It’s A Thing Of Beauty #5

Whew – been busy making some art and renovating!  Got lots done, fuelled by the work of these folks who’ have created these inspiring things of beauty!

Acrylic paintings by Michelle Clark

After an exhausting DIY job of our bathroom, we finally got the art up on the walls. And we chose these 2 pieces by artist Michelle Clark that I bought this summer. They make me feel so good! I’ve given her art to people as gifts, too, and they love them. She inspires me to get painting! What daily motivator do you have to get creating?

 

The Diamond Cutter

After listening to a Good Life Project podcast, I picked up a recommended book, “The Diamond Cutter” by Geshe Michael Roach and Lama Christie McNally. Whoa – the teachings in this book made so much sense to me and brought such understanding of where creative blocks and fears originate. Powerful stuff! (Photo by Doubleday Books)

 

Elizabeth Gilbert's podcast, Magic Lessons, carries on the conversation about creativity she starts in her upcoming book "Big Magic". The episode with Brené Brown was outstanding. If you have "creativity wounds" and can't get going, listen to this https://soundcloud.com/riverheadbooks . (Photo by Riverhead Books)

Elizabeth Gilbert’s podcast, Magic Lessons, carries on the conversation about creativity she starts in her upcoming book “Big Magic”. The episode with Brené Brown was outstanding. If you have “creativity wounds” and can’t get going, listen to this https://soundcloud.com/riverheadbooks . (Photo by Penguin Random Books)

And lastly, I had some moments of  “should-should” thinking this week, so this essay-turned-animation by Elle Luna, the Unmistakeable Creative’s Sarah Steenland, and Soul Pancake came at the right time to help me tune into my “must-must” voice! What quiets your shouldy-thinking?

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Creactivity: Whose Ancestor Is This?

Visiting art museums is often recommended to expand your creative horizons and expose your brain to different ways of seeing the world. But like food that’s good for you, not everyone likes this creativity-boosting activity.

A few years ago, I went to Italy with a friend and we went to a lot (I mean, a lot) of museums. My friend didn’t have quite the exuberance for museums that I had, and I could see she was fading fast. So I came up with a game to play to help get us through our last Italian art museum, the Uffizi in Florence.

I’ve used this same activity with others I’ve since dragged to museums. And not only does it help us engage more with the art, we also use synthesizing skills – putting two things together that don’t normally belong to create something new.  Did I mention, it’s also fun!

The activity is called “Whose Ancestor Is This?” As you approach a portrait (and there are oh-so-many), pose the question “Of people that you know today, whose ancestor is this?”. A variation on this activity is simply “who does this look like”, but I find that going with the ancestor version helps people switch genders more easily.

Here are some of the “Ancestors” we’ve come up with on various visits:

Before you go on your next museum visit, try this out: Whose ancestor is this?

Whose Ancestor is This

(All photos accessible on Google Images)

It’s A Thing Of Beauty #4

My goal over the last few weeks has been to “get things done”, because upon review, I hadn’t completed as many things on my summer-do list as I thought.

So, once into hyper-drive, here is a very short list of some things of beauty that kept me focused.

The Jealous Curator podcast by Danielle Krysa - she interviews creative people with such ease and sincerity; it's like being in the room with her and her guests; http://www.thejealouscurator.com/blog/art-for-your-ear-podcast/

The Jealous Curator podcast by Danielle Krysa – she interviews creative people with such ease and sincerity; it’s like being in the room with her and her guests; http://www.thejealouscurator.com/blog/art-for-your-ear-podcast/

 

Rising Strong is Brené Brown's latest book about how to deal with failure, stuckness and discomfort; I read chapters in those moments my Inner Critic took over! A valuable read for anyone striking out into new territory.

Rising Strong is Brené Brown’s latest book about how to deal with failure, stuckness and discomfort; I read chapters in those moments my Inner Critic took over! A valuable read for anyone striking out into new territory.

 

Saw a couple of movies after a hard day's work, but only "Ricki and the Flash" stayed with me. Themes of staying the course, trusting your art, but also not judging others who may have different pursuits resonated with me. (Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures)

Saw a couple of movies after a hard day’s work, but only “Ricki and the Flash” stayed with me. Themes of staying the course, trusting your art, but also not judging others who may have different pursuits resonated with me. And watching Meryl Streep transform is always inspiring! (Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures)

 

The Sketchbook Project Mobile Library visited the Toronto area this past week, and I was so thrilled to see many people view the touring sketchbooks and also take out blank ones to start their own!! You can participate at https://www.sketchbookproject.com/participate

The Sketchbook Project Mobile Library visited the Toronto area this past week, and I was so thrilled to see many people view the touring sketchbooks and also buy blank ones to start their own!! You can participate at https://www.sketchbookproject.com/participate

 

Still lots left on the summer-do list, so I’ve got to get back to it!

What things of beauty have inspired you this week?

It’s A Thing Of Beauty #3

What got my creativity going over the past few weeks!

Click any pic to start my IATOB gallery and read my comments – Happy Creating!

Handling the Dreaded Lukewarm

The Dreaded Lukewarm

The Dreaded Lukewarm

This week I took on an artistic challenge, completing a piece of work that intimidated me. Despite the intimidation, I wanted to test myself and grow, but as this piece was being made for someone else, I also wanted it to be good. And after several long and focused hours, I finished the piece and was so satisfied, not only with the result but also with the process.

You know what’s coming next, right? Upon receiving it, the recipient gave the piece a lukewarm, almost polite, endorsement… and only after a criticism was made of it, and only after I asked if it was liked.

My enthusiasm for my work did not match the response I imagined or expected for the piece. Sucker punch to the gut! But I’d worked so hard. But I’d taken a risk. But I was so proud of myself. And in a few short minutes, all of that good feeling I had about my creation went out the window!

You’ve likely experienced a situation similar to this, too. An idea you’ve worked on all night that you present with excitement at a meeting the next morning is given an “it’s okay but what else have you got”. A new recipe you laboured over for a special meal is left half-eaten on one of the guest’s plates. A birthday card that you made is received with the same polite indifference as the store-bought ones. Something you created that you put love into and lots of extra effort doesn’t get you the same love back. And worse, you get the dreaded Lukewarm response which feels like nothingness.

Apathetic responses to your art and ideas can often be Kryptonite for your creative impulses. And can make you want to stop. So, what to do?

These practices have helped me:

Rewind the time machine and revisit the experience of making the piece. What did I learn? What skill am I proud of developing? What do I want to keep on doing? Then decide on the next related challenge right away.

Surface and identify the feelings. Say hello, get to know them, and then show them the back door. Know that they’ll likely come back again, but the next time they show up won’t be so gutting.

Get back to work immediately. And once I’ve started on something new, I can briefly (and I mean, briefly!) replay any feedback I received from the previous piece with more objectivity/less emotional power – anything I may want to change or incorporate?  Would it make my art or the process better? If so or if not, keep creating.

The worst thing I’ve done? Went to others seeking a contrary positive opinion of the work. Posted the piece everywhere to see how many “likes” and “comments” I could get. Showed everyone the photo version on my phone. Tried to justify the short-sightedness of the recipient as a one-off. Basically, I fed the Needy Beast.  In the end, this did nothing for my creative confidence. It was like the useless tub-of-ice-cream-fix for a broken heart.

Your response to feedback is your choice, and choosing on the side of honouring your creative work, being self-aware of your Kryptonite, and getting back to work right away might help you overcome the dreaded Lukewarm’s hold over the Needy Beast.

 

 

 

It’s A Thing Of Beauty 2

Buildings on your street may hold some inspiration! Look up now and again! (old Consumers Gas building on Yonge Street, Toronto)

Buildings on your street may hold some inspiration, if you look up now and again! IT’S A THING OF BEAUTY! (old Consumers Gas building on Yonge Street, Toronto, Canada)

How was your week of creativity?

Mine was quite a roller coaster with highs and lows! When my drive got low, I sought out some inspiration, and here’s what restored my energy and got me back to work in this week’s It’s A Thing Of Beauty Gallery.

What restored you? 

(Tip: Once in the Gallery, if you click a link, always click the Back arrow to return to the Gallery.)

It’s A Thing Of Beauty! First Edition

Artistry in the most unlikely places! A cappuccino from the train station in Formia, Italy. IT'S A THING OF BEAUTY! (from my computer background slideshow)

Artistry in the most unlikely places! A cappuccino from the train station in Formia, Italy. IT’S A THING OF BEAUTY! (from my computer background slideshow)

I’ve spent the last few weeks putting all the pieces in place for Working Creatively. There have been long days where my exhaustion taxed my ability to keep on creating, but these things collected in my “It’s a Thing of Beauty” gallery kept me going… and not just going, but inspired!

What inspired you to create this week?

Click on any image to enter the IATOB gallery!

 

 

 

Welcome to My Musings!

 

Working Creatively 880

Some of you receiving this out there may be going “What the $#%@ is this?”. Yes, it’s definitely different than what you last signed up for!

This previous site was Live Your Bigger Life, where I wrote about fantastic travel recommendations and, before that, wrote about the transforming power of travel. Ironically, after some transformative travel, I’ve decided to live MY bigger life and honour the lifelong creative spirit that’s flowed/raged through my veins.

After years of injecting creativity into my business life wherever and whenever I could…

After years of making art of all kinds…

I’m Turning Pro – thanks for that concept, Steven Pressfield! My new business focus is on helping individuals and organizations access, apply and enjoy more of their own creativity, while I also take the same journey making my original art.

In this blog, I’ll be writing about creativity in business and in life. I’ll share some great writing and resources from others. And every week I’ll produce a post called “It’s A Thing Of Beauty” that lists those special things that got my own creativity fired up – music, a creative practice or ritual, some piece of art, film, a great sports moment, or whatever the universe throws in my direction.

So, all you LYBL followers, stick around if you need a little creative juice in your life.  If not, you can “unfollow” and thanks for being a part of LYBL.

And to all newcomers, welcome!