Worthy Creative Advice

July 2, 2014

“Identify the primary distraction that keeps you from your creative work and deal with it. If you have an issue, be it weight, lack of exercise or family worries, do your best to resolve that issue or reduce it's power of distraction on your time and energy.” – Julieanne Kost (of Adobe Systems)

As I dive into a renewed commitment to my own creative efforts this quote is my scale. It is especially appropriate since I am slowly moving into using Lightroom and yes, that which I have avoided for years: Photoshop. I have always maintained that a good photographer shouldn't need to do much in software if an image is shot properly. I still believe this. Yes, a crop or exposure tweak after the fact may be needed but all the bells and whistles of Photoshop are not required. I realize that Photoshop has become a standard tool and by avoiding it I am just being contrary. Sometimes that's just how I roll.

But now I have owned Lightroom for about six months. I have barely had time to really get to know it. I have found by using the cataloging feature that I have tens of thousands of photographs. It will probably take me years to troll through them much less learn how to use Lightroom. I know… it must be time for a class to shorten my learning curve. After setting Lightroom onto my photographs to catalog them, I had to own that I am a photographer. I should just stop being quiet about it (since it was staring me in the face) and own that since I actually have about 15,000 or more photographs I've taken just from the last 5 or 6 years. Click happy me.

So in an effort to reduce the power of distraction on my time and energy I am going to stop teaching. I already spend a lot of time mentoring artists every day at ArtWorks and through the EDGE Program each Winter. I have come to realize that one can only mentor so much and I need my own creative time.

Light Dawns at the End of the Day, Meredith Arnold, 2014

I have a lot of jewelry to make and am excited about the prospect of digital collage as well as a lot of other projects I have in mind. Onward and upward!




Merry Merry Ho! Ho! Ho!

December 22, 2012

Okay, I love red and green, especially red, Christmas lights, anything cozy or cottage-ish like Putz houses (look it up!), happy Father Christmas, but not cutesy or cartoony. I love Christmas magic, sweet stories, making handmade gifts, baking (still working on wheat free success though), and watching the winter bird show out in the yard at the feeders. Most of all I love getting the chance to hang out with friends, especially when we're making things, and we get to hide out from the holiday hubbub and make the holiday our own artist time. Yesterday was one of these days. I have a tradition at ArtWorks on the last Friday before Christmas to bring my home made truffles to Art Spa Open Studio for whomever shows up. They really are very good, so good they've ruined me from ever buying truffles ever again. But it's best to see other people get the chance to enjoy them even though they are so sinful. It's better than eating them all myself! So the day started with breakfast at the tea shop with Deb and Carol and ended with Nan and Tonnie at ArtWorks. What a great day! Thanks for the day my friends!

The picture is the beginning of a garland I started making at Art Spa. It's my own version of what a wonderful metal artist does in Switzerland. Happy Holidays everyone!


Happy Holidays 2012

December 16, 2012

Sitting here with my cup of coffee (from Switzerland!), listening to some music in front of my electric fire (it does look like a real fire but no heat – maybe I should just call it the Visual Fire?) and just thinking on a Sunday morning… This is the first time in my life that I chose not to bring out our Christmas tree. Me, the Queen of Christmas! Instead I have the one that I usually take to work for my desk, a pretty little thing that's about a foot or so tall. I already put up a huge tree at ArtWorks and it's lovely. Everyone says so. That's enough this year. I'm feeling cozy and creative anyway which is what I expect this time of year.

Looking back over the year I see that it's just been crazy. I spent the first 5 months traveling every month, sometimes twice in a month. My house shows the chaos of all the packing and unpacking and repacking I've done. June was spent trying to get my bearings back at work and all that laundry done! August saw another trip to the East coast where I had really hoped to get to Seaside Heights (Jersey Shore!) and of course, now I'm very sorry I didn't get there. Hurricane Sandy changed everything there and it's still closed to the public. After August it was time to get producing for the show in Switzerland (in November) and then before I knew it, we were off to Switzerland.

I took my remote control air swimming Sharky to the Edmonds Art Festival's Christmas party recently. That was hilarious despite Sharky not being very cooperative that day. He kept hanging around close to the floor for some reason. He does need more helium… Still I'm sure people thought I was very strange for bringing him as my date! Oh well. I was celebrating. I had just figured out that ArtWorks is 90% or so self supporting and that's phenomenal! Art centers are rarely more than 30-60% self supporting – with 60% being generous… Yes, I'm proud of myself. My 3 year plan worked! I really do know what I'm doing and I have proof. =)

Looking forward, I will be home more this year. I have only three trips planned with one being a maybe. It will be the first time in about 8 years or so that I've been home so much. I have just a handful of classes scheduled. Usually I'm scheduled to teach almost every weekend somewhere so this will be a huge change. I'm planning on some rest and play, lots of studio time, and working on some things that have been on my list for way too long… How about you? Do you have time to mull over a cup of coffee or tea today what you would like the next year to look like? Shape in your mind what you want and it will happen.

Some ideas I've had:

Start the Paris fund – contribute every month!

Make new stuff for the galleries quarterly

Write that book

Get rid of extraneous stuff! Make space!

Go to the beach this summer, have a picnic

Hang out somewhere with your sketchbook

Try that recipe for graham crackers

Start Tai Chi

Make art with friends more often


Snow in March?

March 5, 2012

Okay, I’m sure no one is looking for my blog posts anymore after all the lag time between posts. Life is busy and there’s just so much to do: teaching, mentoring artists, travel teaching which has a lot of details that go with it, and I’m running the EDGE program right now. I just got back from Tucson two weeks ago and I leave soon for Santa Fe to teach at Bead Fest. Then my EDGE students graduate. Beyond that I’ll be off to Wild at Heart Studios on San Juan Island, WA, Bead Fest Spring in Philadelphia, Clay Fandango in the Orlando area, and I can’t even think where else right now. I just put one foot in front of the other, looking at the next thing and not all the rest. I don’t get overwhelmed that way.

So yeah, it snowed at my house today. More snow in Seattle? Really? So I made a little Snow Door Guardian to greet my guy when he got home. It was a silly moment of creativity. It was fun, cold and reminded me of being a kid in the snow. It also reminded me of how every moment was not planned but my time was still full. As a kid I didn’t have to work, of course, but it reminded me to remember to stop once in awhile, to take the time to just play. So remember to do just that. Take some time to play every day.


Do you have some wish about something, anything?  Like do you wish you had more time?  More money? More space?  More excitement in your life?  More fun?

We spend an awful lot of time thinking about what we DON’T have and that doesn’t get us to what we want TO have at all.  In fact, it’s the wrong way to go entirely.  It just gets you more of what you don’t want.  Read on and see what I mean:

What if you thought more about what you do have?  What would happen?  Would you realize that you have a lot?  Have enough?  Have more then plenty?  Maybe you would see that you have so much that you decide you don’t need another thing?  Maybe thinking about all that you do have can either be liberating or confining,  (if you have too much!)?

When I was working in Tacoma last week I decided to look at it as a new experience that I was going to make positive no matter what.  So despite the crazy rush hour traffic on Friday afternoon, the same long drive three days in a row after working all day elsewhere, etc. I concentrated on other things like how beautiful the weather was, how good the music in my car, how I wanted a good parking place once I got to my destination and so on.  Interestingly, I was able to park right across the street all three days in a row.  Isn’t that wild?

Even if this version of positive thinking doesn’t account for the great luck on parking I have to say that it sure made my day a better quality one then if all I did was worry about the traffic, how it took me 45 minutes just to get through downtown (normally a 3 minute drive), worrying about the time, the parking, having to drive and other complaints.  It reinforced my perspective on choosing what my quality of life is by deciding it for myself no matter what.

So I encourage you to choose what your quality of life is every day.  Decide for yourself.  It is *your* life after all and every time you leave it up to the people or circumstances around you, you’re choosing to be at the mercy of everything outside of you instead.