Friday, 24 October 2014

How to Get On *& Stay On* a Creative ROLL

Hello Creative Comrades
I'm currently in the midst of a *major* creative roll -- YAY!! 

I am working on several things at once, but not feeling any of the strain that I might usually while creating things that are quite big for me. I am always super excited about what I am up to, which I might usually lose part way through a big, or even little, project. I am always feeling up, up, up, even when I have been sick or other things have happened, and I have not able to create as much as I'd have liked. And the main reason I feel up is because this creative roll feels different, they all feel good but this one is super good, super sweet, super satisfying (I have had plenty to compare it to) and best of all I truly feel it is sustainable. So I have been taking note of my behaviour patterns etc to see what 'tips' I could share as to how to get on, and stay on, your own wonderful creative roller-coaster.

So you guys probably know by now that I share my creative ups and downs openly, and while I expect that at some point I may be down again, I also...don't - because I have learnt a few creative truths recently. The main one is to accept that we are ALWAYS creative, even in our down times.
I mean to really, REALLY accept that.
To understand that our down times are usually just inspiration gatherers, idea incubators or accumulated hours of neglect for our other interests/hobbies or general rest and relaxation - and to understand that these are valid parts of the creation process too. That they are in fact as much a part of the creation process as the messy-hands, frantic creativity, studio chaos times, if not more even more so because
you cannot drink water continually from the same cup, without never needing to refill it.
Your creative cup is no different.

So you may be saying 'yes, yes, Jennibellie but how does accepting that down time is helping me to refill my cup help me to get in, and stay in, a creative roll?' Because if you accept that we are always creating, even in our down time, then it removes this stop-start, stop-start mentality that we have in regards creativity. It has taken me a loooooong time to release this! In fact I have only just discovered this truth and I want you to really listen to it because my word the proof that this works is in the pudding! My creative pudding I mean, that I am currently making in this creative roll right now all because I released this mentality.
So why is it important to remove this stop-start, stop-start mentality? Because shedding this is almost like taking off the creative blinkers. It restores our understanding that our creativity is one long sinuous circle, or cycle if you want to think of it that way. It restores the understanding of our creative MOMENTUM
If there is no stop-start, then there is continuous motion, 
if there is motion then we are in action, 
if we are in action then we are in control of our own creative power.

Momentum is *p*o*w*e*r*f*u*l*
It makes you feel *good*
It makes you feel productive
It makes you feel like you are creatively flying, creatively courageous, creatively ON A ROLL

Isaac Newton's first law of motion
(also referred to as the law of inertia) is mostly surmised as:
An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.

In terms of our creativity that unbalanced force (sometimes also surmised as an external force) is always, always ourselves.

(A physics lesson on my artsy fartsy blog, who knew?)

and contrary to the beliefs that we often hold when we are out of motion it is not difficult to regain. I know I have previously fallen under the 'it's so hard to start now I've stopped' trap, but in truth it isn't, this is just a nontruth we tell ourselves. It's a nontruth because if we accept that even in our down times we are creating, that there is NO stop/start, then we also accept that through this continuous creation we will always have momentum working in our favour, you see?

However here are some tips for achieving that feeling of momentum just in cases you don't/can't take my word for accepting that we are always creative (I don't expect you to either, you have to feel it, and feeling can only come from experiencing, not from words, so here's some tips for feeling it)

1. Create something everyday
This is hard for some people because 'I'm too busy', 'I'm too tired', 'I'm not in the mood', 'I haven't got the time'. Guess what? These are all excuses. Truly, and we all know it. Because creating something can be a simple thought. It doesn't even need to be an action, just a simple thought of a project you want to do or are doing, it does not need to be this HUGE undertaking we commit to (which many of us, myself included, can fall into the trap of when starting a new habit). We all know the 'I must do fifty sit-ups daily', 'I must cut chocolate completely out of my diet' all-in tactics rarely work for long. Take the pressure off of this tip - doodle while on the phone, slap paint down mindlessly for 10 minutes or write down that new idea while on the bus, do something small daily, but DO something (even if it's only a thought!)

2. Journal your momentum.
I wrote a top tip once in this blogpost all about how to evapourate the rubbish feelings of unproductivity. It's simple, all you do on days when you feel yucky, like creative momentum has long since been lost, is list out ALL those things you did do that day. This could take a while, because until you do this exercise you do not realise HOW many things we do do everyday. If you have had some creative thoughts as mentioned in tip 1. write those down too. Seriously this seems so simple that it could never actually work but it really really does. Even on your least productive days this exercise will make you realise how much you have actually been ON IT with all those little things we never give ourselves credit for doing. Then breathe in deep as that feeling of momentum is restored.
PS the last item on your list can be 'I wrote this list' =)

3. Understand Mircomovements
Here I am quoting SARK's book Make Your Creative Dreams Real, which I picked up yesterday. It is all about recognising that big projects happen through little iddy bitty movements - which any project manager, mother or anyone who ever created anything ever, all of us basically - can understand and get to grips with if we want to. SARK gives the timeframe of 5 seconds to 5 minutes for each one, only having one days read of it I cannot give too much else away but it is exactly the same as the principle I shared in last weeks 'Dirty Water' post:
'constant dripping hollows the stone,
no matter what little creativity you think you are putting in
...every drop of effort counts'
So plan out your big projects, break up your creative desires into iddy bitty little pieces and then use tip 1. to do them, and tip 2. to track your progress, until you have produced wonderful creative projects faster than what you could ever have imagined. 
Until you feel 100% in and on your fabulous creative roll =)

Thanks for reading,
Happy, joyful, momentous creating =)

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Tell All Tuesday ~ Featured Artist: Janelle Marks

Hi guys
Welcome to the first TAT in a while, I gave this feature a little rest so that I could gather more interviewees to get rollin' again...and now I have, let's roll...
first up is a textile artist with some really beautiful work, ennnnnnnnjjjoy =)

Tell us a little bit about yourself & what kind of artist you are.
I’m Janelle Marks and I live in Michigan, USA. I am primarily a textile artist, but I also love to paint with acrylics and mixed media. I have been keeping an art journal for a few years and I love making my own journals too. It is very satisfying to make a journal and fill it with my art. I love to make journal covers out of fabric that are painted and quilted, so they are uniquely mine. I dye or paint most the fabric that I use to create art quilts and textile crafts. I also use recycled or reclaimed textiles along with new materials to create my textile art. I have a loving husband and five kids and use all the time that I can carve out of my days for creating art.

What is the biggest challenge you personally face as an artist and how do you overcome it?
My biggest challenge is using the time that I have available for creating without wasting it. It’s tough to fit creativity into my daily life sometimes. I want to be able to develop as an artist and find my own voice, but some days it is a challenge just to get into the studio and create anything at all. At the same time I don’t want to rush these years with my kids still at home and not be there for them. Finding a balance is difficult and takes a lot of figuring and flexibility to make it all work. I try my best to find that balance because I feel that I am at my best as a mother and person when I have some creative time every day.

Do you think you have achieved a uniquely recognisable style as an artist, or do you find it a struggle to find your own style?
I find it difficult to see my style sometimes and feel that I am all over the spectrum. I love making a lot of different types of art and crafts, but sometimes that makes my style hard to see. At the same time I don’t want to make just one kind of art because I would get bored. I do like to follow each idea passionately, but then I want to go onto the next new thing. I am contemplating working on a longer series right now, so that I can focus on one thing long enough to go deep into the process and the feelings behind the art. Hopefully that will help my style emerge. 

What do you find easiest / hardest in your art?
When I first started taking mixed media classes on-line I found it really hard to draw or paint a female face. After practicing for three years I can make a face that I’m happy with much easier. I still struggle sometimes to get the faces just the way I want them, but it has become much easier. Practicing consistently will help improve your skills and allow you to make art that speaks to your soul even if it isn't classically perfect. My goal is to practice regularly so that I can improve even more. 

Tell us where can we find out more about you & your art?
My website is Hands and Harts. I blog about once a week and I also sell my art from my website. You can find me on Facebook too, I love interacting with people and would love it if you would come a visit me on-line.

Thanks for a great interview Janelle =) I LOVE the last piece with the trees, just beautiful. I also really liked what you said about 'I feel that I am at my best as a mother and person when I have some creative time every day' because even without 5 kids I can say it is real easy to find reasons not to find time to be creative, so I cannot imagine the added pressure of that with. But what I love is that you feel it makes you better as a mother, and person generally, because our society doesn't really resonate with this, in honesty we are taught that it's more noble/right/normal to martyr ourselves than to ever give any kind of self service, so thank you for being such a good advocate for this =)

Do you want to take part in TAT??
Email me or click the link to find all the details here =)

Friday, 17 October 2014

Paint with Dirty Water

...literally painting with dirty water, not just to clean the brushes but using it as the medium:
All her skin is dirty desk water, zero paint 

It actually turned out really luminous, I couldn't believe disgusting days-old boggy-coloured desk water could turn out so beautiful and lovely to look at in the light. 

Why am I telling you this?? Well basically because I am still in the midst of the secret projects I discussed last week (and am likely to be for a couple more to come) & am clutching at straws, looking for anything creative I can share with you lol I am very busy working on wonderful things for Journal Workshops, for this and for that and for other places I yet cannot share

But in all honesty I want to share the dirty water story anyway, because like a lily that will push for a while through all kinds of it's own mucky bog water just to bloom its beauty for a few days, that's what I feel like so many creative projects are and do.

The girl on the dirty water art journal page was done so hastily with hardly any effort, simply so I could use up some left over paint from another project before it dried (the hair and red of the lips and background) - I gave it that much little effort that I couldn't even be bothered to pull out a media to paint the rest of her with, hence why I used the dirty water. 

My point I guess is constant dripping hollows the stone, no matter what little creativity you think you are putting in, not matter what crappy tools you think you have to make something, every drop of effort, and every drop of disgusting days old boggy-coloured desk water if used, counts.

So I'm off to drip, drip, drip some more =)
(or like the lily push on a lil more)
have a fabulous weekend
I promise not to be elusive for too much longer :/

Friday, 10 October 2014

Secret Projects 1, 2, 3...

...or reasons to be cheerful one, two, three...I've that song stuck in my head now, no idea who sang it or even the second line but there we go!

It's my Weekly Ramble, so usually I ramble about what creatively I have done for the week, pretty self explanatory...except this week I CANNOT ramble about what I've been doing, which kinda sucks but also is AWESOME at the same time because I am ON IT! Actively creating like mad on secret projects one, two and three and am soooooo excited about them and this creative roll I am on. In a recent ramble I mentioned how September was lacking of that creative instinct & inspiration and how I intended October to be better...well HELLO I've got my wish - and the three things I am working hella hard on are for sharing in the big bad online world so hopefully you guys who are wanting some fun arting time with me will also enjoy this roll of soon as is humanly possible I hope =) 

Close-up of an updated page from last week's ramble on art journaling
...just so you have something to look at lol

But in the meantime, before I can unveil what the heck secret projects one, two and three are, I'm planning on rolling out Tell All Tuesday Artist Interviews once again either next week or the week after. I've left it a while so that I can get a few more artist interviews together and am still looking for more artists to feature to keep this series going so whether you are a seasoned artist (whatever that means!) or a newbie I wanna hear from you! All stories are welcome, valid and inspirational - don't ever let anyone tell you yours is's the deets:

Email me or click the link to find all the details here =)

See you for a hopefully more rambly ramble next week!

Friday, 3 October 2014

Weekly Ramble ~ All About Art Journaling

Hi guys
thanks for joining me today, my weekly ramble this week is all about the journal pages =)

First off my week started with the Monthly Art Journaling Challenge creation I did for our Journal Workshops Group, if you would like to join in, watch the videos, see others interpretations, chat and be part of a community you can do so here:

my challenge this month

I've also been making journal pages that are kinda in that 'what now' know what I mean? That stage where that background has been done to your liking and now you want a focal, but not sure yet what exactly it is you wanna do with it?

Like this evolution of a journal page here:

I have a couple of pages currently like this, just waiting for the next stage of their evolution. 

Oftentimes I sit down to art journal & the whole thing comes out in one go, other times it takes many segments - and while the impatient part of me could get quite frustration at that I try to recognise it as just one of my natural art journaling patterns, and allow my creativity to do as it desires and take the lessons from it that it allows me to notice.

Finally I did a little treat earlier in the week for my newsletter readers and gave them viewing of a private video I did a little while ago, I have since decided to share it with you, and the lovely Journal Workshops members for being so super awesome and reading this/being a part of my gorgeous community. I thought I have already made it, so I might as well share it as that's what I'm bestest at anyways =) So here you are if you haven't seen it via my newsletter. 
Have a happy & creative weekend, Jennibellie x

Friday, 26 September 2014

Weekly Ramble ~ That Dirty Hands ALL THE TIME Feeling

Hi guys
so if you're a regular visitor to my blog you may have seen my September posting has been a bit...sporadic. Last week's Ramble mentioned being MIA from art, and life, and that was true on soooo many levels. But I'm feeling more positive and focused and happy now as I look ahead to October, and hopefully this blog, Journal Workshops, my videos etc etc will reflect that too. It's time to make time for art again...well really I've already started with daily art projects, even if all I can manage is a 10 minute background here and there. 

But what I'm feeling is that excitement to get my hands dirty all the time again, which is a feeling I have missed & I'm so happy it's back, it's the partner to truely fabulously happy artful adventures and discoveries, and to wonderful pieces of art to which you feel a real least that's how it works for me.

So what have I been up to this week with my new found creative surge, well of course the Wall Project as mentioned in the last Ramble, here's some progress:
The finished mermaid...
nicknamed 'Shelly'...three guesses why lol

And if you follow my facebook page you may have seen this pic of the Postcard Wall in progess:

Well here it is complete:

I've still more to do on this project but will knock a vlog together to share here once works done so you can see all the glorious results, pictures don't really show them properly I think - probably because they are *huge*

And as for what else I've got coming, tonight I'm gonna pick the Monthly Challenge we will be doing in the Journal Workshops Group for October so I can make a video for that this weekend yaaaay =) so don't forget to head over there come the first. Also as I haven't 'done' much (online art world speaking) this month for my Monthly Newsletter I will be revealing a never before seen video ooooooooh....which makes a video sound far more exciting than it warrants I think haha but it will be exclusive for my newsletter subscribers on the 30th. Then September is done and then onto happy October & lotsa lotsa projects which I am really excited about, as I think I've mentioned ;)

So if you are subscribed to the Monthly Challenge Group or My Newsletter I'll be seeing you in video form before next week, otherwise I'll just be seeing you =)
Have a Happy Weekend

Friday, 19 September 2014

Weekly Ramble ~ MIA from Art

So I'm been rather absent this week from the online art world, from art...and heck it's just been one of those MIA weeks in life in general, if you know what I mean. The only art I've spent anytime doing is a revisitation to my Wall Project I did a Ramble on a few Rambles ago.

I've been painting bits here and there for a while,
like a batch of seagulls here:

a mermaid there:

This is how I just left my desk to come write this blogpost:
a fishtail and a sweepiebum ( feet now feel cold un-sweepiefied!)

I've been painting when I can so that when I can find a full day to take out to finish the Wall Project (may be 7 walls down, 5 to go or something similar) I'll be ready but I'm having difficulty 'finding' a day. I remember one of my first ever blogposts was about how 'finding' time for creativity is often impossible (just like exercise, or anything else healthy but can be deemed unimportant-right-now in comparison to other things) you have to make it, so that's what I'm doing. I'm just going to paint like crazy the rest of tonight so I can go this weekend and do as much as I can, and that's why I've been MIA from other things. I've learned in the past few weeks that sometimes you just have to focus on the one thing and concentrate on that till it's done, which is difficult for me as it's not the natural way for my creativity. I like to create a lot of different projects at once, but that's just not working here so I'm central focusing now till the jobs done. I'm hoping that'll mean I'll have something new to report here next week, but to make that happen I'm gonna get back to it...and my furry feet warmer. 
I may post FB pics of the walls as they go up if you wanna see
Hope you have a happy arty weekend
and fyi if you're missing my arty absense from all things online related please don't forget about Journal Workshops - a place where creativity continues abundantly xoxo

Friday, 12 September 2014

Weekly Ramble ~ The Blah Factor...and what I do when I'm in it

I'm feeling so blah! this week. And like everything if I feel it in one way, I often feel it in my artwork too, so there has not been much happening but I want to share what I do do when the blaaaaaah monster strikes!

First I make some backgrounds:
...coz they're easy, and free-flowing, and always useful for the future

Next I make 'easy pages' (but only if I can be bothered!) like this one this evening...
'Easy pages' are made by choosing things to focus on that do not take much effort, processes you've done 1,000s of times before or by picking an object to paint/doodle in front of you so the guess work or the 'what do I do now?' stuff is taken out of it.

Finally I also quit when I feel so blah that I don't want to do it.
For example last night I went to bed early and watched a movie! OMG!
Last night I realised that's something I class as a major luxury, the last time I did it was because I was having a girly night in and I tend to keep it for those 'occasions', or the rare times I feel ill and want Johnny Depp/Colin Firth comfort! But not any more! It is something I could do every week (/every night even) if I wanted, and it shouldn't take other people coming over or me being ill to force me to chillax in a way that I really enjoy (who doesn't love movies?). So this is now my go to fix for the blah factor, and I'm sharing here because throughout this year I have found myself taking notice of the ways in which I might be hard on myself, sharing them here and making a conscious effort to change my behaviours and self-talk that isn't assisting me. 

I think this may make people reading think that I'm always harsh with myself or something lol I'm not, I just think it's important for each of us to recognise those areas where we are hard on ourselves and then learn ease up on our only-ever-gonna-be-lived-in-this-once-ever-selves. This year I have lifted so much stress off of myself, become so much happier (and wiser) and gentler to myself through actively listening to myself, and changing such small thinking patterns like 'movies are a luxury'. This little habit of thought is not an all singing all dancing nasty inner critic, it's just a tiny small thing that obvious lodged itself in my system somewhere but it did not become visible to me until the blah factor came in and shone a light on it. And by doing this it proved to me once again (as I have learnt a lot this year) that the "bad" thoughts/emotions are not necessarily the undesirable things we make them out to be, but are here, like the good, to teach us something. So I guess in this long section what my last thing to do in the blah factor is to recognise why it might be here in the first place (I'm tired, I'm uninspired, I haven't been taking care of myself etc etc) then learn anything we can from it (it's okay to take time out to recuperate, it's okay to focus on gathering inspiration for myself, it's okay to go to bed early and watch movies!)

So in conclusion the blah factor isn't all that bad, it's frustrating, it's confusing, it's scattering but
it sure is fun to just paint backgrounds and watch movies!

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