Friday, December 30, 2011

My New Year's Revolution is Ready!!!

Thanks to Gretchen Miller's Revolutionary Art Journaling process, I am delighted with my New Year's Revolution.  I looked through my most recent art journal and decided that the cover should reflect my current interest in fully occupying my own life, mind, heart, and art!

So this is the cover.  To create this book I took Gretchen's directions and went one step further.  I had a pair of "7 Gypsies" book boards in my art stash which I really wanted to use, so I took a kids board book right apart and cut the pages to match.  I love the size and the antique look of the cover.  The hand is reaching down with a little card that says "celebrate" which of course is a very good concept.

Here's my first spread with my first revolutionary idea, which is to occupy the year with art or through art making, every day!  It's a gift so why not enjoy the gift?

My second spread is about keeping it real.  (If it's raining use an umbrella, don't just pretend that there is no rain, lol!)  Some of the text is snagged and slightly altered from Gretchen Miller's revolutionary Pinterest page.  If you want some revolutionary wisdom and joy do click here as soon as possible.

 So the third spread is about Joy!  It's portable so bring it along where ever you go.  And a little reminder to do more of what brings us joy!  Yes! 

  This fourth spread  is about kindness.  It really does improve everything around us if we can remember to be kind as much as possible.  This was one of the things that impressed me most about the Occupy folks, they really were practicing kindness under some very difficult situations.  I would like to carry this practice into the new year.

 My fifth spread is about including more laughter in my life.  Sometimes it gets a little studious in my studio.  I wish to remember to laugh more often.

 The Sixth spread is about wonder and grace.  I'm wanting to focus a bit this year on the importance of wonder and curiosity in our lives.  I believe it helps in many ways, like keeping us questioning and perhaps staying away from the fossilization that occurs when we believe our assumptions.  The right hand page is about those moments of grace that sometimes go unnoticed.  I want to stay alert for them in 2012!  "What small act of kindness were you once shown that you will never forget?"  (This question is from the Kind Over Matter blog, a real must read right now and often!  Thanks to Gretchen who listed this blog as one of her many resources!)

 My final spread is back to the Occupy movement, a little collage of my occupy elf on the Wall Street Bull.  In 2012 I will be learning to Occupy my life!  And here's the back cover.  Hope you enjoyed it.  The binding was from a workshop with LK Ludwig but if you want to try altering a kid's board book, just take a look at the easy-peasy directions in Gretchen's great "Ready for Revolution Art Journaling E-Book !

PS - The new year is just around the corner and I'm opening up the "class rooms" for this last run of the current eCourses.   Yes, the two for one offer is still good.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas, everyone!

It's snowing in Nova Scotia, with new textures from FlyPaper Textures.
There's nothing quite like a beautiful, gentle snow fall and we got one yesterday with just the right amount of snow.  Now it will be a white Christmas with a warm fire and plumb pudding!  Hooray.  Merry Christmas everyone!  (Check the FlyPaper Blog for instructions on using textures.  Wonderful!)

Prospero studies the snow, with new textures from FlyPaper Textures.

Morning walk in the snow, with new textures from FlyPaper Textures.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Collage Fun!

Collage by Lani with brand new textures from FlyPaper Textures.
 I love playing with collage and then adding layers of texture.  The one on top is a mix of a family photo and Victorian print.  Great fun.  The bottom image is from my morning pages.  I love to scan and play with textures.  Especially FlyPaper Textures.  They have a new batch, Autumn Painterly.  Breathtaking.

Also, my eCourses starts January 9 and then I'll be retiring this group .  2 for one special is on now.  3 months of fun, joy, and creativity!  Check the right hand column here in order to join the classes.  Any questions, feel free to contact lanipuppetmaker at mac dot com.
Collage by Lani with brand new textures from FlyPaper Textures.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Last year's Revolution; What will the new year bring?

Here are a few of last years revo'lutionary images, things I wanted to bring into the new year and focus on, thanks to Gretchen Miller's Revolutionary Art Journaling process.
Playing with kids board books and collage, focusing on a few words and intentions, here is "Imagine Kindess".
"Be Kind" by Lani.
(I know this is similar the the one above but I had a lot of kindness issues to work on last year, lol)
"Imagine and Open Heart" by Lani

If you are ready for a revolutionary way of working in your art journal, and you want to create some positive revolutions in your life, you will find  Gretchen's "Ready for Revolution Art Journaling E-Book just the spark you were looking for.

Gretchen will help you with:
Preparation: [prep·a·ra·tion], creating your own revolution art journal using a children's board book. Intention: [in·ten·tion], creating your intentions and course of action for  2012.
Creation: [cre·a·tion], bringing these mixed media and collage ideas into existance.
Transformation: [trans·for·ma·tion], bringing about a marked or thorough change in form.

Looking back at last year's revolution, I am delighted with the results and can't wait to start on 2012.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Why the Occupy Movement has Occupied my Imagination!

Collage by Lani after Adbuster's Poster
It's pretty simple, I've always felt a bit occupied by our consumer based culture; as if my life does not always belong to me but actually belonged to marketers, the media, big box stores, multinational corporations, various governments, societies and cultures, my family, almost anyone but me, really.  And along comes this rag-tag group of protestors, with tremendous diversity and passion, and they are saying we need to occupy this or that.  Well I like that.  I'm tired of being colonized, and I don't want to be a colonizer, but certainly I'd love to occupy my  own life, thank you very much.  And if there is public space around, I'd love to have the freedom to occupy that.  And if I have the right to express myself, or congregate with whoever in peaceful demonstration, well I think that I need to occupy that as well.

Having been trained as an art therapist, some of the things we focused on was helping folks feel more authentic, more free, and certainly more in charge of their own lives.  Well, if those things are good enough for the folks I have worked with, then they are good enough for me.

So here's the challenge, today let's look for ways to take back and occupy our own lives.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Occupation Sale - 2 for 1 Creativity and Joy

Collage by Lani, texture by Kim Klassen.  

Thinking about Occupying Our Art and Lives, I started wondering about the opposite of occupying something.  Being occupied by something else?  Being colonized?  I don't particularly want to be colonized by anyone or anything, not now, not ever!  What I'd like is to be completely in my life, to live and enjoy each moment, each breath, and each daub of paint!

I'm proposing a new eCourse for the new year on this topic.  Meanwhile I'm going to run the current eCourses at a 2 for one OCCUPATION SALE!!!  Sign up for one and send me a message about which other one you would like to be a part of, or what friend you would like to gift with an eCourse.  If you or a friend are interested in art prompts which help build resilience and a happy life or if you are interested in working with collage and photomanipulation, then come play with us!

You can read about the eCourses here but to get the most value, make sure to sign up on the blog (just look for the super secret savings to the right of this post).  Once you have signed up for one course, then email me with your second choice or your friend's email so I can sign them up.  Our next round of courses start January 9!  Do join us if you can!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Occupy This Moment, Occupy This World

"Home Again" Collage by Lani
I'm finally home again after my big adventures.  Two of the most interesting things I did on these adventures was to visit Zuccotti Park (Occupy Wall Street) the very morning before the police came in and dismantled it. I also got to see Occupy Toronto before it was dismantled.  Because so many folks were questioning what the Occupiers were doing and saying, I thought why not go down and see for myself, since I would be in both places. 

What I saw taught me quite a lot.  There was an amazing radical inclusivity in both places, which is hard to find in most places.  What folks were calling a lack of focus really looked to me like many agendas were allowed to be included.  In both Occupy encampments I saw representation of veterans, homeless, mental illness, folks concerned about the economy, folks concerned about the environment, and women concerned about women's treatment.  How did they include all of these voices and people?  I think it must have been their use of council and their lack of hierarchy.  So if I want to learn to be more inclusive than I need to be willing to communicate, collaborate, and I need to give up hierarchy.

Another thing I saw was radical generosity.  These folks were feeding themselves and the homeless and mentally ill who turned up at their kitchens.  They were sharing knowledge along with their free libraries.  (Unions had also been very generous with Occupy Toronto, sending over port-o-potties and  hand cleaning facilities.)

Sustainable energy and a clean environment seemed to be important to both camps.  I loved the bicycle powered generators.  Wonder where they ended up?  Probably the same place as all the books that went missing.

I also saw occupiers doing very active listening.  I saw people trying to argue with them and I didn't see the occupiers arguing; just listening, nodding and questioning.   I also saw lots and lots of homemade signs and artistic expression.   And of course there was a meditation corner with a ever changing shrine to the best of who we are.  It was lovely.

So from this I learned that if I want to get along well with others, create and be a part of a sustainable community, I need to be generous and accept generosity.  I need to read more books, spend less time on line.  I need to make art with others.  I need to listen more than I need to talk.  I need to honor the best of who we are.   I think in order to occupy my life I need to make it a sustainable, artful life, something that I would be delighted to occupy!

Oh and here's where the title to this post comes from, a little present for you from Dan Berggren, who recently spent an evening singing for a dozen St. Lawrence University students who live in yurts in the woods for a semester: no cell phones, iPods, computers, or TV.  They spend this Adirondack Semester studying the environment and how to live sustainably, and they learn to be present, be in the moment, have real conversations and build real community.  The day after Dan's visit, he finished writing a song that views the "occupy movement" through the lens of these students.  Here's a link to Occupy This Moment, Occupy This World.  Dan says you are welcome to share the song with others.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

How to Occupy Our Lives

Collage by Lani for 6 Degrees of Creativity

Over at 6 Degrees of Creativity, Kristina Bell DiTullo has an inspiring workshop to teach us about Examining the Everyday for our inspiration and creative meaning.  One thing we are doing for this workshop is examining one or more social/political/cultural issues we are passionate about. We then look for images, quotes, etc. in the media and online that relate to these issues and that inspire us.

Well I got to thinking about the Occupy Wall Street movement and how inspiring I find this idea of really occupying OUR streets, our parks, our lives, our work, our art, and our very selves.   And I started wondering why this growing movement is different from previous progressive movements and so I combed through some of the material on and OccupyWallStreet. and wondered what it would look like if I were to apply it to my life.  Here goes:

1. Be Prepared.  Make sure your sleeping bag is in good shape and that your tent doesn't leak.
2. Make sure you have some eating utensils, some toothpaste, soap, a change of clothes, and a pillow.
3. You might need a flashlight and a credit or debit card from a small local credit union type bank.
4. A cell phone with charger is a good idea.
5. Musical instruments and other creative tools to help in peaceful community building are welcome.
6. You might need a journal to write down great ideas.
7. Know what you are passionate about and want to talk about, and start sharing your ideas and listen to others' ideas.
8. Make friends with your neighbors, since they are most likely part of the 99%.  Be kind and generous to them.
9. Discuss ideas in order to arrive at consensus.  We are not alone, we are a pretty big "we" if we work at it.
10.  Help others feel free to speak up and start creating change from the bottom up.
11.  Always practice and promote non-violence.
12.  Maintain eye contact with others.
13.  Move slowly.
14. Encourage everyone to express their wishes, dreams, hopes, beliefs and fears.
15. Listen, the listening is more important than we realize.
16. Love one another.

Image from Occupy Wall Street.
I can see this could be worked into a very fun zine and or maybe an eCourse.  Hmmmm.  Let's occupy our lives!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

For the one who is loved who may not feel it right now...

Collage by Lani

So never give up, never.  Know you are loved.

New Book Alert!

  Collage created from techniques in Digital Image Transfer

There's a new book review up on 14 Secrets.  Take a look if you are interested in Image Transfer.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Monkey Business!

Fun going on at 6 Degrees of Creativity

The truth is there's a whole lot of fun going on over at 6 Degrees of Creativity!  There are 6 different workshops on offer. Many of us are making sock monkeys, and even threatening to have a little monkey exchange in one of these fantastic workshops.  I had a favorite pair of socks which I liked so much that I hadn't worn them out yet, just kept them for art retreats and grumpy rainy days when I needed a special boost.  They turned out to be perfect for this particular workshop, but I may have to order more of these socks because I think I'm hooked.  Here's my before and after.

After (her name is Lulu)
What do you think?  Fun, eh?  Want to come join our Sock Monkey exchange?  Check out this workshop and the five others here!

Another thing that is going on around 6 Degrees of Creativity is the daily search for 3 good things, and the creation of art based on this search.  Some of us have been enjoying the bracing fall winds that have been blowing through our lives.  William Charlebois's image can be found here.
Wind, scarf, and dog on morning walk with texture from FlyPaper Textures.
And here's a lovely journal spread all about the finding of good things every day, from Gretchen Miller, who I'm most grateful to for creating 6 Degrees of Creativity.

Gretchen's spread.  (So much sunshine!)

Image from my 3 Good Things board on Pinterest.

Some of us have been enjoying collecting good things on Pinterest so that when we look at our collection of images later, we find lovely brain chemicals and hormones get released.   For more on the topic of the connections between brain chemistry and imagery you can read here.

For more on sock monkey therapy, you can read Kat Thorsen's blog here

Monday, October 10, 2011

Six Easy Lessons for the Happy Artist's Life

Collage by Lani, texture by Kim Klassen.
Do you know about 6 Degrees of Creativity and Six Easy Lessons for a Happy Artist's Life? Come over and play and create with us! Wonderful things are happening!  Come see.

Tracking Happiness

Collage by Lani with textures from FlyPaper Textures and from Skeletal Mess
Back from a wonderful workshop at Lemoncholy's Studio with Michael Demeng.  What a blast!  He had so much to teach, even gave us the skinny on how to create lizard effects with a great new product from Kroma.  You can read about the art journal workshop that used this product here.  I need some of this stuff right away!

Michael's Journal
Now here are some photos of Kecia's beautiful, amazing art and cottage.  I loved exploring all of this and wish we could have stayed longer.  Hmmm, maybe another workshop one day?

Bring Me a Crooked Moon

Kecia's Collage from an Anahatta workshop
Dolls everywhere (this is a bit of a double exposure, but I like it!)
 Some of Kecia's work.  Dreamy!

Another doll (Kecia, how many dolls do you actually have?)
There were also many wonderful Santos everywhere.  (I love Lemoncholy Studio!!!)
So that was great fun for me, playing with my photos from the workshop at Lemoncholy Studio, creating some double exposures, adding Kim Klassen texture layers.  Let the fun continue.  Oh and now I can track my fun and happiness quotient thanks to this great website.   Thank you Gretchen Miller for alerting me to this possibility.  Every so often you can get an email or text message and you can answer a few questions which provoke some thought about our happiness levels and what causes them.  Art and aesthetic experiences are a big one for me.  Also tracking and thinking about it gives me joy and happiness too.  So try it for yourselves:

Here's a little poem for Kecia, by Anonymous:
"In that remote inn
Which pretends to nothing
And is therefore both comfortable and good,
They knew so much"

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Soul Repair Garage

Collage by Lani with textures from FlyPaper Textures and from Skeletal Mess

The idea for this post comes from Jen Lemen, who has a category for blog posts called Soul Repair Garage. What a wonderful idea!   If you could take your soul into a garage made just for souls, what would that look like for you?  Mine would be called the Paradise Garage.

While exploring the back roads of Nova Scotia I came across this garage sign (Paradise Garage) which I added to the collage of the girls and their red roadster.  My Soul Repair Garage would be a simple place, with plenty of tools so you could repair anything, where there would be plenty of art materials and maybe a cafe attached  where a band might be playing some blues live (if your soul needs repair, I think live blues are just the thing).

If you get a chance Visit Jen Lemen's blog, and especially all posts relating to soul repair.  Lovely!  Here's one.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

"Amusement Institution"

"Amusement Institution" digital collage by Lani

Here's another Digital Whisper challenge.  These challenges are serious fun, I have to say.  This one started with the background, the grungey red and "white" stripes.  We were given a few links to look for other circus imagery, so I ended up in the Deviant Scrap Shop and playing with Tumble Fish Studio My Picks kit.  Here's the final result with a little extra help from FlyPaper Textures and Ode to a Muse.

Monday, September 19, 2011

More on "Finish This Book" by Keri Smith

Collage by Lani for Keri Smith's "Finish This Book"
Oh boy oh boy oh boy!  I am so enjoying Keri Smith's "Finish This Book"!  That's the mysterious book I found on my doorstep (you can read about that here) which is actually about someone finding a mysterious instruction manual and she asks the reader to help her put the book together.   I've been working with it, trying to puzzle out the mystery.  The readers gets to play the role of a sleuth in this book to kind of co-create it.  So of course when the book I found on my doorstep is finished, it will be a completely different book from everyone else's.  So not only am I wanting to find out how my book turns out but I also want to find out how others' turn out.  Such a great collaborative and interactive concept for a book.  I love "Finish This Book" and can't wait to share more!  Find a copy and play, and don't forget to let me know how it goes for you!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Reptitude and Creativity

Collage by Lani for Six Easy Lessons
 Barbara Martin has a coaching and creativity website called Reptitude Center for Creativity, and a creativity spot, phone in line where you can listen to a little experiment to increase your creativity.
This week's phone line has a great exercise in using curiosity to enhance your creativity.  Say for example you are stuck in line somewhere, or perhaps stuck in traffic.  Rather than getting upset or spending your mental energy worrying about what you should be doing instead, take advantage of the situation and start noticing what is going on around you.

Notice what is unusual in the midst of the usual.  Find the non sequitur, the out of kilter, the serendipitous.  These things are always there, around us all the time, we just forget to notice.  It is these small noticings that move us into a more creative space.  Once we notice something unusual, then we can start to wonder how this came to be, who created this, why, how?  Barbara Martin calls it the "look around game".  I just call it fun!  When we strengthen the parts of the brain that does all this noticing and the parts that create connections and insights, we actually feel better in our lives.

Creativity is undoubtedly very good for us!  Want more creativity in your life?  Try eWorkshops!  You can take them in the privacy of your own art space.  There are many choices out there I know, but I can vouch for 6 Degrees of Creativity and of course my own eCourses.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Want to encourage your creativity in 6 different ways?

Collage by Lani
Have you wondered what your life, work, passions, relationships would be like if you applied a little more artful creativity to them?  Why not join us and find out.  We are six artists and art therapists and we are here to encourage your creativity in six different ways!  Kristina Bell DiTullo will be working on found objects and relevant social issues, I will be working on the Happy Artist's Life, using art  to create positive neural experiences and other good things, Cathy Malchiodi will be working on Gratitude and Affirmation in Art, Gretchen Miller will be working on Artist Trading Cards to celebrate the goodness in our lives, Jenny Navarro will be teaching us some lovely Beeswax techniques, and finally Kat Thorsen will be teaching us Sock Monkey Therapy.  For Six Easy Lessons for a Happy Artist's Life (and the other five marvelous ways to grow your creativity) click here.