Week 7 — A Sense of Connection

Week 7 - Snow Covers High Heaven Valley

We turn this week to the practice of right attitudes for creativity.  The emphasis is on your receptive as well as active skills.  The essays, exercises, and tasks aim at excavating areas of genuine creative interests as you connect with your personal dreams.

The weather provided great inspiration for week 7.  A later winter snow storm dumped a foot and a half of dry powder on the hillside.  It made for a beautiful scene and filled me with excitement & thoughts of adventure.  I love the snow and that is one of the reasons I enjoy living where I live.  In the winter, we get small blankets of powdery snow — enough to have some fun for a few days.  That’s exactly what this week brought as I excavated my areas of creative interests.

Week 7 - I am LestarAlong with excavating my office to uncover my desk and workspace, I took some time to play in the snow.  Beautiful sunny weather and the cold brisk air provided great times.  I’m finding more and more that enjoying the day benefits my creative soul.  It’s fun to engross myself in a painting and yet ignoring the possibility for play when the opportunity presents itself is also not beneficial for my overall artist health.  Deadlines come and go, yet missed opportunities are that—missed!  That’s why its important to clue in on my environment and not get caught up in the task.  With that said, having an organized work space, not only lessens the clutter in the environment — it clears up my mind to focus.

And thus the excavating of the office.  After clearing some physical and mental space, I proceeded to follow through with the week’s exercises.  That meant identifying the inspirations and actions that put a smile on my face.  This week I put together a collection of heroes, inspirers and outrageous imagery that combine who I am and what I want to be.  I enjoy looking at that visual reminder.  The “I Am Lestar” contains part of that and I share it here.  The entire image is on my desktop.  If anything it gives me a cause for mental pause when I need a break from my laptop or day. Afterward, it was another hike out in my backcountry and go for a little jump of fun.

 

Week 6 — A Sense of Abundance

Week 6 - Kickin' It

This week you tackle a major creative block—money.  You are asked to really look at your own ideas around God, money, and creative abundance.  The essays will explore the ways in which your attitudes limit abundance and luxury in your current life.  You will be introduced to counting, a block-busting tool for charity and right use of funds.  This week may feel volatile.

This week raised new levels of understanding for me.  Personal value and self-worth came up — not in the my world is over, kind of way — more in the manner of this is WHY I do what I do.  The big WHY!  One question that people ask often and may not have an answer for — What is my purpose?  I create art because it brings me joy.  I get a kick out of creating something from a blank canvas.  The joy is in the creative process.  The end result is art. As Seth Godin answered in his blog, ‘Art is what we call…, “It’s in the soul of the artist.”  Yes,  I whole-heartedly agree!  Art is in the soul of the artist and as an artist, I unleash that onto the blank canvas.  That is one belief that makes it challenging when putting a dollar value on the finished product.  I’ve talked to professional artists, budding artists & closet artists during my continuing adventure in the art realm and this challenge often times is in the forefront.  Seth Godin in his blog indicates that art is something risky.  I’ve learned to take that risk over and over and over again with each new painting. The first time was the riskiest for myself and each time it got easier.  Much easier.  It’s like practicing a new martial arts scissor kick.  The first time, my feet are barely off the ground.  Each progression of kick after kick after kick gets me higher and higher.  Each kick trains my body.  Each risk trains my soul to continue forward.

Continuing in the journey is what it’s all about for me.  I’ve always claimed that “Art is my passion” and to continue towards that goal is worth the risk of putting a price tag on my soul.  What ever the outcome, I feel happy knowing that the canvas which was once barren is now full of life — colorful, vibrant & textured life.  Stepping out in the cold mountain air onto a snow-filled morning, reminds me to take it all in stride.  Life is beautiful, especially when I’m not fighting myself.   I love to look at our snow-covered front yard and imagine each snowflake a brushstroke being applied onto the canopy of leaves and the surrounding ground.  Life is full of natural art — creating beautiful somethings.  The risk is stopping one’s self to admire it every so often.

Week 6 - The Beauty of Winter

Flutter

FlutterFlutter is one of four in an exploration of the zen of life through nature on 3″x3″ basswood.  Humming birds have been present in many paintings.  Here the little bird flutters beyond the grasp of roses to enjoy his abundance.  Roses surround the little bird all for its enjoyment and nourishment.

Currently, this painting is hanging for sale at the McMinnville Public Market in McMinnville, Oregon.

{ Click on image for larger view }

Moon Blessings

Moon Blessings Moon Blessings is a four part exploration of the zen of life through nature on 3″x3″ basswood.  This is a take-off from the painting A Thousand Blessings.  Here the moon illuminates the lotus blossoms and creates the radiant feedback from the glow.  It asks the question “to whom is the receiver and the giver?”

Currently, this painting is hanging for sale at the McMinnville Public Market in McMinnville, Oregon.

{ Click on image for larger view }

Twist of Zen

Twist of Zen Twist of Zen is in the series of 6×6 acrylic paintings, exploring the zen of life through nature.  This painting is the same tree in Burst of Sunshine from a different perspective.  Here the mountain-scape adds as backdrop and sets the mood for the brightly lit sky.  The mountain is depicted far and away giving the tree a tall & confident appearance.  Here the tree is the central focus and showcases its twisted bark as it endeavors to grow ever taller.

Currently, this painting is hanging for sale at the McMinnville Public Market in McMinnville, Oregon.

{ Click on image for larger view }

Burst of Sunshine

Burst of Sunshine Burst of Sunshine represents a series of 6×6 acrylic paintings.  The series explore the zen of life through nature.  This painting depicts a bonsai-like tree with its tree limbs growing in every direction while following the source of sunshine.  Burst of Sunshine represents the journey of life for me.  One bends and curves through life while following their path for happiness.

Currently, this painting is hanging for sale at the McMinnville Public Market in McMinnville, Oregon.

{ Click on image for larger view }

Week 5 — A Sense of Possibilities

This week you are being asked to examine your payoffs in remaining stuck.  You will explore how you curtail your own possibilities by placing limits on the good you can receive.  You will examine the cost of settling for appearing good instead of being authentic.  You may find yourself thinking about radical changes, no longer ruling out your growth by making others the cause of your constriction.

Week 5 - Break On ThroughThis past week was my most productive week, thus far.  Whether it was due to this week’s exercises of identifying how I limit myself or because the light at the end of the tunnel is shining brightly, I’m not able to say at this time.  I do know that this week was much easier for me.  Like escaping from a self-imposed box, one has to wrench and push on through to break free.  Because most often times that self-imposed box was made way toosmall.  While in the box, that doesn’t seem like the case.  I can say that the box is getting much bigger and bigger as I’m seeing my creative channels flow easier and easier.

This week I’ve come to the realization that somehow along my journey of becoming an artist, I’ve let setbacks guide me from my passion.  The lack of inspiration created a blockade and I no longer saw the horizon ahead.  I started pushing way too hard and too much in an attempt to be that Artist.  The fun was escaping.  What’s been driving me this past week and from what I’ve been realizing through The Artist’s Way is do the fun things in my life and the rest will follow.  It sounds quite easy.  It is, really!  Yet, the simple answer is often times hidden in plain sight.  So that was the secret to my week.  I based my activities on the question, “Will this activity make me happy and is it fun?” Adding discipline and desire to my week also catapulted my productivity.  Creating a daily time chunk for art was essential.  Call it an appointment with my creativity.  A set time interval each day that allows me to create.  It makes things in the horizon much easier to see.  Suddenly the tension of “I need to paint” versus “I need to finish this web project” eased with time chunking.  Balance is attainable through discipline and allowing myself the flexibility for changes.  Yeah, possibilities are looming ahead — right across the horizon.

Week 5 - Life is Full of Possibilities

Week 4 — A Sense of Integrity

The Artist’s Way, Week 4

“This week may find you grappling with changing self-definition.  The essays, tasks, and exercises are designed to catapult you into productive introspection and integration of new self-awareness.  This may be both be very difficult and extremely exciting for you.  Warning: Do not skip the tool of reading deprivation!”

Okay, so what exactly happens when a warning label is presented?  Well,… this past week’s experience would say “do the exact opposite.”  Because that’s what happened!  Early in the week, I went on reading my yahoo and google news, caught up with the happenings of my favorite sport teams and the occasional blogs.  No reading was to be done, except for the week’s exercises.  Having filled my brain with reading, I started questioning why my artistic productivity was not quite where I expected for the week.  Then I reread the chapter and found the warning. Wow, how I missed that section altogether!  I read further and the deprivation was to allow my creative self to flourish and find “other creative ways” to occupy my time.  This made sense to me.

 At the highest peak of my creativity, during my time both as a software developer and artist, I held off on occupying my time with non-essential stimuli, such as the news.  I focused on the current issue and allowed my creativity to meander through the maze of possibilities to find the perfect solutions.  The same can be said for artistic challenges.  Creativity needs a maze (sorta-speak) to express itself on the canvas. I NEEDED the maze to explore—to have fun and find off-placed items that lead to many opportune adventures. Creative exploration!

So after coming to this realization, the week came together for me.  I discovered more discipline was required — in the area of my artistic endeavors. The rest of my life will have to benefit after week 12.  This has been a great week of surprises and change. I continued the re-organization in my studio and it followed me at the Saturday McMinnville Public Market, where I sell my paintings on Saturdays and meet with great locals.  I moved booth spaces and that allowed me to create a different set up.

Happy Blossoms

Happy BlossomsA continuation of the Moon Phase Series, “Happy Blossoms” — this is the third painting of moonlit trees.  This takes off from the previous painting, Plum Blossom Seer. Watching the illuminated trees during the light of the moon is such a fascinating experience.

Happy Blossoms is an exploration of that fascination—that magic when the moon-rays bathe the tree with its glow.  I enjoy watching the colors that shine from each leaf to blossom to tree limb to next tree limb.  I hope to bring those colors to life on my canvas and portray the vibrance of that moment.

This painting is currently displaying at the office of Dr. Amanda L. Daeges in Calypso Natural Clinic in McMinnville, Oregon.

{ Click on image for larger view }