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

explore ripples of time, impressed in rocks... by water

Last week my family and I an hiked an extremely steep the 2.5 mile trail through the gorge at Watkins Glen near Ithaca, New York and followed it up two days later with a very rocky 5 mile hike through the Robert H. Tremain State Park. While hiking I found some time to draw, but not nearly enough to satisfy me, since I spent most of my time trying to keep up with my sons & friends and move faster than the thunderstorms. Apparently I need to upgrade my exercise routines!

Has this ever happened to you? No time to bask in the beauty of the environment because you were too busy beating traffic, avoiding bad weather, performing everyday survival tasks, meeting everyday needs?

My experience while hiking in Ithaca, may give you some ideas about how to savor  a unique and profound moment and then build on that memory. You can notice it, wonder,  allow it to motivate you to deepen your understanding beyond the surface.

While on both hikes, I observed the patterns of ripples in the water that were  duplicated in the sand and again, replicated in the rocks. It made me wonder how long it took for the ripples in the water to transpose themselves into the sand and rock. After doing some reading,I discovered that the water created patterns in the sand that were eventually transformed into rocks of alternating shale and sandstone. This began to occur in the Devonian period, 360 million years ago. Really? I am having trouble imagining that long ago! Glaciers cut through this layered rock. The splits in the rock or ‘gorge” are caused by streams that were cut off and needed to find new ways through the rock!

This makes me think about the power of time, and how, with enough time, water can slowly transform rock and even an entire landscape. I make this analogy. If the persistence of water can be so strong to shape and cut through rocks, then by applying this principle of  consistent intent in just living we can break through and transform relationships, habits and creative blocks will create a path towards your goal.And so I focus on my goal to visually represent the process of the patterns created over time.

Paying close attention to how transformation that occurs in nature can help you to transform paths in your life! When traveling through everyday life:

  • OBSERVE your environment carefully.
  • NOTICE patterns.
  • Allow yourself to IMAGINE
  •  MAKE AN ANALOGY between this physical beauty and your everyday life.
  • SYNTHESIZE by asking questions and make connections.

Oh yes, and please let me know about a time you gently persisted in your chosen path and then transformed your day, week or life,  as the water has. I absolutely love sharing this and even more, I look forward to your thoughts and ideas!

This makes me think about the power of time, and how, with enough time, water can slowly transform rock and even an entire landscape. I make this analogy. If the persistence of water can be so strong to shape and cut through rocks, then by applying this principle of consistent intent in just living we can break through and transform relationships, habits and creative blocks will create a path towards your goal.And so I focus on my goal to visually represent the process of the patterns created over time.
— beth vendryes williams

Seize the day….transform your life!

 beth vendryes williams

 beth vendryes williams


It is so good to be back! I have transitioned to working full time as an artist! It is with glee (and trepidation), that I begin this journey. I am SO excited to have all of my time devoted to drawing, painting and putting my work out there!!

You are invited to come with me on this journey and in the process learn more about supporting the creative habit in your own life! I find that small or large creative action in ANY media has the capacity to transform!

If you don’t think you are creative, think again.

Observe, ask questions, share your thoughts and/or make your own creations, stick with me as I reveal my process and motivations during the process of creating my own body of work myself subscribe now! If you are a practicing artist; painter, sculptor, writer and would like to hear and share about the creative process, subscribe now! It's free! And I would love you to be a part of the conversation! If you are an art collector and just want to see what's here, search the rest of the site and subscribe to keep up with the latest! You can always contact me if you are interested in a piece to purchase


I will be sharing images of my work and my process! If you would like to see more of my work, explore this website in full and contact me if you need to know more!

“With your senses (not so much your mind), focus on one single object until you stop fighting it or resisting it with other concerns. The concrete is the doorway to the universal.”Richard Rohr Adapted from The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See,pp. 170-171

 Through that process of creating my work, my intention is to listen, be open, and to respond using available materials and visual and intellectual inspirations. My goal here is to be transparent and share this process of creating a body of work. You can apply what you learn about the creative process and about interpreting the universal language of the visual to your own every day journey.

In the movie Dead Poets Society, the English teacher John Keating, played by Robin Williams says:"Carpe Diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.”

Please DO let me know here what you do to live a creative life.  It is SO inspiring to hear from you!


Thoughts to ponder...uncertainty

IMG_8240 - 2013-06-26 at 05-01-42Uncertainty is where things happen.

072270-grunge-icon-alphanumeric-quote-open1It is where the


for success, for happiness, for really living

— are waiting.

by Oliver Burkeman

What do you find happens to your perception when you are uncertain? I begin to get nervous and stop believing in my ability to create.       BUT,  if I am able to let go of trying to control the results, I am suddenly free to imagine and discover new ways to accomplish something. So, what about YOU?  

Inspired by a goldfinch, Fabritius & Tartt

Mauritshuis_Fabritius_605Its been a long time since I sat down in my favorite chair and got cozy with a 771 page book!  I meet  with some  lovely ladies who have lively discussions about a chosen book. This   month it was "The Goldfinch" by Donna Tartt. I decided to see if I still enjoyed being totally ensconced in a long story, but was concerned that it would take time away from painting. Little did i know that it would prove to astonish and inspire me to paint MORE! Yes, it did take a week of reading 1-2 hours a day. I turned the pages without conscious noticing .The story, descriptions, characters and philosophy carried me along so that I continued  the daily habit of setting reading time aside.

This book is a story about a painting, a boy with a tragic event, and  the synchronicity of life.

I was reintroduced to the impact of a painting...about how it tells  a story. , The author herself  states:

 “I wrote books in this way, around images,” Ms. Tartt said, something that didn’t occur to her until “The Goldfinch” — a book that surrounds an image of a luminous yellow-tinged bird — was complete."

Reading little jewels like....

" There's a doubleness. You see the mark, you see the paint for the paint, and also the living bird." p. 579

"...connections missed, things lost and never found, and my painting swept away on that powerful current and drifting out there somewhere: a tiny fragment of spirit , faint spark bobbing on a dark sea."p.603

Reminded me of the how complex and full of grays life is.

Maybe sometimes-the wrong way is the right way? You can take the wrong path and it still comes out where you want it to be?"p. 745

A reminder that living a good and loving life does not guarantee that no bad things ever happen. And bad things can also be transformative , bringing us to  a good place. Keep on striving.

"And isn't that the whole  point of things--beautiful things--that they connect you to some larger beauty? p. 757

On the  question of why it is so important to make art.

"--if a painting really works down in your heart and changes the way you see and think and feel, you don't think . 'oh I love this picture because its universal.  ...."

You feel that way because it speaks directly to you and where you are.

And that is why I, myself... choose to paint.

If this resonates with you, be sure to explore other posts here and read this book. It is well worth your time..... Why do you create? How important is creating to your life?  Have you seen a painting that has changed your life? 


Read the NY Times interview with Donna Tartt here.



How safe are you from losing your creativity?

Let's take a good look at the amount of time dedicated to coming up with new ideas,sometimes by simply giving myself a moment to be still and listen. Being creative is a way of thinking, not just for painters and sculptors, but for any person who is making a mark on the world we live in.

If you are like me, time is increasingly sifting through my fingers as I ace to keep up with scheduled events. impetus to act is increasingly directed to me from outside of me, so little time is available for acting and thinking from within. My studio time is my time to "make things", is in danger of being chipped away! I'm not only talking about making a painting, but about any time I need to make something creative with my hands, like sewing, making that delicious new salad (or cookie!), writing a note by hand to a friend, knitting, taking a walk just tho think, reading a book...just add your own favorite use of time.

It takes great effort to fit time in for creativity today. And yet it is truly essential to our survival. Being creative

"make or cause something to become; to bring into existence.

In order to create new things, we must learn all we can by first, observing. Strengthen your observation by paying close attention to what you see, smell , taste, hear and touch or intuit or "feel in the pit of your stomach". Then reduce that observation or abstract it down to its simplest and most crucial elements. Working on new ideas begins with these two actions, according to research by Robert and Michele Root Bernstein in their book called "Sparks of Genius".

This thinking tool is incredibly important in any field or stage of life, wouldn't you agree? You can make an investment in your creative output at no cost, right now!

Let me share two simple ways to begin to make room for expanding your ability to create what you imagine.:

1 Decide what you want to create. 2 Find the best time available for that project 3 Finally, Choose a place to work.

Try this with one small thing you would like to initiate! I would love to hear how it works and if you discover other ways of discovering ang expanding the creative impulse in your life.

For instance, I love to read in the late afternoon,before I prepare dinner. I prefer painting in the early morning and drawing wherever I am in my sketchbook. I like to write in the evening as well, or in the early morning. Taking a walk is crucial for stirring up ideas when I can't seem to find a solution to a problem.

Time is like rushing water

People who have faith in life are like swimmers

who entrust themselves to a rushing river.

They neither abandon themselves to its current, nor try to resist it.

Rather, they adjust their every movement to the watercourse,

use it with purpose and skill,

and enjoy the adventure.

David Steindl-Rast

Transforming as a way of life...Steve Jobs

It  is good for us to reflect on the simplicity and focus that Steve Jobs incorporated into his life. He never gave up, on his inner visions. As a result his actions have had a very obvious positive effect on our lives. He also kept encouraging us to do the same.


“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”

[Stanford commencement speech, June 2005]


What is the great work that you believe you need to do in this life?

Do you agree with his philosophy that knowing you are going to die can be the strongest motivation to do your best work?









Quotes to inspire


Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything -- all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure -- these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

Steve Jobs

Scott Belsky 99 percent

What inspires you to live the life you imagine? 

What do you feel you need to create tomorrow to make your inner vision visible?

I'd love to know ...!

Flap your arms...jump around a lot!

by bvw

"Look, I don't want to wax philosophic,

but I will say

that if you're alive you've got to flap your arms and leg,

you've got to jump around a lot,

for life is the very opposite of death,

and therefore you must at least think

noisy and colorfully,

or you're not alive."

Mel Brooks (1926-       ) American film writer, actor, director, produce

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Notice a little something every day!

“Set yourself to practice drawing,

drawing only a little each day.

so that you may not come to lose your taste for it,

or get tired of it...

Do not fail, as you go on,

to draw something everyday,

for no matter how little it is,

it will be well worthwhile,

and it will do you a world of good.”

Cennino Cennini,

Il Libro Della Art, c. 1435

Art is not a product, but a process!

"At the birth of the word 'art', it was a verb that meant

'to put things together.'

It was not a product but a process.

If we can reclaim that view of art-

as a way of looking at and doing things, as a series of experiences and experiments-

all of us gain a fresh grasp on the proven and practical ways to construct the quality of our lives.

from Eric Booth in "The everyday work of art"

Check out this "Ducks & Drakes" by    nkhverma for another perspective on how art is defined. it's also packed with a lot of ideas about writing and creaticvity.

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