Create When No One is Looking

(c) Adair Heitmann

One of my favorite authors, the Kentucky born Barbara Kingsolver says:

“Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder. Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.”

Creativity and Wellness message for today: Just do it! Write, create, paint, dance, just do it!

2013 in review: Thank You

Three cheers and Happy New Year to my readers, followers, friends, and fellow artists and writers, creative types all! The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog. Check it out! I just had fun on the “Crunchy Numbers” page by clicking on the pictures and scrolling through them to find blog posts that way. Here’s to a great 2014!

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,500 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 25 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Artistic Endeavors: The Dirty Work

IMG_20130506_074956We are used to seeing the end result of artistic pursuits: listening in a concert hall as the orchestra plays the finale; mesmerized by viewing a painting in a still, quiet museum; or watching the curtain drop at the end of a play. The other day, however, I found myself immersed in the polar opposite of the finished product. I was in the dirty work in the middle of creation.

At 6:00am I was standing on the cold cement floor of my dank basement, in my pajamas, doing the messy part of creativity. Since taking a Clay Matrix Printmaking workshop I’ve been so excited to begin using my newly discovered art technique. Part of the process is keeping the clay matrix I use as my printing plate, moist.

Gathering supplies for the last few months has kept me focused on making sure I had everything ready. I also made sure the clay matrix was damp at all times. My teacher taught us to spray water on a synthetic towel, keep the slab in a clean plastic garbage bag, and check it every two weeks.

I’ve mail-ordered supplies such as a pizza roller (used as a brayer when making the prints). Stencils were found either in nature or I spotted them in everyday kitchen and household goods stores. Utensils like spatulas and fly swatters will be used to create unusual textures. Where to order clay and pigments was next on my list. All these tasks have been clean ones, and every two weeks, just like my teacher taught me, I wet a towel draped over the clay. Over the last few months I looked repeatedly for a synthetic towel, not finding one, I thought a cotton towel would do. An old, red, frayed cotton one.

Not  having a dedicated art studio, my slab is sitting on top of a pile of cardboard boxes, next to my laundry baskets, in my unfinished basement. Watching the second-hand tick on my watch, knowing I still needed to walk up two flights of stairs, shower and then drive to work, I was determined to stay in the basement. Because the clay matrix has to be kept damp, I’d quickly opened the plastic bag that morning, after switching a load of laundry. To my surprise, I found black, spotty, growing mold. My art slab was in jeopardy because of an old, red, frayed cotton towel.

Using the top of my washing machine as a make-shift studio table, I scraped dark mold and mildew off the wooden matrix frame. My thumbnail became my steadiest tool. Gently flicking mold off the clay itself became a sort of meditation. I had to do it slowly or else I would gouge the clay. After my labor of love, my matrix salvaged, I was satisfied and determined to find a synthetic towel that would eliminate the molding problem. If I was able to create prints and use the matrix daily or weekly (in my dreams!) the mold would not have had time to grow.

However, I did return upstairs, from the underground studio, elated. I was happy because, before going to work, I claimed time for my artist self. I also knew I had to find that synthetic towel. Soon I would have a new monoprint to hang on my walls.

Creativity and wellness message for today: Like a pig in mud, wallow in the dirty work, the behind-the-scenes of creativity.

Making Art Fun: Step 9 – Stop When Done

stop-signHello to all my amazing followers! Thank you for joining me on this creativity and wellness journey. Participating in the 2013 Sketchbook Project inspired me to write down my 9 steps in making art fun and in keeping your creative spirits going. As a seasoned artist, I’ve had my ups and downs in the art world.

Like fine wine, as I age, perspective seeps in. I notice the challenges of working, raising a family, and sustaining a multi-decade, long-term and committed relationship. Keeping up with family, friends, volunteering, and still claiming time for my professional art and writing is a steep order. Yet, I find happiness in inspiring endeavors. Seizing the day keeps my inventive juices ripe and flowing.

Like in baking a cake, you have to know when it is done. Some people use their sense of smell, others, set a timer, or stick a toothpick in the center. We all have our techniques. It’s the same in any innovative project.

Today, I’ll finish this series of posts about making art fun. I’m done! I know it because I’ve said everything I want to, about this specific topic. Being able to share what I’ve learned with you, has been a pleasure. Now I’m satisfied about wrapping this series up, and I am anticipating what I’ll write about next time, here, on my blog.

You can click on each link below to read the last 8 posts in sequence. To recap my barometer on making art fun, and to reiterate, “if it ain’t fun, don’t do it:”
1. Keep it simple
2. Use what you have on hand
3. Don’t reinvent the wheel
4. Lighten up
5. Delete your inner critique
6. Be playful
7. Listen to your inner voice
8. Allow for happy accidents
9. Stop when done

Ding! Ding! My cake’s done!

Creativity and wellness message for today: Trust your own sense of timing. Then share a slice of what you’ve made with others.

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.

Tips for Newbie Blog Writers

I’m frequently asked for advice on blogging. In my programs, speeches, and recently here in the comment section of my blog, budding bloggers want to know what to do. On this Halloween day, the pumpkins are carved, candy is bought, and the costumes are complete. Today is a good day to share some new thoughts on blogging.

1. Take off your mask. Be real in what you write, authenticity is a good thing.
2. Just do it, start a blog, keep it simple, keep it fun. Don’t do it if it’s a chore.
3. Find your niche or specialty. Write from that perspective.
4. Subscribe to other blogs, learn from them. Many times it’s what you don’t like about someone else’s blog that helps you create one that is uniquely yours.

Just like a teenager going through puberty, I write in growth spurts. My rule of thumb is to publish this blog once-a-weekish or when the spirit moves me. When I don’t have anything to say, I don’t.

Creativity and wellness message for today: Risk trying something new, go out there without your mask.

Blogging and More

So there I was a few months ago, checking in on my social media networking. I was reviewing my LinkedIn  groups and came across a contest from Bonnie Marcus of VoiceAmerica talk radio. Bonnie was renaming her radio show and asked people to submit ideas. Quickly researching who she was and what she did, I let myself be inspired by her request.

In-the-moment bright ideas are so much fun. Without judgement, I opened my mind, received insight and submitted my idea online to Bonnie. The whole process took maybe 10 minutes and then I went about my business day. A few weeks later I learned that I won in my group! While Bonnie ultimately didn’t use my idea, I had a ball creating it, submitting it and winning a small piece of the pie.

Now you can tune in to “Head Over Heels: Women Mean Business” radio next Tuesday April 6, 2010 to hear me and featured guest Julie Roads, principal at Writing Roads, LLC, plus two other women entrepreneurs talk about the value of increasing your online presence. We will be answering questions and sharing our wisdom on Blogging for Business and More. Who knew?

Creativity and wellness message for today: Take a chance, commit to a contest, have fun with it, then let it go. You never know where your joy may lead.