Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tuesday Inspiration (and I am hibernating ...)

part of a 3 panel tall painting i am working on for Deep

Yesterday I was up all eager beaver-ish to do some yoga, write my morning pages and then head out the door by 6:15 to walk Moose dog. In the early morning streetlight, I could see a little shine on my driveway and took one cautious step forward ... ICE! The sun wasn't up yet, but the gloom was from the fog and freezing mist that was quietly but steadily blanketing everything in an impenetrable layer of ice. Of course, we have the only dog who does not like to be out in his yard and the only way to get him to do his business is to walk him. So I slide down the driveway and shuffling along, we made our way up the street until the mission was accomplished.

This was the tone for the rest of the day. Slow, halting, lumbering movement forward with an occasional lurching, stumbling, sliding into place. One mile of my morning commute took me an hour. Scrapping the ice off of my car when it was time to leave work took 15 minutes and I my side view mirror was entombed in glass-like sheet of ice. I had to roll my window down to look behind me when I needed to change lanes. Yeah, it was fun stuff!

Today Cowgirl and I have a snow day. The snow continues to fall, casting a hazy white light through the windows and into my day. Inspiration? I am thinking hibernation! But truthfully, I am aware of waters flowing shift and steady underneath the ice; things are shifting within me, powerful changes and insights are coming through the experience of Deep and working with The Artist's Way. To try to describe or explain would be like trying to halt the progression of an avalanche to make a landscape sketch of the scene - impossible and not worthwhile.

So my inspiration for the week is to recognize there are times when I have to roll up my sleeves, pull out my paints or pens and keep moving. I liken it to a 3 day road trip and it is the morning of day two. I wake up and know I have to drive all day and I still won't be arriving. But the distance has to be covered. (Oh, and day two is always the portion of the drive that takes you through Kansas which - if you've never driven it - is hours of the same landscape and you wonder if you really are getting anywhere or if you are where you started.)

On road trips, simple distractions become enormously fun. Right now, if all else fails, I pull out my journal and pen and do some contour drawings. I cannot get enough of them! I could use some new subjects though ...

Both done with my non-dominant hand which is a great way to mix things up a bit. I believe the top is how I feel, and the bottom is the me Cowgirl sees when I am issuing The Look (that mommy look that is required at times to get an important message across ...)

When I cannot muster the strength to take action, then I pick up a book. If you haven't read it yet, get yourself a copy of Brené Brown's book The Gifts of Imperfection. It is a very digestible and insightful read. Or reread it because I know I need to hear these ideas over and over again. I need to have this statement handy the next time someone tells me they just aren't creative:

"I'm not very creative" doesn't work. There's no such thing as creative people and non-creative people. There are only people who use their creativity and people who don't. Unused creativity doesn't just disappear. It lives within us until it's expressed, neglected to death or suffocated by resentment and fear. If we want to make meaning, we need to make art.

I would add that unexpressed creativity putrefies, distorts and eventually erupts or bubbles out of us in the form of resentment, anger, jealous, apathy, bitterness, or negativity. Creativity helps us connect and neglecting it strengthens disconnection and isolation. In my experience anyway.

And from The Artist's Way:

We are, ourselves, creations. And we, in turn, are meant to continue creativity by being creative ourselves. It is our birthright! It is our essential nature!

The affirmations I am writing every day (which are from The Artist's Way) are these: My creativity heals myself and others; My creativity leads me to forgiveness and self-forgiveness; I am willing to be of service through my creativity.

In Deep we were recently asked to consider our purpose. Pretty heavy stuff. My tendency is to over think and over complicate things. It struck me, my purpose plain and simple is to be myself. To grow and learn and blossom as the me I was meant to be. To authentically, honestly, and lovingly be myself and accept and embrace all of me. Simple answer, complicated reality. But the only one worth figuring out. The only one worth living. But before I can do that, I think I need a little nap. Tis the season for rest, recovery and allowing seeds to take root.

And while we are resting, may I suggest this video talk by the artist Callie Curry? (In case you missed it over on the Squam website) - here is a healthy dose of inspiration to get us through the winter snows ...


  1. I have not seen that video but I will trot right on over and have a listen/look. We are getting the snow tomorrow but since we Canuks are Canuks, there will be no snow day. *sigh* Isn't it fun how this stuff comes up and out of us. Yesterday we had no idea we would feel or think like we do today. It's part of the wonder of waking up every day. And speaking of waking up, it sounds like you get up pretty darn early. Great, great (great!) contour drawings. I just did a bunch of giraffe ones for the Drawing Lab exercise (posted in the Flickr group if you want to see them). Ah, this winter sure is kicking its heels up, isn't it?

  2. I too plan a look at the video, TEd talks are always great. I always like coming here. You always have something insightful to say. I have done the Artists way twice and it really opens you up and changes you. I love seeing all your BIG paintings.

  3. you have given me so much to think about!

  4. Your creativity is a powerful force for good:)

    Thought of you when I read these lines in Rob Brezsny's horoscope for Scorps:

    "The great river is silent /
    only sometimes it sounds quietly /
    deep under the ice."

  5. The Mommy look! Don't all mothers have one! I love that you're working the Artist's Way -- it inspired me a few years ago. Made me realize that even though I'm not good at coming up with original ideas, my creativity lies in adapting others' ideas. It also helped me consider the ways I already am creative in my life -- my knitting, cooking, making jewelry, Christmas decorating. There's a lot of creativity in me, although it's not always the same type of creativity as others display.

    Thanks for reminding me!

  6. Hi Lis,
    Your creativity never ceases to amaze me! I'm glad that I had a snow day today so I could catch up on my list of favorite bloggers! I am going to add The Gifts of Imperfection to my reading list. Sounds like a book I should start on right away! Hope all is well with you and and your awesome Cowgirl! Keep up the beautiful work!
    Jean :)

  7. Love those one-lined drawings, they have such great character and personality to them.


  8. Your illustrations really are great, and as Sweet Limes says, full of character! Drawing an elephant is difficult but you do that so well!