Creativity, Darkness & Magic

Every Monday, Wednesday & Friday morning I invite you Behind the Scenes at my studio.

Today: Thinking about what our creativity needs, especially in the dark times, I remember that we are the magic.

Mentioned in Today’s Show

Shibumi & Tulip

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10 Things I Want Committed Creatives to Know

Jamie Ridler Committed Creative

I recently wrote 10 Things I Want You to Know When You Are Discovering or Recovering Your Creative Heart . Now, I have a message for those of you who are, beyond a shadow of a doubt, (okay, there is still shadow and doubt,) to your creativity.

1. There will be dark days. There will be days when you doubt your work, the world and yourself. It doesn’t mean you don’t know what you’re doing. It doesn’t mean you are not meant for this. Emotional storms are inevitable on the creative journey. Develop practices that support you when they arrive. Move your body. Journal. Change your environment. Get extra sleep. Give yourself a port in the storm.

2. It’s Worth It. Especially on those dark days, you may question whether it is worth it, whether this art that calls you is a divine guide or a siren song. The truth is, whatever happens, your artistic heart is undeniable. It has been and always will be with you. Be true to it, no matter what. If you find yourself suffering too much and too long, change something. Take a break. Make a shift.  You could be you on the wrong path but you are not on the wrong journey. Never doubt your creative compass. Following true north is always worth it.

3. Honour the Work. Having built a relationship with art and creativity, you are a part of a tribe of people whose devotion tends to the creative fire not only for your self but also for all of us. Whether you are creating, observing, teaching or learning, honour the work. How you show up to art is a model for others. Be a powerful and positive representative wherever you are.

4. Commit to your craft. In order to bridge the gap between what you envision and what you create, continue to hone your skills. A master is never done. S/he has embarked on a lifetime of learning. Don’t get discouraged or complacent. Embrace the journey. Delight in discovery. Do the work.

5. Tune Your Instrument. Always be in creative practice. Keep limber. Don’t take for granted the hard-earned skills you have developed. Keep them sharp and yourself spry so you are ready for creative inspiration and challenge when it arrives. Be ready to play.

6. Trust Your Artistic Voice. As we create, we look for clues that we’re on to something. Some are internal clues, like when your hair stands on end, when tears fill your eyes or laughter escapes into the air. These are all signs that yes, this is it! This is the resonance we look for, that place where our artistic voice and our creation are dancing. There are also external clues, like when the room falls silent or bursts into applause, when people praise your work or pan it. You must trust the internal most of all. Even if your income relies on people loving your work, you must make time in your studio for creating what is unwaveringly true to your artistic voice.

7. There is always a new edge. As a creative, you will always be dancing on the edge of what you know. Inspiration will take you beyond what you’ve done before into new territory. Over and over again, let yourself be a beginner. It will require bravery. It will demand leaving your ego at the door. Become masterful at being a novice. You and the work will be richer for it.

8. Don’t let money define you. When we are serious about our creative practice and our creative work, we often assume that the best path is to make it our profession. That is a good and noble path but it is not the only one. In fact, sometimes our motivation for transforming our passion into our profession is that we want the world and our loved ones (often our partners) to believe that our art is worthy of our devotion. We may also be seeking financial proof that we are worthy of being called an artist. Money does not define you. If you show up with sincere devotion, if you commit to your craft and do the work, if you build a body of work that is true to you, you are worthy.

9. There are more ideas than time. Though it might not feel like it, this is a blessing not a problem. You are a traveller blessed with a world so vast and beautiful it is greater than one person, greater than one lifetime. There is always a next adventure – the next project to create, the next idea to bring to life, the next level of excellence to reach. Let go of the paralyzing need to have it all and instead choose and create. Then choose and create again and again and again. Then, instead of a wall of frustration, you will be building a body of work. You will be using your time, not losing it.

10. Leave a Legacy. Every now and then in your creative life, stop to gather and celebrate your accomplishments. Frame 7 pieces. Create a portfolio. Put on a show. Pull your work together into a book and bind it. However you do it, create a frame around the work that says, “I made this,” so that you can see the fruits of your artistic labour – the progress, the passion, the personality. Tell your story. Share your work. Be a part of the creative conversation. Take your place amongst those for whom creativity and art are central to life. Take your place, because that is your truth and you belong.

And one more…

Be a Light. No matter where you are on the journey, you are ahead of some and behind others. Just as you hope those ahead will guide the way, be a light to those behind you. Be generous with your knowledge, especially if it is hard-won. Be welcoming, especially if you know what it is to be intimidated to enter. Add your wisdom to the collective pool and your artistic life will move us all forward.

Art, Junk Journals & Unicorns

Every Monday, Wednesday & Friday morning I invite you Behind the Scenes at my studio.

Today: For some people, art and creativity are they way they understand the world! If that’s you, it’s time to make that a priority. Plus, you know it’s a good day when unicorns arrive in the mail!

Mentioned in Today’s Show

Unicorn Mail

Send #BTS Bulletin Unicorn Mail to:

Jamie Ridler
PO Box 72054
1630 Danforth Ave
Toronto, ON
M4C 1H6

One Vulnerable Truth about Our Kitten Rescue

2017-03-16 Scout Shibumi Escher

It’s hard to believe that it’s almost two years since that fateful day when I followed a “free kittens” sign into a trashed apartment and saw Escher giving me the stink-eye from behind the fridge. Within hours, three mistreated abandoned kittens had a new home. It’s been a slow and patient process of building trust, of learning to love and be loved. And I want to tell you something vulnerable (since we seem to be on that theme today) and true. Sometimes it’s hard. Even now, sometimes it’s hard.

I’ll stumble across adorable videos of someone playing with their docile, loving kittens and think, it was never like that for us. When I see loving, peaceful, gentle cats being picked up and cuddled, when I see head butts and paw taps and cats curled up in laps, all those beautiful moments of cat love, a deep longing stirs inside me. We have some of these moments but they are often few and far between.

This is not to say that I don’t love these three. If you’ve been around for the journey you know how fiercely I do. I love discovering each of their personalities – Scout’s sweetness, Shibumi’s irrepressibleness and Escher’s deep presence. I’ve cherished helping each one feel secure enough to eat, to sleep, to relax and to be at home. It is an extraordinary thing to help a cat learn what it is to be pet, to help them receive love.They are my muses and they live in a deep place in my heart.

It’s also not to say they haven’t come leaps and bounds from where we started. They have and I believe they will continue to do so. Scout regularly offers up his belly for pets. Shibumi purrs as soon as I talk to her. And Escher… well… even Escher now brings me his toy and comes to me for pets. There are a million precious moments I treasure.

But I don’t want to romanticize what it means to rescue abandoned kittens. I want to tell the whole story, a story of the kind of love that meets and stays with the truth. The truth is these three are still a little wild and maybe they always will be. The truth is I’ll probably always love that about them, even as I wish they would be tame.

stART: Creating as We Go – Sticking With One Kinda Thing (episode 76)

Every couple of weeks I film stART: Creating as We Go with my two sisters, Suzie and Shannon. We share our creative projects, from challenges to celebrations, and support each other’s creative lives. It has been a prolific time for all three of us, with a multitude of work to share and often it is all on one project or practice! How unusual is that? Shannon talks about getting intentional; Suzie and I both share insights and the process behind our upcoming books. What an exciting time! Enjoy!

In this episode we mention…

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