Welcome!

This blog has moved to my new art/creativity site (Mouse House BLOG). The new blog is also about getting you connected with nature for creative expression, along with my art, workshops, and my personal journey.

Please feel free to explore past posts here, some of which will re-appear for encore showings in Mouse House. Let nature be your muse...

Thank you for visiting Your Nature, and if you like what you read here, be sure to follow my blog at its new home, to continue to receive creative fun and inspiration in your mailbox!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Found Faces

Found faces. Sometimes they just "pop out" at us with their smiley innocence, their surprised expressions or their sweet flat-mouthed,  resignation. There are Flickr groups dedicated to them, and many who document their whimsical presence. Try this yourself by documenting any naturally occurring found faces in appliances, faucets, architecture, puddles, rocks...the opportunities are endless. Look for a variety of facial expressions in man made or naturally occurring objects. Look up, look down, look upside-down. Enjoy your encounters and feel free to share and post what you find!

Photo: M. Hedgecock

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

100 Tiny Muses

So many because they are tiny—with big possibilities! Each of the random entries below is centered around a simple moment, or a small element of nature, and presented as a muse to inspire you. (For five ideas, please see bottom of the list.)
1. the feel of natural clay
2. butterfly’s flight
3. the smell of rosemary
4. beach combing
5. pounding surf
6. watching deer
7. blue ice
8. bird calls
9. wind caves
10. velvety rose petals
11. thunder
12. the octopus
13. sand dunes
14. meteor showers
15. smell of rain
16. icicles
17. texture of driftwood
18. redwoods
19. rainforest
20. the milky way

21. wolf howls
22. pine cones
23. desert expanses
24. beach sand
25. river stone
26. meadow
27. oasis
28. inside a volcano tube
29. tide pool
30. coyote yips and barks
31. summer monsoons
32. a rainbow
33. the sound of raven wings
34. shark
35. spider web
36. finding a tooth
37. whale song
38. the moon
39. watching sunsets
40. crunchy snow

41. powdery snow
42. animal tracks
43. campfire
44. dry falls
45. tree bark
46. pine smell
47. thunderous waterfalls
48. fog
49. lightning
50. starry sky
51. wind in the pines
52. soft rain
53. thorns
54. spirals
55. water
56. acorn
57. echo
58. boulder
59. feathers
60. natural hot springs

61. limestone
62. reef
63. descending a steep trail
64. flying fish
65. clouds
66. forest
67. deep holes
68. fossils
69. moutains
70. cicadas
71. bone
72. leaves
73. lush ferns
74. desert wash
75. roots
76. bloom
77. caverns
78. currents
79. lady bug
80. sea stars

81. dandelion wishes
82. wildflowers
83. highlands
84. native ochre
85. following a mossy path
86. spongy
87. sting
88. stalagtites
89. fur
90. lichen
91. quartz
92. nest
93. aurora
94. ocean
95. summit
96. canopy
97. marsh
98. owl
99. shelter
100. wilderness

Ideas:
• Grab your camera and pick an entry from the list, then head out to capture at least 5-10 interpretations of your chosen word(s).
• Chose a word/phrase and write an inspiring or informative tweet (140 characters or less), then tweet it!
• Pick a number (1 – 100) at random and doodle that entry for 5 minutes.
• Randomly pick 5 of these words and connect them (any order) through a 5-line poem.
• Choose a word as inspiration for creating a mini painting, illustration, sculpture, etc. Go at least 50% smaller than you are used to working.

Please add to this list by sharing your entries in the comments! Especially any creative works or posts any of these may have inspired :)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Push It!

My, my it's been a busy month. I cannot believe I've let this much time slip by since my last post--tsk, tsk. I have found myself to be wonderfully busy with many outlets of creative energy--which as you can relate, one must ride that wave as long as it travels! One thing I hope you'll notice in this post is that I am pushing myself beyond my boundaries, I'm moving past my comfort zones. This is a big deal in my relationships with clients--a willingness to stretch beyond our comfort zones--it is essential for our creative growth. Doing so makes me a better creativity coach, a better artist, a better teacher, writer, wife, mom, friend...a connected being with the inner confidence and motivation needed to follow my dreams. Here are 5 ways in which I'm pushing my comfort zones to keep me moving forward and growing in my creative spirit:
  • For starters, I did something I was very uncomfortable about doing. For weeks, my anxiety and inner critic had their way with me until the big day came...and went. With no casualties. I'm talking about a radio show interview. My first radio show interview. It was for a blog radio show going out to the masses in the coaching industry. The show topic was connecting with nature for creative inspiration and I was very happy to be asked to speak about this. The 30-minute show will actually air in the spring, April 2011. Along with the air date, my interview will also be featured in Insights Magazine, an industry mag. Now, other than the moment it was happening, I have no idea how I came across. I will find out right along with you! I know I didn't crash and burn, but still a bit nerve-wracking not being able to hear it first, hehe. It was me in the exhilirating moment of living outside my comfort zone (yikes) and I ended up having a great experience! I'll keep you posted, be sure to tune in :)
  • I've had the chance to participate in a show inspired by Dia de los Muertos (one of my favorite themes/celebrations) with a piece called "Spirit Messengers." I didn't know if my piece would be accepted, but I loved the theme of the show (called DEAD, Awaken), and I really like the gallery and the gracious encouragement of the gallery owner so I decided to make a call to find out. Turned out to be a great step forward as I'm thrilled to be part of the show. If you'd like to hear more about the exhibit, please check out where you can see it here
  • I am also very excited about the countdown to the release of a new item I will be offering--only 2 days from now--a way to connect you with nature through a hands-on exercise designed to stimulate your mental focus and expand your creativity. This product is a fun, easy creativity booster based upon one of my most popular creative awareness exercises! Can't wait to go public with it on Oct. 22, 2010!
  • More great news...I've decided to move forward with writing an e-book. As of now, it will include personal connections I've experienced with nature and how those encounters have guided my (creative) life. Along with themed chapters (possibly along the classic elements: earth, water, fire, air/wind, space), there will be related, nature-inspired exercises to do, each structured to open up our creative flow and expand our creative growth. Much material is gathered/written, but there is plenty to be done like the task of blending segments together, still plenty of re-writing to be done, and re-working of chapters! I've never written a book before, e-book or otherwise, so this will be a steep learning process for me.  Writing evolves as you write; code for these are the basic elements to my e-book,  it will be interesting to see how it truly evolves!
  • I continue to experiment with new ways of creative expression and though I am often inspired by the mandala in work and play I have found another way to bring them into my art. I enjoy photography but only very casually. I have found an alternate way to integrate my favorite nature photos into my found art by taking images and creating digital mandalas. I've created some as prints, but I've also prepared others for unique found art frames or embellishments of which I'm really getting into these designs! Here is a mandala created from a picture I took of a flat of rainbow cactus for sale while at one of our Let Nature Be Your Muse meet-ups (this one from our latest, Moorten Botanical Garden "Sketch & Shoot"):


Nature continues to inspire...

Friday, September 17, 2010

International Observe the Moon Night


Hello creatives! Saturday, Sept. 18, 2010 is International Observe the Moon Night. Here in the Coachella Valley, the moon will rise at 4:17 p.m. and set by 2:17 a.m. Sounds like a great night for lunar-inspired creativity. Get your creative juices flowing with activities like sky watching, moon watching through a telescope or binoculars, moon haiku, even going on a moonlit walk! Here are a couple of other ideas you may want to try...

Visit the IOMN site:
http://observethemoonnight.org/

Sketch or write under the light of the moon, or come do it with fellow creatives:

Get to know this ancient and historical muse with this moon map:

Write a folding poem (requires a buddy) about the moon, after spending time with it: http://restoreyournature.blogspot.com/2009/12/night-sky.html

Moon Meditations that inspire you to live fully, creatively:

Enjoy the moon! Share you experience...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Spore Prints

I recently came across an easy, artistic family activity of creating mushroom spore prints. It's certainly not new, and I'm sure some of you are familiar with this technique if not already have tried your own prints. The simplicity of the process truly makes it a great opportunity for combining art and nature with your children. Artists and other creatives would surely find it irresistable and take inspiration from these simple spore prints, creating unique, altered expressions (like nature-inspired artist Chris Drury's Destroying Angel – Trinity).

Creating a few delicate looking prints begins with finding good mushrooms (please KNOW WHAT YOU ARE HARVESTING, SOME MUSHROOM SPECIES CAN BE DEADLY, always wash your face and hands thoroughly during and after handling mushrooms and do not inhale spores). Gilled mushrooms seem to be the easiest to get nice prints. You might get different colors per mushroom, depending on the species in your area. One source shares that very young or very old mushrooms do not produce spores, so try to collect growing, healthy looking mushrooms.

Slice off stems and place caps (reproductive) side down on paper. Some spores are light, some are dark; experimenting with light/dark colored paper helps, or do a little homework. One source below mentions you might be able to tell by looking at the gills (if they're light or dark spores). Place a glass or bowl over mushroom caps to protect spores from floating off by preventing air flow--even the slightest, and maintaining moisture. Let sit, undisturbed for 6 to 24 hours. Remove glass, remove mushrooms and admire your creations.

For additional examples and how-to, for preserving tips, guidelines, poisonous mushroom warnings and proper handling, please visit either of these links:

I cannot wait to try this one! Now, where to find mushrooms in the desert...



Images: “blue spore prints” Craftzine and “spore print” Nova Scotia Canada Conservation

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What’s Your Story?

Last night my son (4 yrs. old) asked me to draw one of his stuffed animals. I asked him what details I should include in the picture, “what makes him Baby Fox, what parts of him do I make sure I have in the picture?” He immediately answered, “His ears are tall and pointy, his face is cute, his nose is cute too mommy, and his tail likes to be wiggly like this, and his tummy likes to see things.” I tried my best to replicate such a carefully detailed description, but it was difficult to draw—I was a mom fully captivated by the spell of her son’s cuteness—and I missed the mark. When I showed Jeffery my drawing he said simply, “oh, no you drew Baby Fox’s mommy.”

I loved that he looked at “Baby Fox” in such a way that included field marks like big pointy ears; and that he saw emotion, personality and behavior in his “cute face” and “wiggly tail.” He also found a way to let me know you could see Baby Fox’s tummy behind his legs. Jeffery decided to draw Baby Fox himself (I wasn’t getting it quite right), he also added Baby Fox’s family and home (a hole in the African savannah—wow)!

What a good little naturalist and artist, I thought proudly! Such attention to detail and imagination involved in this little stuffed animal’s extended history. How wonderful that he looked at his little fox in such a way that would bring the critter to life in a drawing as well, like an actor who develops an entire background story and personal history about a character they’re portraying. Ten minutes later, when my son moved on to one of his dinosaurs to draw, I heard him say, “Tell me a story about your family, triceratops.” He proceeded to draw some circles with horns.

It made me think about the creative process. I think this is natural for many artists to carry a deeply personal connection to their work through a message, an experience, or a desire that needs to be transformed or expressed in some way. It is something that has a way of coming through when we go beyond our intention and explore a kind of backstory, or origin of our piece. To be fully aware of where the inspiration comes from and the reason for our subject. Circles with horns.

Fifty percent of the time the material, for me, “has the story” and dictates the direction of the work. Other times I have something quite specific in mind and mentally store it until the perfect element is in my hands, or it’s simply “ready to be created.” Still, other times I am inspired by a moment from an experience or feeling from a situation that I try to replicate. And, of course there will always be that unaccounted for percentage that I leave wild for the sake of creative exploration. Aha moments.

I try to make people smile, or escape into world of whimsy, or ultimately connect with some insight or knowledge discovered within a piece. I have not spent much time on the backstory that led me to want to create art that evokes these particular responses. I have my reasons, but the story behind each piece? Hmmm. I understand that what I am trying to create is something I want to maintain in my own world. I want to laugh, not be so serious about every little thing. I like the magical moments and whimsy of unexplainable things—which I want my son to embrace as long as possible. I want to be environmentally responsible in the way I live and create. I like to get people thinking. But I know there is much more to my story.

Each time I share a part of my story through my art, I find I am able to create something more meaningful. Yet, finding a way to make that happen for every piece is an indefinable part of my creative process. How far do I go to get to my cirlces with horns?

What’s your story?


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Calling All Artist! 350.org Needs YOU!

"Calling artists to sketch a climate change design that will be created using thousands of people in an iconic place threatened by climate change.” Invitation to join 350 EARTH: A global satellite art project  
In November 2010, 350.org will organize 20 simultaneous public art pieces that are massive enough to be seen from space and located on the front-lines of the climate crisis – our sinking coastlines, endangered forests, melting glaciers, and polluted cities. We’re looking to recruit top and up-and-coming artists to design these images.  For more information about how to submit your design ideas to 350.org's EARTH, please download the guidelines here: http://www.350.org/earth

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Curiosity...What Extravagant Respite!


Laguna Beach, CA. As you're walking downtown, there's a little path that takes off from the sidewalk, if you follow the sculpture and plants, you will discover this little deck and the endless ocean view with a beautifully crafted fence that reads: "In this fleeting moment what extravagant respite as booming surf speaks its mystical passage across the undreamed depths." Surrounding the quote, are bits of stained glass treats and the tiny print framing the quote is the word "sound" repeated along the top and bottom.

My friend and I came across this little offshoot after an already long day on our feet--which were killing us, my shoes were starting to rub uncomfortably too. We were both ready to sit the next couple of hours out on the beach (shoes off), and dive into the glorious depths of girl talk, while the end of day approached. But curiousity got the best of us and we wanted to see what was down this short path.

I'm happy we did, I loved this quote fence, its shadow on the deck, and the sound of breaking--yes booming--surf below! We were there less than 10 minutes (the beach was calling), yet I was revitalized by our discovery and temporarily forgot about my sore feet. Respite indeed.

Yes! Pursue your curious side. Answer its call when it beckons you, no matter how tired you feel. Curiousity energizes. Curiosity is your escape from routine, it is the trail less traveled that invites you to explore.

Explored curiosity fuels our creativity.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Inspiration Fest

One way I find inspiration is by going to art festivals. I love outdoor events that pulse with art, music, and dance. It's a plus when you're surrounded by nature and plenty of working artists or performers who are bringing their talents to life right in front of you! I'm heading to the Sawdust Festival this week in Laguna Beach, one of my favorite art festivals. The environment is so inviting. It's funky, established, and filled with plenty of nooks and crannies bursting with inspiration. The art and the artists are amazing in their talent, creative in their displays, and happy; with personalities as colorful as you can imagine.

For me, a day spent at an art fest or a powwow, and the surrounding environment that inspired its beginnings is complete "inspiration immersion!" I come home so full of the creative spirit that I cannot wait to get knee-deep into a project. The heart of the experience--all of that artistic expression and sensory mojo--pulses through my veins and into my project.

Go enjoy a nearby festival, there are plenty to be found year-round, some quite famous, some obscure, yet all with high potential to inspire you. You can search for festivals by region on-line. You might be surprised by what people are willing to celebrate. I encourage you to feed your creative side by absorbing the inspiration that awaits you at a soul-thumping powwow, or the next jazz, art, hot air balloon, or whale festival!

Perhaps I'll see you at Sawdust...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Cultivating Creativity

As an artist, my creations may not be something you see everyday. I like to incorporate humor, death, birth, the unexpected, whimsy, nature, critters, into the things I create. I like weird and mysterious. I think my son is starting to pick up on that; he is one week shy of his 4th birthday, and developing an eye for the strange.

For example, I have a Dia de los Muertos piece where I shaped and painted skeletal dinosaurs. He digs them, "I rweally like your trisohatops mommy, they're rweally good dinosohs!" Most recently, I placed one of my creations front and center on our car dashboard for him to discover on our way to his swim lesson. I jokingly told my mom (the original lover of morbid art) I might be scarring the little guy with my work. In the meantime, I wondered how he would react to this macabre little hitchhiker:


His first reaction was, "Mommy, what is that?" Said in the tone of, what the hell is that thing? Fifteen minutes down the road he was trying to get me to agree that he should have him. "I like that spidohr's face, mommy. He's funny." He promptly named him Skele-Spider by the way, but he apparently goes by Spider Bones too.

Jeffery quickly adopted Skele-Spider and insisted that his new friend wanted to learn how to play his video game and wished to be added to his bed with his stuffed animals... "Mommy, I prawmise 'kay? I heard you, he's not a toy, I will be carefoh mommy, pleeeeease." I agreed that Skele-Spider would probably love to learn how to play MarioKart but I didn't think he should be with his toys. After much negotiating, Jeffery agreed to show him the games then return Skele-Spider to the car to go on trips with us instead.

For a child who is terrified of all things Halloween, he always has something nice to say about my art. Sometimes he’s wanted to play with some of my materials. I wish he could hang out with me more while I'm working on garage pieces, but currently it’s something that doesn’t really happen because,
1) I work with dangerous, sharp, and crusty metal objects
2) he's usually asleep anyway, and
3) there's just not a lot of room for him to do his own creative thing while I'm doing mine.

One of my sooner-than-later dreams is to create a better space in our garage that is safe, with more room, and more inviting for both of us to be out there together. I want him to witness a variety of creative outlets while freely developing his own...just like I was able to do when I was young.

Growing up, I watched my parents create a variety of wonderful work and joint projects. I was always encourged to create my own things and I always had plenty of space and materials to do so. I want to provide a similar experience for my little one...surrounded by skull beads, humanized bugs, and creepy creatures made of found junk, complete with skeleton spider friends.

If you want to be creative, cultivate that desire by surrounding yourself with all things creative. Things that stimulate your creative process like color, photos, idea journals, books, materials, good light, natural light, unique inspirations, other’s art. Not just in your studio or work space, go beyond and keep it a part of your daily routine. Like writers who write every day, your physical mantra must be to create every day. Work your creative muscle.

I also believe it’s important not to get caught up in creative habits or projects that no longer represent you. When a favorite medium or theme begins to leave you feeling uninspired, it’s time to switch it up! Honor this sign that you are creatively growing and evolving! Don’t freeze up or get bored—try stretching your creative spirit. Incorporate new concepts, new methods or materials or processes—I did this just last weekend and it was a creative shot in the arm for me (and a future post)! You never know when or where inspiration will hit you.

Whether you wish to foster creativity in your child or yourself, make sure you have the space and the materials you need to create. Keep a fresh approach by trying something new, and have fun with what you do create! Then inspire others by sharing your wonderful work…

Monday, August 9, 2010

Nature Time: Photo Finish

My mom’s clever “game” she created for my aunt and uncle inspired this exercise! Before leaving their mountain cabin of which my mom spent the weekend, she took extreme close-ups of various items and locations throughout the cabin. She sent them to my aunt and uncle as a kind of scavenger hunt of the unique photographic perspectives she created. Try this one as a fun “thank you” for your host as my mom did, or for a twist on family game night! It would make a interesting artistic theme. Teachers could have great fun with this as a way to get new students familiar with classrooms while exercising their observational skills. Many possible applications…let your inner shutterbug fly!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Nature's Palette: Web








[click palette for larger image]
 
I love this image (Dreamstime.com) of a spider's web hanging among these twiggy fall branches. How will you be inspired by this creative "spin" found in nature?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Creative Intentions

My mom treated me to an amazing prayer flag making workshop up at the Idyllwild Arts campus, taught by visiting artist Karen Michele. It was a beautiful July day of creating under the pines—a deer even stopped by for a visit (too bad I missed her)!

The theme was Tibetan inspired with the thought being that the wind will carry the intentions of the writings or imagery on the flags out into the world to benefit all living beings. In Tibetan culture, there are 5 flags, each with its own color and associated element. The word in parenthesis are my own wishes/intentions inspired by the element:

RED = FIRE (transformation)
YELLOW = EARTH (grounded/our roots)
BLUE = SPACE (happiness)
WHITE = AIR (silliness)
GREEN = WATER (compassion/peace)

If you are looking for a fulfilling creative project, I found this to be a wonderful exercise for finding the words and imagery to represent my personal wishes for myself and all others, and put it into something to be carried in the wind. It was something I’d never done before and that alone jumpstarted my creative process and ended up being the shot in the arm I needed to get back into other projects I’ve left incomplete! I’m working on those now, giving them new life inspired by a day of creative fun, new techniques and ideas.

If this appeals to you, let the elements inspire you or simply think of qualities you wish to maintain or wish for yourself and others to live by in the world. With materials at hand or your “theme” in your head, gather embellishments and imagery that signify your words. Use an 8” X 12” panel of material for each flag (I cut up a pair of old jeans) as your canvas and bring your intentions to life in that space! Leave about 3” to 4” at the top for folding over ribbon, cord or rope for hanging.

My whole strand is about 4 1/2 ft. long. Each panel is made from a recyled pair of jeans (flag panels) and acrylic, slightly smaller than 8”X12”. Embellished with: embroidery, can lids, glass beads, leaves, material, buttons, wire, scrap metal pieces, post cards, copper wire, metal tags, Sharpie...

I am a little attached to them right now, but I have every intention of placing these outside when the weather cools off a little. I am in search of a special place, maybe our front door(!), to hang these so they can fulfill their true purpose! I think it would be fun to document their "lifespan" of prayer releasing :) I’ll be sure to keep you posted!

Here are each of my flags, click images if you’d like larger view:

RED = FIRE = transformation

YELLOW = EARTH = grounded; our roots

BLUE = SPACE = happiness; plenty of space for all to be happy :)

WHITE = AIR = silliness; sometimes the element is referred to as wind or cloud.

GREEN = WATER (life) = compassion, peace. Let compassion flow for all...the script repeats, "compassion for all sentient beings"

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
While photographing the flags, a breeze released a batch of my intentions for you! Maybe you felt it...

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Nature Time: Create A Maze

Last week you were asked to create a maze inspired by the Your Nature article “aMAZingly You!”     and     the   wonderful metaphor mazes can offer. Here's your exercise up for comment:

Make it simple or deviously complex. I spent about 10 minutes creating this maze on the large leaf I left in a Double Tree hotel lobby--at an information kiosk--for someone to find! Maze-making can be as relaxing as doodling or free-writing, allowing your brain to unwind while focusing on something repetitive, yet engaging.

It’s easiest to draw your “answer” or home path first, then filling the rest in around it. If it’s your first maze, I highly recommend using a pencil so you can go back and open up your false routes! Or just remember to leave gaps on both sides of your path for adding the phony routes and dead ends in later. Have fun with this one! Create them in or on unusual places for extra fun, like a leaf, a bookmark, a flat rock, or on the envelope of a letter to a friend. Let us know what happens. My leaf maze with, “Have an aMAZing day!” on the back, was gone by the time we left to meet friends for dinner, about 40 minutes!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Nature's Palette: Clinging Feather













Photo (feather) by Dries Knapen
Color is a powerful visual. A specific color or color combination in nature may be used as a warning, as camouflage, in mating, to attract pollinators, and more. Either way, it's purpose is to evoke a response. What colors do you respond to in the things you collect or the art you create?

The nature's palette series is a color prompt from nature itself, how will nature inspire you today?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

aMAZingly You!

When I was a teen I was big into mazes. I loved trying to find my way out of hedge mazes, hay mazes, and even a huge corn maze once. In fact, the seasonal “Maize Maze” staff warned us to plan a couple of hours for navigating our way through the huge maze, complete with look-out towers. They also gave us an emergency “help” flag mounted on a tall pole so we could be found and rescued, along with a quick lesson on how to signal for help! It was great fun! We prided ourselves on finding the right clues along with our sense of direction for getting out on our own.

Intermingled and prior to that, as a pre-teen, I made tedious, complex mazes that filled up entire notebook pages and then asked my parents to make Xerox® copies of them so I could do them later. It was a fun thing for me, I would spend hours drawing out the home path, then filling in elaborate dead-ends and fake routes.

Now that I’m *ahem* older I love the metaphor a maze presents for the unique paths we take along our journey. When you think about it, there is one true, deeply intuitive path we are each following. Many times we stray from it, we get lost, or we might get fooled or lured into taking false paths that lead us away from our core values, or our natural instincts. Sometimes we get stuck (cue rescue flag pole). Some of us simply choose to meander—whether we’re unfocused on our goal, or enjoying some extended opportunities while accomplishing our goals. Now and then these alternative paths lead us back to our original destination, sometimes they just end and we have to go back and figure out where we went off track. No biggie. Because, in the end, if we were to turn around and trace our steps, we would see this amazing journey that brought us to our end goal. We might gaze across a series of repeating patterns, mistakes, and doubling back; but we could surely appreciate the beautiful design it created. One that is so purely our own blueprint embedded beneath our creative decisions, growth, and actions at that moment of our life.

Life invites us to be amazing! Don't retreat into creative non-action because you are worrying about choosing the wrong path (or project), if it turns out to be a dead end or takes you away from your values, turn around. Create your own path, create your personal maze, YOU know the best route to your creative success. Make it fun, make it happen!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Nature Time: Moon Meditation & Thesaurus of the Senses

Below are the last two Nature Time exercises moved over for any comments you'd like to share! IWe would love to hear how these exercises opened up a creative flow (or not) and how you decided to use the exercise!

Thesaurus of the Senses
Create a thesaurus of the senses (Strangling My Muse). This week’s exercise is taken directly from one of my fave creative beings and online inspirations, Sandy Ackers. I could only add, in keeping with the Nature Time element, that this is a great challenge to create a nature-themed thesaurus too! Enjoy this creative challenge from Sandy’s blog:

“How many words or phrases can you come up with to describe the color of the sky? See how many words or phrases you can produce for each of these: the color of the sky; the taste of sugar; the smell of rain; the feel of air; the sound of laughter; the shape of eyes. This is a great exercise when you don’t have much time. And if you keep thinking up words to describe the sight, sound, taste, feel and smell of various items, you can compile your own thesaurus of the senses—a wonderful reference when you need interesting words for your fiction, essays, poems or other projects.”

Moon Meditation
The moon is a great mentor in living your life to its fullest. Find a comfortable spot in the moonlight and try this moon meditation: Our silvery moon has long been the source of inspiration for artists, philosophers, and poets. Both science and art continue to seek ways to study and interpret its profound affect on our lives. Think about the people in your life, and how they inspire you; awaken those same inspiring qualities in your self. Meditate on your ability to express yourself as passionately as those who inspire you and others will not be able to resist supporting you in achieving your creative calling.
 

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Your Creative Voice: Teachings From The Scorpion

When we feel a connection with the natural world, we begin to appreciate its value and every species’ right to share our world. We wish to protect its future as our own, and we will find a creative way to share this passion with the world. What we learn from nature gives us insight into ourselves.

Like some art, the scorpion is a creature often misunderstood and reviled. But once we learn to appreciate its value and its rightful place in our world, we feel connected and can learn much about ourselves. Like the scorpion, you are a truly amazing being and key to your environment. Everyone and everything you share your creative “habitat” with may have an impact on how you express yourself and vice versa.

Daily interactions shape your inner nature, the core from which you pull from each time you take action in your life. Who or what are you allowing into your environment and how are they shaping or influencing your creative process? Read on for encouragement and advice from an unexpected source, the scorpion.

TEACHINGS FROM THE SCORPION

1. Scorpions rely first on their strength for nourishment, using their strong pincers to capture and hold prey, not their venom.

Respond with your inner strength for facing challenges, do not sting with your words. As creative beings, we are usually our own harshest critic, quick to tear apart any creative effort. Be strong and do not succumb to venomous comments or thought, be honest and thoughtful with what you create, these are your most vulnerable expressions. Nourish your talents with inner confidence and by capturing and holding onto supportive critiques and trusted guidance.

2. Throughout human history scorpions have had their share of both negative and positive “press.”

Consider this when dealing with an undesirable situation or unwarranted criticism. Become aware of all perspectives, yet don’t let others take away your creative voice!

3. Scorpions molt throughout their lives as they grow. Newly molted scorpions must keep stretching while the new exoskeleton hardens to ensure that it can move when the hardening is complete.

Shed old skins as you grow. Create opportunities for multiple transformations that inspire you. Stretch your creative boundaries. Allow yourself room to grow as you fulfill your creative calling.

4. Burrows are a very important aspect of the ecology of desert scorpions, offering shelter and protection while molting and from predators.

How often do you allow yourself time for a little “burrowing?” What can you do to ensure those quality, restorative moments vital for maintainining your creative energy and focus? Creative beings tend to be emotionally sensitive—protect this treasured way of directly experiencing the world around you, this is part of your personal inspiration—retreat and “burrow” when you need to regroup or reclarify your creative voice.

5. Scorpions tend to change their habits rather than their form in order to adapt to a new habitat.

This is a great reminder to stay flexible while pursuing your creative goals, rarely do things go as planned. Expanding your comfort zones and growing as an artist means adapting and navigating new territory! Find new inspiration akin to a new habitat in order to punch up your creative survival. Shake it up a little, avoid those habits that drain your creativity. Don’t change the positive, Über-cool YOU, adapt by changing the habits or your studio’s appearance/workability that is stifling your creativity.

Adapted from: “Teachings From the Scorpion” M. Hedgecock, 2009
Scorpion photo: M. Hedgecock

Friday, June 25, 2010

Creativity Tool: Spirals

Spirals have inspired artists for ages, first appearing in megalithic art in the form of petroglyphs. Spirals have symbolized the sun, growth, evolution, hypnosis, and the universe. In nature, spirals can be found everywhere—perhaps the source of ancient inspiration—and are usually described as whorls when found in plants and animals. In mathematics, “a spiral is a curve which emanates from a central point, getting progressively farther away as it revolves around the point.” (wikipedia.org)

What does a creative spiral signify for you?
How could you use spirals in your art or writing?
How would spirals appear in your work as a chef, or a dancer, as a sculpture?

SOMETHING TO TRY: seek out spirals, any size, shape, or form for 3 days. Take notes, photographs, sketch, or mentally list your finds for possible jumping off points for future projects. Where do you notice spirals most, in nature or man made environments and structures? Do you find more while you’re purposefully looking for spirals, or when you’re occupied with other tasks? What do your answers tell you about your creative process?

Full article here.

Nature Time Exercise: Nature Journaling

Last week's Nature Time exercise moves over for discussion. Let us know how you took time to break out your inner nature journaler....

If you’ve never kept a nature journal, consider it a great way to build your writing tool box! It can be as simple as documenting a quick note of the first time you notice your favorite wild blossom, or migrating bird in your yard, or the first rutting calls of elk.

Nancy S.M. Waldman (The Practically Creative Quarter) found she did it for two reasons, one having to do with creative writing. She writes, “When writing, it’s often useful to have at your fingertips real notations of when the Indian Hawthorne blooms in Texas or if it’s believable that the first snowfall of the year might be as late as January in Connecticut or if a character could be hearing the frogs at dusk in Nova Scotia in mid-April.”

This is a fantastic way to connect nature to your craft and I encourage you to start a nature journal today to see where nature inspires you…

Saturday, June 19, 2010

11-year old Artist Campaigns to Save Gulf Wildlife!

Fantastic, Olivia you are our hero!

Please read this wonderfully inspiring story about a passionate, budding ornithologist and artist who has helped raise over $70,000 to protect pelicans, manatees, whooping cranes and the other birds she loves-species threatened by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.


Yay Olivia, what an inspiration you are for us all!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Summer Solstice

June 21, 2010 begins the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year. Imagine what creative projects you could accomplish with longer days! How many times have you heard yourself say, if only I had an extra hour or two in my day, I could really get into a creative zone. Well, why not let this ancient “midsummer” event get you in the zone.

Think honestly about your time today and this evening, or over the next week; how and where can you make changes that will open up minutes or hours? Every minute you save will add up to a block of time you’ve successfully managed for yourself.

I might add that it helps to have an ongoing list of creative projects you would like to do, if you had the time. It should inspire you to enjoy your time in a way that is most uplifting for you. When the moment comes that you have an extra 30 or 60 minutes, you won’t go blank and waste time in trying to come up with “something” to do that you’ve wanted to accomplish. Will it be planning a yard project or a room re-do, starting or finishing that creative project, or trying out a new recipe? Of course, never underestimate the recuperative power of free time that involves doing nothing! As a creative being, it is essential to protect your creative time for daily snippets of inspiration or productivity.

Enjoy the beginning of summer marked by the solstice. There are many ways to celebrate this seasonal marker, from ancient to modern. What will you do to maintain your personal, creative time as the days grow shorter from now?

“Summer Solstice” by Ursula Freer, please visit her beautiful gallery.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Nature Time: Snap To It!

Last week's Nature Time is up for comments now that there is a new exercise (side bar). Please feel free to share you experience!

Carry your camera with you wherever you go today. Most cell phones have cameras built right into them, take advantage of the video option found on most cameras and phones today. Let your eyes explore around you throughout the day, snap photos of anything that strikes you: friends, your lunch, flowers outside your office, the sunset, colors, leaves floating in a suspended dance on a swirling current of wind. Don’t worry about the perfect shot—just get it so you can access it later.

Note what inspired you to take each shot, either at the time or when you’re finished, go through your photos/video, recall what inspired the image (liked the color, great emotion, delicate lines, etc.). Write these down as bullet points and look for a theme or pattern that may connect each photo. This will give you a sense of what inspires you.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Nature's Palette: Lavender Fields












In a previous post, I talked about the inspiration that could be found at your local harvest festivals, like lavender festivals, cherry festivals, etc. My family and I just spent the weekend at a nearby lavender festival and had a great time! These are fun for the whole family and events like these are a fanstastic source of inspiration for all the senses! While there, all I wanted to do was sketch or try my hand at a little painting or pastels like these artists...

I kept thinking of how fun it would be to set up a mini-easel for my son and let him go with finger paints and brushes and just see what we might create--perhaps something lavender-y, perhaps he would paint his famous monkeys :) We did manage to collect some flowers and make our own "magic petal potions!"

How will this nature palette inspire you today?

For ocean-inspired nature palettes, click the links below:

Ocean <--click

Seashells <--click
 

Monday, June 7, 2010

Nature Time: Clay Play

Clay play is up for comments now that there is a new nature time exercise (side bar). Please feel free to share you experience from last week's exercise below!

It’s all about texture and patterns. Grab some clay, Play-doh®, modeling clay—even natural clay if you are lucky enough to have a source. Roll out and pre-cut flattened, 4” x 6” pieces to take with with you into your backyard or nearby park. Find patterns and textures to start pressing your pliable, flattened pieces of clay onto. Try trees, interesting building surfaces, rocks, leaves, man-hole covers, outdoor sculpturs, sidewalk cracks. Use these pieces to stamp patterns onto your work or apply to clay works, or assemblage pieces. Or, let these impressions inspire a character or setting. Use as you creatively wish!

Lavender Festival

The site of lavender fields, lavender flowers, the smell lavender can inspire many creative outlets: drawing, cooking, gardening, photography, writing, painting—I’ve read lavender oil is a great oil painting medium!

Here’s a fun way to spend Father’s Day, and/or feed your creative mojo--the 123 Farm’s 6th Annual Lavender Festival this June 12,13,19 & 20, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. If you’re interested, please visit their website for details, directions to their Cherry Valley, CA location, festival activities, schedule, and organic herbs and oils for sale (including lavender, peppermint, rosemary, and sage!).

Lavender farms can be found throughout the region, check your local area for any local harvests, find out what's available in your area. Don't worry if lavender is not a likely harvest--now's a great time to learn about the organic goodies in your region to discover a local farm that celebrates the harvest publicly for natural inspiration!

Mmm...what inspires you most about lavender? Scent, sight, taste, touch...?

About the 123 Farm: http://www.localharvest.org/farms/M14941

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