Friday, 31 October 2014

Creative Project Rabbits

Hello Beautifuls, 
My ramble today will be a bit on the fly, as I have many mini deadlines to do and all that really keeps rolling around in my head to talk about today (rolling around is my sure creative sign that I have to act on it....otherwise it just continues and I go is Creative Project Breeding!

....yeah I like that name, think I might trademark it hehe

Anyhow this concept in my head really revolves around this quote by Picasso:
“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.”

I love this quote. I have loved it for years. It helps put my butt in the chair & create when 'I don't wanna, I don't wanna, I don't wanna' (but secretly know it will really help!). It helps me keep the faith in knowing that if I turn up, so will my mojo - especially when I sit staring blankly around my studio, waiting for a pencil to spring to life and jump into my hand for me. It helps me loosen up and not expect something brilliant to evolve the instant I put paintbrush to paper & above all to remember that creativity is a process.

What I never understood about this quote before is that Picasso might not actually be talking about the project you think he's talking about. (Yeah I know he's not really talking to us, or about any of our creative projects, but wouldn't it be cool if he were, if he were a little Picasso buddy sitting on our shoulders? Much better than that damn annoying inner critic!) What I mean is first glance this quote appears to mean all those things that I just mentioned - basically that if you turn up to create, then inspiration will turn up afterwards and join you. 
what if you turned up to create because you are already inspired? Does this 'afterwards' inspiration then disappear? Does it then say 'oh I see your busy with another inspiration right now, I'll come back later?' Does inspiration then stop once that initial burst to get you creating has been given and not grow, evolve or meet up with the 'afterwards' inspiration to have a *p*a*r*t*a*y*?? Not in my experience. 

What I have realised this quote by Picasso might mean is that
Creativity Breeds Creativity
That it means when you are working, with inspiration flowing or not, that more and more inspiration will flow, and flow abundantly, crazily, even overpoweringly. This ties in a lot with my uber popular (thanks guys!) blogpost I did last week 'How to Get On *& Stay On* a Creative ROLL' which is all about MOMENTUM, which is essentially what I now see Picasso saying here, as:
Action inspires Creation. 
Creation inspires Action. 
That is the simplest way I can think to put it.

This has been happening to me A LOT lately. And it's kinda annoying, because while I'm busy busy busy working away on one project I suddenly get ideas & desires to start another, and then another aaaaaaand then another. Mostly I just write the ideas down, and allow them to still have room in my head to incubate, but continue on with what I am creating...

making my weekend creative action list fun, even if I deviate from it

But sometimes the inspiration is so strong I have to act, and when I do this the projects themselves just seem to come together so swiftly and easily it's like someone else did them. 

And what is more I don't feel like they are taking anything away from the other projects I am creating, in fact quite the opposite, I feel they are assisting them somehow. May be by allowing the original projects some rest-bite to cultivate and accumulate better and better ideas for making their own progress better. I also feel that going off on this inspired action adds fuel to complete other projects too, because of the Creative Roll I spoke of last week - basically it's keeping the creativity muscle well and truly flexed.

My 'Daily Gratitude Journal Kit' above is one such project. At the beginning of this week this kit had not even been thought of, and now by the end of it, it is finished and available in my shop:

So what I'm hoping all this inspiration and action
(and inspired action)
means is that by next weeks Weekly Ramble I'll be announcing one of these projects, then on, and on, and on, for all of November =) lol I guess we'll have to wait n see.

Love you all, thank you for listening to me ramble
PS want something from me before next week?
I'm posting an IMMENSE video tomorrow for Novembers Challenge in the Monthly Challenge Group on Journal Workshops - it's epic & you're welcome to join us =)

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Tell All Tuesday ~ Featured Artist: Miranda Degenaars

Hello Lovelies
Tuesday again, and the last of October - ouch-chiwawa!
But that does mean I'm back with another Tell All Tuesday. Think you'd like to take the hotseat?? Details for being featured are below the interview. 

Enjoy meeting this weeks artist =)

Tell us a little bit about yourself & what kind of artist you are.
My name is Miranda Degenaars, 53 years of age and I live in the Netherlands together with Ronald and our 8-year-old son Daniel. I have always been a creative soul and as long I can remember I was drawing and coloring. Always wanted to make things more beautiful. I like different kind of styles, techniques and because I like a lot of things it’s sometimes difficult to choose…and to keep focused on one thing at the time. I am a designer for several stamping companies and shops and a writer of some books. I am an artist who wants to make the world more beautiful with my art and to inspire other people to get connected with their creativity. A long time ago I started with drawing and painting, did some courses and for a short while I followed education on the school of arts. I love the effects of water coloring because it’s always a surprise what is coming out…Than the art of stamping came into my life and I became an ‘ addict’ of beautiful designs pressed into rubber. I am still trying to combine different techniques and mediums together to create my own style. At the moment I am trying to ‘ go beyond’ cards’ doing more mixed media and wanted to combine it all on larger surfaces as boards or canvas

What is the biggest challenge you personally face as an artist and how do you overcome it?
To say YES to everything and everyone that comes my way because I am a very enthusiastic person. But afterwards I realize that my time and energy is limited and I can’t do it ALL. So I try to be less impulsive and think about it first before I make a decision. And that has also to do with choices and setting boundaries. What is giving me energy and energy means in this way besides a good vibe also money. Don’t like to think about that but I have to.

Do you think you have achieved a uniquely recognizable style as an artist, or do you find it a struggle to find your own style?
I think I have a recognizable style but maybe the people who look at it can better be the judge of that. I think I am still developing myself in my art and hope to find the style I’ve always envisioned.

What is your heart’s greatest desire for your life as an artist?
To be able to create and work in a peaceful environment and to combine art with guiding other people to get in touch with their creative source! That could be in many forms and as well in groups or individual. I have two quotes that inspired me very much:
“Where your talents and the needs of the world cross; there lies your vocation.” (Aristoteles)
"Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." (Howard Thurman)

Tell us where can we find out more about you & your art?
I have two blogs; here and here and where you can see my drawings and paintings from some time ago. I don’t maintain this blog very well at the moment. Then I wrote these three books: Miracle art inspirations, Start the Miracle and More Miracle art. These are links to the publishers website. At this moment they are working on a translated version….so I hope to go overseas! Also you can find a lot of me on Pinterest, a great media to find inspiration!

Thank you for sharing Miranda, I appreciate your story and art =) I also have issues saying no to people and setting boundaries, and I think perhaps that has a lot to do with being an artist, like it's in the genes lol. I'm not saying every single artist in the world is completely that way or entirely selfness but I think half of art is wanting to get out what is inside of us, and the other half is then wanting to enrich others lives with it, or at least that is what I see a lot within the online creative community we are a part of. But I am personally getting better at saying no (as it would be impossible for me to bow to every request now anyway, as 2400 hours in the day would not allow me to achieve that) because when we serve ourselves first, we can then really serve others. The other way around is how society teaches us it should be, but as you are told when flying on an aircraft, you MUST put your air mask on first, before you can attend to someone elses!

Do you want to be a featured TAT artist??
To be featured email me or find all the details here =)

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

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