Studio Diaries eps 6: Early Mornings, a Kitten Update & The Way We See the World

Dark Mornings

This is what my mornings look like these days as I get up at 5:30 AM to get to the gym by 6:30. It’s so weird locking the door behind me, feeling like I’m heading out to choir or to meet a friend for drinks when really I’m about to sweat up a storm and get my morning started! Today as I left my house, I saw the stars! Here’s what I saw on the way home.

Beauty is Everywhere

Can you tell what it is? Frost on a car windshield and the reflection of trees. Beauty is everywhere.

Writing…

Scout on My Lap

One of the best things about these early mornings is that I’m home by 7:30, ready to sit down with Scout on my lap and write for at least an hour. This week I’ve been writing about my own art history, revisiting my journey with different arts, from dance to theatre to music to the visual arts, noticing the places I flourished and the ones that shut me down and thinking about how great a class on this topic would be.

stART: Creating as We Go…

SD eps 6 stART

This talk of our personal art history continued during the recording of stART: Creating as We Go with my sisters, Suzie and Shannon, with each of us sharing a bit of our own story.  It’s amazing that three sisters from the same family can have entirely different art journeys. As our mom always said, “Every child has different parents!”

During the show I was really inspired by Shannon letting go of one of the TV shows that she always watches in favour of specifically using that time for creating. It’s amazing to see the impact that’s had on her creative life. I’m imagining what I could swap out of the schedule and replace with art time but I keep come back to the same answer: the dishes. I think maybe I should look to my TV watching too!

By the way, this episode of stART is coming soon. I’m just trying to sort out a little something with the video. When it’s ready, I’ll share the link in the Studio Newsletter.

Journal Club…

SD eps 6 Journals

A big part of my work in the studio this week has been preparing for our first ever Journal Club! We’ll be meeting in my Zoom Room cafe online for 6 weeks, getting to know one another and taking time for our practice. We’ll do some free writing and answer some prompts too. We may even do some doodling! I am so looking forward to this weekly creative time in creative community. It’s going to be such a lovely way to spend an hour each week. I hope you’ll join in too!

Thinking about…

Something that has been catching my ear lately is how people feel about standing out. In fact, I asked people about it on the studio’s Facebook page and it’s clear that for many people there’s a real discomfort in being noticed, in standing apart, in receiving attention. Where does that come from? What messages did you get about getting noticed? What is your experience with standing out? How about with fitting in? I think this is something really interesting to explore. I’m particularly interested in how it’s related to our Art History. Fascinating!

Wanting to See…


Something else that looks fascinating is the Outsiders exhibit of American Photography and Film at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Here’s how they describe it.

“Harnessing the descriptive and expressive capacities of photography and film, the artists in this remarkable exhibition, Outsiders: American Photography and Film, 1950s–1980s, all participated in changing the image of American life. Motivated by a sense that the status quo was untenable, and that current visual expressions of American life did not reflect what they knew and saw of the world, they deployed their chosen media to reflect a more complex, more authentic and more diverse view of the world in which they had grown up.”

I wonder if we created an exhibit of our photos of what we know and how we saw the world, what we would come up with. What would we see of each others lives and how would that compare to our Pinterest boards?

I know in my collection of photos over the past 8 months you would see a growing relationship with and love for our Studio Kittens.

A Kitten Progress Report…

Scout with Red Throw

Scout has grown into such a sexy cat. He’s lithe and agile and his fur is silky soft. He’s incredibly sensitive. If he was a tarot card, he’d be the Prince of Cups. I’d say he has the soul of a poet.  When he is in the mood for love, he is all purrs and relaxation, stretching and turning and giving you his belly. He sits on my lap for hours while I’m writing, occasionally looking up with love and a desire for attention. Then when something unnerves him or he has the kitty crazies, he is off like a shot! He’ll jump at his tail, bounce of the wall and run so you can’t catch even a wisp of his tail!

Shibumi's Cryptic Smile

Ah, Shibumi, that face says it all! See why I simply have to take a comics class? Nothing else will capture the sheer range of her big personality! She remains the smallest of the cats but you wouldn’t know it by her linebacker stance. She’s bold, loving and relentless. She’s constantly pawing at the window ready to take on whatever creature she sees outside. At least three times a day she brings me her favourite rubber soccer ball so that we can play fetch (and I’m sure she asks Justin at least as many times!) She’s also the only one who likes to be held (yet – I’m currently working on Scout) and Justin walks around with her perched on his arm like he is a branch and she is a black panther. I rather think she’d like that image of herself!

Escher in the Sunlight

And Mr. Escher Pants, wow, this week we have made such progress! Only very recently did he start seeking out attention and even when he did, it mostly involved him walking away as you tried to pet him. It’s like he gets too excited by the attention. He craves it and when he receives it his whole body fills with energy like he’s just going to jump right out of his skin and so he walks away. Sometimes he even stops, drops and rolls over but if I take a step near him, he turns over quickly and dashes!

This week though, for three nights in a row, at about the same time in the evening, he has come to see me. Little by little he has let himself stay for some love and attention. And yesterday, when he walked, stopped, dropped and rolled, I reached out and he let me touch him! There were even purrs! What a breakthrough. Yes, everyone, he’s training me well ;)

And that’s today in the studio.

Prompts for Your Studio…

  • If you were going to redesign how you start each day, what would you do?
  • Take It to Your Journal: Write about your own Art History.
  • Take a moment right now as you read or hear this and look for beauty. What do you notice?
  • What could you swap out (e.g. a TV show) in exchange for some creative time?
  • Take It to Your Journal: How do you feel about standing out?
  • Take some photos of what you know and how you see the world.
  • Where are you an outsider? Where do you belong?
  • Go to a gallery exhibit that calls to you.
  • In any medium, create a portrait of someone you love.

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If you’ve been looking for a place to fill your creative well, to discover your creative self, to stretch your creative wings, Jamie Ridler Studios is here for you.

When you sign up, you will get a 10% discount on all classes and access to abundant free resources such as Studio Forum recordings on topics such as Journaling, Creative Habits & Challenges! Plus you will receive a weekly email love letter and occasional announcements for courses and offerings.


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