Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Inspiration Celebration: endings and beginnings

cover: my assigned theme was "A Day in the Life"

Five months, 1 week and 4 days and I have finished 42 paintings/pages for my entry into The Sketchbook Project.

When I signed up way back when, I had this image of myself leisurely creating a spread or two each week, documenting the last half of my year. I had the leisurely part right; I did a few pages at the beginning and then when things got busy (when are they not busy?) I would tell myself I had plenty of time ... I could catch up ... I could do a number of pages in a week and be back on track.

inside cover (there will be a pocket placed here) and first page

And so it went.

Sometime in October I realized I would need to do 3 spreads a week to finish in a comfortable manner (meaning, not sending the journal in with the pages still wet with paint) ... and you know how it goes - my winter break arrived and I had to paint something every day.

when i create, i cannot spell! only now did i just catch the misspelling

But by taking leisure out of the equation I discovered something exciting: when I have to create, I can create. I no longer had the excuse of "I'm not feeling inspired right now" or "I will wait for a better idea." Often, I had no idea what I was going to paint when I pulled out my brushes and started. It was scary and it was thrilling. Fear of the blank page vanished and there was no time to agonize over every little detail. Some days a theme presented itself and other days experimentation was my inspiration. The deadline forced me to push myself and by doing so, I created some pieces I am really pleased with while others betray the mark of me pushing - and that's okay.

first full spread

... and the last spread

Now I have to send my journal off and that is a new sensation. Creating work I knew I would not be keeping, I found myself wanting it to be my best, but also struggling with knowing I would have to let it go. Part of that resistance stems from a mistaken belief that my creativity is finite. But if this process has taught me anything, it is that creativity is something I open myself up to; it flows through all of life and like air, it is available to us at all times ... we just have to breathe.

back inside cover ... completing a quote by T.S. Eliot
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
will be to arrive were we started
and know the place for the first time.
- And all is always now -

Okay ... and I am also scanning my pages so if I feel any regrets about parting with my work, I can always paint new versions.

And now I am fully immersed in Deep. I decorated my journal for the course:

and I am working on my first painting

Which is quite a transition from the small scale of the journal as I return to painting on poster board. In Deep I will be devoting my practice - myself - to surrender. Surrendering to creativity; surrendering to my life; surrendering to what is and letting go of straining, grabbing, reaching, desiring, resisting, and avoiding. The time feels right to pull back the curtains, letting the light shine in upon everything - the good, the bad and all that's in between. Because in order to really Shine, I cannot be afraid to see all of me. Including the me that often misspells words (never mind my malapropisms!)

Phew. What is inspiring me these days? Color. Lots and lots of color. It looks stunning in the bright, winter light.


  1. I also believe that creativity is something that flows through, that comes from letting go in a world that demands we be in control. That insists that we can totally control our lives. I, too, am in a learning period of surrender and feeling this is where I need to be right now. Congratulations on finishing your journal and diving into the Deep.

  2. Thanks for sharing those pages from your sketchbook....they are so bright and happy! How wonderful to surrender to creativity. Brava, Lis!

  3. Lis,
    That is such an awesome project to complete! Way to go! So lovely to have your blog I can come over to when I need inspiration to get moving :) You rock!


  4. Wonderful paintings and pages! Congratulations on finishing the journal!

  5. WOW - i am in complete and utter AWE!! i think it's amazing to even take on the Sketchbook Project, never mind finish it in such a blaze of colourful glory!!


    i really love the quotes you used....they are faves of mine. hmmmm...i'm beginning to sense a pattern here...LOL.


  6. Lis, those are GORGEOUS! Oh I can't wait to see that Sketchbook in so lovely. And how cool that you painted your DEEP journal!

    I've just sent my Sketchbook out into the universe and am totally releasing myself from it. *sigh*

  7. these words right here ~

    "But if this process has taught me anything, it is that creativity is something I open myself up to; it flows through all of life and like air, it is available to us at all times ... we just have to breathe."

    Sweet, deliciously beautiful!
    Thank you for sharing this Lis!!!
    Love your devotion :o)

  8. Great quotes, great pages. I totally got sucked in with the first page of the post, how true that is, and you depicted it amazingly. The rest of the pages just followed suit. Wonderful!

  9. Congratulations for finishing Lis- your work is stunning :) Thank you so much for getting me involved in this project- I have learned so much and it is because of you :)

  10. CONGRATULATIONS Lis!!! So great to hear you finished!

    Wonderful pages!!

  11. I love what you've created. Your pages are so vivid and alive.

  12. Your journal pages are gorgeous and inviting! I have a little time today and you've inspired me to crack open my art journal and start creating!

    And your first painting is so vivid - I was drawn to it immediately. Can't wait to see more.

    You always amaze me, Lisa! Thanks for the inspiration this morning. :)

  13. What a wonderful book! You have such an open and honest way of seeing things...fascinating.

    Well done.

    I hope you are able to do the project again next year!