Designs in the clouds

Have you ever laid on the grass, on a slide, or picnic table and stared up at the blue sky and puffy white clouds?

I can remember back to my childhood when I had just such an opportunity.  I was finishing up a day of pre-k and my mom didn’t want me to roll down the hill near the school with all the other kids.  But I did and when I got to the bottom, I laid and looked up at the clouds.  They were beautiful.  Their special textures and fluffiness made them seem touchable.  I always wondered what a cloud would taste like, do you think it tastes like a marshmallow?

No matter how many commercials or shows I see with people looking at clouds, and no matter how many times I look at a particular cloud, everyone sees something different.  You may see a cute bunny, and your friend may see a pirate ship!  I may see a leaf one minute and a watermelon the next.  Of course, clouds change shape, size and density as they move across the sky, but that’s besides the point.

The point is though, that different people will view your creations in different ways.  Some may put the bowl you gave them on display, and others will put fruit in it.  Some may view your scrapbooking as uninteresting, and others may dedicate whole days of their lives to it.  If you’re a movement specialist, some of your students may prefer yoga and others dance.

The best thing you can do is be thankful that they appreciate your art.  Don’t get all bent out of shape because they see lunch in your painting and you see heartache.  Maybe invite them to share their observations with you.  You can share your interpretations with them, but one of the really great things about art is that it can be viewed by many people in so many different ways.  What you have used as a creative outlet for your anger, someone else will find love through it.

Whether you’re looking at a puffy cloud or a work of art, it was created with a bit of the artist inside, no matter what others see.  What bits of you are you sharing with others?

Shared Inspiration

One great way to be creative is to be inspired from others wisdom and creations.  Enjoy the quotes and see what paths they take you on in your creative journey.

“Limitations live only in our minds.  But if we use our imaginations, our possibilities become limitless.”

~Jamie Paolinetti

Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.”

~Louisa May Alcott

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.”

~Dr. Seuss

“The great successful men of the world have used their imaginations… they think ahead and create their mental picture, and the go to work materializing that picture in all its details, filling in here, adding a little there, altering this a bit and that a bit, but steadily building — steadily building.”

~Robert Collier

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”

~Henry David Thoreau

“The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need men who can dream of things that never were.”

~John F. Kennedy

“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”

~Albert Einstein

“I am imagination. I can see what the eyes cannot see. I can hear what the ears cannot hear. I can feel what the heart cannot feel.”

~Peter Nivio Zarlenga

The Struggle of Perfection

As an artist, and slight perfectionist, I often struggle to find a happy medium between the two.  It isn’t ever easy, but I’m learning to let the creativity win and relax on striving in my art, in whatever form it happens, to be perfect.

Perfection is a worthy goal most certainly.  I love knowing that I’m truly satisfied with the appearance of something.  Knowing that I’ll get more praise than criticism, and that I won’t look at it and always pick out the imperfections.  But the concept of art was designed almost as the opposite of perfection.  Some art is perfect in some people’s eyes, and others can’t see any beauty in it.  That is one gift that art gives us.  Some people enjoy dancing and work hard to perform well.  Some do yoga and work on their form and stretching.  Yet others don’t appreciate dancing or yoga, but do find value in painted pictures or needlepoint.

Another aspect that is definitely prevalent with perfection is the acceptance of their art with others.  For some their art is a performance and they live to get the approval of others.  For others, the approval factor is a downside to art.  I think it works both ways.  With the criticism of others you can become a better artist.  If you can’t see that your legs are in the wrong position, you need someone to tell you so that you can perform better, or feel better.  You can improve your painting and drawing with a little constructive criticism and critique too.  Someone’s advice about your garden or about your creative decorating may give you a good idea that will help you get closer to the desired perfection.

Most importantly when struggling with the challenge of perfection, don’t forget to enjoy the experience.  Art is all about the experience, about learning about yourself, about healing, about sharing yourself, about opening the world to your perspective.  Many of the biggest “mistakes” and “imperfections” have revolutionized aspects of the artistic world.  There wouldn’t be new dance styles without imperfections, there wouldn’t be new plant species without mistakes, some of the most beautiful paintings wouldn’t have occurred without imperfections.

So no matter if you see your work of art as imperfection, or as perfection, there will always be criticism.  However, as an artist, giving your best effort and putting the very essence and passion of you into your artwork can be satisfaction enough when you complete a work of art that isn’t quite perfect.

To Remember Us By

Every event has a little freebie that they give you at the end (or beginning) of the event as a souvenir or memento.  I have several from weddings I have been to, including a picture frame, some bubbles and a little jar of candy.  I also have a door knob from a conference I went to and of course some t-shirts.  While I was able to come up with that list in about 3 minutes of thinking, there are tons of events that I don’t remember what I was given, if anything.  Which brings us to a great point, why give anything anyway?

Well, to be honest, that’s up to you.  Giving your guests a memory of your special event is customary, polite, traditional, and even required by some families or circles, but said item typically doesn’t stick around after your guests get home from the event.

Given these thoughts, you have three courses of action.

First you can go with the traditional.  Give them the cute, the simple, the typical item they expect.  Go to your local craft store, or look online for cute/simple/appropriate items that suit your event and your guests.  This isn’t a bad choice!  It is just one that you may not be remembered for.

Second, you can go gift-less.  Yes, I said it.  Maybe it’s just not in your budget, maybe you are tired of getting the same gifts yourself.  If you’re not doing the gift route though, I would suggest some other way the guests can remember the event by.  Such as an online picture album where you’re going to put all the pictures up at.  You can provide an index card sized paper with the web link and any pertinent details to each of  your guests, maybe even putting it on their place card if they have them.

Third, you can take the plunge.  Go for the creative, not tasteless, but different.  And by different I mean creative, practical, interactive, useful, interesting, event pertinent or fun!  Make it practical and they won’t just throw it out (or leave it behind!).  If it’s interesting they’ll hang on to it as a story starter/conversation piece or because they just like it.  They’ll definitely appreciate you for the gift and will probably tell you they still have it, or at least remember it, years after your event.  It doesn’t have to be weird, strange, of poor taste or anything bad, just new and different.

Your event, just like you, is special.  Why not give your guests something that reflects your uniqueness, as well as how special your event was?

The spark of creativity

One of my inspirations is a little girl, she’s going into second grade in September.  She’s taken several art classes and I think it really shows.  Her pictures are well drawn, creatively colored and always have some of her personal style in them.  She and her older sister are rather obsessed with the Madagascar animated movies, especially with 4 certain penguins.  They have hundreds of drawings of penguins.

I never know what to expect when I spend time with my little friend, she always has something different going on in that creative mind of hers. Everything from playing games, to pretending, drawing, chasing moths, making chalk pictures on the driveway, to reading adventure books.

So why share about my friend, her zoo of penguins and her typical childlike activities?  Because every time I’m with her, I get re-inspired about being creative!  I remember that creativity begins with really simple ideas.  Ideas that are beautiful, unique and often vulnerable.  Creativity is a passion that I think we are all born with, whether that creativity is a technological one, an artistic one, a physical one or a mental one.  However, often by the time we are adults we have lost the spark of creativity that we were born with.  Spending time with creative individuals, including children, can reignite this spark, maybe even make it into a fire.

The Necessity of Creativity

Sometimes life throws you a loop and you just feel stuck.  These are days when things just don’t work or seem to go differently than you think they should.  Many people get stressed by these feelings.  With creativity in my life I know I don’t have to get stressed out about these things though.

There are several key things to notice here.

1: You have to notice you’re stressed.  Some individuals live in a constant state of stress, so they have no idea that they are stressed. Others let the stress get to them and that just creates more stress.

2: Once you notice you’re stressed, the whole world opens to new possibilities for you.

3: But when all you’re focusing on is the stress, you’ll get more stress.  The key with noticing you’re stressed is not to focus on the stress but focus on a solution to the stress.

4: Now that you’ve noticed you’re stressed, and you’ve decided to do something positive about that stress, you can do something about that stress.  Get up, breathe, take a walk, do something else for a while, think about something else.  Basically, deliberately change your actions, thoughts or give yourself an opportunity to return when you’re fresh.  Even if you’re under pressure to finish something, taking a few minutes break can dramatically increase your ability to finish it, and increase the quality you can bring to the project.

5: A creative project that you can pick up when you need a few minutes break is an excellent tool to have.  If you sew, needlepoint or knit, you have the perfect opportunity to start and stop as frequently as you like.  Some paintings can be done like this as well.  If you make greeting cards or scrapbook, there are always ongoing projects or aspects of a project you can save for your ‘stress moments.’  Something to help distract yourself from the item that is stressing you or frustrating you and help you get past that stress.

Your creative projects are a great tool for managing and reducing stress.  How have you used them to help you in your life?

What is Creativity Unleashed?

Creativity unleashed is the product of my vision around creativity, self-expression, and healing.

My vision is to give people the opportunities for self-expression, and encourage them to make the most of those opportunities.

With creativity unleashed, you can do healing, have great events, have great creative items at your events, and express your creativity.

I work with individuals, groups and create products for your events.

I look forward to sharing a glimpse into my creative world with you, as well as growing with you in yours.

Don’t forget to stop by my website to subscribe to my Creative Expressions newsletter, learn more about me and see ways we can work together.