Old Pixie Portrait

Old Pixie Portrait

Leaf Me Alone to My Own Devices


Today’s image was the result of a prompt in Melissa Dinwiddie’s “Creative Sandbox 101: Kickstart Your Creativity With the Power of Play” which I’m doing in her Creative Ignition Club.

I did two separate 15 minute sessions: one photographing myself and one playing with those images in Photoshop. I was strict with myself on the timing. I took 103 images of myself, playing with props, lighting, indoors-outdoors, making faces, looking all different directions.

I have needed a more updated image of myself, yet have been reluctant because I am not fond of how old I look right now (I suspect I’ll have to get used to it!), so I was hoping the camera would secretly do some kind of time warp thing and take a photo of me about 20 years ago. No such luck!

Of the 103 images, I gleaned 44 worth looking at twice, which I narrowed down to an even dozen to play with. This was the winner. It playfully expresses a true bit of me without making me look like Methusilah’s mother. Since I spent so much time ( a full half hour plus comment time) on this today, I am posting it on my blog as my daily image.

Thanks Melissa for the fun project, and the new way of approaching image making! I always enjoy your way of inspiring me to raise the bar on my creativity.

Silliness and the Dark Side of Joy

Silliness and the Dark Side of Joy

What’s half Poobah and half unicorn? It’s Cornpoon. The Poobahs over at Playing Around Workshops were commenting back and forth about the poohbah hats of Betty and Wilma Flinstone, and how they wanted hats like that.  I have a full set of horns, so I applied and was granted the honor of becoming an honorary Poobah. They discovered they only had one set of horns between them, and decided that they might be Poonicorns after all.  I suggested it was a Cornpoon instead. I found this old image from late yesterday to illustrate what (or who) exactly that is.

When I take silliness too far I slip into the dark side of joy, which, sort of like the dark side of the moon, is still joy nonetheless. Even after the sun goes down, I love dressing up, putting on a funny hat and howling at the moon.

I’m signed up to attend the Playing Around Workshops with Melissa and Kelly because I take Creative playtime seriously. The Muse demands it. It’s like vitamins for my creativity. I get quite dull minded when I don’t partake. So, I intend to seriously enjoy.

Art in the Pit

Adding a new discipline to my schedule sometimes takes a bit. A few days ago, I fell into the pit in the middle of the street (metaphorically). I didn’t even realize it until that evening, when I became aware that I had not drunk any water (or any other liquid) all day, nor had I eaten anything. I didn’t go for the intended walk that I had committed to, and I only managed to get in 5 minutes of painting ( I have committed to 15 minutes per day no matter what) that day too.

I sat at the computer all that time, working at tedious and stressful things, in extreme discomfort and even pain. That is the dysfunctional pit that I used to get stuck in. I learned how to get out of it quite a long time ago, and even started taking a totally “different road” but suddenly this week I discovered that I had sleep-walked right back in there.

I am choosing to look at this setback as a growth challenge. I still have not walked, however I am prodding myself into active consciousness. These little lapses of self -discipline are a gentle reminder to me to open up to guidance – the Muse, higher power, whatever word works for you – because if it’s up to me to manage myself , I get too cerebral and mess things up. I begin to think that it’s up to me to figure it all out, and I literally drive myself crazy. And my art suffers. I can manage my art right into “dead”.

So I have dug myself back out of the pit, again, and I’m trying to find that different road once more.

Filling the Well

Filling the Well

I lived a good portion of my life up in the high dessert area of the truly northern part of California. Living there, I learned a lot about wells: how they are are much preferred to hauling water by hand from the creek, how to douse for them, how to not try to dig them by hand, and the destruction caused by running a well dry. Most every man-dug well provides only so many gallons per minute.

Depending on my own will power and thought processes, I also produce a limited outcome. However, my personal creativity well seems to operate on a different system when I remember to lean into Spirit or the Muse. In that case, it more closely resembles the blessing of an artesian well. The more I tap into the source the more I fill up.

Lately, I have been focusing a portion of everyday on leaning in. Every workday morning before my husband heads off for work, I pick up a pen and expect a Daily Napkin to be written. I have committed myself to at least 15 minutes of pure joy painting every 24 hours. I always bring a sketch book with me, and take the time to draw over a cup of tea when out and about. This practice is expansive. The more I do, the more urge for creative expression arises. Sometimes I wonder how much joy I can handle.

Art and Fixing Technology

About twenty-four years ago I was a graphic designer, yet new to the computer world, other than a stint with a character recognition machine at a newspaper that had employed me. The first computer I worked on was given to us. It had two floppies and no hard drive. I got out the hack saw and a little power grinding tool and installed a hard drive in it, and went from there. I owe the hutzpah to my Dad.

One of my Dad’s greatest legacies to all of his children was a sense of fearlessness when it comes to “fixing” things. I remember Dad literally fixing the car with a screw driver and a hammer. Who knows how far he would have gone in the computer world, given a few years leg up on the industry. When he was young (like 15) he wanted a job, so he told the guy at the dump truck company, “Sure, I’ve driven these things for years.” He got the job, and drove off in the dump truck. That was his full training in truck driving, at that point. He taught us that things make logical sense, and you can just rely on that. Anyway, as a result of  his attitude, I’ve always been willing to jump in and take something apart, figure it out, and “fix” it.

After I “fixed” that first computer, it’s been a non-stop stream of projects to “fix” when it comes to the use of my computer and my graphic design work. And if it wasn’t hardware that needed replacement, there’s been some software issues that needed tending. Unending… unending. Like the time last year when one of my clients had her website compromised, hacked, and plumbed chockfull of malware. OUCH!!

I fixed the site by taking the entire thing down, completely replacing the site with original files, changing all the passwords on everything I had access to, and  successfully re-submitted it to Google. Within a couple weeks, it was compromised again. I fixed the site again, and once more it happened. This time, however, my protections on my own computer became compromised. It took down my whole system. There are people who truly specialize in security and cleaning sites. I am NOT one of them. I suggested my client find one of them, as I am an artist, not a qualified code-wrangler.

There was something about the can-do attitude that doesn’t serve me in fulfilling my purpose, that doesn’t support me in being an artist. That has to do with an additional belief that I somehow tacked onto the can-do. That is: if I can-do I should-do. Finally, as I enter my time of being an elder, I have come to realize that if I tried to do everything I could do so thought I should do, I would never have time to even eat or sleep, let alone create art.

This last May, when Adobe CS5 was released, I was among the first to acquire it. (Oh, I am ever grateful for that!) These days I am concentrating my Can-Do on learning all the wonderful aspects of these creative tools, and working to “fix” my techniques of using them. No more shoulding on myself. Rather, I could, can and do what my heart tells me to.