Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Restrictions and Freedom

"Taos Door" and photo of real door
10x12, acrylic on canvas, Judith, 08

A Mid-summer hello!
I promise I'm not lazy, since it's been 2 months from my last post~ just restricted. You know how it is, you get so busy that some things have to go to the bottom of the do-to list like fun blogs and dust bunnies. I've had some big
free-lance writing jobs plus the little studio I rent out is being vacated, so I'm converting it into a vacation rental (let me know if you're coming to Taos & I'd be happy to rent it to you), and that means a bit of re-decorating.
As I mentioned in my newsletter (if you're not on my newsletter list, do e-mail me & I'll put you on) I've felt a bit restricted in my creativity. Like the men in the film "Shakespeare Behind Bars" one gets bound by one's circumstances, and forgets that that new wildflower seed one sowed last autumn is now in full bloom or that the noise in one's ear is the hum of a hummingbird seeking the flowers one planted in hope two years ago. The prisoners, in the maximum security prison, can't get out, but they transform their lives by putting on Shakespeare's play "The Tempest." They see the prison as an island, and they see parallels to their own lives in the characters cast on an island after a tempest at sea. It is redemption at its most creative.
Our daily lives are also like an island with little and large restrictions and boundaries, yet we can fly beyond them in our creativity. The door I just finished painting would have been a huge restriction if I had painted like I see it when I pass it several times a week. Yet, it was freedom to paint it in an expressionistic, symbolic way. My need to earn my daily bread can drive me nuts sometimes, yet my freedom is in the wildflowers, my studio, and my friends and family. The daring to have cretive fun/joy in life is what it's all about. One friend even took me flying & had me operate the joy stick during take-off. Now that is exciting freedom!!!!
My Berkeley workshop is looking like it's going to take-off on Sept. 13th! E-mail me for more details if you think you can join us by the Bay!( nasse@kitcarson.net )
Do have a freely, creative summer for yourself

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Don't You Wish For a Lazy Day?

Durer, "Young Hare," 1502 Watercolor

I very seldom get those days where I don't want to do anything except sit & read the latest novel. I really have too much to do to take much time off. Yet, today is one of those days, especially as it's been raining & thundering here in Taos, even a touch of sleet! Plus, we are heading into the Memorial Day weekend and that's a societal signal to slow down!
Memorial Day in Taos is interesting. It's a-buzz, literally, with bikers arriving from all over to attend the annual Memorial Day commemorative at the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial up in Angel Fire. I live on the road to Angel Fire, so the buzz is constant. However, what is fun it is to see the parade of all the different varieties of bikes and biker outfits! What a colorful array! In 1968, local artist Dick Spas took a photo "Peter & Dennis - Easy Rider" at Taos Pueblo! (When they filmed part of the film here) The postcard is so popular at our local independent bookstore, Moby Dickens, where I work part time. So, bikers have a long history in Taos.
I'm learning, as an artist-writer, that we do have to take time off sometimes. It's where our creative juices have a chance to fill back up. Now, I'm the first to admit that I have more trouble with marking this kind of time in my calendar as there is always soooo very much to do, but I'm always glad when I do. Hey, maybe I'll take Memorial Day off, grill some portobello mushrooms, & just laze in my garden.
Before I even dared dream that I could be an artist, I took an art appreciation class at University of Hawaii & wrote a paper on Albrecht Durer. He's still a favorite of mine. I recently got a book,
Classical Painting Atelier by Juliette Aristides as my MA program did not include classical training & I want to teach myself that aspect of art. My first exercise is to copy a Master, so I'm choosing Durer. I do admire his meticulous attention to detail as my own preferred style is more abstract! I'll let you know how I do with this.
Happy Memorial Day!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

When Our Buttons Get Pushed

"Boat" 1998, 7 x 91/2 "
Craigie Aitchison

I haven’t done my blog in two weeks. (sad face) I thought it was due to lack of time; and it was as week before last I attended the SCBWI-NM conference in Albuquerque, then last week I was slammed with some freelance work, and also determined to carry on with my own novel and painting. In truth, however, I wasn’t facing a deeper hole of sadness at the brutal critique I received for my portfolio at the conference. There’s more all about that in my monthly newsletter, “There’s No Such Thing As Rejection.” Happily my coach at Jack Canfield coaching helped my out of this current prairie dog hole and gave me a great technique to help me when my old buttons get pushed. I'll share it with you in the newsletter, so look out for it in your e-mail. If you're not on my newsletter list, just e-mail me and I'll get you on straightaway!
I was disappointed to hear that Eric Maisel won’t be coming to Taos later this summer after all, however he is doing The Writers Telesummit at about the same time. And, you can attend from the comfort of your home! The Art of the Song hosts it. Go to http://www.telesummits.com/ for more details.

I discovered Craigie Atichison’s art last summer when I attended the Royal Academy Summer show in London with my friend Ellie. We had a grand time viewing the show, going down to the tea room for tea, viewing some more, and chatting up a storm. Since then, Ellie sent me a catalogue of Craigie’s work. What a wonderful, inspiring gift! I love the seeming simplicity of the work, yet if you apply the classic harmonic geometry principles to his paintings, he works like the old masters!
It’s raining here in Taos today, a rare treat and the birds and plants are in heaven. The arts and crafts fairs and Farmer’s Market have started up here. The rivers are flowing almost up to their banks with the spring run-off from the mountains, a lovely time of year! Have a wonderful rest of May, and may you receive deep inspiration!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

When the Going Gets Tough

The Sleeping Gypsy, 1897 Henri Rousseau, 51 x 70"

We are having on and off snow flurries here in Taos today! At the same time my daffodils are starting to bloom. It is always spectacular here in our high mountain desert setting. The last few weeks I've been driving around Taos and its outer environs for some writing I'm doing for a special friend's web site. The beauty and shifting scenery are awe-inspiring. One can be driving past high cliffs one minute and going past orchards 3 minutes later; or, from flat sage landscape to alpine splendour in 15 to 20 minutes. I love it! And, I'm remembering to take my sketchbook and camera with me.
Remember the old saying, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going!" I've had quiet a few people tell me they are going through tough patches lately, and their reactions are varied from devastated to fear to despair. Yet, at least half of them are continuing on with their creative goals. Why? They know innately that by doing so, it is an anchor to get them through their current troubles. Of course when a tough patch happens, we do have to stop to take care of it, e.g. getting up that money to pay for the taxes or fix the car. And, yes, we can stop to cry & get upset when a friend or partner lets us down or we, or a family member, gets sick, etc. We do need to honor our feelings. However, the bottom line is us: you & me. We count and our creativity counts. And, in the midst of the toughness, if we can do one little thing to keep our creative momentum & vision going, e.g. read a novel or poem in our genre, pick up an art book, clear one square foot of our workspace, draw a tiny sketch, or edit 3 paragraphs, our day is that one little bit brighter. This keeps us from falling into that prairie dog hole of despair, & maybe, old, bad habits.
My featured artist today is Henri Rousseau. He had day jobs all of his life, blue collar day jobs, was ridiculed, all but one child died, he was self-taught, and he died in poverty. Yet, he kept going on huge canvases in a small studio. His life is such an inspiration to me to keep on going in the toughest of times. Have an up-lifting week!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Symbolism in Art...health

Oveja de Noche Judith, 2008

I'm going to keep this short as I've already written a "mini-article" today in my monthly newsletter :-) [If you're not on my mailing list, just e-mail me at judith_art@yahoo.com ] I've studied symbolism in art, more deeply I've studied spiritual and emotional symbolism in art. There, that's the first time I've confessed that since my MA days! So, when I painted this painting, I knew it had to symbolize something, but I hadn't a clue as to what. A few weeks later a dear friend suggested I go to a local, excellent homeopathist for my chronic sinus problem and vertigo. I did, and my health & energy have gradually and greatly improved since. I realized two things: that the oveja (sheep) symbolized my need for deep, proper nutrition and that without feeling top notch I have to force myself, with extra, ultra discipline, to do my art and writing, and my day jobs! I won't go into what exactly I've changed in my nutrition as I dislike dogma & preaching, plus I am still experimenting. So, in doing your creativity, do take care of you first for without your health, you can't run on optimal energy for your creativity and passions. Have a fantastic, creative week!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Practice, Practice, Practice!

Remember the cartoons of the kid sitting at a piano with his teacher hovering over him while he looks wistfully out of the window? Kids are supposed to hate practice, but where would Picasso, Tiger Woods, or William Faulkner be without it? Yes, good old practice gets us where we want to be in the creative world. Daily practice is preferable. Jack Canfield put it succinctly in his book, The Success Principles, where he gives the example of two athletes of equal ability, but one practices more than the other. Who do you suppose will get to the top? I love to practice, but I get stumped on "it's not good enough" and so often will be reluctant to sketch when I'm out in public. I'm gradually getting round that, by doing it anyway. I can write quite easily in public now, after years of practice at my old stomping grounds in Berkeley, The Junket, and now here in Taos, either at Loka or Tazza. You can find writers any hour of the day beavering away in Taos coffee shops! Another way I get around it is to try new things. I'm working on a painting where I put a lot of impasto under the gesso. It's helping me look at a painting differently whether I ultimately go that route or not ~ fun and practice all in one!
Speaking of Taos, El Rito writer and illustrator, Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw just had her book My Travelin' Eye published by Henry Holt. That's the cover in today's image! I was lucky enough to do a review for her (click on Children's Book reviews on the left). I'm sure Jenny has put lots of practice hours into her art and writing. Also, if you're in Taos this weekend, you can catch Art of the Song presenters John Dillon & Viv
Nesbitt, Sunday April 6, 9:00 am at
"Creativity and Spiritual Health" John & Viv will be keynote presenters at The Higher Truth of Health conference.
News: I'm now an official member of the Creativity Coaching Association! See their website at http://www.creativitycoachingassociation.com/
Have a fantastic, creative week for yourself!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Happy First Day of Spring ~ Transitions

Paul Klee, Untitled, 1940
watercolor, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Here in Taos today, the first day of Spring is warm and sunny with cloudless, bright blue skies. A March breeze is up, making for clear vistas especially of our beautiful snow capped mountain. Spring Arts Festival is in the air with galleries, shops, & museums preparing for the May-June events.
I didn't choose a Taos artist this week, but the Swiss artist Paul Klee as his little landscape reminds me of Spring on the Mediterranean. I grew up near San Francisco and every time I go back to visit, I go to the Paul Klee room of the SFMOMA to view Klee's works. This is one of my favorites. Klee means clover in Swiss; clover, a sure sign of Spring. Klee was one of the harbinger's of modern expressionism, a "transitioner" if I may coin a word. I'd like to dedicate this blog to the late Charles Miedzinski, Ph.D., my art professor and friend, who was my first teacher in my transition from my art as craft & hobby to my fine art painting. Charles loved Paul Klee; and, though I've had many wonderful teachers, he was the finest, most inspiring.
In creativity transition is always a factor. I make a transition from my computer to my easel. We decide to try out a new media. Our gallery closed and now we must find new opportunities. We can't find a publisher soon enough to satisfy our excitement about our work and our impatience to launch it out into the world. Sometimes transitions are quick and breezy, and other times would try the patience of a turtle. In these times I find it helpful to keep my eye on the goal, not on the delays. For example, I had planned to start my Art of Creativity Writing Workshop this week. Alas, the wind blew down my posters and the newspaper put my ad in a most obscure part of the paper. Delay! However, I keep visualizing the workshop taking off next week, Wed., March 26th, a very good day as it's my grandfather's & sister's birthday, a good luck day! And, I know from experience that new businesses, any new endeavours, take time to gain momentum. So, I shall exercise patience, and, in the meantime, head for the easel now! Have a most lovely Holiday/Easter Weekend! Happy Creativity!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Welcome to My Creativity Blog

La Luz New Mexico, H
arold Joe Waldrum
I'm so excited about this new endeavour that I barely know where to start. First I want to thank Eric Maisel, who just guided me through 16 weeks of Creativity Coach training. I just "graduated!" Not only did I have a most wonderful experience with my clients-in-training, but I came into a deeper place of having my own art and writing matter! I can now say "I am the artist," whereas before I thought of myself as becoming or not quite there. I also now have a regular daily practice, creating in the middle of life. And, I am daring to put myself out into the greater creative community even more. This doesn't mean I don't still have doubts and trepidations. Sure, I do. However, I'm practicing how to keep from letting them take me into despair. This exciting new progress in life is what I also want for my creative clients, family, and friends.
I shall share, in this blog and in my coaching, ways to achieve meaning and mattering, routine, positive self-talk, overcome depression, and so much more. I will also talk about creating here in Taos, the original Southwest art community. That doesn't mean I'll neglect artists and writers elsewhere in the world, as there are so many I am fond of.
To start I've posted a Waldrum etching. Waldrum lived in Taos from 1979 to 1990. I love the simplicity, with depth, that Waldrum expressed. His colour combinations are unparalleled and have given my own paintings a whole new daring. If you ever come to Taos you can see his etchings at Lumina Gallery!
I'm available now for Creativity Coaching (all artistic endeavours), either by phone or in-person, e-mail coaching, or workshops and support groups. Contact me for more information. My first Taos Art of Creativity workshop for writers, of all levels, begins on March 19th for 6 weeks! It includes free weekly e-mail support! Hope you can join us at the Lumina Gallery for this exciting adventure in making your writing a success!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Hello! My first post will be up by Tuesday, March 11th! Please come back and visit me then.