make art. transform life.

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

 How to accelerate creative growth - design self residency?

by the brook        by beth vendryes williams

by the brook        by beth vendryes williams

Are there times in your life or creative practice, when you find yourself at a loss for original ideas or problem-solving? Do you have trouble staying focused? Are you tired of your routine?

That happened to me just recently, and I knew I needed a change in environment to help me come up with both fresh ideas and renewed focus on my goals for creating. Before I had the flexibility of working for myself, painting full time, I had to finda  portable studio]that I could fit in my pocket book.I began by buying a large pocket book, portable water brush, watercolor sticks, and pencils a paper towel and my favorite, pen. As a working parent of young children, I was always in new environments, drawing everywhere I went in my portable studio.

 Now, though, It seems that I need to get out of my own studio and work n a different environment occasionally. So I began to look for residencies to apply for in the future. Hmmm, I knew I needed the opportunity to change my environment and thus my perception, but more quickly than I could get a residency. !

Just in time, an opportunity presented itself. A friend offered me the opportunity to stay in a beautiful studio, while he was gone on business, in which I could work uninterrupted, indoors and out for 5 days! Thus began the idea of creating my own residency! 

So if you check my Instagram you can see my daily work and all of it at the end! Very affirming! 

What did I learn from this?

1. Pay attention your instincts. Just like water keeps your body and spirit in great shape, so too does changing your environment satisfy your need to new ways of seeing things.
2. Use the time as a retreat, scheduling social connections on and offline when desired
3. Plan a general goal and give yourself room to follow your inspiration. I did a lot of journal work and fewer paintings inspired by the journals. Now I have new inspiration embedded my journals.
4. If you are a visual artist, choose mediums appropriate to the setting, especially in terms of ease of clean up and the available space.
5. Organize necessary supplies before you go, separated for quick availability and ease of use.
6.  Take your iPhone for camera and documentation on social media to share with your fans.
7.  Bring any inspirational reading and be present for contemplation and spiritual listening.
8.  Do not judge, just make your marks.
9. Reflect on it all when you get home.
10. Build and expand from what you created in your residency.

Well, I’d better get on to my studio and work on step 10! Email, text or contact me on this website to give your ideas, suggestions, and response to my work or my post! make sure you are subscribed so you know what I am up to! You will get a newsletter with links to my weekly posts, 1x a month!

Live life fully!


2 compelling ways art can change you

hidden oasis  #927  w/c                              599. framed                 ©bethvendryeswilliams

hidden oasis  #927  w/c                              599. framed                 ©bethvendryeswilliams

Believe it or not, whether you are creating or just looking, art, it can change you.

 I discovered this most recently when I was looking in my backyard for inspiration. There is always something outrageously interesting to paint, because my husband is an artist with gardens. 

while creating

I was  frustrated with a rather unappealing view of a neighboring yard. I suddenly noticed that when I looked at that section with new eyes, I found a splendid sunlit refuge. When I peaked through the foliage all I could see was sunshine glittering.  I started to notice the opportunity I had to transform old trucks and equipment into beautiful forms, colors and relationships. Later on I also began to compliment the owner on his efforts to plant tomatoes and flowers. Making this painting has transformed my ability to see the sacredness in things that have fallen into disuse, when their physicality begins to disintegrate, and is worn away by time.

This is an experience I often have when drawing or painting. As I  begin to observe more closely, I start to notice more striking connections in what before seemed uselessly ugly or nondescript. One just has to take the time to look. It is sort of like meditating.


Making this painting has transformed my ability to see the sacredness in things that have fallen into disuse, when their physicality begins to disintegrate, and is worn away by time.
— beth vendryes williams
Pierre Bonnard  The Bathroom

Pierre Bonnard  The Bathroom

when observing

When observing a painting, it happens to me also.  I discover  inspiration when I see a painting that compels me from across the room. I see from the artist's perspective, and then I add my own..

 From Pierre Bonnard, I learned the beauty of bathrooms. Before that I thought the most exciting thing was a clean sink and commode. Since seeing his paintings, I consider my bathroom, my spa, and look forward to it as another beautiful room. to surround those who enter, with beauty.  Sparkling clean, of course!

I would love to know what art has transformed your ideas or perspective? Please share in the comments section, or click on the twitter, facebook, instagram icons below with your response, and if you have on a picture of the art! Oh yes and please subscribe to this site. You will get a newsletter once a month with links to the posts from  that month.          Looking forward,  beth

Don't worry. Be happy. Free to create on vacation!!

oyster bay beach          09       oil          beth vendryes williams

oyster bay beach          09       oil          beth vendryes williams

Pulling into the long driveway of the refurbished farmhouse  in Ithaca New York, my husband and I eagerly look forward to the week to come. Our sons and friends will meet us here to relax  together. We put aside our work to make time for Scrabble games with Grandma, volleyball, croquet, hiking, and sharing stories with each other.

I am so happy to be together with everyone and I am also focused on continuing my daily creative habits throughout vacation. Vacations relieve stress and reenergize. They rejuvenate physical, spiritual, and mental health. However, they can often be perceived as an interruption in the progress of creative development.

Using the approach below, I have found a way for the “vacation state of mind” to actually jumpstart creative thinking.

  • I write a little each day in-between family activities to reflect on my passion and why I create.
  • I sketch or write down my observations of my new environment, imagining how perception is transformed by actively seeing.
  •  I delight in the creative understanding nurtured by a change of scenery and new conversations.

Using these habits, your vacation can also be used as a platform to further enrich your creative development and relationships as you share your fresh insights.

Qh yes, I absolutely  want to hear of any other creative ideas you use to expand your own creative thinking while on vacation!