Monday, August 31, 2009

A Dog's Vacation

It's that time of year again where Bruzzi and Prospero get to go to Cape Breton with us. We'll be having a great time but we'll be away from all computers until next weekend. Remember next week is the beginning of the online courses which you can read about here and if you'd like a discount you can go here. And remember to dream big!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Do you know about the Mondo Beyondo Class?

Collage by Lani

Two of my favorite bloggers, Andrea Scher and Jen Lemen, are running an amazing online class about DREAMING BIG called Mondo Beyondo. It's a five week class all about helping us take our dreams from the realm of wishing into real life. Most excellent. It gets a lot of creative juices flowing.

So one of the assignments was to create a mondo beyondo list and then post it somewhere. OK. Here's my big dream list: 1. Feel, experience perfect freedom more often. 2. Take walks on my own more often. 3. Have my own thoughts more often. 4. Write and draw outside the lines more often. 5. Be here now more often. 6. Let go of resistance more often. 7. Walk out into this beautiful morning and know it is yours. 8.
Do not be concerned with bad moods of others. 9. Let others be who they are (esp. hubby, hee hee). 10. Feel a "who cares" attitude more often. 11. Create a beautiful zine about Being Here Now. 12. Don't worry about envy. 13. Be free of envy. 14. Ride the waves in life, don't fight them. 15. Talk to a surfer about their experiences. 16. Create a Mondo Beyondo life and remember the love and freedom that you already are!

It seems to me that this list is all about freedom! I am fascinated by the flow state and the sense of freedom that comes with that feeling. So I will take Sabrina Ward Harrison's advice and make what I most need to find. I will work on art and art directives that are related to this mondo beyondo list!

Have you ever noticed the huge byproduct of researching or putting your attention on a particular feeling? You begin to feel that thing more often. In my experience it begins to grow exponentially. When I worked on The Artist's Healing Journey, I began to feel stronger, more whole because I was researching and using art to create wholeness. When I worked on the Artist's Happiness Challenge, I began to feel happier. I was researching, observing and thinking about happiness. And when I worked on Resilience, Art, and Transformation, again, I began to feel more resilient! Well then, I will begin to work on freedom today!

Thank you Jen, Andrea, and Sabrina!

Do you want to read another perspective on Mondo Beyondo? Try Kelly Rae Roberts' response to this wonderful class! You will find it on her blog.

Also as a post script, if you ever thought of creating a great get away, retreat for your friends, then check her post "If your soul is calling, listen." And dream big!

"Create Freedom" collage by Lani

An interview with Frank McCourt

Collage by Lani

Around the time that Frank McCourt died, CBC radio replayed a wonderful interview with some great quotes about childhood and poverty that I thought were worth repeating here. So I requested that they replay it, and amazingly they let me introduce this podcast. Fun!
Here are the quotes about Frank McCourt's childhood which I found most interesting and inspiring.
You dream constantly...
We were constantly dreaming...
We were always excited. We played in the streets. Our cheeks were flushed all the time. We were ragged, our shoes were broken, but we were always out creating our day, playing in the streets, climbing walls... I thought God put walls there for me to climb. I never saw a wall that I didn't want to climb...
When twilight came and the mothers started calling us home, we didn't want to go. We were so excited. ...Our lives were our own creation. Nothing came between us and our lives, no TV, nobody else's music, we sang our own songs, we danced our own dances, we had our own adventures. So that was genuine stuff.
I think we can live our lives this way! We can dream and be excited! We can play when ever we want. We can create our own days and we can certainly climb walls, challenges, and barriers! We don't have to have anything come between us and our lives. Our lives can be "the genuine stuff"! Hooray!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wishcasting Wednesday

Collage by Lani

Jamie's wishcasting question today is "What do you wish to acknowledge yourself for?" I think what I tend to not give myself credit for (and I doubt I'm alone in this) is my own creative ability and my own resilience. I think if I could acknowledge this a little more often it would do no harm. In fact I might even feel more creative and resilient if did! So that's my wish!

Monday, August 24, 2009

The countdown begins...

Collage by Lani

New on-line courses start in two weeks. Whether you are looking to increase your happiness quotient, strengthen your resilience strategies, or create a healing journey metaphor, there are e-courses waiting for you. You can read about them here or go straight to the blog reader's discount here. Sept. 7 is the big day!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Hurricane Bill Update

Looking down on the harbor from an upstairs window, during our little hurricane.

Thankfully it passed with out too much damage. I didn't even get to do art by candlelight! I was sure we'd loose power for days.
And here's a soggy mop, Prospero, after our walk yesterday morning. Today we are all dry, happy, and picking up all the sea weed and stray plastic bottles.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Some amazing book arts links!

Morning pages collage
Want some major book arts fun and inspiration all for free!??! Go immediately to Teesha Moore's website and check out the Art Journal Fest. It won't cost you a thing to look and you will find amazing ideas, book structures, and wonderful artists!
So here are my favorites:
Traci Bunker's Prepared Journal where you learn to create and art journal or an artist's book from a regular print book. Traci uses "glue books" as her jumping off point.
Ingrid Dijikers's Over the Edge encourages us to use shaped pages in our art journals.
Daniel Elessig's Exquisite Corpse Mica Book which uses the surrealists' playful ideas in a book structure with mica!
From this Art Journal Fest website you can wander off to all your favorite teacher's own websites which of course is very inspiring.
Have fun!
Also check out the travel journal here! It is gorgeous!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wishcasting Wednesday

"Who is the 'you' you wish to be?" Collage by Lani

It's Wishcasting Wednesday again over at Jamie Ridler's website, and what a handsome website it is!!! These wishes are a lot of fun, I have to say! So this week the wish is "Who is the 'you' you wish to be?" And I thought about this quite a lot. As a kid I leaned towards who I was becoming and may have missed who I was. Then at a certain point in the human life cycle I started leaning away from who I was becoming and in doing that I am again missing who I am. I think the answer (for me) is I wish to just experience who I am in this moment without leaning towards or away from the future.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Sandra Everston's "The Last Picture Show"

Collage by Lani

The new Artful Blogging has a very intriguing article, Sandra Evertson's story about the images that she found "inside" her vintage cameras (The Last Picture Show). Trying to recreate this is really a lot of fun. See what you think and let me know how it works for you!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Links, Inspiration, and Wishes

"What door opens" collage by Lani
Jamie Ridler's whishcasting question this week is "What door do you wish to open?"
The answer to this question would change depending how I was feeling, or depending what was going on in my life, but today I would wish to remember to always look for the opening door whenever a door closes in my life. Thank you Jamie for asking.

Since I'm in the wishing mood, I wish that my friend Carol would have an easier time of it in her life right now. These images are for her since she is going through a rough patch. She's dreaming of the day she can eat mango and papaya and I suggested she could add Longan or Dragon Eyes to her fruit salad. I got some to photograph for Carol. These are a wonderful fruit from my childhood home in Taiwan. Wikipedia says that according to Chinese food therapy and herbal medicine, eating dragon eyes can create relaxation. I'm sure it's true. It sure works for me! The other two fruits also have amazing health related properties according to Wikipedia. Plus they taste great!
Now for some links:

Do you know about Binaural Beats? Pretty cool sound technology using headphones and stereo sound, with separate beats played in each ear. The blending of the beats encourages a change in brain waves, inducing some serious relaxation. Here's a great offer that came through the email for a guided meditation using binaural beats. It'll only be there for a few days and then I'll delete this part of the blog entry. You can check Holosync, Binaural Beats, and Brain Sync, (to name a few) for more on this technology.

More art journaling ideas can be found on Orly Avineri's Blog! Oh my! (I found her in the most recent Artful Blogging which is full of good stuff. I also found Izabella's Blue there and that's worth a trip. Don't blame me if you all get lost for a little while on both these lovely blogs! And if you haven't visited JoAnnA's Art Journal lately, do go take a look. Really lovely!

And for a magazine that looks like an amazing art journal, check out "Underground Art School"! Just got two issues and I'm delighted! Even the name is intriguing isn't it? Would you like to be a graduate of UAS?

And there are new courses starting in September right here, most convenient, on the internet! To read more about the courses feel free to check my website here and if they appeal to you and you are a blog reader you get this discount!

And finally, I was over on Gretchen Miller's blog, Creativity in Motion, and saw her lovely "Be True To Who You Are" an image created with Polyvore. I headed over to Polyvore and made one of my own fun little reminders of what is important in life (to me).

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Are you an art journaler?

Carol Moore from over on 14 Secrets sent me a link to Pam Carriker's blog that kept me busy for hours. She's posted a nearly personal invitation from Christen Olivarez over at Stampington & Co. to send in your art journals (until August 24th) for possible publication in the January 2010 issue of Art Journaling. She says you can email questions and inquiries to Christen directly. Of course the possibility of publication is nice but what I enjoyed was the youtube link to her videos. Lots of lovely tutorials. Here's one on creating a portrait with pan pastels! Awesome.

And while on the topic of art tutorials, SuziBlu has a couple of new ones on her new blog. I particularly like this one.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Are you looking for inspiration in the right places?

Collage by Lani using ideas from Leo and Richard (see below)

Here's Leo Babauta's "little but really useful guide to creativity" from Zen Habits. The thing he really gets is that no matter what our medium is, we are always looking for inspiration, things that will help us create more easily. Here are a few of the items on his list. For complete list, do visit his blog:
▪ Shut out the outside world.
▪ Reflect on your life and work daily.
▪ Look for inspiration all around you, in the smallest places.
▪ Don’t try for perfect. Just get it out there, asap, and get feedback.
▪ Teach and you’ll learn.
▪ Shake things up, see things in new ways.
▪ Apply things in other fields to your field, in ways not done before.
▪ Write all ideas down immediately.
▪ Turn your work into play.
▪ Play with kids.
▪ Read wildly different things. Especially stuff you disagree with.
▪ Don’t force it. Relax, play, it will start to flow.
▪ Do it when you’re excited.
▪ Don’t be afraid to be stupid and silly.
Want another idea for inspiration? Richard Wiseman has a new book, 59 Seconds filled with self help ideas that have had their validity tested. And here's one:

Japanese psychologists Seiji Shibata and Naoto Suzuki asked people to carry out various creativity exercises in carefully controlled office environments. Some of the offices contained a potted plant whilst others were devoid of any greenery. Time and again, the researchers discovered that the addition of the potted plant enhanced people’s creativity.

Other work has produced similar conclusions with, for example, an eight-month study of creativity in the workplace conducted by Robert Ulrich from Texas A&M University showing that adding flowers and plants to an office resulted in a 15% increase in ideas... and more flexible solutions to problems...

Why should a little nature have these effects? According to some evolutionary psychologists, seeing greenery might initiate an ancient feeling of calm... Such pleasant feelings then make people more helpful, happy and creative.

59 Seconds tip: Boost your creativity by adding some potted plants to your surroundings.

Now here's an idea, combine Leo's ideas with Richard Wiseman's idea about about boosting creativity and you'll be a very happy artist indeed! I'll be playing more and adding more plants in all my creative spaces!!

If you'd like to try this combination of ideas and blog about it, come on over to 14 Secrets, list your blog there, and we'll come visit you.

Some thoughts on happiness

I was over on the Happiness Project website, Gretchen Rubin's amazing collection of happiness ideas and prompts (lots of great material there), where I found this delightful quote:
“In solitude I used to wander about the garden, alternately collecting birds’ eggs and meditating on the flight of time. If I may judge by my own recollections, the important and formative impressions of childhood rise to consciousness only in fugitive moments in the midst of childish occupations, and are never mentioned to adults. I think periods of browsing during which no occupation is imposed from without are important in youth because they give time for the formation of these apparently fugitive but really vital impressions.”
--Bertrand Russell, Autobiography

I believe this browsing that Bertrand Russell describes, is something we all do from time to time, and it is this browsing that is the source of creativity and happiness. I'm sure of it. Have you ever felt that sense of possibility and excitement of a magical day unfolding like on the first day of a vacation, or on the first day in a new place when you have no idea what is around the next corner? It's a day that will be filled with aimless collecting and browsing and joy.

Of course I used to think happiness was something you felt when you were able to achieve, get, or consume what ever you were supposed to achieve, get, or consume. My friends in Hamilton, Ontario and I had been reading Stephen Levine's "A Year to Live" and we got clarity about how we wanted to spend our "year to live". We all had critical, judging minds about how life should and shouldn't be. I thought if I could get to the Atlantic, get to where I could see the sun rise out of the ocean, then I would be happy. Then the opportunity came to move to Nova Scotia.

The interesting thing I observed was that although I had arrived at the life of my dreams, my judging mind had not turned off. It was still going strong with a constant running patter about preferences and judgements. Then of course I became curious about how the mind works when it is appreciating something vs. when it is judging something. It wasn't until I began to look into positive psychology research and the creation of a happy artist's life that I was able to quiet the judging mind. Now I am able to enjoy my life in this moment, without worrying about what I will be achieving, getting, or consuming in the future and without worrying about what I may have missed out on in the past, either. I enjoy my garden, collecting birds eggs and feathers, and making art. It's a happy artist's life!

If Bertrand Russell's description of wandering in a garden, collecting birds eggs and creating art sounds appealing to you, check the "top secret blogspot reader discount" button in the column on the right of this text. New eCourses are starting in September.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Wishcasting Wednesday

The question over on Wishcasting Wednesday is: What do you wish to make room for?
Here's my wish:
I wish that all of us could make room for more art and creation of happiness every day!