Everyone Is Creative

It’s the middle of October and Inktober is upon us. And just like most things I had all these grand intentions of drawing and posting everyday because pen and ink is one of my favorite mediums.

Inktober is a month long study using ink as your creative medium. Some use pens, some brushes, some colored inks and some in grayscale or even just good ole black ink. The only main rule is that you have to use ink. There are daily prompts that you can draw from for inspiration. Check the hashtag #Inktober 2017 for drawings and illustrations on Instagram.

But y’all, October has been crazy busy! Busy good. Full of shows and commissions and other projects making a drawing a day just not possible. So I decided to do one project and base it around the idea of creativity.

I believe creativity is for everyone. Many times when I am sketching in public or working my booth at an art show, I hear people put down their creative abilities. They say “Oh I could never do that,” or “I’m just not good at being creative.” Or the one that I hate the most is “Well, you just make me never want to even try.” I know they think it’s a compliment but it’s quite possibly the worst thing you could say to me. The last thing I want people to walk away from my art feeling is that they never even want to try.

I’m 42 and I’ve been drawing since age two. After forty years I better be good at it. That’s the key to creativity. You have to work at it. You have to study and develop skills. Yes, I was probably born with a certain skill set that pushed me in a more creative direction. But my drawing abilities would never be where they are now if I hadn’t taken the time to learn about shape and form and value.

So many people seem unhappy and lost these days. I have to wonder if it’s because they have removed the act of creating from their lives. I’s almost as if the act of creativity was reserved just for the young or for the old. Kids get to be creative (although with the cut backs in art education that is in danger) because kids get to play and have fun. And people who have retired and aren’t working a nine to five get to take classes or spend time in these areas that foster creativity. But it’s those of us in the middle that flounder. We aren’t continually growing creative habits throughout our life spans and it’s leaving a hole.

I am big fan for making and doing things yourself. Way back before everything was mass produced and done for us, people had to be creative if they wanted things.

“We need a table to eat at!” Ok go chop down the tree, plane some boards and let’s make one.

“I need a blanket because it’s getting cold!” Ok let’s sew these scraps of fabric together. And you know what! We can arrange them in a pretty design because we like to look at pretty things.

You may say that all of these activities were done just out of necessity but there was still an act of creating. It grew out of a need for tangible things. Once you start to grow that ability inside you, inspiration follows. You’ll start getting ideas but perfection does not happen overnight. You have to work at it and pour time into it if it’s something you want to have in your life. And believe me you need it. It doesn’t just have to be painting or drawing. It can be music or cooking or sewing or knitting and crochet, weaving, woodworking, gardening, or dance!
Creating in any form is a holy process. Every human is creative. Every religion has a creation belief of some sort. We were all fashioned by the Great Creator. How can we believe that same ability doesn’t reside with us? Some people just haven’t found their process yet.

So I encourage you to get out there and be creative! If you are still nervous about starting a project why not just start with the simple act of coloring. And if you sign up for my newsletter you’ll get a free coloring page ready to inspire your creative endeavors.

I hope you find your creative process or at least start testing out which one feels best to you. And remember it’s a process so you have to give it longer than just one go. Let me know in the comments below how you’re going to exercise your creative spirit.

Financial Organization tips for feelance creatives

Homework and Finances

I have homework. I have recently started a weekly class that aims at helping artists be better organized in the business of art. Many times I feel very lost on this aspect of being a freelance artist. When you’re self employed you wear all the hats. And most of the time the hat of accountant seems way to big. Almost engulfing.  Like a little kid in their dad’s clothes.

So our homework was to describe our financial organization methods. My financial organizational methods are constantly evolving and changing. I keep what works and change what doesn’t. Currently I have found these simple tips that help keep all the important information in one place. Check out my newest YouTube video below for a description of what’s working at the moment.

The program and classes I am taking are through the Artist, INC organization. Their purpose is to help artist MAKE ART WORK. Being is artist is my job. It’s not a hobby. It’s what I studied in school. I’m ready for it to be my career.

If you are a freelance creative (artist, designer, writer, blogger) I think a lot of my tips are applicable to those fields and can help the accountant hat fit a bit better. If you have any tips that are working well for you share them with me!

A crow was cawing

This morning the air is crisp and cool and a crow was cawing on the hillside. It feels like fall is here. I hope it’s not just a short visit but a long settling in.

fall pumpkins and leaves

Soon there will be orange and yellow leaves drifting from the trees.  There will be fire pits and pumpkins and sweaters and scarves.  I am really looking forward to the sweaters and scarves because my fall wardrobe is way better than my summer one.

There’s something about fall that seems just as inspiring as spring.  When it’s purpose is the exact opposite.  In spring everything is new and coming to life.  In fall everything is dying but it never seems that way to me.  It’s more like the earth is trying to live simply for a while.  De-cluttering and making a bare bones or rather branches approach to the coming months.

October starts soon and I hope to participate in the Inktober challenge.  I do so love pen and ink!

pen and ink drawing of daisies on woodgrain by Jeanetta Darley ARTIST

I have more events coming up this fall where you can catch me in person.  Check out my events page for more details.  I hope you will stop by for a chat.

Are you excited about fall too? What’s your favorite fall thing?

Check out my Etsy shop to purchase your own print of “The Fall Menagerie”

Will there be snacks?

Whenever I go to some event or program, this is my first question.

Well, no actually the first question is will there be coffee?  But then I wonder if there will be snacks.

I actually love the idea of snacking, small meals, tapas, etc.  But now that I work from home the snacks are always there!  There for the crunching and munching.  As an artist working from home, I have moments of intense boredom.  Painting, drawing, videoing it all, editing the videos, doing all the social media techy stuff.  Trust me I’ve got plenty to do but….

There’s a comfy couch and Netflix and SNACKS!

So, I have to be really diligent to keep the cupboards and fridge stocked with healthier options.  Snacking options that I can just grab a handful of and get back to work.  Yep, back to the easel.  Not the couch, with Netflix!

My favorite go to snack is so simple.  Seriously, I just combine two ingredients!  It’s cashews and cranberries.  The C & C.  Like in The Music Factory.  A music factory in my stomach! (I think I’m funny sometimes)

Cashews and Cranberries offer the perfect taste and texture combination.  Salty, sweet, crunchy, and chewy.  It’s all there.  And protein and other healthy stuff.  Healthy stuff is good.

So grab a bowl of C & C instead of cookies, chips, candy, or any of those totally bad for you things. (That also happen to start with “C”, hmmmm…….)  OK so maybe save a cookie for a special treat because you know….. they’re cookies!  And it you have a work from home or sit on your bum job all day don’t forget to move.

What are your tactics for the defeating the snack monster?

My Wholesale Line

I am excited to finally have my wholesale section of my Etsy shop up and running. This has been a goal of mine for the last year. If you are a retail shop owner, please contact me and I will send you a link to my line sheet.

A self-portrait

I am once again participating in Janine Crum’s #MakeWithMe daily sketch challenge. I am getting a rather late start. This was supposed to be an August challenge and here it is the 17th and I am just starting on day 1. Which is a self-portrait!

Watch my time lapse drawing of #MakeWithMe Day 1

I’d like to blame the fact that I was busy getting things ready for my annual blogging and social media conference but I really think the first challenge scared me off a bit. Ugh drawing a self-portrait or a portrait of any kind is always daunting because what if it doesn’t end up looking like the subject. So this was something I kind of pushed to the back burner.

But I do adore Janine’s challenges. I have become sentimental about them. When I started my first one a few years ago it was just the kick in the pants I needed to make art a part of my daily routine. To make it part of my life again. It’s like exercising. I know I’m supposed to and that it is good for me but OOH it so hard to make yourself do it sometimes.

So run over to Instagram and look at all the studious sketchers that started on time and are following by the rules. There are some really great interpretations of the daily themes. 

The Artist Energy Struggle

The sedentary, work-from-home lifestyle of an artist and blogger can make it hard to be active when you’re a person that doesn’t really like the idea of “working out”. Finding energy building activities that I don’t hate has always been a struggle.

In my younger days feeling energetic and being active was not something I had to think about. I was running across campus from art classes to theatre rehearsals. I was dancing in my dorm room, on the local beach at midnight, or at any student gathering where there might be music. No wonder I was referred to as a bean pole.

But in the twenty plus years since college, finding ways to stay active and be excited about it, have fallen rather flat. Once the kids were all in school and I started working outside of the home, most of my jobs involved sitting behind a desk and plunking away at a computer. I have never been a person that could stay excited about working out at a gym. I craved activities that naturally flowed into my daily routines. But when your daily routine kept you sitting on your bum most of the day, that flow of activity reduced itself down to a trickle. OK, probably more like a dripping faucet. It wasn’t until I was introduced to the practice of Qi Gong that I felt like my activity desires were satisfied.

When I mention qi gong, people immediately ask “What is that?!” I describe it as slow strength and energy building exercises. Sort of like tai chi only you don’t move your feet as much. Or something similar to yoga only you don’t get down on the floor. You stand.

“Qigong (alternatively spelled chi gung or chi kung) is a form of gentle exercise composed of movements that are repeated a number of times, often stretching the body, increasing fluid movement (blood, synovial and lymph) and building awareness of how the body moves through space.” ~ Energy Arts

Sometimes the explanations can get a little “woo-woo” for me. But the calm slow movements revive me. And the emphasis on breathing is something so simple. Duh! Of course getting more oxygen into your system is going to make you feel better. I’ve never been one for the jarring effects of running. I do enjoy a good walk, but let’s face it in these sauna-like Arkansas summers it’s just not that alluring. But spending a few minutes a couple times a day to run through a sequence of qi gong exercises makes me feel oddly relaxed and energized at the same time. These exercises also help me combat boredom and frustration as well as keep me from snacking on stuff all day long.

Sadly my original instructor moved away but I have found some great videos on that wonder of a creation called YouTube! I have created a playlist with some of my favorites. These are easy quick 10-20 minute routines you can jump up from you desk or drawing table or easel and do.

Let me know how you like the practice of qi gong or what you do to build your energy.