A Year of Creative Habits: Week 9

Brush fire in Kailua-Kona, March 2, 2016.

I've committed to 2016 as being my year of creative habits. Inspired by a year-long course led by Crystal Moody, I intend to fill a sketchbook page every day and share an image of my process or completed page on Instagram. Each Monday, I'll collect my pages and list observations of the past week and my intentions for the following, here on my blog.

In February, I chose to create a daily image inspired by poetry. March began with no particular theme and I'm waiting to see how that affects my work. :D

If you'd care to see what I did in Week 9 (February 28 - March 5), the following links lead to my Instagram stream.

Observations

Last Wednesday, I saw smoke in an area below the main highway, just before noon. It was a fairly breezy day and before long, I was able to get a shot of a raging brush fire (above). I posted it to Twitter and within an hour I had more impressions and engagements (whatever they mean) than I've had in an entire year. 

Just like that, I went from diligent creative to unwitting photojournalist, or even a fire lookout. No one cared about the fuzzy quality of my photo or what I had to say about it. They just wanted to see how big the fire was and where it was located.

It had taken me a long time to finish my sketchbook page that morning and I wasn't totally pleased with the result. Yet it took less than a minute to snap a picture of the fire, post it and create interest. What's that about?

I recalled reading something about creativity and fire so I searched through my Kindle highlights and found these lines from Wild Creative, by Tami Lynn Kent:

The best gift we have for ourselves is to give light to our brightest fire; and the best gift we can give to others is to share the warmth it creates, not by dispersing it but by carefully tending the fire within.

My intention in sharing the photo was to tell people what was going on. Maybe someone who lived in the area hadn't heard about the fire yet. My intention in posting my creative habit for the day was just to prove that I did something, that was my commitment. I succeeded in both and the number of shares or likes didn't relate to my intentions at all. It only mattered to me. In only matters to me.

At this point, my brightest fire may just be my commitment to finish a sketchbook page every day and share it. Nothing noble, sexy or newsworthy except that I'm actually doing more than that. I'm learning to draw faces and the human figure, doodling in my planner, and making art for my walls.

My creative habit needs to be tended and stoked, yet it's spreading like wildfire.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Year of Creative Habits: Week 7

You carry all the ingredients to turn your existence into Joy. Mix them. Mix them!
— Hafiz

I've committed to 2016 as being my year of creative habits. Inspired by a year-long course led by Crystal Moody, I intend to fill a sketchbook page every day and share an image of my process or completed page on Instagram. Each Monday, I'll collect my pages and list observations of the past week and my intentions for the following, here on my blog.

To help me focus during February, I chose to create a daily image inspired by poetry.

If you'd care to see what I've done in Week 7 (February 14 - February 20), the poem titles link to my Instagram stream.

Observations

This has been the hardest update to write. I've spent hours writing and deleting paragraphs and have finally realized that I don't know what I'm trying to say. All I know is that this daily project is altering my life.

I did not begin this year of creative habits as an artist wishing to make more art. I started out with the belief that if I filled a sketchbook page every day, by the end of the year I'd have several books, bulging with colorful content. Just like an artist.

I'm now on my third sketchbook and coming to grips with my limited experience in art making. There's a disconnection between the images I see in my head and what my hands are capable of producing. It happens to beginners. It has happened to me before and then I'd stop drawing and painting. 

This time though, I think I went past my warranty date, stepped over the line of no return. I made a year long commitment and I've been talking and writing about it for nearly two months. I've also become emotionally attached to my sketchbooks and their warped pages. I want more.

Stories keep appearing as I look at old family photographs and I feel the need to write. I thought I was simply making a commitment to do something creative every day but it's made me want to do more art, more reading, more yoga, more cooking, more cleaning. And. So. On.

I read once that the best solution to aging is to want more and resist less and so I've made it my mantra over the last five years. Now that I'm creating and receiving more, I wonder if the noise I hear is just the battering ram, trying to break through more resistance.

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Intentions

I think I need to identify which door is being knocked down.

Any clues?

 

Battering ram image from Disney's Beauty and the Beast.

 

A Year of Creative Habits: Week 2

To all viewers but yourself, what matters is the product: the finished artwork. To you, and you alone, what matters is the process: the experience of shaping that artwork
— David Bayles and Ted Orland in Art and Fear
I've committed to 2016 as being my year of creative habits. Inspired by a year-long course led by Crystal Moody, I intend to fill a sketchbook page every day and share an image of my process or completed page on Instagram. Each Monday, I'll collect my pages and list observations of the past week and my intentions for the following, here on my blog.
To help me focus during January, I'm following Lisa Congdon's Draw A Day series, using her quick instructional videos to get me started every day.

If you'd care to see what I've done in Week 2 (January 10-16), the following links will take you to my Instagram stream:

Observations

I kept all of this week's artwork in a single 7-by-10 inch sketchbook, which shortened the decision making process by a few minutes and a lot of angst. At this rate, I'll be able to hold a completely filled sketchbook in my hands in less than a month!

My biggest win of the week? Realizing the importance of sharing my stuff. I've resisted it in other courses. Had I not been committed to posting a photo every day, I probably would have abandoned several pieces at the third sign of frustration. Instead, I went with the "done is better than being perfect" motto, another gem from Essentialism, and checked another day off my habit tracker.

The other plus of sharing my work is that my opinions of my images are outnumbered by the "likes" I receive. Which at this stage of my creative habit formation, is critical. My work right now, is to fill a sketchbook page, every day. That really is the final product I'm after, but I'm gaining so much more from the process: draw, photograph and post.

Intentions

I'm away from home and my usual stash of art materials for the next two weeks. I've limited myself to my mechanical pencil, a Koi watercolor Pocket Field Sketch Box and a set of Prismacolor Pencils. I'm anxious to see if fewer choices nudge me to be a bit more creative.

It will also be interesting to see how I adapt to a change in my daily routine. Will my two week old habit shrink or expand? I intend for it to expand, or at least learn yet another thing about the creative process.

I wish you all a productive and creative week.