Posts in Imagination
May 2016 be your best creative habit ever!

  2016 began early for me — if renewing good habits over bad has anything to do with it.

Since Christmas eve., I have been unplugged from technology and recently, TV and screens of any type. I'm sleeping better, painting better, feeling better, walking more, reading more and calling to touch base with friends  vs. texting etc. I can't tell you how life changing this has been in just one short week. Body and mind are talking to each other and creative chemistry is at work in a more focused way. The seeds are planted for some new ground rules in 2016.

I'm a total mush-ball sponge type. This  means that  if I watch a movie, I dream about it. If I engage in social media, I'm everywhere and nowhere at all. When I interact with Facebook everyone might as well be sitting around the campfire with me.

I have needed to sip camomile tea and numb out on a movie on more than one occasion to reset to  the standard mean of "thick skin".  I realized 2016 will contain better coping mechanisms. Whatever your balance metric is, this is what I wish for you in the NEW YEAR:

"Use the year like a tool - make space for creative passion, hone it, practice a little bit day by day, and make it the year of your most abundant creative habit ever — whatever that means for you."

Space to let things marinate, simmer, and move organically feels like an amazing thing to me. Nearly a luxury! Until I decide to  take a stand and do what is necessary to carve out a bit of feeling time. Suddenly problems are solving themselves, decisions get made like buttah! Even my rabbit jumps for joy more. Secret: Rabbits love creative energy. They dance to it. It's pretty funny.

I want to leave you with this video - Eve Ensler. It was passed onto me by a fellow MFA alumni and I adore it. One of the best talks I've ever seen. Made me cry actually. So INSPIRING.

If this video is not working for any reason, Click this LINK to go there.

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE. Truly!

PS: The image in this post is the beginning of a series of large paintings I'm working on now. This happened this past week in my unplug mode. The second painting is in the works and all I will say is that a dreamy rabbit and hard working pony are involved. ; D

Gratitude, Gravity & Grace

  The words gravity and grace have my undivided attention right now. I'm not sure why ... but I do know Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday) has something to do with it.

Recently, I've been reading "The Innocent Eye" -- this is a book I've never been able to let go of and will likely see it to its raggedy end.

Considering how children express the truest character of their soul when they draw and paint. Or, when they make a mess in the kitchen trying to make pancakes. Nothing is wasted. Nothing is useless. The compassion, patience and utter abandon that is involved in the sentiment of the expression is something I feel awe for.

During the holidays it can be so easy to forget the simple magic of gratitude. Gratitude for the the things that didn't work out that makes us dig deeper in and change course if necessary. Gratitude for the daily kindnesses and simple surprises in life.

Though we may think a lot about what we want that we don't have, there is a grace in what we do have. If nothing more than an imprint of where we've been and markers for the journey forward.

I say, life isn't something to master but experience in all of it's imaginative power. Getting the "goof" on and the simple return to nature through food and love is the gravity and grace I'm aiming for this season. And I am already super duper grateful for it!

If you really want to be inspired watch Ursula LeGuin's speech as she accepts a Lifetime Achievement Award.

ps: The silly drawings are my from my daily sketchbook as I aspire to be a child everyday.

The Color of The Universe

The book "Cakes of Color" has reached it's next step in production. I finalized the 7th test kitchen cake last week — red cake. Now I am deep into color research. Each cake recipe has an accompanying mono-print illustration and a historical note on the meaning and origins of it's dye-birth. Yesterday, I handed off some hex colors (a number) to a client to guide the specification of the product I recently designed and delivered to them. I felt slightly depressed afterwards. The colors, limestone green and ochre gray have history in ancient China's silk road and India's Hindu Gods. The challenges of making green from a vat of mud — stories of the Hindu God Krishna who charms cows with his flute; how Indian Yellow became deep ochre with earth minerals of brown and the herb Saffron. The mystery of color evolution is endless. There is no one answer or discovery — it all blends into a shared history of invention.

These stories, in addition to hard won color science discoveries are threaded into their names throughout history. Green can carry over 1k of variations and names — a history of discoveries very few know today. In * Mongolia there are over 300 names for horses. Pantone is removing names by the year. Because we are in a digital age and computers don't need names, they require numbers.

Scientists at **Johns Hopkins University measured the light of the universe and concluded the color was Pale Turquoise. They later corrected that (embarrassed) that this finding was a computer error and it is actually what they now call Cosmic Latte — off white. So there it is another side to the dark side of computing. We need it but accuracy is a tale of caution.

I'm a romantic and have a cozy affiliation with the processes and people that brought color alive in history. The dye pigments have stories within stories, adventures and lives and have earned their names that are now being slowly erased. My hope in my lil' "Cakes of Color" book is that the colors become taste memories. I imagine (colored with idealism, pun intended} the sweetness of the cakes and special notes on their color history and meaning ... that people will eat color with renewed appreciation wonderful celebration memories. I hope to give people a story to tell amongst friends at the dinner table.

Now, when it comes to the birds, it's a different matter entirely. I doubt they care about color history but take every affordance to squawk out their emotions. The yellow bird is a joiner — she's a follower all the way. Redbird is hungry — it's the attitude he carries with the most conviction. And so it goes with moody birds and the "Cosmic Latte" of our shared humanity.

. . .

Footnotes: * "Color" Victoria Finlay p. 395 **"Color" Victoria Finlay p. 395, 429
The Key of Tea

  The other day a friend sent me a powerpoint presentation to cheer me up and help me to unplug.

The words went like this:

~ When the static of technology starts to wear us down ~ Press the TEA key ~ Fly away from the trappings of today ~ Sip a warm and sweet drink ~ Find the peace deep within us.

tea key on computer

Besides the fact that this did indeed cheer me up in a harried work week, it got me thinking about the quality of attention that not only nourishes our art making but also well being.

A few situations in which attention is awakened — the senses brought to a narrow point of view:

~ Travel to another country ~ Illness ~ The stress of change ~ Learning something new ~ Purchasing an expresso machine and learning to use it (my recent adventure) ~ Falling in love

To this last point, falling in love. I believe this is a necessary aspect of creation. A caring attention framed as small as a donut hole will do. Even if only for 30 seconds; and if simply a tree leaf, your child's hair, a ceramic cup.

I was watching a National Geographic short film called "Grand Canyon Gets Camera Obscura Treatment." To understand life, photographer Abelardo Morell wanted to look at the world in 'rooms' — photography tells him where to pay attention.

"One needs some hub in the world in which to look at things and understand." By giving the world a frame he pretends it's the whole world.

For me unplugging for a day ... listening to beautiful music, sipping tea narrowed the view into a Camera Obscura frame. It delighted me and rested the nervous system. I was more productive that day. In resting the multi-active action — the constant calls to action via devices into one frame of action (using hands and senses), it drew attention closer and I gained time.

In framing our world in smaller bits perhaps overwhelm fatigue can rest. Reflection kicks in, imagination has a bit of room to play - and we fall in love a little. Maybe the beauty of the moment filters out the unnecessary and non-urgent and things make sense again.

Enjoy your Sunday. And be sure to look inside the donut hole - the imagination of the world just might present itself to you.

..................

This article is dedicated to Denise. Thank you!!! You are great friend.