sold. Validation! Joy! Connection! All those feelings mixed together into a cocktail of delight. I was still on a creative high, when one month after the show ended a second watercolor sold. Sometimes it’s the smallest thing that turns into the greatest gift. The first gift of connection between artist and collector was wonderful then to have a second one follow was the tastiest icing on the cake.

Creativity and wellness message for today: Accept the gifts of recognition in honor of your creative expression, let them fill your heart.

Turning Thoughts Into Action

This morning I lit a candle and wrote in my journal for the first time in a long time. Felt good claiming sacred space for my inner process. Afterwards, an intuitive thought crashed into my awareness. Today became the day I cleared off my writing desk. I have two desks in my writer’s studio, one for the computer and one for writing longhand. My longhand desk has been covered with organized piles of good and important stuff for two years.

Bringing up a big, brown garbage bag I began to edit and toss. Rhythmic music, drumbeat and chimes accompanied my clear-out energy and I made time to follow-through on many of the items that needed tending. I feel like a yoke has been lifted from my shoulders. Oddly it’s connecting me to my artist self again.

I’m reminded of Twyla Tharp’s quote, “Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.” I feel like I ran away today, clearing out actually immersed me in my art all day!

Creativity and wellness message for today: Turn your intuitive thought into action and see where it takes you.

Joy of Being

It’s Friday, and it is cool and misty here on the coast. Wish I could spend more time outside though, but I’m trying to fit 5 days worth of work into one morning. Does this sound like you? It seems like there is so much to do with so little time. Somehow, in the recesses of my unconscious mind, a thought from last month bubbles up. I’m reminded of a program I gave entitled “Creativity & Well-being.” One of the participants was enthralled about what she learned. She exclaimed, “I always thought being creative had to do with being an artist! I never knew it had to do with joy of being.”

Having the opportunity to write you in this blog, gives me the gift of reflection. Even in my busy day I’m taking a moment and remembering that particular workshop and that colorful room filled with feisty, opinionated, single mothers. My shoulders relax, I smile as I reminisce about their happy, glowing faces at the end of the program.

Creativity and wellness message: Be in the moment of your own life. Take a breather and let a pleasant memory surface, let it fill your senses. Creativity=joy of being.