This year I have made the commitment to develop and honour a regular practice of filling my creative well. I plan to devote a little time each day and a larger block of time once a week to creative nourishment by engaging in rich experiences that spark my creative heart. It may be as simple as taking time to read, listen to or watch something inspiring, enriching and thought-provoking. It may be taking myself on an artist date out and about in the city. I will follow my curiosity where it leads.
When I stumble across something wonderfully creatively nourishing, I’d like to share it with you.
Once again I have enrolled in Carla Sonheim‘s year-long course. This year’s 365 is made up of short daily videos designed to “activate your art brain.” I have been loving getting to these first thing in the morning. I wake up extra early and make this a special time for me, turning on the twinkie lights and getting a lovely cup of coffee. Not only do I watch the video but I also do the exercise. Since January 1st, I have pondered, painted, written a haiku and drawn before dawn, often while still in my PJs. By the time I am filming the BTS, coaching my clients or preparing for a class, I have already done some creating. I feel filled up and raring to go after this wholesome creative breakfast.
What would be different if you did what was important to you first?
Study for Free
One of the things that I have always been interested in but never studied is Art History. This week I remembered the amazing resource Mooc, Massive Online Open Courses. Mooc is an aggregator site that pulls together free online courses offered by universities and colleges around the world. Imagine! Classes are in a broad range of topics, including things like the Ancient Greek Hero and Sharpened Visions: A Poetry Workshop. Inspired by some of the paintings in the Mystical Landscapes exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario, I signed up for Modern Genius: Art and Culture in the 19th Century. Mooc can be a little confusing to navigate but if you’re patient and persistent, there’s gold.
What have you been wanting to learn more about?
I am not a minimalist by any means but out of curiosity I watched Minimalism: A Documentary about the Important Things (currently on Netflix) and suddenly I couldn’t let the concept go. I soon found myself listening to The Minimalists podcast, hosted by Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus, and then checking out their blog and books. To be honest, I was confused by the way the topic hooked me. I mean, as a creative with about a billion projects on the go at any given moment and about a gazillion things I am interested in exploring, I couldn’t see how minimalism would ever work for me.
The answer was in three little words in the documentary’s subtitle: the important things. According to The Minimalists, the idea is to free yourself of anything that does not add value to your life. Once that is accomplished, you are better able to devote yourself to and enjoy the blessings of the important things.
If you’ve been around the studio for a while (and particularly if you’ve done Planning Day with me) you’ll know how deeply I believe the key to authenticity, fulfillment and happiness is aligning our lives with what is truly important to us (not to anyone else, to us). As I went through this year’s planning process, I was surprised to find new priorities emerging and have been very focused on bringing my time, energy, resources into alignment with that discovery. No wonder this approach to minimalism is capturing my attention!
What is important to you? With that in mind, what is it time to let go of?
During the holidays, I came across the concept of hygge. According to VisitDenmark.com, “Hygge means creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people.” I think this is what I am trying to create when I invite my friends over for Journal Jam, this feeling of ease, welcome, safety and belonging.
As I read about Hygge, particularly The Cozy Life by Pia Edberg, the thing I am most drawn to is the utter unpretentiousness of it all. Yes, please, invite people into your home, make them feel welcome and cared for, enjoy your time together, knowing your shared joy has nothing to do with the perfection. Put the kettle on, light some candles, plate some cookies, plug in the twinkie lights and you are all set.
How could you add a little hygge to your winter?
Being All In
Ever since I was a little girl, I have been a lover of fantasy and wonder. When I came across the exquisite photographs of Kirsty Mitchell, I was blown away. In remembrance of her mother, who was a lover of stories and who died of cancer, Kirsty has created exuberant, detailed visions of a wildly imaginative world. What caught my artist’s heart was not only the beauty of the work itself but the deep and passionate commitment that fueled every aspect of creation. Imagine what it must be like to create work of this scale and detail. Imagine the devotion!
What will you pour your passion into with devotion?
From early on in our adventure with the kittens, I’ve seen our shared lives as a comic strip. All of these moments and memories – the tough, the tender, the overwhelming and the hilarious – inspire me deeply. For some reason all I want to do is capture them in little illustrated grid stories. The thing is, of all the arts, drawing is the one that intimidates me most of all. Because of this, it’s an area that I haven’t developed much skill in. The good news is that doesn’t necessarily have to stop me (or you !)
Last year, reading Syllabus by Lynda Barry was a great start to recognizing that we all have a unique hand and with an earnest effort (and a bit of bravery) we can create something compelling and true. Now I am enrolled in Summer Pierre’s Writing and Drawing Comics and loving it. I am challenging myself to not only do all of the writing and drawing but to share it in class, to believe that my attempts will communicate something. And heck, I’ll get better as I go. I know the kittens are going to give me lots of chance to practice!
If you were being brave, what would you try to create?