Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sunday Shorts - Another Music Video...

I know I posted a music video last week, but I absolutely HAD to post one again today...

As you all know, I am in Santa Barbara participating in Orly's weekend workshop called "TREES" and one of the participants sent us an amazing music video by a young man who actually made music from a TREE! If it sounds hard to believe, check out the link for yourself:

This is creativity at it's best!

I hope you enjoy it as much I did =-)

Aren't trees beautiful?

BTW: I've got a giveaway going on! Be sure to check out this post and learn how you can win =-)

Friday, July 29, 2011

2 Years Ago Today...

July 29, 2009

It's been two years since I began my blog and those years have been art-FULL, indeed, for this Creative Beast! There was a lot I accomplished in the first year of blogging and this year is no different. Things I'm celebrating from this year are:

Of course, there are so many wonderful people I've met through this blog and I want to celebrate that so I'm having a giveaway!

First, here is a sneak peek at what you'll get:

This notebook may look plain now, but it will have a collaged cover made by yours truly by the end of the week...there is both lined and graph paper inside...

...some wild tape and bright red letter stickers...

...a few rubber stamps... handmade envelopes - the papers are color copy scans of some of the art pages from my large art book. I thought they could make great mail art envelopes...

...even the back of the envelopes look art-full!

There are a few mores goodies that will be stashed in a lovely bag also made by yours truly:

I made the entire tote bag from stitching the handles and the bag, to stitching the applique flower and leaves!

Now, here is what you need to do to win the bag of goodies:
  • You must already be following my blog OR you must have posted a comment in the last three months - you can leave a comment on today's blog post and a name will be drawn and announced next Friday, August 5
  • If you are not a follower, you can start following me today! When you do, let me know you are following my blog by leaving your comment at this post and you will be in the drawing; also, I'll pop over to your blog to say thanks =-)
  • This giveaway is open to followers and commenters here and abroad!
  • You must leave your comment at today's blog post by WEDNESDAY AUGUST 3 by 5:00pm PACIFIC STANDARD TIME and finally...
  • Leave a comment about something you have accomplished and are proud of - toot your horn here loud and proud! If you accomplished it, you earned it!

I'll post a few more sneak peeks at other items that will go into the goodie bag - I do love to give away a packed bag!

Thank you all for being a part of my art-full and creative adventures! The journey continues...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My Trip To ZINNIA and Other News...

I've been having a wonderful time visiting with friends these past few weeks and making trips to places I haven't been to in a long time or places I've never been to but wanted to see. Recently, I made a trip with a fun and wonderful friend to a very special store called ZINNIA*...

With a motto like this, how could it take me so long to get to ZINNIA?!!?!

I don't remember how I learned about this shop, but I discovered it a year or so ago probably through the internet. My friend stumbled upon it last month and was adamant that we go take a look and we were not disappointed in what we saw! You can see amazing pictures of the shop on the website...

Lately, I've been on the search for interesting tins to use for storing my art supplies (which are too many to container-ize I fear!) and ZINNIA had a lovely tin, as well as a few other goodies I couldn't help but bring back home, despite already having so many art supplies to work with:

a bright and colorful tin to store some art supplies, old and new...

Some vintage computer cards, old library pocket sleeves, brass keys and stamps from New Zealand...

An old and beat-up round tin, glass beads and a lovely bit of tapestry fabric...

These glass beads will become a pair of earrings eventually...

Each customer gets a goodie bag...when the sales people remember to give them out! ;)

I'm trying not to bring home any more art supplies, but since I'm heading to Santa Barbara this weekend to participate in Orly Avineri's weekend workshop "TREES", I have needed to pick up a few things I don't have in my regular arsenal, like black gesso, matte medium and some larger brushes than I usually use. I've been spending time this week getting all the supplies together as well as figuring out clothes to take - it will be considerably cooler in Santa Barbara than it is at home...

I've also had to go through my images to figure out which tree pictures I want to use and I have a few tree images that I've shot over time:

my favorite fig tree in the city of Ventura...

This fabulously textured tree in Leimert Park a few blocks from my old office (I like the sound of that last bit!)

Blooming Jacaranda trees near my old office...

I'll figure out what pictures to use by July 29, when I leave for the workshop...hmmm, why does the date JULY 29 ring a bell??


I started my blog on JULY 29, 2009!

I have a 2 year Blogiversary coming!!

I guess I should have a give-away to celebrate ;)

I'll see what I can rustle up for a celebratory give-away of goodies by Friday so check back!

* - UPDATE: Zinnia closed their brick & mortar shop in 2012, but they still host workshops as they continue to search for a new storefront

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sunday Shorts - Music + Video = AWESOME!

Hello dear blog readers!

I just wanted to share this link to an awesome music video with you today. It was sent to me by Antoine Diel who teaches vocal lessons and I was lucky enough to take one of his classes before and I hope to take a whole session of classes again one day. He is part of the Los Angeles based band Vaud and the Villains that is featured* in this music video - check it out:

Artful animation, great blues jazz and well costumed, this video has a GREAT look to it that makes me think of the film "The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus" which I recently borrowed from my local library..."Imaginarium..." is a wonderfully creative and artful film, but I would expect no less from one of my favorite directors, Terry Gilliam.

Be sure to check out the video and Enjoy!

* - You'll find a close up of Antoine approximately 1:39 minutes into the video =-)

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Creative Beast Interview - Cathy of "Tinniegirl"

Hello dear blog readers! I'm excited to share a new interview with a wonderful artist and fellow blogger...
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Interview with Cathy of Tinniegirl

Let me tell you about how I met Cathy also known as Tinniegirl. We had each signed up to participate in the Artful Journey Retreat scheduled to take place in February 2010. I found Cathy in the retreat yahoo group and thought I'd peek at her blog. I was intrigued that someone was coming all the way from Australia to be at the retreat and the name "Tinniegirl" was equally intriguing. As I read her blog, I realized that we had quite a bit in common, being crafters/artists of more than one medium.

We began to comment on each others blogs, then I participated in her fabulous month long event "Blogtoberfest" which was great fun! After that, we would send encouraging emails to one another and before long, we met in person at the Artful Journey Retreat...

The Creative Beast and Tinniegirl together on the same continent!

I've been following her adventures since our time at the retreat and watched as she struggled to start a new life as an artist. I witnessed her triumphs as she launched one gallery show after another and then got her bright and colorful work published in one of Patti Digh's books. Her blog posts are wonderful and thoughtful and it always amazes me how she manages to voice thoughts and feelings that I am often experiencing at the EXACT same time, though I'm half a world's a great reminder that we are more connected than we realize!

I'm so happy that Cathy took some time from her schedule to be interviewed here today. Thank you and Welcome Cathy!

Cathy aka Tinniegirl posed in front of one her wonderful and colorful paintings

Who first introduced you to creating? Was it a family member - a teacher? How did that person influence you?

I come from a family of creative women.  My Grandmother and Mum introduced me to creating and really influenced me to become creative myself.  Both of them were always making something, sometimes for the sake of being creative, other times for necessity.  I think my Gran mostly created out of practicality and necessity, but my Mum just enjoyed the process of being creative I think.  Being around these creative people all the time was the main way that I was influenced to become creative.  Watching these two women who I loved being creative made me want to join in and connect with them in this way.  They also really encouraged me to give things a try and to pursue creative interests.

The women in my family were also sewers, from my great-grandmother to my grandmother to my mother, though it was my grandmother who taught me my sewing and knitting skills. My mother is also good at home decor and she has a way of mixing colors together that I envy!

What were your first creative actions that you remember? (Sewing, Dancing, Painting, etc?)

I was really into sewing and textiles when I was younger.  When I was really young I used to love making dress-ups and dolls clothes, and also knitting.  Both my Gran and Mum were big knitters so I think that’s what inspired me there.  As a teenager I used to make my own clothes a lot.  I’d be going to a disco on a Saturday evening and I’d decide on Saturday afternoon that I had to make something new to wear that night and there would be no stopping me. 

I loved to make my dolls and their clothes which is probably why I eventually fell into fashion design and pattern drafting, but I can't say I made a garment in the morning and wore it that night! That is quite an accomplishment Cathy!

Do you have a favorite medium to create in? If so, what is it?

Acrylic paint is absolutely my favourite medium to work with. I love the vibrancy of colour and the way it looks when dry.  I also really like working with some of the mediums that go well with acrylics like moulding paste and gels. 

Cathy's love of paint is strong as evidenced by this photo by her...

How do you feel when you are creating in your chosen medium?

I don’t know if it will make sense to people, but the strongest feeling I have when I’m painting is of being really present. I find it really meditative because it’s one time when I can really be in the moment and not think about anything else.  Sometimes I feel relaxed and at peace, other times I’ll be buzzing with energy and ideas, but the overwhelming feeling is of just being really connected to that moment in time, whatever I’m feeling.  It’s the best feeling.

I hear you Cathy - it's like being in "flow" mode when doing creative work. Time somehow feels suspended...

What is the greatest joy you derive from creating? Accomplishment? The process? Sharing it with others? Please explain…

I think my answer directly above pinpoints the greatest joy I get from creating.  That connection with the moment is really profound.  I guess it’s about process.  The process of creating is where my heart feels most drawn to.

However, sharing my work has become an important part of my process and being recognised through sale of work, awards, publications is really thrilling.

Do you think a creative life comes from ideas, doing or being?

I think the answer to that question is individual to everyone.  For me it is a combination of all three.  I have to say though that it has been the ‘doing’ which has given my life a sense of wholeness.  For a long time I dreamed of being creative and was full of great ideas, but it was when I started to really do something with them that I felt like I had found my way.

How do you express your creative life? Is it integrated in your daily life or is it a separate part of your life?

Creativity is very much integrated into my daily life. I journal almost every day, a practise that I committed to after ready ‘The Artist Way’ by Julia Cameron.  It’s a really important part of my day.  I also publish my blog, a creative part of my life that is very important to me.  I love blogging because it combines my loves of art, writing and storytelling.

I also paint regularly, sometimes daily.  Over the last couple of years I’ve started to get up earlier than I need to for work so that I have time for me each and every day.  I’ll often do a tiny bit of painting before I get ready for work and this really helps to remind me that I’m an artist at heart.

an image from Cathy's new studio in her new home

I agree that taking time every morning to do your own creative work really helps ones well-being and it's a great way to honor that important part of your Self. 

Can you think of a time when someone else’s creativity fed you? What was that like?

I’m not quite sure what you’re asking in this question.  If you mean is there a time where I was inspired by other people’s creativity, then I would answer constantly.  There is so much inspiration to tap into via other creative people and thanks to the internet it’s so easy to do now.

Sometimes though I find it good to turn off the inspiration tap and just be in your own creative space, let your own ideas evolve and develop.

Yes, there are MANY creative souls to be inspired by on the internet and you are certainly one of them Cathy! But I have to say sometimes it can be overwhelming to see so much creative food for thought and I find I have to strike a balance between looking for inspiration within and without...

What is the most significant creative event in your life to date? Was it a defining moment? Was it a milestone or a lifetime goal?

Being shortlisted for an art award for my painting ‘Amongst It’ has been the most significant creative event in my life so far.  There have been so many great things that have happened for me creatively over the past 2 years – exhibiting and selling my work, being published, being commissioned – but to have my work stand against so many talented, experienced and accomplished artists and to be in the top 10 really blew me away.  It helped me to see myself as a successful and recognised artist and to know that there was a lot of potential for my future.  It also helped to define the direction I want to head in, which is to focus on exhibiting and selling original work.

 "Amongst It" - Original painting by Cathy

How do you feel about working a ‘day job’? Do you feel your day job is in alignment with your life and your values? If not, does that matter to you?

That’s a tough question – how do I feel about working a day job.  It’s a mixed blessing.  On one hand it means you have plenty of money to play with but at the same time it means a whole lot less time.  I’m working full time at the moment, which is not an ideal balance.  I’d prefer to work 3 or 4 days a week to cover expenses and leave time for creative pursuits.  Hopefully in the next 12 months – 2 years I’ll be able to do that.

Working a day job does create opportunities though.  It takes the pressure off you to make enough money from your art to pay the bills and in that way let’s you really explore your creativity and develop your style.  For me it also means that I have funds to purchase new materials, experiment with different mediums, take courses and workshops.  All these things are part of what feed my creativity so it’s really important for me to be able to access these sources of inspiration.

In terms of the particular ‘day job’ I work I am not that concerned about the alignment with my life and values.  I wouldn’t work at something that was in opposition to my values, but what’s important to me is that the conditions are right to support my life and creative life.  So things like location (close to home), flexibility of hours, good salary and conditions are the key things for me. Ideally, I want to be able to do work that is interesting and engaging, but I know that my heart is elsewhere at the moment so I’m probably not going to be fully engaged in the ‘day-job’ for now.

I agree that job location, hours, salary and environment are very important for anyone working a day job, regardless of being an artist. I know for myself, if I do return to a day job, I'd like a job that was closely aligned with my values of helping others in creative ways and empowering them, which is something I also hope to do with my own artwork and creativity...

Do you think it’s necessary/important to be a self-sustaining artist?

Again, I think that this is something that each person has to answer for themselves.  For me, it’s a resounding YES!  I absolutely want to make a sustainable living from my creative life.  It’s not because I think that this is actually an indicator of success, but because I want to be able to spend more time on my own ideas and creative pursuits.

I like that you want to be a self sustaining artist for the sake of honoring YOUR IDEAS and YOUR CREATIVITY Cathy - that, in and of itself, sounds like you are successful already!

What is it like to be a self-sustaining artist?

I spent most of last year working for myself as a consultant to the not-for-profit sector and as an artist.  In hindsight I don’t think that I was ready nor had I really thought through what I would need to do to make that work on a number of levels.  When you work for yourself you have to spend a lot of time generating business and marketing yourself so you need to have a really strong network and good marketing skills.  I hadn’t nurtured either of those things enough so my income was very unreliable and ultimately very stressful as I never knew if I was going to have enough income to live off.

The ripple effect of that was that as I became more stressed I became less productive and therefore I generated less income because I wasn’t working as hard.  It became a bit of a downward spiral to be honest, and ultimately I ended up really unmotivated and unhappy.  I was relieved to make the decision to return to full time work when I eventually did.

I think what I’ve realised when I look back on last year was that I was never really clear about what I was setting out to do or how I was going to go about it.  I decided that I’d have a go at making a living from my own endeavours and I didn’t do any further planning.  I’m not saying I should have had a big business plan in place, but I definitely needed to do some goal setting and some planning around how to achieve those goals.  I ended up drifting all over the place because I didn’t have a plan.

Saying that though, it really did give me an opportunity to explore some different pathways and to learn about myself as a person and an artist.  I’ve realised that I need security of income, that will always be something that I’ll need to factor in even when I do end up working for myself.  I also need contact with people in some capacity.  I love to work alone and am happiest working autonomously, but I do need small amounts of interaction with others, so I’ll need to think about how that might work in the future.

I also learned more about where my focus is as an artist.  For a while I tried to follow in the footsteps of people who have had success with their creative enterprises who focus on reproducing their work through prints, cards, licensing, etc.  However I’ve come to realise through the exploration of the last 18 months that’s not where my passion lies.  My passion is in creating original, one-of-a-kind work, whether that be in my art or my writing.  This has been the biggest learning for me and it’s only been in the last couple of months that I’ve really firmly reconciled myself with this decision.

"Stillness" - Original painting by Cathy
So while I don’t really think I’ve been a self-sustaining artist I had a wonderful opportunity to explore some of the aspects of that lifestyle and it has given me a strong foundation for the future.  When I am ready to think about becoming a self-sustaining artist again I’ll be much more prepared and equipped for success.

For now I’m going to continue exploring my style as an artist and building my networks and skills.

Cathy, thank you for sharing your perspective on both sides of the issue between working a day job and working at being a self sustaining Artist - having done both in the past two years really gives you a unique view into both worlds. I've worked as a free-lace costumer and at a regular 9-5 job and I can honestly say that each world has it's own obstacles to navigate...

Is your life different from the time when you worked for others?

Working for myself was very different to working for others.  There were aspects of it that I loved – setting my own hours, arranging my day to suit myself, being my own boss, being accountable to myself – they were definite perks.  I liked being able to follow my own course, change direction if I had a new idea that I wanted to pursue.  It was certainly different to when you are working to someone else’s priorities.  But I missed having a regular pay day!

Yes, we all love having a regular check coming in but when it comes at the expense of ones peace of mind it can also become a burden as much as NOT having a regular check can be a burden...I think for Artists, it's important to find a way to create multiple streams of income and I hope to work that out in the months to come =-)

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Thank you for taking time to be interviewed Cathy!! I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed creating it! Be sure to stop by Cathy's blog and learn more about her and her own artful journey as it unfolds:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

So far...Morning Walks

Hello dear blog readers!

GOODNESS! Time has really flown in ways I could not imagine now that I'm no longer chained to a desk and the the world of 9-5 and of course I've been enjoying every  minute!

Since the last time I wrote about my life so far I've been visiting with old friends and having some great adventures...the weather has cooled considerably since that time which makes it easier for me to get things done around my home and cleaning and organizing are at the top of the list of summer projects.

I've been heading to my local library for a few months now but I've picked up the pace since summer has begun and I've listed many, MANY books to peruse in the weeks ahead and summer reading is also big on my list - I'll share my summer reads with you all soon...

I've also returned to an old familiar routine of walking every morning since my freedom from 9-5 and I'm so happy to be returning to this cherished habit. Here are some things I see on my daily morning walks: 

 I love the color of the blooms on this bush - I don't know what it is but I love it...

 Such lush color!

A mama cat and her kittens often cross my path during my walks...

Gorgeous PINK roses, among other varieties, are on my new morning route...

A sweet little pomegranate tree in a front yard...

I'm slowly settling into a new routine after the whirlwind of visiting with friends and I'm learning how to work with my time in ways that work for feels like such a luxury!

I'm also learning how to make time for blogging since I'm no longer in front of a computer as I used to be, but I do have some interviews with some great folks coming up and there will be an interview this Friday for you to read and be inspired by so stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Artful Journey's Past and Future - Part 2

Today is the big day!!

It's registration day for Artful Journey 2012 and there is a fabulous line-up of amazing instructors for next year but I've got my eye on learning some paper making and book binding techniques from Albie Smith who has taught at this retreat before and each time I see her work I say to myself:

I've just GOT to take her class next time!!

Well, "next time" has arrived!! Registration is taking place today, but I did say I would share some other stories from this years retreat experience...

In my post of yesterday I told a few stories of what took place during Artful Journey 2011 and rain was one of them. What I didn't get to tell you about were the snow flurries...

Yes, we actually had some light snow happen at the retreat this year! At first, we thought it was just hail, but that usually makes a sound when it hits the ground. This rain was thicker than usual and it hit the ground very slowly and very softly...since I live in Southern California, I don't usually have first hand interaction with snow so this was a rare treat and a beautiful one. I shot some footage on my little camera to share with you:

It did not last very long but it was beautiful while it lasted!

Another thing I promised to share were images from one of the loveliest shops in Santa Cruz called "Vintages". Last year, everyone kept telling me that I ABSOLUTELY had to go to this shop - I would just LOVE it!! As someone who collects vintage paper ephemera for use in my collage and also loves all things vintage, I had no doubt I would enjoy this shop...if I could just find it!!

I had made a few trips into town on my own last year and tried to locate this shop but it seems I had not walked far enough on Main Street. This year, I was guided by my Scorpio Sisters from last year, Diana and Gwynnie, who drove me to the shop to make sure I would see it and I was not disappointed! Here is what you will find at "Vintages" the lovely vintage and craft shop of Santa Cruz:

 A vintage dress form greets you at the door...

A wonderful display of vintage cameras were in the window when I visited...

A wall of luscious ribbons in various styles and widths - YUM!

Beautiful jewelry and dainty decor goods for your home are in abundance here...

Snow flurries and lovely vintage goods make for some magical times in Santa Cruz...and I can't wait to be there again!

If you're interested in being part of the magic and the fun of Artful Journey Retreat 2012, just click this link to Cindy's website and register today!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Dreaming of Artful Journey's Past and Future...

Tomorrow is registration day for the next Artful Journey Retreat 2012 held in the beauty of the Presentation Center in Santa Cruz and I'm so excited that I will be able to go!

I shared my experience of last years retreat but I never quite got around to sharing what took place at this years event* and I think today is a great day to look back on what happened in February...

As I did last year, I rented a car and a good thing too as it rained for most of my drive to Santa Cruz and it rained hard! I got a little nervous driving in such hard rain but when I got a patch of clear sky with a rainbow, I figured it was a good sign...

A full rainbow after much hard rain - a good omen on the road to the retreat!

I also received a call from my blog buddy Gwynnie and she told me she was on the road to the retreat so things were definitely looking up after that!!

Last year I got a ticket for speeding and I got lost on the way to the retreat, so I took a different route that I hoped would keep me from getting a speeding ticket, but it did not help me from getting lost!! While I was trying to figure out where I was, Gwynnie called me to find out what happened, knowing that I had been only a few miles ahead of her on the road. I'm glad that I had a wonderful friend from the retreat looking out for me! I also had the help of my dear boyfriend by cell phone and a very nice California Highway Patrol Officer also helped me get to the retreat with the use of his own i-phone! I managed to get to the Presentation Center before it got too dark...

Now that I have taken two different routes to the retreat, I think I will know my way around next year for sure!

Our fabulous "Hostess with the Most-est", Cindy O'Leary, planned a wonderful silent auction to raise funds for the sisters of the Presentation Center and I donated my original drawing that was published in Patti's Digh's book "Four Word Self Help". I had it framed but the only image I was able to get before the auction was at the retreat during all the rain...

My artful donation to help raise funds for the sisters of the Presentation Center...

I'm happy to say it raised some money for the sisters!

Classes began at 9am and I was so excited to be able to learn some new jewelry making techniques with Nina Bagley. Though the class was called "Heart Strings", Nina reminded us that we didn't have to make a heart! Since I like to do things my own way, I made a different shape. Here is what my work in progress looked like...

elements of what will become a special pocket...

vintage buttons and pearls from my personal collection, old silk thread from my grandmother's collection and tea dyed 'heart' lace bought from a classmate Lorri Scott - check out her wonderful goods at her etsy shops L.A.S. Fibers and Wayward Threads!

old rusty red embroidery thread belonging to my grandmother is added...

A special pocket to hold secrets or a treasured message...

I learned to crochet a chain with beads, to make resin papers and to create brass embellishments. Here are a few examples:
crochet beaded chain in progress...

snippets of resin papers for my small art-book and my "art-full" brass embellishment for my necklace...

I'm sad to report that I have not yet completed my necklace but it's definitely one of my summer projects and I'll be sure to wear it at next years retreat!!

I can't wait for registration tomorrow! I'm REALLY looking forward to being in Albie Smith's class to learn paper making and book making techniques. The results from her students last year had me floored and this year was no exception...



OH! These luscious colors are making me DROOL!!! ;)

Is this enticing you to sign up for Artful Journey Retreat?!?

Albie Smith creates amazing papers in amazing colors and her books are so beautiful! The one I bought last year was used to take notes in Nina's class this year and it felt wonderful to use such a special book for a special class...

Tomorrow, I am going to be waiting for the clock to strike noon when registration opens so I can be the first to sign up for Albie's class!

And tomorrow I'll share some images of what the Presentation Center looks like with snow flurries and show you pictures of one the most beautiful shops filled with wonderful treasures - if you come to the retreat, I'll be happy to take you there myself!!

Stay tuned for more tomorrow!

STOP THE PRESSES! Cindy is hosting a fabulous give-away on her blog in anticipation of registration day - stop by and check it out and be sure to register for the retreat! =-)

* - Cindy shared some great highlights from this years retreat!

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Creative Beast Interview - Orly Avineri

Hello dear blog readers! I'm so excited to present today's interview - I've written about her quite a bit in the past few months - it's Orly Avineri!

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I've mentioned in a previous post how I met Orly at the Artful Journey Retreat, but one thing I didn't mention was how her class had some challenges throughout the duration of the retreat since it was meant to be OUTDOORS and it RAINED nearly all weekend!! I have a lot of respect for someone who can face such challenges and still have her students create amazing work*...

We happened to meet in the lunch room after the student "show and tell" and when I learned that she taught classes in her home, which is relatively close to me, I was VERY EXCITED! I've been taking art journal workshops with Orly since April and she will tell you that this excitement has not abated! ;)

You can certainly learn about her personal history on her "about me" page at her blog, but it really does not begin to capture her spirit - World Traveler (lived in Israel during her childhood and teen years, 10 years in the Netherlands, then came to America in 1990), always evolving Artist, a fabulous instructor and amazing hostess! If you ever have a chance to take a workshop with Orly - DO IT!!

Bright energy and smiling face - this is Orly CREATING!

Orly took a little time from her busy teaching schedule to share her thoughts on creativity. Thank you and welcome Orly! Let's begin...

Who first introduced you to creating? Was it a family member - a teacher? How did that person influence you?

It was a "situation" in my early childhood that introduced me to creating. A time when all that I knew seemed to be lost, but a notebook and a pencil seemed to always be easily found, when much alone time on my hands made me use them. A time fostering a deep need to create things out of nothings.

Spread # 126 - "Own Art" from March 2011 on Orly's blog...

What were your first creative actions that you remember? (Sewing, Dancing, Painting, etc?)

Using these notebooks and pencils to draw, doodle, and sketch what was right there in front of me, recording imaginative 'freedom maps' as I see them, and inventing fantastical worlds for me to be comfortably living in or escaping to.

Making art is a wonderful way to move through troublesome times and sketching is simple, requiring only some paper and a pencil! I'm glad you turned to art to help you through your difficult situation Orly - it has certainly reaped some amazing benefits in your life!

Do you have a favorite medium to create in? If so, what is it?

Art journaling is my thing. I'm passionate about making a tactile image that contains visual and textual mixed-media elements in my physical journal, then scanning it into Photoshop, further 'working on it' with computer graphic tools and applying it into a digital format to be posted on my blog, to be later accompanied by my words. That's what I love doing. I love combining all the mediums I ever created in into one medium, that I don't have to choose one or the other, that all is incorporated and integrated and possible.

Well, it's certainly clear that art journaling is what you love doing Orly! So many rich layered images can be found on your blog... and it's great when you can combine more than one style of art in your work...

Spread #123 - "Journaling and Exuberance" from March 2011...

How do you feel when you are creating in your chosen medium?

Liberated, expressive, smart, inspired, lively, light, gentle, loveful, playful, ageless, vibrant, layered, deep, mindful, forgiving, abundant, present, valuable, complicated yet simple, out of control yet in control. I like me when I am all of the above and more, all at once.

WOW! It sounds like you are feeling VIBRANTLY ALIVE when you are creating Orly!

Spread #78 - "Giving Thanks to Words" - as we can see, Orly has a GREAT way with words!

What is the greatest joy you derive from creating? Accomplishment? The process? Sharing it with others? Please explain…

I've been working in the creative field as a fine artist, graphic designer, illustrator, muralist, textile designer, and a mixed-media artist for a very long time now. What I love about art journaling is that it is an all-inclusive art form where everyone is welcome and is warmly invited to partake, that it focuses on the journey and not on the destination. An art journal lies somewhere between a diary hidden under a mattress and a painting showcased in a gallery. This is where my comfort zone is and I believe that this is the appeal that art journaling has for many individuals. The interplay between it being concealing and revealing, being private and public, an alone activity or a collaborative adventure and the relations between boundless art methods and materials has magical and wondrous properties for me.

Do you think a creative life comes from ideas, doing or being?

From all of these, and from so many other obvious and more obscure sources. Above all, a creative life for me derives from pure necessity...not being able or wanting to live differently...yearning to live originally.

Spread #1 - "Vroom" from Orly's very first blog post in June 2008 - what a great mission statement!

How do you express your creative life? Is it integrated in your daily life or is it a separate part of your life?

In general I believe that a truly creative life is manifested in EVERYTHING and is not fragmented. One doesn't even have to be an artist to have a creative life. It's in my attitude toward the mornings, when I wake up, toward my days, places, people, the worlds around me, within me, and toward worlds much farther away from me. Foremost, a creative life is in my attitude toward my mortality. I create my life as I live it.

I agree that one does not have to be an ARTIST to be creative, it's definitely in one's approach to all facets of living, whether it's clothing style, cooking or one's view of the world...

Can you think of a time when someone else’s creativity fed you? What was that like?

I cannot think of a specific time, as every day countless individuals' creativity feeds me. For example, these thoughtful and thought evoking questions asked by you feed me today. I crave to be fed by others' creativity so I look for it and make sure I find it, in new and unexpected places everyday. I am indeed a starving artist.

Orly, I feel honored that you consider this interview to be source of creative inspiration. And I have to say that I absolutely LOVE the way you have re-framed the old phrase of "starving artist"! From now on, I will be PROUD to call myself a "Starving Artist" as I too crave beauty and visual inspiration every single day and I just can't get enough ;)

What is the most significant creative event in your life to date? Was it a defining moment? Was it a milestone or a lifetime goal?

I've been journaling for about three years now. What got me deeply into art journaling was my blog. The routine process of making an image that contains visual and textural elements, applying it into a digital spread, posting it on my blog, and naming it a journal entry, is quite similar to the process of keeping a real journal. Soon distinctions between virtual journaling and actual journaling have been blurred for me. Through art journaling and blogging I have gained the clearest, sweetest form of identity.

Do you think it’s necessary/important to be a self-sustaining artist?

Not necessarily for everyone. But for me, after years of realizing other people's creative visions, becoming a self-sustaining artist was essential. At some point I understood that it is time for me to be all that I can be, something I couldn't possibly be at 'work'. Being a self-sustaining artist became the only way to be, a need to evolve into a whole, to unite all contradicting aspects of who I am into one liberated, meaningful life. True contentment.

What is it like to be a self-sustaining artist?

There is nothing quite like it. To be able to teach, to help others find their long-lost creativity, recognize it, explore it, and deepen it, is purely magical. And through the teaching of others, to enrich your own creative process, is absolutely a beautiful thing. Now to be able to put food on my family's table through such practices, that's just fantastic. Honestly, it fills me with daily pride and gratitude.

As someone who has been present in your workshops, I can attest to your amazing abilities in helping others uncover that long lost creativity, Orly. It's great to be part of the give and take that happens in your workshops and I feel lucky indeed to witness the magic that your life has become as it INSPIRES me to move toward the same goal...

Spread #3 - "Mapping Me" from July 2008...

Is your life different from the time when you worked for others?

Completely. There is absolutely nothing like having 100% creative freedom at all times.

I hear you Orly! I've had such freedom in the past and I'm definitely working on having that kind of freedom in my life again as I move forward and away from the world of 9 - 5...

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Many thanks to Orly Avineri for this interview! I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed creating it! Be sure to stop by Orly's blog where you can find the following information and inspiration:

Her workshop schedule - be sure to look at the links in the right sidebar for workshop details
Her photo gallery of past workshops - she's posted one of my pictures of the worktable!

* - I will be sharing my images from the retreat in the next few days as registration day for Artful Journey 2012 is next Tuesday! Some of my images will include finished work from Orly's students. Perhaps, the images will entice you to join in the fun and magic that is Artful Journey =-)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

So far...

I've been asked by a few friends how my new freedom from office work has been so far...

It's hard to say when it's only been a few days. I think it will begin to sink in when it's been a few weeks of making my own schedule...

I can say that the first few days have been BLAZING HOT!! The heat has made it a bit hard to do much cleaning of my home and creative play space but I've also been visiting with friends that I haven't had time to see due to my long commute home. One of my visits this week will take me to Ventura where I'll get to see a favorite tree...

The fig tree of Ventura...

Trees are on my mind these days as I begin to prepare for the next workshop with Orly, which will take place at the end of this month in Santa Barbara. I can't wait!

I also have another Creative Beast interview for Friday so be sure to stop by - it's with Orly Avineri and I know you are going to enjoy this interview! Stay tuned!!