Creative Ideas: Inquire Within

Marc Chagall

Marc Chagall

I first discovered the painter, European modernist  Marc Chagall (1887 – 1985) when I was a wide-eyed, feisty young art student at Syracuse University. Chagall was a multi-faceted artist working in paint and stained glass, producing windows for the cathedrals of Rheims and Metz, windows for the UN, and the Jerusalem Windows in Israel. Chagall also created large-scale paintings, including part of the ceiling of the Paris Opéra. I also am a multi-faceted artist. His work showed me it was okay to explore in many different mediums.

In college, it was a printmaking professor, a substitute teacher for one day, who introduced me to Chagall’s paintings. Instead of instructing us on the techniques of intaglio or etching, my teacher told us to keep a dream journal – a log of our nighttime dreams. When asked why, she answered, “Marc Chagall used his dreams for subject matter.” I’ve been writing down my dreams ever since. Not only have I written them down, they’ve integrated themselves into my art, and I’ve relied on their wisdom to guide my waking life.

Years later, as a still feisty, veteran artist, I know art and dreams are cut from a similar fabric. They both involve surrender, trust, and insight.

“Art seems to me to be a state of soul more than anything else.”
-Marc Chagall

Creativity and wellness message for today: Find your own intersection of art and dreams.

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The Truth About Nighttime Dreams

IMG_1367I’ve been following the wisdom of my nighttime dreams for decades. Guidance from that knowledge has been like a tiller in my hand, helping me steer the sailboat of my life.

Pulitzer Prize-winning American playwright, screenwriter, and novelist, Marsha Norman says:

“Dreams are illustrations from the book your soul is writing about you.”

So true!

Creativity and wellness message for today: Write down what was in your dream last night. Don’t edit, just write it down. Then be open to how that one act might help you set the course of your day (or your life.)

I Am the Spark

I’ve been thinking a lot about the creative spark lately. It all started a few weeks ago with social media. Through Facebook I stumbled on The Art Students League. When I was in high school I commuted every Saturday by train and on foot from CT to NYC to attend Figure Drawing classes at the League. I hadn’t actively thought much about it in decades but my recent connection ignited a line of thought.

Over the years I have been an artist, an educator, a graphic designer, a healer, a writer, a speaker and a consultant or you could say I have used my creative thinking and problem solving to express myself and to help pay the mortgage. As an artist my work gives people a glimmer of a different world. As a teacher I fan the flames of my students expressive pursuits as well as teaching them techniques.

When I was a healer clients and students came to metaphorically sit by my fire. My work in personal and spiritual development warmed and comforted them. It helped many go out and be stronger in their lives and encouraged them to pursue new passions.

Now I’m loving being more of a spark. I write about creativity, dreams, meditation and wellness. I also write about literature and writing and reading. Working at a library I infuse the literary, artistic and cultural experiences of my community. When I give presentations my intention is to light the fuse, not give the answer.

There is something profound and freeing about being the spark. I’m happy in my current role. What are you? Are you the fire tender, do you support the artistic work of others? Or are you the fire itself, blazing the trail? I’d love to hear what you have to say.

This brings me back, full circle to The Art Students League. At the League I learned how to be a keen observer and I was taught the importance of mastering a technique. Those two skills have served me throughout my life and the classes there kindled my desire to be a real artist when I grew up.

Creativity and wellness message for today: Consider which aspect of individual expression you support, for yourself or to help others? Is it the spark, the fire tender, are you the wood itself, the air, the match , or the  . . . and let me know.