Category: Find Inspiration

Find Inspiration: Creating with Care

Looking for inspiration is a constant creative practice. When I find something that moves me, I let it sink in and then I think about what it is that moved me so deeply. * In Nick Bennett’s video of potters James and Tilla Waters, I am struck by two things.

First is the sensuality of the pottery experience. As though we were the potters themselves, we feel the light in the room, listen to the birds, feel the clay in our hands and the heat of the fire. We appreciate the pleasing visual shapes, subtle colours and interesting patterns. We can imagine the weight of the mug in our hands. What a beautiful reminder that the arts speak to all of our senses.

The second is the level of care put into this piece, which no doubt represents the level of care put into every piece these potters create. In this I am reminded of devotion to one’s craft and also the willingness to slow down time in order to be present with the task at hand.  Suddenly I feel less like rushing and bounding between projects and more like pouring my soul into one thing.

We all find different inspirations. In looking at the title of the video, I see the director was inspired by the sense of satisfaction that is created when this care and work is done.

What about this short film inspired you?

*This is the way I gather and explore Inspiration in my Studio Yearbook each day.  This practice invites me to engage in the world creatively and to discover what it is that calls to my creative heart. I

Find Inspiration: Callum Donovan Grujicich

One of my practices is actively looking for inspiration.  Every day I open up my awareness to the creative sparks available all around and I gather to me. I make note of them in my Studio Yearbook. They are my teachers. Some sparks become ideas that turn into projects. Some sparks open my mind to something new. Some sparks confirm my suspicions. All contribute to my creative life.

Watching this video about young sculptor Callum Donovan Grujicich came on the heels of my decision to restart my Studio Diaries.  For years I have been searching for the “right” format for this creative push inside of me and finally I remembered this:

The form will be revealed as you are doing the work. Not before.

This was reinforced when I heard Callum say, “I had to figure out how to make them because I had never seen anything like this before. After a while they evolved into what I make now.” Right. When you are doing something brand new, you have to figure it out. There is no recipe or road map but the treasure at the end is that you will have created something uniquely and powerfully you.

I was also struck by Callum’s statement: “I find it more interesting to put a bunch of different materials together.” His work developed as he followed what interested him. Thank you for the reminders, Callum.

What interests you right now?

What creative impulse are you willing to follow, even if you don’t know where it’s leading?

Find Inspiration: Beyond the Ceiling

This week I had the great good fortune to be sitting in an exquisite concert hall listening to the unparalleled voice of opera goddess Kathleen Battle performing for the opening night gala at the Royal Conservatory of Music.

Before the performance, several people gave speeches to mark Koerner Hall’s 10 th anniversary, including Dr. Peter Simon, who initiated the major build that created this magnificent space. He began with a vision of bringing diverse musicians and audience members together to share in the beauty of music and, Dr. Simon explained, he had imagined that maybe, every now and again, together we might experience a piece of heaven.

Imagine that.

His vision was to create something that maybe, just maybe, would offer a piece of heaven.

How bold. How sublime.

I turned to Justin right away and whispered, “I need to dream bigger!”

What I meant by “bigger” was “free of limitations”. I meant that it’s time to scrub away the dirt on any self-imposed glass ceilings and realize that they are not there. I meant that it’s time to remember that I have the freedom to dream whatever I choose to dream.

If Peter Simon can dream of offering a piece of heaven, what can I dream? What can you?

What if we were all that bold?

Imagine the dazzling world this would be.

PS. I must say that Peter achieved his dream when Kathleen Battle sang Swing Low, Sweet Chariot and we all held our breath.

Find Inspiration: Luca “Lazylegz” Patuelli

I have a regular Inspiration Practice. I look for inspiration every day and record what I find in my Studio Yearbook. I encourage myself to go beyond having a ‘feel good’ moment but instead try to really contemplate what has inspired me and see how I can integrate what I have learned into my creative life.

Today my sister Shannon introduced me to the CBC Arts series The Move. I watched episode one with Luca “Lazylegz” Patuelli and it was timely and helpful! Yesterday I hosted the Studio Yearbook Q&A and one of the big questions that came up, and that comes up every season, is “What happens if I wreck my yearbook?” In the video, Luca shares the dance concept of “Crash and Create” and it is perfect for dance, the arts and all of life.

“In dancing we have this philosophy called ‘Crash & Create.’ Essentially if you are going to go into a move and you are going to crash and slip out of that movement, how can you end up creating a new movement?” Luca “Lazylegs” Patuelli

What would be different if you believed in a philosophy of Crash & Create?
What other takeaways can you get from 5 minutes with Luca?

Find Inspiration: Bertie Gregory

Bertie Gregory RTH
Last week Justin and I had the great opportunity to hear a talk by National Geographic photographer Bertie Gregory who, at the ripe old age of 24, travels the world photographing animals in the wild. He is gifted, articulate and committed to conservation. His stories, photos and video clips were awe-inspiring.

Bertie was considered rather an odd duck as a child. When the other boys were playing sports after school, he would be immersed in a local pond trying to get on level with a swan for a great shot. As a youth, he got a stellar opportunity to be paired with a masterful photographer as a part of a mentorship program. His excitement soon turned to disappointment. Whereas other mentee photographers were traveling to remote regions of the world and filming exotic animals, Bertie was tasked with a comparatively mundane assignment:urban wildlife.

Amazingly, the closer he looked at the familiar landscape, the more wonder he discovered. Peregrine falcons and their chicks nesting in downtown buildings. Deer rutting in a London Park. The underappreciated personality of squirrels.

What unseen adventures lie on your doorstep?

We tend to think we have to travel far or dream big in order to have adventures but for the curious heart, the open mind, the creative spirit, the brave soul, adventure is all around.

Cooking a new and unfamiliar dish is an adventure. Getting ground level with your camera is an adventure. Exploring a new neighbourhood is an adventure. Experimenting with art materials is an adventure. Trying a new fruit is an adventure. Making a new friend is an adventure.

Become an adventurer this week!

Signal your system that you are ready for adventure by choosing a tool or talisman for the journey. Bertie’s camera is his portal to the adventurer’s world. A camera can work for you too – or a sketchbook or journal. A blog is a great gateway to adventure, giving you structure and motivation to embrace an experience and then share it with the world. What about choosing an adventurer’s outfit? Only you have to know that those boots actually mean you’re ready to explore and that this cap says, “Let’s do this!”

A creative life is one that is rich with experiences – but that doesn’t mean you have to travel far and wide to have them (though you might). The richness of life is available wherever we are if we open ourselves to the adventure.

Bertie has a new show called Wildlife with Bertie Gregory.  Here is some of the majesty and wonder he’s been able to capture on his adventure (Note: there is also a some brief but difficult viewing for animal lovers in the Sea Wolf episode)


Find Inspiration: Galleries and Museums on YouTube

Studio Diary, July 9, 2017

“What I am trying to do is not be advertising. Advertising tells you exactly what it is, what it does. It has no ambiguity.” Shirazeh Houshiary (And oh… her space!)

I spent the day immersed in art videos. I was inspired by a lot of the response to Suzie in our episode of stART. So many people wrote and recommended she explore assemblage that I started to look it up, hoping to find something to inspire her but ultimately discovering a whole world of art videos that inspired me.


“You could say this is something any artist does – you find a form for something that has no form. You could call that a ghost.” Paul Bagaers.

“I like quite a smooth surface but one that still has the sense of the hand.” Eva Rothschild

“Create a path for your eye to follow throughout the painting.”

“I think a good painting is something that has immediate impact and, at the same time, is something that rewards a longer, prolonged viewing time.  If it is only one or the other, I think it is missing something.” David Salle

Oh, the colours.

This had me thinking about the nature of creatives and “stuff.”

“It starts with the desire to do something.” “I hope that this (the material) is going to tell me something that I don’t know. Alison Wilding

I sat with my journal taking notes of moments and phrases that spoke to my heart, that had a message for me. And when I was done, I spent two hours collaging in a magazine journal. Normally I don’t like using gel medium but it was all I wanted to do, create a page that felt like it was not pieces but all together. I did that with gel medium and a brush but mostly my fingers, pressing out the bubbles, smoothing the paper down, down, down, hoping it would all come together. My intention when I started was to use indistinguishable pieces to create something new but I found myself delighting in juxtaposition and colour. I just followed that and tried not to judge it, though I wondered if I stayed where habit lived not where inspiration took me. There still may be paint, pen, pencil added to it. Maybe I haven’t finished following the path.