do it. create. walk and see. cut and paste. scratch and sniff.
do whatever you have to do to feed your soul.
this is my commitment.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

seek out meaning

If you want to create, seek out meaning.

We all have inklings or hunches.  We all have flickers of interest that pop up throughout the day.

Create the space in order to listen.

Jot down these inklings.

Follow up.  Investigate.

It's best to follow up as soon as possible.  If we don't, our ego quickly takes over and tells us we really aren't interested, it's not that important or there will be another spark...later.

But if we follow up, if we investigate (even if it's for a few minutes), we will be led.  We will be led to the next inkling, the next hunch, the next flicker and spark.

Being creative is like being a detective.  It really is a matter of following the clues.  The clues are there, it's just our job to create the space where we can notice them.

Monday, April 14, 2014

art class: picasso's guitars

Yesterday afternoon we discussed the period in Picasso's life when he was fascinated with drawing, painting and creating sculptures of the guitar.  

While listening to excerpts of classical and jazz guitar, The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra and Peter and the Wolf, the children used pencil to draw patterns for their own guitars.  After cutting out their patterns, they used glue to assemble them on foam core.  Some of the children used a folding method to create more dimension.

After taking a short break to make several drawings, eat snack and read a few books, the children added string.

We read these books as a class:
Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin, by Lloyd Moss, illustrated by Marjorie Priceman
Oooooh! Picasso by Mil Niepold and Jeanyves Verdu
Not a Box (a new favorite) by Antoinette Portis

The next art class series, VISUAL JOURNALING, begins in May.
Visit this link for more information.

To read more about create everyday ART CLASS for children visit this link.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

a seat at the table

a seat at the table, 20X20, acrylic on canvas

I completed this painting yesterday.  This painting is a perfect example of the interconnectedness in art.  It's a perfect example of how long ideas or concepts might sit in the creator's consciousness, waiting for the perfect time to express themselves.

This painting is directly inspired by a collage I created back in September of 2010. Even though the collage was completed years ago, the concept wasn't complete for me.  

Here is the post titled, Simplifieddated September 16, 2010:

craving the cozy, 12X6, collage on paper

So here I am, into the second week of teaching and the conclusions of introductory WARM events for the upcoming cycle. Whew! I am BEAT. I crave the ability to create without feeling too tired to stand. For today, I sat with one National Geographic and cut and pasted on the couch while listening to the vacuum hum upstairs (my husband is cleaning, thank God) and Bob Dylan radio (his choice).
I want to do more but I am afraid this is it.
Thank you.

Although this image (of a table and chair) may look quite simple to the viewer, this image carries a lot of depth for me.  I have found my "seat at the table" and I don't plan on giving it up or abandoning it again.  I have made the leap from "craving the cozy" to experiencing the cozy on a daily basis. 

Ahhhhh....the width and breath of life.
Thank you.  More please.

for purchase information regarding A Seat at the Table, visit this link

Monday, April 7, 2014

a glitch here, a glitch there, what to do?

Yesterday afternoon there was a scheduling glitch with the space I currently rent for art classes.  I was so disappointed.  I felt terrible too.  I am still thinking about the parents who interrupted their Sunday afternoons, loaded their children in the car and drove across town in the middle of one of our first, official spring weather days only to realize they had to turn right around again.

I usually try to reframe a challenging situation like this when it occurs, attempting to stick to the belief that there "must be good reason".  This doesn't mean it's easy, though.  I may discover this "good reason" down the road or I may never.  In the meantime, I am considering these possibilities:

1. Parents and their children had some unexpected extra time to enjoy the weather together
2. I was able to sit and chat outside with two of my students and their mother, something we usually don't have time to do
3. Perhaps the students that couldn't come yesterday, really need to study Picasso's Guitars and now they will have the opportunity
4. What normally takes several hours, is already done.  I am prepped for next week's class!
5. I started looking for other studio space that might be available, started thinking a bit bigger (something that is scary for me but also good for me at the same time).  After all, I do have adults who continue to ask me when I am going to start teaching adult classes regularly...

It seems as if I need to experience situations like this in order to grow.  Without any glitches, I might stay in this particular location, teaching art classes for years.  It's comfortable and familiar.  It's cozy and well lit.  It's in a bookstore (and books are an absolute favorite, in close second to art).  Perhaps I need to make another leap (of faith) and grow a bit...more.  Now.

I was SO excited to be able to teach, observe and experience the children's own interpretations of Picasso's Guitars.  I'll just have to keep being excited for one more week.

Until then, Happy Art Making!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

spring break mixed media class

We started class by applying paint on both our canvas and paper surfaces.


While waiting for our canvas and paper paintings to dry, we collected and cut collage items, created patterns with colored pencils, made small pictures with pastels and created printing templates.

During our snack break, we read three books.  Not a Box by Antoinette Portis was fun and playful, prompting a lot of laughter.  Perfect Square by Michael Hall demonstrated the limitless possibilities of one particular shape.  Henri's Scissors by Jeanette Winter provoked a lot of questions regarding Matisse's life, work and process.

We returned to our work, cutting and arranging our smaller collections onto our canvas and paper.

Tucker received a fair amount of attention too.

Thank you, Parents, for coordinating such a fantastic reunion.

Happy Art Making!

mark your calendars for 
Sunday afternoons in May
See this link for more information

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

unlock (and explore)

For the past year (or a little longer), I have been thinking about what concepts my personal manifesto would contain.  Every once in awhile, bits and pieces of that still-to-be-written manifesto emerge.  

Last week, I asked myself the simple question of why I feel so passionate about teaching art to children.  This was "the answer":  

The creative soul of the child is continuously bursting, full of expression and ideas. I believe it is our duty to nurture and protect this part of the child as well as empower it. Although this creative soul can take on a larger than life presence, it can still be very fragile and vulnerable.

I have been asking myself the same question about adults.  I don't have the words to sum it up as concisely as I did above, but I can tell you a few reasons that are clear.  I have learned at least two realities:

1. Every adult is creative.
We almost hear this too much lately and yet we haven't really taken the time to look deeply at the root of this belief.  I think we can easily agree that all children are creative.  At one time, we (as grown adults) were children, carrying these natural intuitions and capabilities.

2. Most of us, eventually, made a decision at some point to "grow up".
For some reason, a lot of us were brought up with the beliefs that using our creativity wasn't going to be efficient or productive.  We discarded our creative notions and we decided to "grow up".

I find that most of the adults I work with have done their "growing up" (they have found their career, raised their children) but sooner or later they experience that pull to tap into their creativity and they don't know where to start.  In fact, I have found, that starting is the most challenging part.  And "starting" can be something that is put off for years and years.  

This is where my passion kicks in.  I LOVE getting them started.  

I love creating a space where that sacred creative space within each person can be unlocked and explored.  Because, well, once the well is tapped, it just keeps flowing.

There are limitless ways of being creative.  Our world is bursting at the seems with creative endeavors.  We're fortunate enough to be able to experience these more often because of our access to the internet and continuously advancing technology.  Art making as a creative process is a tiny sliver in a large yummy pie of many options and flavors.

If a creative inkling is nudging you, take the time to listen to that nudge and just start.

For other posts on "just start" (ing), visit these links:
"just start": the starting is what stops most people
the art of moving mountains 
getting back in the swing (of creativity)
prime the pump: 43 approaches (to getting the creative ball rolling)

If you think your "nudge" is art making, check out several ways I assist people in getting started.
create everyday e courses
adult art classes (the next class in Minneapolis is Wed, May 14, 5:30-7:30 at Boneshaker Books)
creative coaching
painting parties

To read more about my art classes for children, visit this link.

paper plants

Today was one of those days where I went into the studio and nothing seemed to happen.  I have had an intense amount of creative flow lately and so this didn't seem to concern me that much.  

I did, however, still feel the need to create...something.

When painting isn't involved in my creative process, cutting paper usually takes a close second.

I sat down with a magazine, scissors and a white charcoal pencil and this is what happened.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

the home project

What is home?  I was recently contacted by a new friend (an old friend in soul and spirit) who has been inspired to collect stories of how we define home.  Interestingly enough, I gave this concept a lot of thought a couple years ago.  In fact, I think I can still find the journal (located in a bookcase close to where I am sitting now) and find my own self discoveries on the subject.

I grew up in the redwood forests and on the beaches of northern California.  I remember feeling most at home at Samuel P Taylor Park or in the natural "forts" I would create in the front yard of my childhood home.  As a college student and graduate, I lived in the mountains.   My home used to be the same mountain I climbed everyday with our dog, Stella.

After moving to Minnesota in the late nineties, I searched for my "new" home.  Having been seduced by such magnificence (ocean, mountain, tall tall tree), I longed and needed that same experience - here.    Five years ago (or six?) I found my place.  My husband and I discovered it by accident, actually, and we've been returning several times over the course of every summer.  We camp in a tent on the sandy beaches of Lake Superior.

Home is where I feel at one with myself, where I feel absolutely complete without a need for anything - else.

Sure, I have other places I call home.

My physical home in the city of Minneapolis is the only physical space where I have felt the complete ability to breathe.  This isn't the case, though, when I am outside in my backyard.  And yet, being the love-of-nature gal I am, there must be a remedy...

Without sounding cliche, my husband is home. I can be with him in any place and feel as though the idea of "home" has come with me.  We don't have to speak for hours on end.  There is a quiet understanding between us.  We can also laugh until our bellies ache.

Home can happen in an instant.  It can be an experience I share with another being that is never forgotten or can be taken away.  It doesn't have to even last that long.

My vocation is home.  When I am creating, (and this can be in a variety of places), I completely feel at home.

Being the book worm that I am and have been since I was nine years old, a good book can be home.  That doesn't mean it's easy to find one, though...

I am very sensitive to physical space and occasionally have experienced the feeling of being "homeless".  I remember when I was a teen, moving into a house rental with my family while we waited for our future home to be built.  I was always anxious in this space and felt very unsettled.  As an adult, I have done what I can to avoid the reoccurrence of these feelings.  For instance, I have been known to walk away from a hotel reservation after experiencing the physical space for only a few minutes.

I am more "home" now than I have ever been.  I suppose this is because my ultimate definition of home is experiencing authenticity within myself.  I choose the like for the company I keep.  Authenticity is such a breath of fresh air, a place where one can take deep breaths.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

art class: mapping out the world's wonders

Yesterday we wrapped up the art class series titled Map Making: Exploring Sense of Place Through Art.  We started class on a different note with an exploration and discussion on some of the world's most well known wonders.  We discussed the Great Wall of China, the Grand Canyon, the volcano, Mauna Loa, Stonehenge, the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Great Barrier Reef.  After a lot of enthusiastic discussion, the children decided on which wonder they wanted to illustrate.

We used pencils to sketch out our ideas.

We highlighted details of our sketch with pastels and acrylic paints...

and the children were really excited to roll on their watercolor wash.

Art classes will begin, again, on Sunday, April 6.
There will only be two classes in April.
Our subject of study on April 13 will be announced soon.

Visual Journaling has been moved to May!

Happy Art Making!

create everyday (with cocktails!)

I facilitated a painting party on Friday night.

The host decided on our approach for the evening. 
Each participant created her own mixed media piece. 

Look at this lovely art making!

There were ten women who participated while eating delicious food 
and participating in lovely drink. 
This particular party was "catered" by one of the participants.  
The host's husband served as bartender.  
It was such a fantastic gathering of fun!

One of the most frequently asked questions I receive about events like this is if participants for these parties need to have any experience.  This group was diverse.  
Some were experienced artists and others were creating for the first time.
Regardless, there was something for everyone!

Participants are able to throw their name in the hat for a free art print.
I try to include a variety from several different bodies of work.
These prints are printed on 100% cotton, archival paper.

The recipient will be able to choose from these options:

warm release, 10X8, fine art print
hopeful, 8X10, fine art print
bitter sweet, 10X8, fine art print
the october project, 8X8, fine art print
flurry, 8X8, fine art print
girl with dog, 12X8, fine art print,
flowers (for mother's day), 8X10, fine art print

Have you thrown your hat in the ring yet?
Contact me to enter your name.  I will announce the winner Monday afternoon!

To read more about booking your event,
create everyday (with cocktails!)
visit this link.

No Hosting Required
I have an adult art class scheduled
for Wednesday, May 14 from 5:30-7:30
I have five more seats available in this class.
Contact me to reserve your space.

Happy Art Making!