Creating in response to life

On Labor Day I had the wonderful experience of going to a show at Red Rocks. A few days before, a friend generously invited me to go with her and a couple other friends. Despite living in Colorado for over a decade and going to Red Rocks for various events, I had never been there for music. We were there to see Patty Griffin and Amos Lee. While the music was incredible, I was really struck by the stories Amos told to introduce some of his songs. One of my favorite takes on life is Neil Gaiman’s speech to students graduating from University of the Arts where he implored them to “make good art” in response to whatever life throws their way. I was introduced to this speech when I was going through some significant changes in life and I appreciate this video being brought to my attention.

As Amos was about to sing some of his songs he would say how it was written in response to a person or event in his life. One of the songs he said he wrote in his 1989 Nissan Sentra. Sometimes we think we need the perfect circumstances or environment for us to create but what if we just created in response to whatever is striking us at the moment and wherever we might be? Taking that moment to feel and respond is possibly the best self-care available to us.

So, this gives me an opportunity to shout out one of my life dreams. Being a former social worker and art teacher (two separate careers), I feel it’s really important to be able to express your feelings, and all forms of art are a great, healthy avenue for this. I have this dream to be a part of or create an organization that makes learning to express yourself through the arts accessible to all. Now that I’ve said it, I guess I better find a way to work towards it!

My portrait of Amos Lee.

The Challenge of a Creative Practice

People talk about practices in the world of yoga. Some people have a morning practice – their daily yoga and meditative time. Some people choose to do it in the evening. It’s basically a habit you develop with specific or more general things you do every day.

Like a lot of you, I struggle with consistency. Sometimes I have bouts of it – like the school year I ate PB&J sandwiches every day without fail or when I committed to 12,000 steps per day for over a month. My friend Amanda Gold recently published a YouTube video about working towards goals with baby steps. You don’t have to tackle some big thing at once. Sometimes it takes effort to build a practice. Sometimes it takes a challenge that someone else presents to you.

My most recent form of practice is based on an idea my friend Mystic Marni suggested – create a tarot deck based on Eudes Picard. He was a real weirdo back in the high time of occultists in the early 1900s! He outlined what should be on each card in the deck and from the perspective of 2019, it’s real weird – ghosts and roots and corn on one of the cards. At this point, I’m through the pips of the wand suit and have started the penny pips. This challenge has given me the opportunity to make a little painting daily. I do it in the morning each day before breakfast when my life is quiet and meditative.

So, what lights your fire and what practices have you created in your life – either now or in the past?

Create More Often Creativity Challenge

A challenge to be creative daily with posts on Instagram.

Happy 2018!

For the new year I decided to challenge myself to be creative daily. For the next year I’ll explore the elements and principles of art, one per month. Each day I’ll post a prompt on Instagram (@createmoreoften). The plan is to have three different types of prompts per month to explore the theme of the month. Some are to look at the world around us to see where we can find examples of the theme. Some are to create our own examples using different methods. Other prompts are to mash up several of the things we tried to create something new.

For January the theme will be line. Hope to see you on Instagram!