” Creativity is the quality that you bring to the activity that you are doing. It is an attitude, an inner approach – how you look at things . . . Whatsoever you do, if you do it joyfully, if you do it lovingly, if your act of doing is not purely economical, then it is creative.” – Osho
Its summer! and time to go outside. It’s also time to wander, discover and explore the world around us. For me it’s all about travel and visits to Lake Tahoe and mini adventures that I can create at the last minute to see where I will end up. These are the best ways I find to develop my creative muscles. I’ll be traveling to San Francisco and Chicago and will have my camera ready to capture all that I see.
I just came across a new book by Keri Smith called the Wander Society. I have been a huge fan of Keri’s for quite some time and even started my own creative journey on this blog with her 100 Ideas. I’m intrigued by the subject matter of the book and want to go exploring and wandering to see what I can find out about this secret society.
This month, I want you to explore. If you are so inclined, purchase the book and follow along with me. Or pull out your phone, camera or sketchbook and go outside. Take a walk, stop along the way and record what you see, hear, feel and smell. These records can turn into inspiration for your writing, your art or just be something special for your sketchbook. If you get stuck, pull an idea off Keri’s 100 ideas worksheet and see where that takes you.
Most importantly, these exercise are meant to be fun, easy and not perfect. Get outside and enjoy!
Last fall I read The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna. After I read the book, I put it down for a few months. For some reason I kept coming back to the beautiful illustrations and the message that it was sharing for me. I’d tried to write a post but the right words wouldn’t come so I tucked the book away and moved on with my fall doing normal life things that Elle calls SHOULD.
“Should is how other people want us to live our lives…. It’s all the expectations that others layer upon us….” p. 29
I also signed up for ALT Summit (a design blogging conference in Salt Lake City) and lo and behold Elle was slated as the closing keynote speaker. I’ve attended ALT four times and this year really was a turning point for me and my business. At the keynote, I sat in the front row and throughout the speech I kept nodding in agreement to everything that Elle was saying.
As a speaker, I know that when you find someone in the audience that connects with your topic you have a tendency to continually look at and focus on that person. Elle was looking at me in the front row and I was nodding!
Here is a link to her speech in its entirety. Its really worth a listen and something to come back to over and over again.
After ALT I came home and again pulled out The Crossroads of Should and Must This time I absorbed the meaning behind it in terms of my own life and career. I’ve been incredibly lucky in choosing MUST…and having such a great network of support all around me has definitely helped along the way.
According to Elle:
“Must is different. Must is who we are, what we believe, and what we do when we are alone with our truest, most authentic self.” p.31
I knew I wanted to be an interior designer as a senior in high school and I followed that path. Once I got into the business of interior design I followed my PASSION for 13 years working in Chicago for Fortune 500 clients. Along the way I learned how to project manage, design and made some of the best friends in my life. But ultimately I was missing some piece of my own creativity. I could never quite put my finger on it until I had my first child and then my second. After both their births I had come another crossroads and had chosen a different MUST – raising a family. This has been the most important MUST of my life and one that I have treasured every step of the way. I have shared art, design, photography, creativity and a love for the world with my children and have helped them grow into who they are today! (Thanks to my dear friends Aryn and Lisa for reminding me of this recently)
Now that my kids are older, I am once again coming to those crossroads. Elle’s book reminds us that we come to this over and over again in our lives and this really isn’t a bad thing at all. I’m excited what MUST has in store for me now and have been exploring what it means for me…Photography, painting, writing, books, music, theater, film and travel. With these passions I always thought that they must be my career but I have come to realize that they are now just an extension of who I have become. I am lucky enough to get to share my passions with the world through my business and in this space. But I also get to savor some of the MUSTS just for myself and that’s the best part of all.
For those of you out there who are unsure of where your path is leading, look at where you are and you will find that you are actually right where you need to be on this journey. Enjoy the moment!
Elle says it best at the end of her book:
“We each have a unique potential that was given to us at birth, but whether or not we cultivate it is entirely up to us. In its purest sense, Must is why we are here to begin with, and choosing it is the journey of our lives.”
Special Thanks to Rebecca and Jenny of Workman Publishing for providing photos from the book, ALT Summit for the Keynote Address, Brooke Dennis and Justin Hackworth photography from ALT and Elle Luna for creating such a beautiful book and story about choosing MUST.
You can follow Elle on Instagram: @elleluna
Have a great Wednesday everyone!
January is a time for new beginnings, renewing your creative alignment and starting new projects. For me, that means cleaning my studio, starting a new sketchbook, setting creative goals and adding a few new tools to my creative practice. It also means assessing how I grew as an artist last year and where I want to see myself at the end of 2016.
Last year was a different year for me creatively. I had shoulder surgery in March so that took out many months of creative exploration. I did however participate in my first show – The Strike Away Show and I have plans to submit my work to several shows this year. I completed my 100 Wednesdays Black and White Photography Project and this year have decided to tackle a 365 Pattern Play Personal Project to grow my surface pattern making skills. I like sketching and playing with pattern in my sketchbook so for January most of the pieces will be simple patterns that I draw or paint in an 8×8 sketchbook. You can follow along at #100wednesdaypp on instagram and of course in this space on Wednesdays throughout the year. I painted a lot over November and December and am still continuing on my #52paintingclass journey. I have now painted 13 pieces of the 52 I had set out to complete.
My children gave me a full set of Crayola crayons, markers, and paints for Christmas and also a beautiful coloring book so these are fun tools for me to play and explore with during the month.
If you are just beginning your own creative journey this year – I encourage you to pick something simple and fun and try it for 30 days. It can be as easy as picking up a coloring book and coloring the pages before you or as challenging as a personal project for the year.
I’d love to hear what you have in store. Please feel free to share in the comments and don’t forget to link to where we can find you. We’d love to follow your creative journey.
Happy Tuesday everyone!