Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Creativity, Taking Risks and Fennec Foxes

This animal is called a fennec fox. And this drawing was part of a talk I gave to artists twice this week. The talk was entitled "Enhancing Creative Power For Artists and Solo Creatives." One of the points of the talk was about the need to be willing to take risks, to maybe even look ridiculous. Case in point: For literally eons, Mother Nature hasn't seemed to worry about looking ridiculous at all when she designed the many incredible, yet real, creatures on this planet. In fact, she seems to throw caution to the wind. Mother Nature seems to believe that, like trying on clothes at the store, you just can't really tell till it's on. So elephant noses, hippopotamus heads and fennec fox ears demonstrate that you just never know. I did this drawing of a fennec fox for my talk, so that the little critter could be a symbol - the poster child, if you will - for taking risks and letting the results stand on their own. Here's to you and your creative experiments. Take risks, climb further out on that limb and give that crazy idea, whatever it is, a go.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Looking Inward. . . Creative Introspection

I once worked as an Assistant Art Director for a magazine that did interviews around the country. When the reporter came back from doing the interview, we would discuss which photos to use. Once, a conversation between a writer and myself revolved around deciding which direction we should face a portrait photo on the published page. Should the person face left? Right? We were going back and forth about it and he joked, "Why don't we have him look down?" Pretty funny statement for the dry material we were dealing with. To which I replied, "Why don't we have him look inward?" Ever the unwilling mystic, these kinds of statements would slip out of my mouth at times.

Up to about a hundred years ago, people were very, very busy growing their own food, protecting their homes from wild predators and making their own clothes and furniture to think about much else. That kind of focus then was applied to our jobs in the factory and office as culture shifted in that direction. Up until relatively recently in human history, there were usually just a few, isolated individuals who seemed, by some stroke of fate or luck to be able to not have to worry about the daily grind and could indulge in creative and quiet observations about human potential and higher concepts. They were assigned the societal role of "creative type." Yet they were simply doing what we all, always, have had the potential to do, if there had been any energy at the end of the day.

Often, "looking inward" involves prayer or meditation, for which people have traditionally had leaders that taught them how to do those things; what to think about, what the mantra was, who the ultimate hero in the story was, what your focus should be etc etc.

Clearly this is changing. We live in a beautiful new world which is becoming more so everyday, where each person can be their own "guru/priest/teacher/healer" going on their own inner journey to find their spiritual and creative gifts. This is fantastic. Still, it doesn't mean that we don't need teachers or guides. Taking that journey and looking inward has, like it always has had, a lot of ins, outs, ups and downs. It can be good to have a guide or teacher, or more than one at varying times in life.

But one of the most important things to remember when seeking a guide is that the seeking begins within you.

The questions start with you.

The answers will ultimately be found within you.

You may think that looking within yourself is too "simple," or too "close" for it to be significant on a journey as epic as your own life. In truth, inside is where the most promising treasures are waiting for you to discover them, as your true life journey unfolds.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Beloved Cat, 99, The Love of My Life, Gone But Never Forgotten

This is from the summer of 2009 of my beloved cat 99 looking out the window. What I love about the video is that the bright light coming through the window throws everything into shadow making a symphony of silhouettes accented with that patch of blue sky right at the top. (....and my studio, instead of looking just messy, looks interesting and mysterious....)

What I also love about the video is that I even took it. Because about 15 months later, last December 23, 2010 (a year almost to the day that this video was originally posted to Youtube) I had to put my most beloved cat 99 to sleep. She had an aggressive cancer, which she was able to live with for about two months after being diagnosed. This gave me time to spend with her and to adjust to her eventually being gone, time I really needed with her. 99 was a special cat... very smart....and there was a very special bond between us. She found me in 1995, on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn, as a 6 week old kitten, and it was true love ever since. It has taken me over two months since her death to even speak of it online, but there you have it. The video is over a minute, and being almost without any sound (the sound was on, there simply was no sound around us during the taping) it has the quality of being like a meditation.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Bird Song in Winter And a Typing Lesson

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving holiday! I did less eating and more painting this year....:) This week, I did a painting of a beagle which I will be posting soon. Till then, here is a chirping bird. It's painted on a page from an old typing lesson book. Thus the title "Clickety Clack." The paper took the acrylic paint really well. This image, along with a few others is available as a print on my website

And, ok, sorry, this post is not an actual
typing lesson, per se.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Recycling Makes Me Happy

I am vegan. And I try to eat raw food as much as possible. One of the most thrilling (yes, thrilling) things about a raw food diet is: there's no packaging waste! I love that! There might be a banana peel or an apple stem, but that stuff continues being extremely useful in the world of decomposition.

However, I do sometimes have in a plastic pouch or deli-style container - see photo above - and whenever possible, I wash and use and re-use that plastic thing over and over again. I store my cut onions and tomatoes in them. Or I pack my lunch into various components in them. They stack beautifully in one's back pack and some styles of these containers, if sealed properly, are pretty much water tight. I save money by bringing lunch and by not buying any new plastic stuff...and best of all, it gives me the feeling of being a citizen of the world and a friend to nature. All that from re-using plastic containers!

Have you tried re-using the many forms of plastic packaging that come your way?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What's Your Favorite Dog Breed?

People have been saying nice things about my dog portraits. I did the boxer above (and the Italian Greyhound from another post) as examples of pet portraits. But I think people are finding the idea of a pet portrait a little too extravagant these days, so they have more often asking me for a generic, yet favorite breed. What is your favorite breed of dog? Leave a comment below!