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!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Nature Evolving ;)

Unknown

As some of you may or may not know already, I maintain/write three blogs and a website along with keeping myself busy utilizing other sources of social media and networking like Facebook, Twitter, and my MeetUp group (Let Nature Be Your Muse)--just a few of the sites I touch base with on a daily basis in order to maintain an online presence for the work I love to do.

I soon found myself muddled down in a quagmire, a need for transition. I have been wanting to streamline my efforts for a more focused presence. I wanted to create more time for keeping up with and pursuing important creative goals I've set for myself. In order to do this more productively, it's time I've combined my efforts and said good-bye to certain "hats."

Taking this step has been difficult for me. It was energy and time tempered with fear-based and insecurity-based procrastination. I kept feeling like I wasn't handling things or failing at my work. It was a long nap in limbo and overwhelm. But after ohhhhh, say nearly a YEAR of letting this paralyze me from taking the leap, I'm ready. Let's face it, I get annoyed with inaction and now opportunities are presenting themselves.

Turns out it's not such a huge leap so much as a little hop now.

That's where exciting changes come in to play! Along with a revamped website to highlight my creativity workshops (re-launching in 3 weeks), I will be breathing life into my Mouse House ART blog by integrating all of these wonderful creativity exercises and insights inspired by nature that I share here. I will eventually be phasing out this blog altogether. I find it quite appropriate to combine the two resources because these are ideas and expressions that inspire me and turn up in my own work that I share already--and will continue to do so.

I will continue to keep things personal, definitely continue to share my art, along with creativity exercises to get each of our creative juices flowing. You'll also get a variety of prompts to add to your creative stash plus updates on my upcoming workshops! My goal is to make Mouse House ART a valuable resource to you, and with more interaction through these changes.

So...I hope you will embrace this change with me and enjoy what I share with you, and hopefully we will get to know each other a little better too :) And if you’ve enjoyed the information and exercises I’ve presented on this blog, PLEASE be sure to take a moment and follow Mouse House ART to continue to receive nature-inspired morsels designed to keep your creative energy flowing!

Thank you for your continued support, I hope to hear from you over at Mouse House.

“There is no set path, just follow your heart.” ~Unknown
 
 


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Pop-Up Poetry

I recently led a Pop-Up Poetry workshop at one of my favorite nature spots, the Whitewater Preserve. Planted in a lush canyon, surrounded on both sides by a high-walled canyon we fine-tuned our observation skills and enjoyed a word gathering walk, writing poetry, and applying alternative sources of inspiration for writing poetry--just through paying attention to our surroundings in nature and allowing poety to "pop up" around us.

Even if you think you don’t have a poetic bone in your body, opening up to these creativity exercises just may surprise you when your inner poet emerges in response. Grab a notebook and a pen and give these ideas a try:

Poetry Path. Take a walk in a natural area with a particular theme in mind, like sounds, blue, textures, patterns etc. Write poem notes (phrases) that describe your chosen prompt which you can use in a complete poem or other writing later. For example, using the prompt “sounds:”
  • Describing the sound of wind in the trees interrupted by squirrels chattering: I heard an animated conversation above me, the voices of the leaves chattering with the wind about the squirrels.
  • Hearing a stream before I saw it: Somewhere beyond the moss the muffled voice of a stream tells old stories to wide-eyed boulders and fallen trees. From this phrase, I tried a version of haiku (5-7-5 poem about nature):

          Beyond the soft moss
          A stream tells old stories to
          hushed, wide-eyed boulders.


Word Gathering. One of the exercises we did as a group was a word gathering walk. For about 15 minutes we walked around the preserve collecting words in our journals directly inspired by everything we encountered. Just words. I suggested participants write any phrases on a separate page. Keep only words on your page. As a group we then exchanged our lists, using someone else’s words to write a poem (returning original lists when done). (Sources: Creating a Word List from Your Nature blog; Word list exchange idea from Liz Lamoreux’s book "Inner Excavation: Explore Your Self Through Photography, Poetry, and Mixed Media")

But if you’re going solo, a great alternative is to cut up your individual words and choose ten of them to arrange directly into a 10-word poem or randomly pick five of your words to use as inspiration in a poem. (Random 5 from Bowl of Random Words at The Odd Inkwell blog) 

Here’s a partial list from a word gathering walk by someone who does not think they are a poet; a reluctant poet: hot, green, soft, crunchy, bark, tree, leaves, water, wet, summer, season, chirping, wings, flight, laughter, blank, falling. See below for their Fallen Poem.

Sensory Overload. Still think you don’t have it in you? Embrace your descriptive words! Take any object and write down at least 5 words or phrases to describe it in detail. Try descriptive words that address your senses (sight, sound, smell, touch, taste) as a guideline. For example, "nest"--downy shelter, wet feathers, warm scent, peppery insects, tiny, hungry calls.

NEST
newly hatched, wet feathers
shifting with anticipation
stretching, reaching
tiny, hungry calls
the warm scent of peppery insects
lands softly
within the downy shelter
feeding time.

Wishy-Washy and Fallen Poems. Creating ephemeral poems can be a great incentive for putting anything down “on paper,” even those poems you think are…well not so great. Just as long as you keep working your poetry muscle. From mistakes come creative masterpieces…

Wishy (rain) Washy: how about Molly Anderson-Childers & Chris Dunmire’s suggestion of chalking a bad poem on the sidewalk and praying for rain! (from Jellybeans for Breakfast: A Guided Imagery on Play)

Fallen Poems: collect a few fallen leaves (not too crunchy) and write bad haiku on them followed by adding them to your garden as mulch—veggies and flowers eat up poetry! Or better yet, leave a lucky stranger your spontaneous prose or a poem note written directly on a leaf inspired by fall leaves, the surrounding scenery, or the tree your leaf came from, leave it on their windshield as an unexpected word gift. (Adapted from "leaf tweets" from my article, Let Nature Be Your Muse--9 Activities to Boost Your Creativity)

The “reluctant poet’s” Fallen Poem:  
 
Chirping and soft wings. Laughter in flight.
 

  

Thursday, June 16, 2011

World Turtle Day

Hello creatives! Today is World Turtle Day. Please share something you've written or created that celebrates these beautiful creatures...

I'd like to share with you a poem I wrote inspired by these sea turtle images (and their fellow endangered cousins, the desert tortoise). I hope they inspire something in you.
















































Untitled

I watched a tortoise investigating dried indigo upon the flat,
varnished cobbles of desert pavement.
It was not as easy for me on the other side of this shimmering lens of heat, baking off the ancient patina.
I wiped my neck and brow.

This endangered creature, in her element, began nibbling the dried,
crunchy indigo bits that littered the parched ground at the base of the plant.
Like a mirage, I watched her easily cut through old, white stems
as she moved her snacking onto the plant itself somewhere within my wavy vision.

I finished off my water. The heat continued to radiate, relentless and heavy.
The tortoise started to glide, effortless, weightless.
Quietly she pushed forward in an unexpectedly fluid movement, rising above me.
She became sleeker. I noticed a glittery cloud of mica dust slowly billow off her carapace.

I stood up to watch her dance a slow, liquid ballet in an endless cerulean sky.
The sun sparkled down in distorted waves creating a halo around her graceful silhouette.
She dove slowly, circling me, investigating me. Both of us floating in mutual curiosity.
I felt a tiny current of movement, the faint tip of a claw brushing my shoulder.

I turned to see her flat plastron arcing into a graceful twist away from me.
I reached for her, wanting to follow in her world of ancient survival--
but she settled out of reach onto the dark floor, resting between veils of dual existence.
I felt a salty droplet fall to my lips.
I wiped my forehead.

~M. Hedgecock



Monday, June 13, 2011

Floating Mandalas

Fuchsia bougainvilla bracts, aloe
vera seed pods, and honeysuckle
leaves.
This weekend I offered an ongoing workshop for the Whitewater Preserve's  2nd Annul Water Celebration, where participants created beautiful floating mandalas made with natural items. Using stems, sticks, leaves, petals, and blossoms visitors arranged these colorful plant elements in a variety of patterns and designs to create their own, wonderful floating mandalas. Mandala creators of all ages enjoyed this relaxing activity throughout the day.

A traditional mandala is an ancient circular design which typically represents the universe. It can also be a symbolic expression to connect with the self. For our mandalas, we were hoping participants would connect with their creative self through nature.

Definitely try this at home! All you need is a bowl of water, small dish towel for clean up, plant clippers or scissors, and some plant material from your yard like: flowers (to keep whole or for petals), leaves, sticks, seed pods, lightweight bark, etc. Experiment with different ways to use your materials, some of our participants ripped up petals into tiny pieces of "floral confetti" that added a delicate touch to their designs. Sticks were used in many different ways to add visual lines, accents, floral rafts, bridges, barriers and more in many designs.

Here are the mandalas created by my family and myself, plus some other favorites from the 40+ participants throughout the day (to see all the beautiful mandalas created visit this album):

I love my husband's traditional spoke 'n wheel style
mandala using whole roses and stems.
A beautiful huge lily is the center of the universe in
in this participant's dramatic design.

I love the layering in this delicate mandala and
how its creator used color, texture, and tiny
flowers resting on floating petals in this personal
expression.
 
My son (4 yrs. old) created this and three other rather
lovely mandalas!

I decided to use sticks and stems as a raft which
made it easier for me to keep flowers in place, plus...
I really loved the simplistic look that resulted!

Another beautiful creation by a workshop participant,
I really like the way the bright yellow ray flowers
(petals) pop around a huge orange rose, on a bed of
red petals, accented with those bright green leaves.

What one word describes the way I feel after
creating a floating mandala? Peace.

For more images please visit this album.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Creativity Sit-Spot

Create a unique sit-spot in your yard this weekend for mental decompression or as an “action spot” for creative inspiration. Be sure to include elements that truly inspire you through fragrance, sounds, textures, sight, light, framing, comfort.

Think of different ways to honor your secret spot and creative spirit. Are you inspired by the moon? How about creating something that comes alive for you under the light of the moon, with night blooming plants, intoxicating scents, or by using white paint for designs that will luminesce under its full strength.

Use an old window frame to frame out a favorite view from your yard, an everchanging photograph. How about a rocky hide-away with a poetry journal stashed in a hidden a crevice? Lose yourself in a small winding path to your favorite hammock. Keep a can of chalk handy on a designated garden wall or a large boulder for bouts of spontaneous art or journaling. Find inspiration in a bottle garden with glass in different colors, textures, reflections.

Keep it playful or relaxing, sensationally secretive or accessible and inviting, full of suprises or simple and clean. Create a creativity sit-spot that you can't wait to get to because it feels inspiring!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Stained Glass Window Exercise

Try this! Take a photo and a thick black felt pen (Sharpies® work great) and outline the main shapes. Your goal is to get down to a minimum number of shapes. Try to integrate shapes by overlooking small details. This exercise will raise your awareness of different shapes (size, orientation) and the way they interlock. (from Benoit Philippe's Creative Exericises for Artists and Everyone Else)

You can easily complete a number of these in just a few minutes. Use this exercise to experiment with and transform your favorite nature photograph into a fun, embellished mixed media piece.
Mixed media w/original Sharpie pen exercise,
embellished w/soft pastels, glass beads--and
possibly later w/some found text.
(Original photo by Alexandra J. Sheldon)




 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Paint Chip Inspiration

If you ever need a quick muse, go straight to your nearest paint or home improvement store and peruse the paint chips. With endless hues offering such descriptive names like Rocky Slope, Deep Cavern, Lightening, Painted Desert, and Monarch Wing, you can find yourself inspired by nature while standing in the middle of the paint aisle.


A random handful of paint chips can
get the imagination flowing. Try con-
necting a bunch of paint color names
in stream-of-thought story or poem:

I was beachcombing upon our Mother
Earth during the solstice. I noticed a
shimmering seashell and at the same
moment I saw lightening out across
the ocean deep. I ran toward the
seashell just inside the mouth of a
deep cavern, protected now from a
thunderous downpour. I watched my
seashell, as it lay on the sand, alight
into a calcite butterfly with each
pulse of lightening.
Pick a few paint chips that grab you and use those to write a few lines of poetry, or a detailed setting for a fictional piece, write a song, or use them to inspire your next painting or altered art piece. Recently we used paint chips during our Photo Safari creativity workshop by randomly chosing a paint chip color and then matching that color to something found in nature.

You can reverse these prompts by blending your own colors, creating a nice palette on your paper then coming up with descriptive “paint chip” names of your own.

Nature and inspiration are all around you!


 

 

The paint chip color "Cottontail" was the muse for this
little acrylic/pen & ink ATC.

Friday, March 25, 2011

I Heart Nature


Two hearts, almost a triple heart if you were to turn it on its side.

 
I love this doube heart rock my mom brought back from a trip up the northern Californian coast. I am always looking for hearts in nature, along with other common shapes, faces too, and letters--little serendipitus gifts from Nature that seem like offerings to connect to my world when I am always seeking to connect to hers.

Whether it's the search or the actual treasured finds that delight, it is always a treat to make these discoveries of the "familiar" in a sometimes less than familiar environment. I like to believe these discoveries, along with feeling a secret connection with something special just for you, is one of those magical ways in which Nature can appear as a most unexpected muse.

Go outside and look for your secret gift. It may be waiting for you at night or during the day, in the rain, on a beach, or desert path. Enjoy the mini-journey :)


Monday, March 14, 2011

Native Palettes

I recently led a “native palette” wildlfower walk where we created natural palettes from native plants along the trail by smearing and rubbing petals, leaves, and stems on paper.

It was a relaxing gathering of creatives on a wildflower wander, learning a little about some favorite desert flowers while exploring the Santa Rosa San Jacinto Mountains National Monument visitor center trails for a variety of shapes, colors, and fragrances to help our creativity blossom. We had a great time with the exercise, each making our own native palette and revealing some unexpected and surprising colors!
An example palette made
from plants & other natur-
al substances in my yard.

This is a great exercise to try, easy too. Grab some paper (water color, card stock, printer paper, pretty much anything goes), I recommend cutting an 8 1/2 by 11 inch sheet in half for easier handling. Press and smear or rub a variety of plant materials onto your paper. Experiment with different parts of the plant, try to keep pollen separate from petals, try fruits. Go beyond plants by smearing moist soil or mud, charcoal, minerals and other natural sources you find.

Want to take part in future outings that fuel your creativity? Check out Let Nature Be Your Muse meetups!

The group's collection of palettes (the first round)!


Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Ancient Artist’s Garden: Beyond Pretty Flowers and Visual Landscapes


Earth painted cat:
http://unboutdhumain.blogspot.com/
The wonderful thing about creativity is that it can be integrated into all parts of your life. For example, I have often commented on the creative outlet gardening offers. The physical release of tending a vegetable or flower garden alone may stimulate creative thought, however the colors, textures, fragrances, and tastes found in well-loved garden landscapes can be easily inspiring as well. But there are other ways a home garden or native landscape can be the perfect blend of art and nature in a more long term and uniquely interactive way.

I know that painting with plants is not a new concept—just ask your kindergartener—but I love the idea of creating a small garden as a nod to our creative spirit. With a little extra effort, you can create an artist’s garden far beyond pretty blossoms and visual landscapes for inspiration! One can find plants and minerals enough to yield traditional pigment, dyes and materials steeped in ancient inspiration that gives a whole new meaning to having a “green thumb.”

You can jump start your artist’s garden by incorporating certain rocks or minerals and transplanting mature plants for some, if not all species, so you can begin experimenting with native pigments and dyes, or making your own brushes, and containers right away! Check your local cultural museum or botanical garden for Native American or other cultural uses known about the plants in your area, particularly in knowing what part was used (seeds, leaves, flowers, fruit, stems, roots) and how they prepared these parts so you can recreate the process.

Proper plant I.D. is a MUST! If you’re not 110% sure—don’t mess with it.

Even though the traditional uses for these “artistic” materials may have been for more ceremonial, utilitarian, or social purposes—or otherwise—creative expression holds. Because it’s part of what I love about our desert, I’ve included a few examples and other sources that can be found in the Colorado desert (Sonoran desert).

PLANTS:

White Dalea aka “Cheeto” plant (Parosela emoryi) – crushed flowers used for saffron-yellow stain/dye

Spanish Needle (Palafoxia linearis) - yellow dye

Indigo Bush (Dalea emoryi) – traditionally used as a yellow-brown dye in baskets (steeped branches); blue dye (roots) reportedly used by Levi company as one of the sources for dying their blue jeans during 19th century.

Flower Pollen – in our area, pollen from the Desert Gold Poppy (Eschscholzia glyptosperma) and Little Gold Poppy (Eschscholzia minutiflora) provided a yellow cosmetic and/or stain used by the Cahuilla Indians. Experiment with pollen from any flower, many come off easily, staining whatever it touches.

Cucumber Plant – adhesive/binder; during a pigment making class, we were told the mashed-up spikey fruit of this vine was used as a binder, mixed with minerals to create a long lasting paint for ancient pictographs.

Pine pitch/sap – heated and applied as an adhesive

Nopale/Tuna Fig (Nopalea cochenillifera) - Cactus used as a host for the female cochineal
insect (Dactylopius coccus). A crimson dye, is processed from the body of this insect.

Coyote Melon (Cucurbita palmata) – traditionally used for making small bowls, containers, scoop style spoons, and cermonial rattles. Today, gourd artists regularly use these round gourds.

Carrizo Grass (Arundo donax) – containers, brushes. In a pigment making class we used Carrizo (Giant Reed) stems to make brush handles, by using a tidbit of racoon fur and heated pine pitch to attach the fur to the carrizo stem hollow. We also created cylindrical containers for carrying our pigments utilizing the hollow stem sections and whittling down the membrane at the end of the section a little to fit just inside as a “cap.”

Deer Grass (Muhlenbergia rigens) – locally, this plant along with Juncus spp. were both used for making baskets by the Cahuilla.

 
ROCKS and MINERALS:

Ochre – You might just have this already…if not a nearby source! Used by many Native American groups as body paint, also for burials, and ceremonies. Ochre is among the earliest pigments used by man, an earth pigment from naturally tinted clay containing mineral oxides, used to create reddish tint. Found virtually all over, in many shades.

Carnelian, Citrine, Amber, Garnet, Iolite, Rhodochrosite, Sodalite, Dioptase – these gemstones are used by many to enhance creativity in a variety of ways, from awakening your imagination, increasing your creative energy, to overcoming writer’s block, and stimulating the flow of ideas. Raw chunks of these are beautiful additions to any garden, or place polished stones around in secret places that benefit you.

INSECTS:
Image: "Indian Collecting
Cochineal with a Deer Tail"
by José Antonio de Alzate
y Ramírez (1777)
(Wikipedia, Cochineal)
Cochineal (Dactylopius coccus) - depending on how you feel about scale insects and the squishing of them, this may or may not be for you. If you live in the southwest and have noticed a cottony-like substance on your paddle-shaped Opuntia spp. cactus, it’s likely the cochineal insect. Smear some of those cottony fluffs (the female cochineal) and you will discover a beautiful magenta pigment. Use as is (thought not permanent to light if used for watercolor) or used the dried bodies and learn to make a dye with it by following the traditional farm-dying process of this unique source of scarlet dye regularly found in certain drinks, foods and cosmetics as carmine. Learn more about cochineal cultural history, farming and the dying process here.

Try bringing one or two of these elements into your creativity garden. I encourage you to take a quick trip on your computer, to your local botanical gardens, or cultural center to learn about the plant sources readily available in your area to reveal the ancient artist in you!

Integrate the past with the present for a garden of future inspiration by trying an intriguing ancient technique or source...see what blossoms.
 *  *  *  *  *
 Want to learn more? Check out this fantastic resource on Native American pigment and dye processes and tools, "Natural Pigments" by Patsy Harper.

This post was originally published as Awakening Your Ancient “Green Thumb” April 2010 “Your Nature” ezine

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Creativity Break: Crayon Naming

“An enterprising child set up a table at the park, selling crayons for a nickel. I gave her a dollar for Tickle Me Pink.” @WordWhispers

Let your creative nature come out and play, assign a new name for at least 8 of the color crayons you see in the image below. What story, memory or "fantastical" world will your crayon names leap from within your imagination? Alternative: pick 2-3 colors and create a name for each shade of purple or green, or blue, etc. Please feel free to share your names :)





















Image: dreamstime.com

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Forces of Nature

Inspired by the forces of nature. A twisting canyon inspires me to transform difficult forces from my life history into wondrous and beautiful creations. Through admiring the geologic features in a weathered, shaped and twisted canyon, we are reminded to embrace the depth of our life experiences and let it flow into our art, our written word--into something beautiful, from our creative soul.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Poem Notes

It is a new moon night. Irresistible.

"I cup the stars, thirsty for their silvery attention—little muses winking at me—I drink in their luminous whispers."

In Liz Lamoreux's inspiring book, "Inner Excavation: Explore Your Self Through Photography, Poetry, and Mixed Media" she shares the idea of poem notes for revealing your poet within. She explains poem notes can be: notes from a poem you hope to write some day, short lines, phrases, the beginning lines of a poem. The idea is to avoid the trap of feeling you must end up with a finished poem. As a "shy poet" myself, I found this exercise to be quite liberating, giving this tender creative outlet I secretly enjoy permission to come through in short, daring bursts and glimpses! In practicing this exercise I've actually ended up with a couple of poems ;)

Now it's your turn.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Nature Time: Making Impressions

On your next nature walk or backyard exploration, bring along a stash of your child's Play-Doh, or some modeling or hardening clay--non-staining & non-toxic--to experiment with different textures and patterns in nature (or other man-made objects). Collect patterns by placing a flattened piece of clay over a portion of textured surface, gently peeling back. Try several. An afternoon of making clay impressions in my backyard is shared in the images at the bottom of this post. The crisp, contrasting grooves from a palm frond impression was one of my favorites.

I like the shadowing of this impression
from this rock's weathered and etched
sides. The shadowing would make a
great reference for creating realistic
shadows in paintings and drawings.
Adding to your creativity toolbox. This creativity exercise is a great way to inspire sense of touch and enhance your awareness in the subtle ways nature utilizes texture and pattern. Impressions can be a great source of inspiration in a variety of ways like experimenting with new surfaces or textures for sculpting, for creating molds, embossing hand-made paper, as a shading reference for painting, for stamping, etc. What are your ideas?

Applying this to your creative work. How important is texture and patterning in your creative expression? Think about taking your creative expression to another level by incorporating this focus of texture, directly or indirectly, into your work.

I was drawn to the insect burrow marks and holes in this old tree
trunk in our tortoise yard.







I love the look & resulting impression
of this woody skeleton from a cholla
cactus.


















The weathered and cracked pattern of this old citrus
trunk, definitely inspired the desire to doodle something
organic/galactic!






























Let nature be your muse!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Creativity Hike

A couple of days ago I spent the morning with a group of creatives on a La Quinta preserve, exploring sources of inspiration as found in nature. I guided the group through a sampling of creativity exercises designed to get the creative process flowing. The group shared in the experience so openly, and I found their creative expressions and spirit so inspiring!

At the end of the hike, we gathered once more as "non-writers" to create a folding poem--a favorite exercise I like to include in any creativity outing and a great way to end a morning spent in such a profoundly beautiful environment.

Here are the two amazing group poems participants created on the spot--nature truly inspires:

Untitled
A fresh breeze brushing the winter desert.
A palette of natural color.
Calming colors –
desert seems still, but signs of motion everywhere
footprints, erosion, growth.

I saw life from all the holes in the ground.
Hundreds, maybe thousands of animals are burrowed there.
I enjoyed different perspectives of the palo verde tree –
up close it is large and grand,
from a distance, small and solitary.

Untitled
I wonder about the many forms of life has passed where we are –
Going into Nature today is going into the best art gallery in the world.
Nature is so glorious, I can’t describe it well.
Lizard watching me watching him. Peace.
Sun moving, revealing new crevices, homes to local residents.
And then rubble piles that look like ancient ruins that completes the cycle.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Nature Coach as Featured in Insights Magazine!


I'm thrilled to be a part of the January 2011 issue of Insights magazine. The magazine features my interview with BlogTalkRadio host, Stacey Chadwell, discussing my two favorite topics: nature + creativity! Find out how I believe nature can help keep us on track, what I think is the most empowering thing nature does for us, and in what ways nature fuels our creative drive. Click for interview!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Nature Time: Creating A Word List

Come along for a little nature time. Your task is to generate a word list to keep as a source of nature-inspired word prompts to engage your creative spirit. Bring along a sketch pad and a pencil, find an area where you can take in the pace of nature and let the flow of words begin. Notice which words are common in your daily vocabulary and how your response to them might change once they're associated with a natural environment. For example the word surface. What images come to mind during your morning commute with the word "surface?" How about if you scuba dive? Or take a walk in the desert? What about reading a topographic map? Think about the many "identities" of words as you do this exercise, you'll greatly expand your word-list and your opportunity for creative interpretations. Watch the video below to get started.


In this short video, my 45-word list was compiled during a 20-minute desert walk. I can refer to this list as a source of ongoing prompts for a variety of creative outlets. For starters, I decided to choose the 2nd, 4th, 8th, 16th, and 32nd words off my list as random prompts for a poetry exercise (shared at the end of the video): velvety, patina, gravel, sky, surface.

How will nature inspire you today?


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy Creative New Year

Realize that every time you make space in your life for creativity—even if it’s just a sliver of space—you’re making yourself a better person and the world a better place. ~Sandy Ackers "10 Resolutions For A Creative Year"

It's that time of year when we dig deep and shift focus toward new ways to fulfill the desires of our inner creative. Make this year the year of creativity! Resolve to honor your gift of expression through unique and inspired creative outlets. Explore, dig, excavate, unearth, rediscover, dust off your creative impulses and give them light and life!
 
In numerology circles, "11" is the most intuitive of all numbers, representing illumination and deep insight as well as being very sensitive and inspirational. Sounds like '11 is an opportune year to follow your creative intuition, and let your expression run wild to gain deep insight.  As I am always saying, make your creative time a priority. If you take the numerology fun a step further and add up 2011 (2+0+1+1), you're good to go! As the number "4" typically signifies the grounded nature of all things...think the four seasons, four directions, four elements--very powerful natural elements providing a balanced, stable home-base for your creative exploration! Protect and keep your creative time a priority as a way to get back to your creative roots, to maintain balance and center yourself--again each of these representing the symbolic meaning of "4."
 
It's all intriguing fun, but even if you're not into the numbers game, the point is to recognize the conditions are always primed for your creative journey. Start by making mistakes (release your perfectionist tendencies), try techniques or materials you've never worked before, make messes. Read Sandy's link at the top of this post for motivating ideas that will get your creative juices flowing. Then lose control, creatively speaking, be wreckless and wild and raw. Transform.  Always remember to be kind to and love your creative self. Exhale magical poetry, brush strokes, images...
 
When you're ready to grow creatively, then your moment has arrived to begin a new journey. Seek and you shall find inspiration everywhere. It will even begin to find you.
 
 
Image/artwork: M. Hedgecock, "Seastar Grow" mandala
Numerology source: spiritual-numerology.com

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