I've been inspired lately by a book by Lisa Sonora Beam, called "The Creative Entrepreneur." The book guides the reader through a visual journaling process focused on making your creative business a success. If you work for yourself in any creative field, I recommend this book! It's made me think, given me useful tools, and has gotten me to work in my journal even when I didn't think I felt like it. Lisa really nails down ways to give ourselves credit for our strengths and to work with the areas that we could improve.
Part of being a creative person is that the process involves emotional highs and lows. One minute we think we rock and the next we feel like a worm. This book is helpful because it encourages us to use visual means to explore these emotions and beliefs, and also offers tools to identify and combat destructive tendencies and turn them around. Above are pages that illustrate my brain process, which is to see a vision of the forest first, and then break it down into trees. Sometimes that's a lot of trees!
The pages in this post were done with a few paints, a pen, images from three magazines, and the contents of a bag of papers to throw out. Sometimes when I don't feel inspired, having limits helps me focus. Lisa Sonora Beam emphasizes that we're not doing the journal as a work of art, but as a tool to help us grow. I struggle with self-expressive art sometimes, because I want it to look good. A couple of nights ago I did these pages (mostly) without needing them to be "art."
Having fun with our "monsters" always lessens their power
My positive pages--the images and text all mean something to me personally
Who would ever write a show called Urinetown? If I'd thought of that I'd have dismissed it as a dumb idea. It wasn't a dumb idea. The show was a great success and has been performed all over the country. My friend Lori even won a "Drammy" award for her role as the evil controller of the public toilets. (The Drammy is an award for outstanding work in Portland theater.) Using the term Urinetown Idea gives me permission to brainstorm an inspiration without deciding it's a terrible idea that should never see the light of day. It also signals my partner and me to listen and not judge the ideas one of us is sharing.
One of my all time favorite books is called Art and Fear. The authors, Ted Orland and David Bayles, explore in a humorous and compassionate way the link between the two emotions of the title. They note that "Artmaking can feel dangerous and revealing. Art making is dangerous and revealing." Combine that with the dangerous and revealing process of making one's livelihood revolve around artmaking and it's no wonder we creative entrepreneurs get the heebie-jeebies sometimes! We need the support of writer/artists like Beam, Bayles, and Orland and we need to have our local support networks too, to remind us that we can do it. We are doing it.
The Art of Life group played around with encaustic last week. Some members had explored encaustic processes before and others hadn't. Jodi contributed some fascinating ideas that were new to me. She brought dried and opened large teabags which had great texture and a lovely aged appearance. I can think of lots of uses for these! Another technique she introduced was using roofing tar in incised areas of the wax to accentuate them.
Jodi decided a few weeks ago that she wanted to use the reverse side of this wood panel. She used it to make this encaustic assemblage. What a great idea!