I spent several hours this evening cleaning up our studio. I cleared off the work table and put down clean, brown paper. With a clear table top and a clean piece of paper, the potential for creativity was endless. So I began work on a new piece, one which I need to finish this weekend. I pulled out all my paper scraps and went to work. I listened to some classic movies while I worked and had a lot of fun creating. Within a few minutes the once clear table was covered with art supplies and the ideas were flowing.
Later this month I will be attending a workshop out West and we have the opportunity to bring one example of our work. The piece needs to be sixteen by twenty, unframed, and it will be on display all week during the conference. I started this mat weeks ago and took the challenge of the workshop to get it completed. I am not sure what I am going to put in the center, that will come later.
I have a process for being creative. I need to first be inspired or have a goal. I can find it hard to get moving if I do not have a reason or idea prompting me to action. Creating just for the sake of being creative sounds great, yet I find it challanging. If I do not have a solid idea, it may take me a while to get started. I piddle around until something sparks my thoughts and then the creativity kicks in. Once the idea takes shape, I can work for hours. In fact I find myself in the studio for hours and before I know it I am up way too late. I have to force myself to go to bed, and I look forward to waking up to get working again.
Creativity can be a fickle mistress. She wants what she wants when she wants it, and nothing else matters. She is not always motivated or may take promoting to get things started. She can drive you crazy or get stuck in the mud. Sometimes she needs help, and sometimes she will keep you up with an idea buzzing around your head. Sometimes she comes to you at the strangest places, or wakes you up from a dream with a fabulous insight. However she arrives, be glad she stays. Run with her, work with her, create with her, get exhausted by her. Let creativity inspire you to another level.
When was the last time you stayed up late doing something you enjoy? What did it take to get you motivated enough to work without any concept of time? Were you pressured, under a deadline, or behind? Was it something you really wanted to complete, and no matter what it took you were willing to work, work, work? Did you have the idea burning in your head, or did someone else prompt it? Was it for your job, or for yourself? Today I wish for you a moment of pure creativity and inspiration…then let it roll out of you with no concept of time. You and the world will be amazed with what you create.
We leave a few lights on at night around our place. In the morning we sometimes see different types of moths that have flocked to the light. This one stuck to our kitchen window and did not move until one of our cats touched his back. I had a beautiful view of the inside of his wings. The different shades of brown and grey would have made him almost impossible to see if he were hanging on a tree. The window allowed me to get a close up shot. I have never been that close to the underside of a moth before, it was a different kind of beautiful.
Earlier this week I had an encounter with a teenager in a store. She was at that gangly stage, you know the one where she was still growing into her arms and legs. Her teeth had braces and she was a little self conscious like most teenage girls. She was shopping with her Mom and was apparently buying things for an art project. She stood for a few minutes looking at the various markers, and then looked at me. She asked if I knew anything about the markers and which ones I had used. I thought that was pretty bold for a teenager. We chatted for a couple minutes, then I asked her what she was making. She told me a little bit, and whole she spoke you could actually see her growing into the woman she would become. The creative person who was bold and fearless magically appeared before my eyes. She was drawn to the art supplies like a moth to the light. Only in this setting was I able to get a good look at who she was underneath it all.
We are all becoming everyday. We are learning, growing, changing all the time. We are never done until we die…or if we are done then we have died inside and our bodies are just waiting to catch up. This teenage girl and the moth reminded me that the world only sees a portion of who we really are. They see the outwardly visible things not our soul, our passions, our dreams, our desires. Most people see our outsides, few see our underneath and who we are becoming. Maybe the world doesn’t look beyond our outsides. Maybe we only show the outside because that is the easiest part. Showing the underneath takes effort, care, and people have to get past all our gangliness.
We miss so much of people if we only know them from one perspective. If we judge them from their outsides and make assumptions about who they are by what we see. It takes time and effort to get to know the person underneath it all. But it is so worth it to get close, learn, and watch the magic of life happen. Whether it is art supplies or an outside light, take time this week to get to know someone better by seeing who they are underneath it all.
We have a storage shed in our yard that is white and very utilitarian. The last time our family visited we all built bird houses so we could cover one side of the shed. We spent a rainy day painting, glueing and decorating each one. As you can see no two are alike. Each person put a piece of their own perspective into their house. We used hotel room keys and buttons, coins and license plates to cover the roof. We used glitter, paper, book pages and paint to cover the outsides. My brother runs marathons, so we screwed running shoes to his house. My niece covered one with rocks from the driveway, and another with flowers. The homage to military service has Army men guarding the front porch. We plan to name this area and create a bigger house in the center of all the others to serve as the ‘community center’. We completed twleve, and already have different ones in process. We hope that when others visit they will want to decorate a bird house so they can put their stamp on our shed.
When I told my relatives what I wanted them to do, not everyone was excited about the idea. A couple people went down the path of talking about how they are not creative and can’t think of anything to do. They walked around the studio for a while, sometimes checking back on our progress. Others dove in full throttle and didn’t care what anyone else thought. They put on an apron and got started. Still others had a great idea and needed help from the group to pull it off. A couple people made multiples, and others worked diligently on their single house. When the two days were done we had completed a dozen houses. I took them outside and spent the next week sealing them with spray acrylic to protect them from the elements.
For those who had an idea and were not sure how to execute it, they asked the group and we all brainstormed different tools or ways to pull their idea off. We tried a couple things that didn’t work, so we cleaned that mess up and tried something else. We even road tripped to the local art supply store to buy more things for our ideas. When we didn’t find what we needed there, we went to Walmart…that is where we bought the chidren’s running shoes. We now have a fun memory and a creative piece from each and everyone who was here for the weekend. It is now our zany way to spend a rainy day.
It is amazing what people will do when you give them the right tools, time, supplies and very little guidance. When they have an opportunity to express their ideas without judgement or restraints, they will always astound you. There are those who will impose their own limitations, and others who will stretch beyond what they thought could be accomplished. All it takes to get people to be creative is time to let them be creative and a safe place to try. Anyone can be creative, we simply need to leave them alone with the right stuff and stand back…prepare to be amazed!