make art. transform life.

thoughts about creativity and  art:   live your life as your work of art.

Astonishing, how living in the now moment, simplifies life

 
 remember compassion  study       5' x 4"            pencil/ journal      beth vendryes williams

remember compassion  study       5' x 4"            pencil/ journal      beth vendryes williams

 

You would be amazed at how hard it was for me to pull myself together last week to balance creating with sharing my work, and all of my daily practices. I had been sick and exhausted and so had to allow myself a rest.

I was struggling to accomplish even the smallest thing, Everything was distracting me! I put one foot in front of the other, staying in the now moment. Eventually, I found this article about what to do each day to keep creating and sharing your work.. I put it into action.

 I remembered to keep it simple. And as my Dad used to say:

"As you travel on through life, brother, let this motto be your goal. Keep your eye upon the doughnut , and not upon the hole."       Optimist's Creed via  S. Keith Vendryes

In my case, the "doughnut" is first creating the work, documenting and sharing. Reviewing this list each day makes sure I stay on track and consistent.

  • Journal/sketch
  • Create art
  • Meet & record contacts
  • Do routine photoshoots, each upon completion of a body of work
  • Organize artist statement, bio, CV, press/ cloud-accessible
  • Create collections, categorize-type/subject/genre - send out
  • Research/document exhibits, residencies, grants past/future
  • Follow up on invoiced and customers.
  • Share inventory list with five potential outlets
  •  Update online presence with news, posts, social
  • Choose to view shows, openings, exhibits. Schedule.

The next step is to continue organizing my space. 
Knowing where to find my supplies and art labeling and updating contacts helps me to work more quickly and with greater focus. 

As life changes daily, these little guidelines serve as guideposts to refer to when I lose my way. What do you do to keep yourself on track? I am thrilled to hear suggestions that really work for you!

 

Notebook - 20150819_170041 - 60.jpg
 
 

How to develop creative momentum, with focus and passion_

 "swimming underwater"   by beth vendryes williams      watercolor, mylar,            private collection

"swimming underwater"   by beth vendryes williams      watercolor, mylar,            private collection

When I was in my beloved high school, I was disappointed that I didn’t receive the senior art award. So, when I saw my esteemed art teacher getting into the faculty elevator, I asked to accompany her to the next floor, so I could ask her privately, why I did not get it. She calmly responded that she didn’t think I wanted it badly enough and she felt I wasn’t persistent enough to commit to my art. 
After tearfully absorbing this honest observation from Sr.Stephanie, I reflected on her words and realized that she was not trying to be mean, just honest and wise.

I reasoned that belief in myself was something I could change.! I made the decision to pursue my dream.

I use to envision being ambitious as pushing ahead relentlessly and selfishly, pushing everyone and everything out of my way. So I was at odds with myself when I tried to pursue my work since I didn't want making art to be a selfish practice._This has changed!


_Now I interpret "ambitious" as consistently developing and sharing my dreams and gifts as I live fully in relation to my interior values, relationships and world view._

_In my art career, I have been most inspired to grow when I integrate the different areas of my life, so that work in one area is supportive of another. For instance, my habits of yoga, dance and walking and healthy eating can positively affect my energy level, and the quality and possibilities of my work.

 Nurturing relationships is intrinsic to my work. I learn a lot  from listening to creative endeavors and also explain my own, to those who ask. The dialogue, inevitably brings new perspectives to both of us. Reading what I love and learning new things supports my ability to have new ideas.

 When I align my spiritual values with my creative process my work then radiates transparency and integrity._Art initiates philosophical discussions that embrace many areas of knowledge. _
 Last year, when I had to relocate my sketchbook /journals, I estimated there were about 30. No way! I found 130 journals! I am now using them as primary source material and referencing them in my work. That is quite an affirmation of consistent habits and working with integrity. This year, in my Open Studio, I had much more work than I could show. Then, in the early morning hours of the Open Studio event, I was accepted into a juried show in NYC. and an opportunity for my work to be part of an international auction! It seems like a combination of perseverance and patience is fertile ground for my art/ Now it is giving momentum to my career.

__When I was younger I didn't realize the importance of seeing  my life experiences as a connected in one wholistic perspective. Now I do._
 I understand that the process of creating and sharing as essential to being. I look at creative process as my gift to develop, fully incorporating my deepest longings and spirit 

Just this past week, I am thrilled to find my paintings and comments featured in an article on “Ambition” this month in the 2017 October/November edition of Professional Artist Magazine. Pick up a copy on a magazine rack or here and let me know your thoughts!

What if you try but fall short of the goal?

gardens: energetic Ah yes!

Early this morning, a very thoughtful friend inquired about my 30 day challenge... the 30 paintings in 30 days that wrote about a few posts ago.

"Did you actually finish 30 paintings?", she asked? I realized I never addressed the final outcome on this blog!  So thank you my dear friend, for asking.

So for those of you who were rooting for me.....NO, although I  did finish  7 paintings.

I am disappointed that I didn't get them all done and am happy with the series of 7 that I created.

I am also invigorated by the experience of carving out the time on a regular basis to paint in oil in a limited format.

It was a challenge that I don't regret because learned a lot from the experience. Pushing myself to produce the work has yielded a fresh and deep look at the ever-changing garden in our backyard. To see them all, take a look at my latest post fresh art post at my portfolio site and at the 30 in 30 post listed under fresh new  art blog!

Now 3 of them are for sale at the Oyster Bay Frame Shop right in time for the holidays.

I'd love to hear what you think.

How do you handle changing goals when you have not met them?

 

 

 

 

why I draw...and how it can transform your life

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Putting a pencil to a pure white piece of paper has always been exciting and challenging at the same time.I can start and end anywhere. There is no one right way to make a mark.

Drawing makes who I am inside,  visible on a surface.

I take time to reflect, to observe my interior, to connect with my surroundings.

It is centering for me.

You can do this too!

How to start drawing..

  • Get a blank journal. A Moleskine is well crafted and a nice surface. If you prefer a wire binding, just get a substantial feeling paper surface and sturdy wire. Thai way, when you carry it in your back pack, briefcase or hand bag, it will stay together. Size is totally what feels practical and comfortable to you!
  • In fact,you can even use a tablet or iPad with a program such as Penultimate or Paper 54. For these you may use your finger or a stylus.
  • Have your favorite pen or pencil at hand.
  • Draw what you see or remember in your mind's eye.

Or draw lines tat interest you. Or shapes

Perhaps write words to describe them...

Or not.

As with any healthy good habit, the practice of drawing, every day

allows you to observe and reflect on the world around and within you,

bringing inspiring connections

and quiet energy and joy at just being.

 

It is in this 30 minutes of active reflection that you will find your life transforming into the best of who you are. Interested in trying this simple habit?

Then subscribe to my blog and draw along with meI I will be posting once a week.....and I can't wait to share my passion for mark making with YOU!  Oh and please post your questions and thoughts in comments!  I will be sharing my drawings.

 

 

Create like a marathon runner!

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New-york-city-marathon-e1377962619965

New York City was bursting with cheering, support and goodwill today. All of us in the crowds were rooting for each runner to finish. Determination was evident in each runner’s stride and face. I knew they would make it. Oh how inspiring it was to see so much camaraderie and strength of spirit! Participating in this amazing achievement requires not just physical strength but balance in other areas of life as well. Surely you need to have good form and running shoes. You also need to care for your body and get plenty of sleep. Months of regular discipline and practice culminate in the marathon. Eating the right foods is key and of course, drinking plenty of water. Most importantly, working with supportive partners who listen and inspire can help to keep you on track. And so it goes, also, with sustained creative work. Producing a series of art pieces that result in a strong body of work requires a similar practice to preparation for a marathon. It is a balance of physical strength and health, strong spirit, determination, knowledge of your best working practice and a good support network.

So if you ran a marathon today, congratulations!!

If you are not a runner but would like to create more and better work, a "creative marathon" -   don’t ignore the impulse! Follow the routines that help to make a runner strong. Make a goal of creating something each day. Keep a life balance. Keep in touch with friends that support your efforts!

Take the first step and subscribe to this blog.

Click here or on Kathy's photo above to discover her motivation  that keeps her running running....

And I would love to hear how you motivate yourself to accomplish your creative goals!

No time to be creative?

If only I had enough time. Do you ever find yourself saying that to yourself? That is what I said when the three boys were little, and part of me didn’t want that time to end.

I painted pictures with them in between making Halloween costumes and cookies, parties and putting bandaids on knees.

We read books a together and we were  a happy audience when they put on plays for us!

When they were in elementary school and middle school, I took my sketchpad to games, although sometimes I didn’t get it open.

I always carried pencils, a  favorite pen and my crayons in my bottomless pocketbook. Many times I watched the game and improved my visual memory by drawing from what I remembered later.

I worked at my job, teaching art. We made pizzas and cakes from scratch, loaves of bread, read books and had family discussions about the state of rest f the world.

Yes, and I dragged them to art museums, plays and music lessons of all kinds.

I am still teaching art to 580 students every week, and loving it!.When I teach, it nurtures my art and when I do my art it makes me a better teacher. I am always looking for time to make more of my own work.

And now it is the summer.

All the time in the world to paint, right?

Wrong. Sometimes I get creative block. Everyone gets it once in a while.

So, I  attempt to make dealing with  this issue a creative project! I enlist my  sense of humor, compassion and an assortment of creative thinking skills. If i am not up for that, I sometimes take a nap. (Try it. It works.)

Every time I get stuck procrastinating with the fear of making a mark on the white paper, I use diversionary tactics!

  • Outsmart my left brain  and allow room for the intangible creative side. Let’s not take this too seriously, after all, “playing” is one of the 13 creative thinking tools.
  • Integrate and balance other life areas. Make sure to exercise, eat right, read, leave time for spiritual, relationships and taking care of money and job. Limit times and set the alarm.
  • Watch how others do it.  I watch my son compose, sing play and mix music when he has a day off or after work, if he’s not too tired. if he is he sleeps.
  • Read . Many artists are very generous about sharing their methods of getting time to create.
  • Allow myself to do the laundry or vacuum...with a time limit!
  • Drink a glass of water.
  • Take the dogs for a walk. Good thinking time.
  • Put myself in the studio or place that is inspiring, with all of my supplies around me, look at my journals and I can’t help but make something.
  • Don’t judge. Just keep exploring.
  • Oh yes, and work daily for a self determined consistent amount of time. Stop in the middle of the best part! This was one of Hemingway’s secrets. Your mind will keep working on creative ideas  until you return the next day.

I was intrigued by the post on Write to Done guest post “How to Write When You’re Scared Spitless” by the  Jean-Berg-Sarauer.

There is also a very interesting article about another way to increase creativity called The Cure for Creative Blocks? Leave Your Desk. RT(via @the99percent) that is totally awesome!

What do you do when you are stuck and need a new idea?

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Laughing into balance!

Our incredibly happy creamy golden retriever..meditating. I usually don't make irrevocable plans. I'm actually pretty relaxed about life. Passionate, but a pretty calm, go with the flow type person.

But tonight was one of those nights. Have you ever had a series of events that happen rapid fire and you don't know where to look next?

These surprises thwart every effort to achieve normal goals, like going to bed, having a conversation with your loved one or sleeping.

Madeleine, our our impish creamy golden retriever suddenly gave up her dinner, on the kitchen floor. Unusual for her, my husband & I thought, but, unfazed, we cleaned it up. Suddenly, the washing machine began beeping furiously. Apparently the drain was clogged. Out we drained 6 quarts of water of questionable quality. After 45 minutes, the deed was done and we continued our journey to sleep.

I remembered I had a project due tomorrow morning and quickly finished it on the computer. Oh no Maddie was under my desk throwing up more dinner. We didn't realize she had eaten so much.

She seemed better and we again cleaned it up and we went upstairs with her so we could keep an eye on her. Aah, sleep was finally within our grasp.

Not so fast. It was one of those nights. Nothing seemed to be going the way we planned. I chose  to stop  planning and am now sitting up typing this post.

Me? I'm finding the balance  tonight by ascertaining the health of Maddie , being  grateful that our washing machine was so easily repaired and lauging heartily together with my love because this helped to remind us about what's really important . Also, tomorrow is altogether another day.

And Maddie?  She's "playing dead" with one eye open, happy to know that we keep on looking after her.

We'll all get back on track tomorrow.