Tag Archives: Julia Cameron

Style

As a visual artist, I have often been asked to define my style, and nine times out of ten, I fail miserable at being able to defining my style in words.  Yet, if you look at my portfolio, my style is very evident.  From the bold colors to the crisp blacks lines, there is a common thread that connects my works of art that have been created over the years. 

Part of the hesitation to define my style comes from knowing that labels stifle creativity.  Yet, there is a balancing act that takes place in knowing yourself as an artist and giving yourself the creative freedom to explore.  As Julia Cameron states in Walking in this World:

“Art” is less about what we could be and more about what we are than we normally acknowledge.  When we are fixated on getting better, we miss what it is we already are–and this is dangerous because we–as we are–are the origin of our art.  “We” are what makes our art original.  If we are always striving to be something more and something different, we dilute the of what it is we actually are.  [In] doing that, we dilute our art.

This danger of striving to be something more, something different is exactly what I’ve been struggling with this past year.  Part of me questioned if it was time to move onto a different subject matter…something besides the series of senuous female portraits I have been exploring in recent years.  Then another part of me felt compelled to tackle larger scale paintings.  It finally reached the point where I took a break from creating any new paintings. 

Yet even during this creative break, I find myself embracing creativity from designing my own jewelry to painting glass candle holders for our bedroom.  And it’s been during this creative break that I’m rediscovering my style.

Several new ideas for paintings fill my head, but I’m taking one step at a time.  As Julia recommends:

Just as in romance, too serious, too fast, and the fun fizzles out.  We need to flirt with an interest, approach it with a sidelong glance … We must learn to explore, not repress, our intuition.  Intuition is key to creative unfolding.

So I’m getting back to basics, from going on meditative walks to taking artist’s dates.  Every day brings a new adventure, and in time, maybe I’ll finally discover the Holy Grail of paintings.  Until then, I embrace the little sparks of divine inspiration that each day brings.

Post inspired by this week’s theme at Sunday Scribblings

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Mapping your Interests

This morning I started searching for weekly art challenges, but didn’t come across anything that called out to me so I returned to reading one of the chapters on discovering a sense of perspective in Walking in this World by Julia Cameron.

One of the sections in this chapters calls you to map out your interests in groups of [5].  So far, I’ve only got four with each prompt, but it’s a start.  Also, not all of her prompts call out to me so I created a couple new categories of my own:

Five art forms that interest me are…

  1. Drumming ~ Helps balance the left/right brain and create a mind*body*spirit connection.
  2. Jewelry Making ~ As someone that has traditionally been a painter, it’s cool to explore a new avenue of creativity that gives me the opportunity to wear my designs.
  3. Journaling ~ Besides just writing, I recently started creating hard cover wire bound journals.
  4. Soft Pastels ~ Soft pastel sticks are essentially pure pigmented color binded in a stick.  When applied to paper, the powder breaks up into pure color dust that can be molded together with your fingers.  And to me, there is just something powerful about taking pure color and molding it into something. 

Five Projects Ideas…

  1. Affirmation Magnets ~ I have these in mind for the office, but they would also be great for the home, school, or anywhere you need a little boost of inspiration.
  2. Drum/Musical Inspired Painting
  3. Hand crafted wire bound Journal ~ To date, I have crafted four hand crafted wire bound journals, but none have been designed for myself. So I need to brainstorm on the elements I want to incorporate into one I would use on a daily basis.
  4. Madonna inspired Christmas Cards ~ Christmas is just around the corner so I need to find an Madonna image to serve as my source of inspiration in the design of this card.

Five Abandoned Projects that I need to finish…

  1. Wine Cork Trivets ~ Most of the hard work has been completed.  Just need to finish painting the frame, attach the backing board, & glue the wine corks
  2. Non-Conforming Necklace ~ I call it the non-conforming necklace since it doesn’t follow any traditional pattern or design.  All the beads are random placed.
  3. Kitchen Curtains ~ They are sitting up in the sewing room.  All clean and just awaiting a simple trimming so they don’t rest on the floor where they tend to get dirty quick!
  4. Mat Newspaper Article ~ The author of the article gave me a beautiful high gloss print of the article that I have all the supplies to proper mat & frame it.  Just need to set aside the time to complete this project.

If you feel inspired to map out your interests on your blog, please post a link here so I can check it out.

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Late night adventures at the bookstore

Inspiration is always just around the corner if you’re willing to seek it out. Get out of the house. Drive down to the library or the bookstore. Visit the museum. Go listen to live music. Attend a spoken word event. Seek out your inspiration. As Julia Cameron writes in the Sound of Paper:

In order to make art, we must first make an artful life, a life rich enough and diverse enough to fuel. We must strive to see the beauty where we are planted, even if we are planted somewhere that feels very foreign to our own nature.

So tonight I went hunting for inspiration and found it at the bookstore. Found a book,  Artists’ Journals & Sketchbooks: Exploring and Creating Personal Pages, by Lynne Perrella. It’s full of page after page of ideas and visual inspiration to get you thinking and exploring different styles of artwork.

So here’s my list of top ten ideas sparked from this evening’s adventures:

  1. A dark and moody portrait
    with suns and moons
    in the background.
  2. Experiment with
    image transfers.
  3. Build a collage
    inspired by a
    famous art quote.
  4. Explore different fonts.
  5. Backgrounds with text.
  6. Music Notes
  7. A series of bird
    inspired pieces.
  8. Butterflies.
  9. Tarot card.
  10. Architecture.

So what does your list look like?

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Trusting in your intuition

During high school my art teacher awarded me as the outstanding senior painter of the year. That essentially sums up the extent of my formal education in the arts. I attended college, even graduated with honors. But I never took another art class. To some in the art community, I’ve been looked down upon for npeacock featherever having formally studied art.  But I firmly believe that you can learn anything if you put your heart, mind, and soul into it. So that’s what I did… I practiced self-study in the field of painting. I looked towards the masters to see what lessons they could pass on to me while still exploring my own theories in art.

My best friend during college thought it was probably a good thing, and this is coming from someone formally trained in the arts as a graphic designer. Her rationale was that the professors probably would have done more harm than good, and in some ways, she was probably right.

Besides having one of the worst inner critics, I’ve never been one to create on demand very well. If you tell me to paint pretty landscapes, I’ll paint nudes. If you tell me to paint a nude, I’ll paint birds.

My brain naturally resists the slightest notion of creating on demand. However, I have successfully created commission pieces if I felt passionate about the piece.

As Julia Cameron states:

So much of art hinges on our ability to trust intuition, to follow our hunch about what “might” or “could” come next.

It’s good to make art part of your everyday life. But you have to be careful to not get too serious. To remember to laugh and remind yourself that it’s okay to fail, to have a bad day at the easel. To type 10,000 words of absolute garbage. It’s needed to let the muse have a chance to sing. She sometimes whispers, screams, or doesn’t speak at all. The point is to continue listening for when inspiration might speak. To continue being creative, even if it isn’t your masterpiece.

I find myself needing to consider this idea often right now as I work on an upcoming exhibit that is focused completely on my exploration of female portraits and nudes. It’s been an avenue of artwork that I’ve been passionately creating for years, but exactly when I receive requests to create more pieces in this style- larger pieces, full of expression- I freeze up. And I start thinking about painting peacocks or trombones or coffee cups.

Well, I might create a peacock painting eventually, but this weekend is going to be completely focused on painting pieces for the upcoming exhibit. We are going to make it the perfect weekend.

Brian has promised to keep me fed, watered, and well cared for as I delve into my studio.

More to come this weekend as I share my adventures so stay tuned…

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Rediscovering your dreams

sculptureI am now officially in the second week of Walking in this World by Julia Cameron, and if you have ever actively used any of her books, you’ll remember how she is great at getting you to rediscover forgotten dreams. For me, personally, I have been very fortunate to receive opportunities to experiment with different mediums. During college, I basically had art supplies given to me from fellow artists that were retired, which I still use to this day. However, for me, one of the unexplored territories that I long to dive into has been sculpture and working with clay. While I had the opportunity to experiment with clay during high school art class, it’s one of those mediums that requires access to special tools and supplies, which is hard to come by unless you either invest money into the craft or take a class. Thus, I have made a commitment to dedicate any upcoming funds received on my artwork to a class where I can explore and learn more about either sculpture or creating works of art with clay depending on what I can find offered locally here. So stay tuned for upcoming ebay auctions!

As for the rest of you readers, what forgotten dreams do you have? Is there anything artistically that you’ve always wanted to explore and never got around to? If so, what is a small step you can take to make the dream a reality?

[Sculpture shot at Mirta's Gallery...while it's definitely not the best shot...I love the play on shadows this one creates.]
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20 Things

2007 Weekly Planner Along with the recent purchase of Walking in this World, I discovered the coolest weekly planner for only $4 at the bookstore! With it’s unusual shape, it’s large enough to keep track of my whole day, and yet, I can still see the entire week on two pages, which I love since I typically goal set in weekly chucks of time. But unlike most planners, it was designed with style so I can envision myself using it for both work and personal goals.

As for embarking on my adventures in reading Walking in this World, the first exercise in the book is to make a list of 20 creative small steps you can take right now. It’s an exercise that I’ve done in the past, but it’s not something I’ve been particularly good at following up on. As a result, some projects stay in the back of my mind and get pushed to the side as I come up with new creative endeavors. So I’ve been thinking of creating a master list somewhere on the site similar in theory to 43 things, that way I’m constantly reminded to finish what I start…

1. Replant my orchids into ceramic pots: one down, two to go once they stop blooming. :)
2. Create a homemade card organizer.
3. Create another cut flower garden on the south side of the house.
4. Redesign and organize my studio.
5. Sell my prints on ebay.
6. Buy a plant for my mailbox hanging plant holder.
7. Create a spring desktop image.
8. Have a spa night with my mom.
9. Finish collaging my seed box using pressed flowers and rosemary.
10. Find a new image box to keep inspirational clippings.
11. Have a fabulous photo taken of my mom and me.
12. Recover my artist stool.
13. Make a list of my favorite creative books.
14. Sew a window seat for my cat, Cleo: ok, credit goes to my mom for this one, I just watched and learned.
15. Discover some new music for my ipod.
16. Make a Valentine’s Day card for my sweetie.
17. Plant a lemon tree.
18. Mat the orchid print for my mom.
19. Go to a local botanical garden center and take pictures.
20. Paint the spring wall plaque.

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