Archive for the ‘Creativity’ Category

sound

When it comes to creativity, it’s important to have a constant stream of inspiration to draw from. If we choose to pay attention to them, our senses can offer bucket loads of material as we move through each day hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, and touching. Paying attention to our senses helps us live in the moment, excites our curiosity, and can make us more in tune with our natural impulses. However, so many of us—myself included—go through our days without really feeling much of anything. To deepen my own awareness, I wrote a post on each of our senses, explaining some ways that we can focus more intently on that sense and wake ourselves up to the variety of experiences around us. This is the last one. Hopefully, they’ll help you too. I’ve also written about taste, sight, and smell, and touch.

Hearing

What do you think of when you think of your sense of hearing? Music? Birds chirping? Hearing loss? Next to sight, our sense of hearing is probably the one we use the most in an average day. It lets us communicate with our co-workers and loved ones, helps alert us when a car is approaching a crosswalk, and allows us to wake up on time when our alarm goes off. It also adds an incredible amount of texture and depth to our daily lives since we can pick up on so many different sounds at once: "Our hearing system does not blend the frequencies of different sounds, as the visual system does when different wavelengths of light are mixed to produce color. Instead, it separates complex sounds into their component tones or frequencies so that we can follow different voices or instruments as we listen to conversations or to music." (more…)

creative activitiesThe only thing better than doing something creative is doing something creative with a friend. Lately, I've been reminded of just how nice it is to sit down with people that I care about to make something together. I love all of it: how the creative energy from one person feeds the next person, how you seem to have really important, satisfying conversations with a creative project in hand, and those long periods of silence when you're focused on what you're doing but are still enjoying the company of the person next to you. Here are some of my favourite ways to combine creative time with quality time: call up your friends and let the creativity blossom.

Seasonal crafting parties - I started a tradition years ago of hosting seasonal crafting parties and now look forward to making Christmas ornaments and decorating Easter eggs with friends every year. You can use any holiday as an excuse to gather people together: carve pumpkins at Halloween, make Valentines day cards, or make decorations for St. Patrick's Day or New Years Eve. Ask everyone to bring supplies, or to pitch in for the supplies you provide. Make snacks, have drinks, go wild!

Cooking or baking - This year a friend suggested that three of us get together to do some Christmas baking for a local charity that was asking for donations. We spent a lovely afternoon in the kitchen and donated a few dozen cookies. You can make your favourite recipes or choose new ones to try, and don't feel bad about keeping the results all to yourselves! You can also invite other people over to be guinea pigs. (more…)

everyday artistry drawing projectWhat I came up with for last month's 'draw a monster' assignment

“Just slap anything on when you see a blank canvas staring you in the face like some imbecile. You don't know how paralyzing that is, that stare of a blank canvas is, which says to the painter, ‘You can't do a thing’. Many painters are afraid in front of the blank canvas, but the blank canvas is afraid of the real, passionate painter who dares and who has broken the spell of `you can't' once and for all.”
― Vincent van Gogh

You've decided that you're finally going to start a regular drawing practice. You bought a nice sketchbook, sharpened your pencils, and have a nice collection of markers and paints standing by. You open the first page and... you don't know what to do next. You have no ideas, no inspiration, no inkling of where to start. When you feel a big expanse of nothingness staring you in the face, how do you take the first step? What do you draw when you don't know what to draw?

Last month's theme in the Drawing Project was drawing from the imagination. The goal was to pull images from our minds instead of using reference photos. The assignments were very challenging at first because, though they all gave a starting point, there was still nothing concrete in front of me telling me what to draw. I spent a lot of time staring at blank pages, wondering what to do next.

By the end of the month, however, I was completely hooked on drawing from my imagination. The freedom that came from making things up, experimenting and playing was so rewarding.

How did I overcome the struggle of the blank page staring up at me? Here are a few ideas: (more…)

touch a treeWhen it comes to creativity, it’s important to have a constant stream of inspiration to draw from. If we choose to pay attention to them, our senses can offer bucket loads of material as we move through each day hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, and touching. Paying attention to our senses helps us live in the moment, excites our curiosity, and can make us more in tune with our natural impulses. However, so many of us—myself included—go through our days without really feeling much of anything. To deepen my own awareness, my plan is to write a post on each of our senses, explaining some ways that we can focus more intently on that sense and wake ourselves up to the variety of experiences around us. Hopefully, they’ll help you too. So far, I’ve also written about taste, sight, and smell.

Touch

I'm sure we can all agree on the importance of our sense of touch. Studies show that hugging someone you care about can reduce blood pressure and provide other health benefits and that babies who are not touched early in life don't develop normally. Touch helps connect us with the people we love, but it also helps us perform most of our everyday tasks. We rely on touch to find the keys beneath our fingers when we type, to find the lip balm buried at the bottom of our purse, and even to keep ourselves upright (this site says that elderly people might be more prone to falling because their feet aren't as sensitive to the ground as they used to be). Unlike other senses, which receive information from one small area of our bodies, we can experience touch in countless different ways, over almost every part of our body, which means there is plenty of opportunity to be inspired.  (more…)

creative projectsWhile it sure is nice to feel constantly creatively motivated, sometimes a little nudge can help. Working with other people and following prompts or assignments can get us thinking in completely new ways and take us in new directions. This week I have a list of seven interesting projects that you can participate in. Try one or try them all and see where your inspiration takes you.

Free Projects

Illustration Friday: Every week a topic is posted and you can join hundreds of thousands of people from around the world in interpreting the topic and submitting your illustration. You can send in your artwork for a chance to be featured on their blog, or you can just post it to Twitter or Instagram with #illustrationfriday. (more…)

liking or not liking

Drawing Faces

Five months ago I embarked on an adventure to learn more about drawing, to practice and build skills and, most importantly, to tame my inner critic and learn to have fun with drawing. So far, it has been quite the ride. I haven't always been able to keep up with my two assignments per week, but I'm drawing more than I ever have before and I'm learning so much.

January's theme was 'people' and one of the assignments was to draw 100 faces quickly on sticky notes. This assignment started slowly for me. I drew ten imaginary faces at work, fighting resistance the whole time. Then I decided to draw my Facebook friends' profile pictures and it suddenly became a lot more fun. It was tricky to find the right pen - a Sharpie was a little too thick, and made the faces too simple, and a micron was a little too thin, which had me trying to add too much detail and being too fussy. I finally found that a Faber Castell brush pen was juuuuuuust right because it forced me to simplify the features but didn't obscure them completely. So far I've drawn 60 faces and this has by far been one of the most interesting assignments that I've done. (more…)

sense smellWhen it comes to creativity, it's important to have a constant stream of inspiration to draw from. If we choose to pay attention to them, our senses can offer bucket loads of material as we move through each day hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, and touching. Paying attention to our senses helps us live in the moment, excites our curiosity, and can make us more in tune with our natural impulses. However, so many of us—myself included—go through our days without really feeling much of anything. To deepen my own awareness, my plan is to write a post on each of our senses, explaining some ways that we can focus more intently on that sense and wake ourselves up to the variety of experiences around us. Hopefully they'll help you too. So far, I've also written about taste and sight.

Smell

Our sense of smell is probably one of the most overlooked and undervalued - until we don't have it any more. We all know how it feels to be congested and not able to smell anything (which is, oddly enough, exactly how I'm feeling as I write this). Everything seems flatter, and farther removed than usual. Our sense of smell adds texture to the world, giving us a more subtle sense of our surroundings. From unpleasant sewer odours, to the unique mix of flavours of our favourite restaurant, smells help us orient ourselves and even keep us safe. I had some sandwich meat in the fridge that hadn't met its expiry date yet, but one whiff told me that it was not okay to eat. Our sense of smell is also the only one that we can strengthen through exercise. Don't think you have a sharp sense of smell? With practice, you can become more sensitive to different scents and learn to identify them better. (more…)

fresh eyesWhen it comes to creativity, it's important to have a constant stream of inspiration to draw from. If we choose to pay attention to them, our senses can offer bucket loads of material as we move through each day hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, and touching. Paying attention to our senses helps us live in the moment, excites our curiosity, and can make us more in tune with our natural impulses. However, so many of us—myself included—go through our days without really feeling much of anything. To deepen my own awareness, my plan is to write a post on each of our senses, explaining some ways that we can focus more intently on that sense and wake ourselves up to the variety of experiences around us. Hopefully they'll help you too. So far, I've also written about taste.

Sight

In some ways, sight is the easiest sense to work on, since it's the one we use the most anyway. According to Psychology Today, more than half the body's sense receptors are in the eyes. But how much of your surroundings do you really see on a daily basis? If you follow the same routine every day, you probably have long since stopped noticing the buildings you pass, or the way the sky looks - unless something is drastically different. What if you could train yourself to look at the same old things with fresh eyes, seeing something new every day? (more…)

making space

"To have a sacred place is an absolute necessity for anybody today. You must have a room or a certain hour of the day or so, where you do not know who your friends are, you don't know what you owe anybody or what they owe you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be." Joseph Campbell

To me having a space that inspires creativity is half the battle (okay, maybe a third of the battle, along with making time and overcoming my inner critic). In all the homes I've lived in, I've tried to have such a space, though it's not always easy. Sometimes I need to carve out space in a multi-functional room, and sometimes I need to work in less than ideal conditions. But I use what I have and always make sure that I have at least a small area dedicated to art making. Then I try to make it better, any way that I can. The more comfortable and content I feel, the easier it is to create the magic that I'm looking for.

Your home is a place of refuge, of relaxation, and comfort. It should be a place where, even if you're not always actively creative in it, you are constantly being refreshed, revitalized, and inspired; where you are reminded of what's important to you and encouraged to spend time in creative pursuits.

Does your home inspire creativity or squash it? Here are some things that have helped me make a good environment for creating, plus some suggestions that I've found in my travels around the web: (more…)

big magic elizabeth gilbertElizabeth Gilbert knows a lot about creativity. She makes a living as a writer so it's something that she grapples with daily but she's also given Ted Talks on the subject, discussed it in plenty of interviews and on her Facebook page, and now she's written a book about it. Like me, my mom is a big fan of Gilbert so when I told her that the book Big Magic was coming out on a certain day, she went out after work on that day, bought two copies, came straight to my place and gave me one of them. It made my week.

I've now read the book twice, the second time going through with pink, blue, and yellow highlighters (because they match the cover of the book) to pick out what I think are the juiciest bits of wisdom. And I would like to share just a little taste of that wisdom with you (it was so hard to narrow it down!). You'll have to read the book to get the full effect, or you can listen to Gilbert  herself talking about some important points on this episode of her podcast, or  this MarieTV episode. (more…)