After a hiatus in 2009, I signed up for Leah Piken Kolidas’s Creative Every Day (CED) 2010 Challenge. If you’re not familiar with this challenge, go here to learn more. Each month, Leah provides a theme or prompt that we have the option to use as creative inspiration. The theme for the month of January is Body.
I will do my best to post each week how I used the particular theme to inspire me in all matters creative.
I started the month by celebrating Mother Earth and blue bodies on New Year’s Day and saw the movie AVATAR in IMAX 3-D. That was quite an experience. Next we celebrated food and friendship, always good for the body and soul, when we hosted our Day After New Year’s Day Open House.
On Tuesday, it was time to take care of the body, my ears specifically, with a visit to the ENT. I’ve been dealing with tinnitus at varying levels for more than a year. While it appears that nothing can be done for the tinnitus, I did have a hearing test that showed my hearing to be nice and normal. Well, there goes the “honey I can’t hear you, speak louder” excuse.
On Wednesday, it was more food for the intellectual body when we attended a presentation by Daniel Pink discussing his newest book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. This was my first time attending a book discussion and it was a lot of fun. In a nutshell, money is a motivating factor to a certain extent; beyond that people are more motivated by autonomy, mastery & purpose. To learn more about Daniel Pink’s book, visit his site here. This 15 minute TED talk with Mr. Pink also gives a good overview of his new book: Dan Pink on Motivation
Thursday was a treat for the physical body when I got my hair cut. It always feels good to have someone else shampoo your hair and massage your scalp. And now I don’t feel so closely related to Cousin It.
On Friday, I started working through the exercises in Linda Novick’s book The Painting Path: Embodying Spiritual Discovery through Yoga, Brush, and Color. I bought this book more than a year ago and CED seemed like the perfect reason to start using it. The first exercise was titled Remembering Your Artist Self. Here Novick leads the reader through a deep breathing exercise and meditation to remember playing in childhood followed by playing with oil pastels.
As a result of the meditation, I created the following pieces with the oil pastels.
This first piece is a free form sketch on 11″x17″ paper (scanned in two sections.) I started with scribbling the purple lines in the background and then added the various shapes and images. I didn’t know what to draw and wondered if I was doing this “right” following the meditation. The sunflower started out as a sun which was transformed into its current state. I’m not sure who all the little stick people are; gremlins or sprites? I love the staircase and the emotions expressed on each step. The words were added after the little people appeared so the words (struggle, rest, falter, achieve, view, success) match their emotions.
Not sure either what prompted the pair of eyes. Perhaps, because of the meditation, the eyes represent me looking at my self; reflecting back on childhood and time spent drawing and painting. I think that is where the birds came from. I remember that I always liked drawing birds in flight on my papers.
The interesting thing about this exercise is that it told me that somewhere along the way, we lose the free spirit ability to create art without wondering about the outcome. We lose the ability to just “be” with the art, to immerse, play and enjoy.
This exercise lead to the piece below:
I love the vibrancy of the oil pastels on colored paper; how the color shifts, pops and absorbs. This hand represents me as an artist in this moment; feelings, life, emotions that flow out of the hand onto the paper or into the clay. The paper or clay flow back to the hand. It is a two-way street-hence the arrows in all directions.
The artist hand gives life. There is a pulse, but sometimes you falter.
This is me. My heart.
I must remember to breathe.