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My Bloom True Journey

Well, I went and participated...

Here's a picture of me painting beside my affirmation to prove it.

Photo by Jenny Doh

It was a wonderful, inspiring, eventful weekend.  

Flora was kind, patient, open, giving, inspiring and BRAVE!  She showed that to us all with a swish of bright green paint all over the beautiful face she had just painted!  The class gasped and Flora laughed, and yes, Flora waved her magic and the face did emerge again even better and more beautiful, as she had told us all she would!  Flora was everything we had all hoped for...

I will write more about it soon, but I'm not quite ready just yet.  I feel I'm still on the journey.  I'll check in when I get closer to the destination...

But for now Jenny has documented the class beautifully here

  Painted Words by Pam Garrison
Photo by Jenny Doh

Flora Bowley on Do What You Love for Life

I'm getting in the mood for this weekend's painting workshop with Flora Bowley and hosted by Jenny Doh by listening to the Flora Bowley podcast on Do What You Love.  You can hear it too by going to the Do What you Love for Life blog.

Bright Star - A Room Of Butterflies


How to be a Crafty Tourist in Los Angeles

My sister came to stay.  I haven't seen her for two years - TWO WHOLE YEARS!  Wow, time flies.  So after we chatted until our ears hurt, what did we do?  Go to the beach?  Go sight-seeing?  Go Shopping?  Well yes, we did do all of that, BUT we also went to jewelry design classes and have been introduced to hammering on metal.  Before my sister's visit I booked classes at Summer Studios in Lomita.  We didn't really know what to expect from the class.  After sitting down nervously we were greeted warmly by the tutor, Kristina and instantly fell in love with her and jewelry making. If you happen to be reading this and are local to the area and are looking for creative classes do go and check out Summer Studios.  It's such a cool creative space with friendly people.

We also took a bead knotting class at Moxie on Main Street in Santa Monica.  Another super-friendly place which offers a good range of metal working supplies. We went on to spend a fair few dollars at their sister store in Redondo Beach and toured both Joannes and Michael's craft stores and spent a lovely afternoon at The Craft and Folk Art Museum on Wilshire Boulevard.

All this and of course, arting and crafting at the kitchen table with Joshua.  He is particularly pleased with his alpha friends banner which is now stuck to the wall with sticky tape above the television screen.

And that is the story of how my sister became a crafty tourist in Los Angeles.

Which Creative Type are You?

Some people need a mess before they can create, others need to be neat and orderly.  And even though I often feel like I am living in a mess I do class myself as being in the neat and tidy group.  I like clean tools and a tidy workspace and I like lists; to-do lists, to-buy lists, event planning lists.  I think you get the idea?

I love calendars too and cannot live without mine.  I remember the days of years ago, of being single and not needing a calendar, but today I like to make a note of EVERYTHING.  And I like it like that.  I like to see how my day, my week, my month and year is expanding and shaping.  I use a combination of an online and paper calendar - it works for me. 

If you would like a version of my paper calendar here is a link to download a 2012 calendar created by myself, to be printed on letter paper - totally free - enjoy!

Something All Beginners Should Know... by Ira Glass

Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu on Vimeo.

The Others by Lesley Riley

This article really spoke to me today.  Particularly because the wonderful Melody Ross is certainly one of my 'others'...

The Others

Let's talk about the others. I've always had a love hate relationship with them. There was a time when I stalked newsstands, waiting anxiously for the next issue to hit the shelves. I'd buy them all, devouring the eye candy and inspiration. I lived for those magazines. But then, slowly, it would creep in. You know what I'm talking about - the doubt, the disappointment, maybe even a hint of depression. "I'm not good enough." "Everyone else is so talented." "How come my work never looks that good?" Instead of being inspired to go make something, I felt like giving up. And that was after I had been published in those very same magazines!

Now it’s blogs and even Facebook. The others are there, too, happily showing off all they have accomplished this week, today, or even in the last 5 minutes. Not only are they doing the artwork, but they have time to connect with everyone else and post their latest in charming and witty prose. Here I am busting my #@s to keep up with everything I have to do day in and day out. I’m lucky if I have time for a quick glance on FB. I haven’t read a blog or posted to my own in a while and... hmmm, I finally sent off the latest art collaborative piece – 2 months after receiving it!

Do I sound envious, jealous? Yes, but more than anything I’m upset with myself for being such a slacker. Yep, even "successful" artists are plagued by the same doubts and insecurities you are.

I started writing this article on my way to the (wonderful) Creative Connection Event. Imagine how shocked (and relieved) I felt to hear that one of the very same women I admire (and envy), Melody Ross, founder of The Brave Girls Club, feels exactly the same way. She was on the Women Entrepreneurs breakfast panel Saturday morning. Melody shared this very same thought with us, “Why can’t I do all that?” She said she was busy watching what everyone else was doing and paying more attention to her page Likes and blog comments than to her family. Once Melody realized that she could be, and should be, in control of how she felt, she decided to go cold-turkey - no Facebook for 90 days. She discovered that the Likes that she had been so closely monitoring were now coming from her heart. She began to Like her life again.

Years ago, when I recognized that I was comparing myself to the others rather than getting busy doing the work, I went cold-turkey on the magazines. I stopped subscribing to and buying them. It was easy for me to give up reading all but the occasional blog because, well, I never had time in the first place. I like to remain connected and see what my friends and fellow artists are up to so you’ll still find me on Facebook, but only in 5 minute nuggets of time. No dwelling in other-land. The minute, the very second, I begin to feel my mood and confidence sink – OFF I go. I’ve got better things to do.

What I have come to realize is that we feel bad and down on ourselves when we are sitting on the sidelines and not doing the things we want to do, the things we love. When we’re on the outside looking in, it’s not the others we’re upset with, it’s ourselves. We are letting ourselves down, disappointing our best self, the one that wants to be doing fabulous things.

One solution is to distance yourself from the things or people that make you feel bad, but it’s way better to join them in the fun. Not so you can get online and share everything you are doing. You can do that, too, but the important thing is, DOING will stop you from letting the others make you feel bad. Don’t be on the sidelines – play in the game!

3 Ways to Get in the Game::

1. Find out exactly what is keeping you from doing what you love. Dwelling on what the others are doing is really a form of resistance, avoidance and procrastination. If you can pinpoint the reason(s) why you are not in the studio creating, then you can take the necessary actions to overcome them.

2. Just START. You don’t need a plan. Action breeds action which breeds art. Throw paint on a background. Stitch random patterns on some fabric. Grab a photo and write a story around it. The secret is to just begin.

3. Know your limits and set aside a specific time to gather inspiration. Looking at other art is fun and inspiring up to a point. Use the magazines, blogs and Facebook like the tools that they are, not the crutches that they have become. 

Lesley Riley, The Artist Success Expert, is the creative founder of Artist Success, Solutions for the Struggling Artist. To receive her bi-weekly articles on creating your own success as an artist, visit  www.ArtistSuccess.com.

Five Things to Help You Reclaim Your Creativity

Like many people I was creative as a kid but as I grew up other things got in the way of creativity.  Work, friends, boyfriends, family, there wasn't much time left for creativity.  Years turned into decades and then one day that creative spark was ignited again.  

To be honest, at first, I didn't really know what to do with this creative calling.  I tried photography, scrapbooking, art journaling, painting and currently jewelry making.  I'm still trying new and different activities and techniques.  I'm still looking for a creative outlet that is 'me' and a style that I can call 'mine'.  It's not always easy and when I try to do too much it can be overwhelming.  However, overall I'm enjoying the journey.  Although I can't say I'm at my destination yet, here are a few things I do know about reclaiming your creativity.

1. Make Space
It doesn't have to be a whole room dedicated to your craft - although wouldn't that be nice.  It could be a corner of a room, or like me, one end of the dining room table.  Sure I have to move stuff when my husband wants to sit down to eat and it all gets shoved into a cupboard when we have dinner parties, and I blame this for all the unfinished projects I've got hidden under the stairs, but we have to make do with what we have, right?

2. Break it Down
If you are just starting out on your creative adventure saying you want to be a Mixed Media Artist or Carpenter is a good start, but it can be very ovewhelming when you think of all the tools and techniques you will need to learn to be skilled in such an area.  However, if you break it down into smaller projects such as one 8 x 8 abstract encaustic painting or one 6 x 6 birdhouse the tools, materials and techniques needed to create your project become much more achievable.

3. Start

Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop.
Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Said by the King to the White Rabbit.
It sounds so simple and obvious but how many times have we all had an idea that faded off into the ephemera because we didn't do anything about it?  
  • Write down on a piece of paper, any piece of paper will do, what you want to achieve.  
  • Then make a list of all the materials you will need to complete your project.  If you cannot get them all at once try getting them in the order you will be needing them.  For instance for that 8 x 8 abstract encaustic painting you will most likely need your substrate, paint and tools for painting before the final layers of wax.  
  • If you have a clear idea of what you want to achieve try making a sketch of the finished product.  It doesn't have to be elaborate a few thumbnail sketches may be all you need to jog your memory and keep you focused.  
  • If your idea is somewhat vague, try creating an inspiration board.  Sit down with some good quality paper adhesive, a stack of magazines and a piece of cardstock (you can even use empty cereal boxes for this).  Cut out pictures that help you to form your idea.  You may find yourself cutting out pictures of birds, patterns, or colour to help you express your idea.  Adhere them to your cardstock and keep the inspiration board near your working area.  And you don't have to stop there.  You can add to it as and when you find appropriate images.  
  • Now you have a your project in mind you need to make a list of all the supplies you will need.  If you need a lot of supplies you can always make a timetable and budget for gathering supplies.  
Before you know it you should be working on your project, so now you need to go on until the end: then stop!

4. Find Time.
It's hard when we have kids to get to school, jobs to get to and family needs to take care of.  Saying we have no time is one of the easiest excuses going.  Is it true?  Do you really have no time?  Or do you really mean that you'd love to be an artist but not so much that you'll turn the television off and make thirty minutes to work towards a goal?  

If you really can't find ten minutes a day perhaps you don't really want it as badly as you think you do and perhaps you should give yourself a break go put your feet up and watch that soap!  

For those that do get up early to work on thier creativity or unplug every now and again, give yourself a pat on the back and go here to Sharon Thomlinson's All Norah's Art YouTube channel.  Take a look at her MorningArt series of videos - you'll be amazed at what she achieved with just ten minutes a day...

5. Finish Something
There may be times when you are frustrated, overwhelmed or just don't have time for your project, but keep going!  Resist the urge to dump the whole thing in the trash.  If you are overwhelmed or frustrated walk away and come back to it another day with fresh eyes.  If life gets too hectic and you just don't have time to work on your project try to keep it fresh on your mind.  Think about the task you need to complete as soon as you can get back to it.  Make a schedule if you need to and you may just find yourself ticking off one of those tasks while you have a free ten minutes to spare.

And don't forget you can be creative in other ways too; in how you dress, in the meals you prepare, in how you present your home.  So next time you have to put down the paint brush to make a batch of pancakes for the family breakfast, don't get frustrated. Instead, remind yourself that you are being creative!

 A mighty stack of pancakes image from Cooking with Steam.

Have a happy day,

Style by Charles Bukowski

Style is the answer to everything
A fresh way to approach a dull or dangerous
To do a dull thing with style is preferable
to doing a dangerous thing without it
To do a dangerous thing with style, is what
I call art

Bullfighting can be an art
Boxing can be an art
Loving can be an art
Opening a can of sardines can be an art

Not many have style
Not many can keep style
I have seen dogs with more style than men
Although not many dogs have style
Cats have it with abundance

When Hemingway put his brains
to the wall with a shotgun, that was style
For sometimes people give you style
Joan of Arc had style
John the Baptist
GarcĂ­a Lorca

I have met men in jail with style
I have met more men in jail with style
than men out of jail
Style is a difference, a way of doing,
a way of being done

Six herons standing quietly in a pool of water,
or you, walking out of the bathroom naked without seeing me

“Style” by Charles Bukowski

My Art

Layers of;
acrylic paint,
crackle glaze,
bees' wax, 
semi precious stones, 
wood burning 
on wooden panels...

Define: Goal

A goal or objective is a desired result a person or a system envisions, plans and commits to achieve—a personal or organizational desired end-point in some sort of assumed development. Many people endeavor to reach goals within a finite time by setting deadlines.
It is roughly similar to purpose or aim, the anticipated result which guides reaction, or an end, which is an object, either a physical object or an abstract object, that has intrinsic value.