Studio Diaries 8: Journal Club, Art Day & Kittens

2016-04-01 First Journal Club

It’s been an amazingly productive time in the studio. Last week we started Journal Club and it is a joy already!  What a blessing to spend an hour a week dedicated to your journal practice in a community of sensitive and supportive creative souls! As soon as we started, I heard one of my favourite mantras rolling around in my heart, “More of that, please!”

Art Day

I have learned the power of “more” through my ongoing Art Day practice. Every other Sunday my sister Shannon and I meet up for an afternoon of creating. As we’ve developed this creative habit, one of the most important insights I’ve gained is that the more you create, the freer you are. When you know there are more coming, each piece does not have to contain the sum total of your gifts. It is not the one and only precious piece of proof that you have talent or the devastating message you have none (Impossible!). It is simply a piece of creative work, one among many, each one adding to your skill, your knowledge and your body of work. If you want to grow confidence in your creative work, create, create, create!

Art Day Shannon's Work

Currently Shannon and I are enrolled in Carla Sonheim’s yearlong Y is for Yellow course and we are beginning to work on a series. It’s amazing how your mindset shifts when you add that word. Shannon and I have both noticed our inner critic have been activated! Suddenly we are no longer having fun doing exercises around the kitten table. Now we are creating “pieces” for a “series”.  It’s like things suddenly got “serie-ous”! During this exploration one of the things we’ve talked about a lot is what makes something a ‘piece’?  Any thoughts?

Creating a Series

For my series, I’ve decided to work on 9×9 found drawings in watercolour backgrounds, mostly because I just love creating them. They have shown me that my creative imagination is full of landscapes, flowers and creatures. My subject matter leans to “wonder.”

I’ve been thinking about this in terms of my photography too. What do I love to photograph? What are the themes that run through my photos?

Scout & Escher

No doubt the studio kittens have been my favourite subject matter since they arrived. (In fact, I’ve endured a bit of teasing about that!) I love the way the kittens allow me to get truly candid shots and my goal is always to capture their personalities. I try to do that on video too!

Scout, Shibumi and Escher all get excited when I open the cupboard and pull out something from their toybox. They each have their particular favourites. Shibumi never gets tired of playing fetch with her little soccer balls. Escher loves plastic springs and small rolling balls. Scout remains true to their very first toy: paper balls. And they all love, love, love these little mice toys. In this video, Scout shows his enthusiasm while the others look on.

There’s always time to play in the studio!

Creative Prompts for Your Studio (Remember, your life is your studio)

  • Invite a friend out for a journaling coffee date.  It’s beautiful to sit quietly together and write.
  • Put an “Art Day” on your schedule. Take an afternoon to dive into watercolours or art journaling or photography. Whatever creative medium calls to you, give it some of your time.
  • Give yourself permission to create loads! The more you create, the more adept you become and the less pressure you put on each piece.
  • What activates your inner critic? How do you respond?
  • Explore the question, “When does something become a piece”? How do you know when it is there?
  • Explore the idea of a series. If you were to create a series of your work, what would you focus on?
  • Looking at your own creations, what themes do you notice recur? What do you draw, paint, photograph, write about, again and again and again?
  • Why not just go for it? Create a series!
  • Take some time to play. What would you like to play with?

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