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!

 

 

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A Good Thought

June 20, 2014

 

Be Brave With Your Life.

 

 

Garson Kanin said it: Amateurs hope, professionals work.

So what does that mean? Think about the words 'art practice'. To have a practice infers consistency, regular hours, a schedule. It also implies that there is practice going on – a masterpiece isn't made every time one creates.

There is a great blog article on this here: http://jamesclear.com/schedule

Creative Focus

December 12, 2013

This time of year brings reflections: reflections on time past, photographs of moments captured in time of things that were and looking forward to what will be. How you feel is where you're focus will be. You know: buy a Prius and all you see on the road are other Prius. That's focus. Unconscious focus, but focus nonetheless. So how do we direct our focus for better results? I know my focus is so fractured lately that I'm continually surprised that I'm getting anything done! It all comes back to awareness…

Gigi Rosenberg has some great advice on creative focus in her blog here:

http://gigirosenberg.com/blog/four-keys-to-making-creative-progress/

Opportunities

February 17, 2013

Artists like to create in a solo environment typically. I know I do. It's treasured time when I get to revel in my own process and I can do that so much more thoroughly when I'm alone. As a teacher I am either subject to others process or helping others find their process or incorporating their process with a new medium all the time. It's rare that I get to just be in my own space. However, I find there is more opportunity when I am creating with others like in an open studio environment. There are expanded options and new avenues that I might not have found when on my own. It's the same when you're associated with a group or organization. Opportunities may be offered to a group before it's offered to you alone. This is true with group shows and organizational events. I've found that the more I'm not going 'solo' in my every day practice the more my opportunities expand.

Investing into an artists group or even a group of friends regularly provides a trustworthy sounding board, a safe place for critique, and multiplies avenues of resources for everything from supplies to techniques which provides a lot of benefits for when you are working solo. This is one of the biggest challenges I see for artists in general. They have a difficult time consistently investing in being a part of a group. Just remember: there is power in numbers!

What Kind of Year Was It?

January 1, 2013

ArtWorks, Christmas 2012

ArtWorks, Christmas 2012

Happy New Year! I'm sure everyone is looking over the last year and taking stock – me, too. This last year was quite a whirlwind for me. At the beginning of each year from Jan. to March I coordinate the EDGE Program, (a 55 hour professional development program for artists on business). At the same time this year from Feb. to May I had 5 teaching trips: home for a week and a half/on the road for two weeks for four months. I finally recuperated from all of the travel by the end of July and then I was traveling again in August. After that my focus went to planning, prepping and making things for a show & teaching in Switzerland for most of November. Meanwhile I was still producing work for galleries and my 'day job' of running ArtWorks…and somewhere in there was some art play time and developing ideas I've had in mind to work on for sometime.

So lately, in looking back, I keep thinking about the days when I had nothing to do, nowhere to go, and really nothing much going on. I've come to the conclusion that if I'm wishing for more of something (time, play, silence), then a balance is missing. If I had the balance of each of the things I wish for or want and the things I must do then there wouldn't be a missing component that I'm wishing for, right? For example, I've been wanting more down time. When I asked myself why I was feeling this way I realized that I have been giving me, my brain, what I know and my time away in various ways like crazy. Teaching is just that: giving what's in your brain and it takes a lot of time to do. While I do love that and I love the interaction with my students incredibly it's time for me to develop my ideas and my work as well as pay attention to some other things in my life that I haven't had much time for. This year I'm striving for a better balance between teaching and creating my work, working and playing, noisy time and quiet time, messy space and clean space, adventures and every day life. Every day life can be an adventure, too! Especially when one hasn't had much of that all year. So this year I only have two teaching trips planned, perhaps three. So if you see me out there come say hello. I may not see you for awhile otherwise!

Bea Grob's Window, Bauma, Switzerland

Bea Grob's window, Bauma, Switzerland

 

So Many Thoughts

August 29, 2012

A small town experience pops into my head all the time lately. Years ago I was in a small community movie theater on an island here in the Pacific NW. The trailers began to play and the picture on the screen was horribly blurry. As my Mom got up to go tell the projectionist to fix it and turn down the blasting volume people started yelling: FOCUS!

Every now and again I hear that in my head: FOCUS!

I hear it when I sit down to blog because I have about 3,000 thoughts go by when I'm trying to remember what it was I wanted to write about… I hear it when I have a few studio minutes to actually create something. I hear it when I find myself staring at a blank page, blank canvas, or my own blank stare, or just getting in the door at work.

Sometimes life is horribly blurry and the volume is blasting so loud that I forget what it is I'm doing. Do you have that, too? Here's me yelling at you: FOCUS!

On the Road Again

February 5, 2012

 It’s time to get to Tucson for the last week of the big gem show.  I’ll try to post some pix of this Year’s adventures!  In the meantime, I’m going to leave you with some ideas for surfing Pinterest!  Try searching for:

Hello Kitty – I saw some pretty hilarious things when I did this

Sharks

Socks

Television

Retro

Have fun!

 

Do You Use Pinterest?

January 26, 2012

 If you don’t know about Pinterest check it out.  I think it was made with visual artists in mind.  It is essentially a site that lets you create a variety of electronic bulletin boards and pin all sorts of things to those bulletin boards such as pictures, ideas, books you like or would like to read and so on.  You get to decide what each bulletin board will be about.  I have 12 I think.  Some of the categories I’ve given them include Polka Dots, Fun Stuff, Sharkey Loves, My Style, Jewelry AHA!, Cozy Spaces and Small Houses and more.  in pursuit of things to pin to my boards I’ve found a step by step picture tutorial on how to make your own paper clay, cool lamps that would be easy and fun to make (like out of straws and liter bottles!), great genie shoes, jewelry ideas and garden houses I wish I could have in my yard.

  To pin something to a board:  you can RePin items from other people’s Pinterest pages, upload your own things or add pins from websites online.  In this way you can collect all sorts of things and keep them in one place.  People will visit your boards and see what you’ve collected.  Some may even RePin some of the things you’ve collected to have them on their own boards on their Pinterest page.  It’s pretty interesting actually. Or would that be pinteresting?  Www.pinterest.com

Shark Infested Holidays

December 17, 2011

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted. I’ve actually been using my time to create art! Yup. Oh! And funny thing: remember Sharky Shark’s Christmas List right before Thanksgiving? First on his list was was an Air Swimmer remote controlled shark balloon. Well, we went to Thanksgiving at my brother’s house and after a really fine meal, lo and behold, my niece pops out from elsewhere walking behind an actual Air Swimmer Shark! It was hilarious. We imagined talking it onto the ferry and having it swim out of the elevator. Oh that would be funny! So the Monday after T Day I was telling two friends about the Air Shark and showing them pix from my phone. They liked the idea so much that we ended up at Toys R Us and buying two of them. J.T. shark, as my Air Swimmer is known, is living down at ArtWorks, the little art center I run. There are really high ceilings there unlike my house. That’s a good thing and also a bad thing. I was introducing JT to my Monday morning printmakers. I have a bit of a tether on JT because I’m afraid that there might be something up in the rafters that could puncture JT. I was also a little worried that if he got up that high I might not be able to bring him down… Well, the goof got away from me when I was showing the printmakers how he swims and stuff. Then our ancient but steadfast Reznor heater came on and blew JT up above one of the lights! I have a little note on his tether stating: Meredith’s Pet Shark Do Not Tamper:He Bites! Which was very worthy when I have him corralled in the office but out in our Great Room, NOT. The not caught in the chain that the light hangs from. I had quite a time trying to maneuver JT out of that position and once out, trying to being him low enough so someone could grab the tether. She was jumping trying to catch the darn thing and JT was moving along. Good thing the heater wasn’t on at the moment or capture would have been very elusive, indeed. So JT is gently bobbing in my office until his next outing. We’ve found the funniest thing is to have him swim back and forth in front of the windows at ArtWorks. From the outside it looks we’re underwater inside! It’s hilarious. Pictures are coming when I can get my Blogsy app to work…