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 8

There is only one day left, always starting over: it is given to us at dawn and taken away from us at dusk.
— Jean-Paul Sartre

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 8 (February 21 - February 27), the poem titles link to my Instagram stream.

Observations

Last week, I fussed about wanting to do more and I couldn't exactly identify the more until I was working on my piece for Mary Oliver's The Journey. I spread a coat of white gesso onto the page and then placed a piece of plastic wrap on top of it for texture. Once it was dry, I peeled off the wrap and slowly rolled a brush full of watercolor over small sections to see what shapes would appear.

First a woman in flight. Then a bird whispering in her ear. Next came two figures on the ground; one trying to hold the woman while another holds on to his legs.

Although the textured base made it difficult to tease out the lines of human figures, I couldn't give up. I totally overworked the piece with paint, charcoal, and pan pastels. As I muddied the page though, many thoughts began to clearly surface. The poem so aptly describes a time in my life, nearly a decade ago and I found the process calming, instead of frustrating.

I finally called it done, snapped a photo and posted it to Instagram.  For the rest of the day, I felt light and almost giddy and I understood the need to illustrate my own story. This was the more.

Intentions

I expect things to look different in March. I'm not holding myself to any particular sketchbook yet, as I have a sense that I'll need to go to a larger format. I'll be spending time learning how to better draw the human figure and face, doing collages and photo transfers. My Instagram feed may reflect more of my process this month, rather than finished pages, but in time, I hope to have an illustrated story or two to share here on my blog.

"...always starting over."

 

A Year of Creative Habits: Week 5

In the presence of eternity, the mountains are as transient as the clouds.
— Robert Green Ingersoll

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 followed Lisa Congdon's Draw A Day series, using her quick instructional videos to get me started every day. This month, I chose to create a daily image inspired by poetry.

If you'd care to see what I've done in Week 5 (January 31 - February 6), the poem titles link to my Instagram stream.

Observations

The photo above was taken during an inter-island trip a few months ago but it's the same mountain and island that I flew home to on the thirty-first. At that altitude, I'm a tiny speck on the side of the mountain and the collection of images I've made during the past seven days are even smaller. It's a thought that humbles and nurtures me at the same time.

Every morning in January, I woke up to find a short video showing me ways to draw the subject of the day. This month, I start the day looking through poetry books, reading at least five poems and then deciding on an image to match my chosen lines. I feel as though I'm on a scavenger hunt, every morning.

What seems to be working in my favor is my stubborn stance. I chose to fill the pages of a little Moleskine sketchbook and after a few water buckled pages, I was about to switch to a book with thicker paper. That is, until the Woman With Hands On Her Hips (my stubborn side) reminded me that I'd committed to that little book for the month. So now February has also turned into my month of Art Supplies, 101.

I'm going through the supplies I have on hand and the things I've dabbled in over the last few years and all of a sudden, I'm full of ideas and images. I want to make prints, carve my own stamps, play with image transfers, etc. I feel as though I was rewarded for sticking to my commitment and from contraction came expansion.

Intentions

When I look at that photo of Mauna Kea, rising above the clouds, I want to hold on to that wide and high perspective of my surroundings. I want creativity to keep expanding my life. Then I look around at the space that I have designated as my place to create and... it's a mess. This week, I'm finally going to clean out and organize my office. It's just one room. This one small speck wants to occupy a clean, lager speck of space.