Friday, October 3, 2014

essential creativity practices

Newsletter excerpt for October 3rd:

This week’s newsletter is about a two step practice that is foundational to the success of a lot of creative people - from authors, to film makers to song writers to painters.

 If you are not doing this, then implementing these two steps will be huge for you.

Step One: Determine how and when you get your best ideas.

Step Two: Find a way to keep track of your creative ideas.

The second step is the easy part. You don’t need fancy software or special apps. A simple small notebook and a pencil will do.

The tricky part is fostering the right environment for you to receive these great ideas. This environment or situation varies from person to person and your job is to determine which one works for you.
Some of us get our best ideas from visiting art galleries, special exhibitions or brainstorming with artsy friends.

Other people find that ideas flow when they are cycling or jogging or when they are scrubbing up in the shower. Some folks get their best ideas when walking in nature, napping on a dock or sitting in silence with the lights low.
Maybe your idea ‘fairy’ shows up quite regularly, like first thing in the morning or just as you are drifting off to sleep.

If you can determine when your inspiring thoughts are most likely to flow, you can intentionally set the stage for their appearance.
Make a regular practice of doing those activities that foster inspiration. 

Once you find the way to prime your idea pump, keep pumping! Don’t let your idea well get stagnant or dry. For example If you are feeling dry and uninspired and you know that time in nature usually gets your creative juices ramped up, then book some quality time in nature into your schedule.

AND for art’s sake, don’t forget step two - keep track of those ideas!!!! This is often the part that people do not do. Seriously, ignoring your inspiring ideas is a creativity killer.
Grab your phone and leave yourself a voice message if you don’t have pen and paper handy. Thoughts float in and float out so quickly that you need to have a way to capture them.

Don’t assume your best ideas will come back to you. Usually they don’t.
I keep idea files. These are simple file folders in which I tuck inspiring images, photos, colour combination ideas, and biz ideas. I have several full folders and every time I look through them I am reminded of how much I would have forgotten if I hadn’t made the effort to store up my ideas. Perhaps a special binder or a creativity journal would work for you.

Do give this some thought. Ask yourself when it is that you get your best ideas. Ask yourself what you are doing. Make these activities part of your regular routine – lucky you if you get great ideas in the shower, cause hey, you are doing that anyway.
And then keep bits of paper and a pen handy. Stash some in your purse, your car, by your favourite armchair, and in your jogging suit pocket (they make mini-pens and mini pads of paper J). I have even heard of waterproof writing boards with special markers that you can use in the shower!

We have all heard of song writers getting the all important riff or chorus tune seemingly out of nowhere. Or the author that gets an idea for a twist in their story line that is just the thing that the novel was missing. This applies to painters as well. That perfect vista with the sun positioned just right, the eggplant with the quirky stem at the farmer’s market – make note of the idea, sketch it out, take a snapshot. Trust me, you are busy, your life is full of things and you won’t remember.

Next time you see your artsy friends, ask them how and where they get their great ideas. When does inspiration strike them? I am sure you will be fascinated by the stories you share.
I had a nudge of inspiration this past week and you can bet I made myself a note. But I almost missed it...I was visiting a craft gallery and I saw some delightful, very well done, small ink and watercolour pieces tucked away in a corner. As I looked at them, I felt a longing to get my own ink pens out. It has been a long time since I have done an ink and cp drawing and yet I love the pen and ink medium.

I continued to browse around some shops and walking back to our car I stopped. I knew I had wanted to remember something. Fortunately, I recalled the artwork I had seen. Obviously I should have written a note while still in the shop. I quickly wrote this moment of inspiration down. If I hadn’t, I would have made the trip home, got caught up in the stuff of life and this whisper of a calling to ‘do this, you love this, remember?’ would have been lost.

So go forth this week expecting to be visited by your muse of inspiration and be ready with pencil and paper. And watch the visitations increase in frequency!  No guff - studies show that the more we pay attention to these sorts of nudges of inspiration, the more often we seem to receive them. Perhaps we are just training ourselves to notice them. Doesn’t matter, bottom line, this stuff works.


 I am so proud of my latest Coloured Pencil Basics graduates. They all did such an amazing job. I knew they could do it! J

They went from total coloured pencil newbies (most didn’t even own pencils before this course started) to women that were confidently wielding pencils like pros.

 Here are some pics of these talented ladies hard at work...


We sure packed a lot into our time together. We started with basic info such as how to properly sharpen pencils, how to transfer drawings as well as the importance of good paper.

Here Cheryl is working her brush, keeping her paper nice and clean.

By our last afternoon together these gals were working some serious magic with their Prismacolor wands.
These former newbies had mastered burnishing techniques and had tried working with solvent. They had learned different stroke techniques and were doing some incredible backgrounds on their projects. They were confidently working with the impressed line technique to create leaf veins, and speckles in a plum. On the last day, they worked on projects – everything from a tulip, to a still life of pears to a red pepper that started off green - using a coloured pencil underpainting in a grisaille method.

Did I mention that they were charming, very friendly and enthusiastic? J

And this is me, the unhappy instructor, not having a bit of fun...LOL

Cheers ladies!!!  I enjoyed every minute and congratulations on all of your beautiful art!

Until next Friday, happy colouring everyone.

P.S. If you would like to receive the entire newsletter in your email inbox every Friday it's super easy. Just join the TMS Newsletter Group - click here for how. I can't wait to welcome you aboard! (no spam, I promise)

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