Posts Tagged ‘creativity’

knowing when to stop…

Posted in art, beginnings, collecting, explore, journey, notice, ponder, secret suffering, technology, timeComments Off on knowing when to stop…


It‘s hard to know when to stop.

There is a movement afoot to lighten our loads. I think we are beginning to be overwhelmed by the burden of our possessions. It’s natural for this to happen when you get older , as with my generation, but I think the young are seeing it too. It’s evidenced in the ‘tiny house’ movement, the move to apartment living instead of home ownership, and the ever growing recycling movement. Recycle, reuse, repurpose.

It’s hard to know when to stop.

Supersze. Big Gulps. Big Macs. Double stuff. Double toppings. Tall, Grande, Venti, Trenta!


It’s hard to know when to stop.

I make art. Lots of us do. It stacks up. Some of it sells, some of it doesn’t. When it doesn’t, it stacks up. How do you stop doing something you are compelled to do? Do you put yourself on an art diet, like you would with food. Simply stop creating certain things that add to your stockpile? Do you limit yourself , like with a tiny house, to making only small works? It’s a quandary for the creative soul.

It’s hard to know when to stop. 

If ancient sailors had not set sails, the world would still be flat.

If Van Gogh had stopped painting, there would be no Starry Night.

If the wheel had not been invented there would be no modern transportation.

If Bob Dylan had stayed acoustic there would  be no Subterranian Homesick Blues.


It’s hard to know when to stop.

There’s no easy answer for those driven to create. I don’t have one yet for myself anyway. Like a junkie, I often wish I could just stop. Lay it down and watch life go by. I even tried it once. It only lasted for a few years, and then it came back in spades, like the floodgates of creative hell. I have learned to pace myself a bit more, but that is mostly a function of  maturity and experience.

It’s hard to know when to stop.

I await a sign. If I went blind, would I sculpt from memory? If I lost my dexterity to arthritis would I fight through the pain and carry on?

If I lost my joy of life, would the creative spark die with it? I have no answers … I guess I will find out in time, because for’s hard to know when to stop. 







straight lines

Posted in art, gifts, journey, notice, ponder, technologyComments Off on straight lines

” Oh, I wish I could draw.  I can’t even draw a straight line.”

This is the most common thing people remark when they ask what I do. I have heard it countless times. I want to tell them that there is no magic, just a certain passion, a calling perhaps. There is rarely a way to make a living wage outside of the commercial art world, so passion or a calling are the only things that compel you to make art. You do it because you simply don’t know who or how else to be. And that applies to dance, music, writing or any of the fine arts.

But people so often fail to connect their natural creativity and how it intersects with their daily lives. Making a beautiful birthday cake. Laying out a garden. Singing songs to your children. Restoring a classic car.  A disciplined yoga practice. It’s those daily moments in life that require no ruler whatsoever that makes us all artists to a certain degree. It’s the fine art of living that is available to all of us everyday.

And that brings me back to the ‘straight line’ comment. I want to tell them, that’s the beauty of being an artist – you don’t have to ever draw a straight line. It can be a curved line. A dotted line. A colored line. A digital line. But make your life line, using whatever tool or medium you choose.

“Your job is to draw a line from your life to your art that is straight and clear.”  (from ART & FEAR)

Life is now in session…

Posted in art, beginnings, notice, ponder, Reno, UncategorizedComments Off on Life is now in session…

I’m standing in my garage looking at everything that was previously in my Reno studio. The sight of my ‘ art stuff ‘ relegated to a cold , dirty, dark, garage makes my head hurt. It’s a nightmare begging for organization. By choice I have given my studio space up to my step-son while he finishes his last year of college.

I have been without a studio before, so I am not terrorized by the loss of the work space itself, rather the assembled stacks of what I have deemed  necessities to create art. My first inclination is to pitch it all. My second is to organize it and find a way to walk out there and find it a pleasing environment. My third is simply to spend the year creating art outside of the studio. I am choosing the third option, though it will still necessitate me organizing the nightmare somewhat.

It’s easy to get too comfortable with our life. Stay in a routine … after all as humans we naturally look for patterns to organize our life around. So throwing my creative environment up in the air and seeing where it will land is alot like standing on a piece of ice as you feel it breaking away from the shore line. Still, I am, as is my wont, more excited about how I will adapt to the year rather than losing what was and standing outside of my comfort zone.

We get used to having  the familiar around us. It comforts us. It can also make us lazy. Forced out of the routine I created in my comfortable studio, I am now going back to the spontaneity of life drawing, location painting, photography and letting the outside world become my inspiration again rather than creating from within the walls of my studio. It’s suddenly exciting again to be working within a living , breathing event as it happens. And this summer when it’s time again for camping, the woods will be my studio. In truth, it’s like a rebirth of wonder to be free of the studio and engaged in the world outside.

So, I’m rolling with it. Do you have something in your path that seems like an obstacle? Life is now in session – don’t waste a minute of it.

You still have choices – go left or go right … or roll away the stone.



happy home ~ 2

Posted in art, beginnings, Fredericksburg, home, journey, travelComments Off on happy home ~ 2

So my winter migration is complete and I have settled back into my Texas home /studio.

When I’m here, I get to reconnect with printmaking, an art form near and dear to my heart. I actually started out as a printmaking major and was 2 years into the program before I started painting. I ended up with a double major, not being able to choose. I must admit, choosing a major was a real botheration to me as I wanted to keep on playing and exploring as many creative processes as I could. I loved photography and ceramics and it seemed limiting at the time to focus on just one, but that’s the way school works. So I chose painting primarily to learn about color as intimately as possible. And it helped with my printmaking, because you need to know how to mix colors and what layers of colors are going to do to understand what will happen on a print. Unlike painting, there is a great deal of thinking ahead and I liked the process and discipline of that thought process. My favorite form of printmaking is the monotype – the most painterly of printmaking types, and that makes sense for me, considering my love of painting. The spontaneity suits me, the painterly feel as well. But unlike a painting, the surprise element when you pull a print off the press ,for better or for worse, it’s never quite exactly what you thought you were going to get. And when it’s better than  what you anticipated, it’s like Christmas morning – both  a wonder and a surprise.

These are the things I most appreciate about making art and it’s a mirror of how I like to live my life. Filled with wonder and surprise. Migrating back and forth like this shakes  up my routines , forces me to be in a different mind set and environment, seeing again with fresh eyes. We need to give ourselves time and space to play and expose ourselves to a place or space where the unpredictable can happen.


” For whatever you’re doing for your creative juices, your geography has a hell of a lot to do with it. “Neil Young


a rock & a hard place

Posted in day of rest, journey, notice, ponder, secret suffering, time, UncategorizedComments Off on a rock & a hard place

I got stalled out big time over the last few weeks.

“Hey…it happens”, says my friend Jay. I rather enjoyed being given permission to have down time and stare down that big rock in my path for a while. By the end of the second week , we had become friends and here I sit, happy to be back in the saddle.
That big rock represents the ‘time out’ we should allow ourselves to muse, ponder, assimilate, reflect and slow down. We are all compelled to push forward, make stuff happen, engage! Sometimes the bigger the rock, the better the reflective time.
I feel relaxed and centered again, rather pleased that I did not get caught up in negative thoughts about what a slacker I was, or that I had lost my creative mojo.

After all, creativity is not on a time clock – nor should it be.

( photograph by Catherine Massaro)