Saturday, February 28, 2009

as february fades


It's a quiet Saturday morning, the last day of February, 35 degrees and cloudy. Outside my windows, the rows and rows of winter trees in their modulated greys still calmly span the view and cool the light. Inside, as I gather the day's table setting, white dinner plates and linens retain their crispness like fresh snow, although we've barely had a taste of it this year. That may change this weekend.

The old silver glints shyly in the dim daylight. It patiently awaits the glow of evening candlelight to warm it up. Meanwhile, with quiet reserve, the morning notes the slow and solemn fading of winter. In anticipation, the embroidered flowers on the linens, the raised floral design on the silverware, the embossed leaf design on the plates I've gathered hint gently that spring will soon come and splay its bouncing light across their surfaces. Soon, soon.

Monday, February 23, 2009

recalibrating to create


When my friend Carol called this morning to tell me about changing an aspect of her schedule, hoping to open it for more unforced creativity and maybe a little time to sleep, I was happy for her -- and for the interruption.  I'd been drudging away on some business records when she called. They still need finishing.  But her contagious idea gave me an excuse to think about the importance of unforced creativity in restoring our equilibrium.  And choosing which parts of our success to foster for our own good.

Immediately I remembered seeing this TED video of Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, who suggests that artists need to recalibrate regularly so as to not be undone by our artistry, our success, our weighty "emotional constructs" of expectation -- and to be available to that "source" that can brush up against us only when we're open and we've shown up ready for the job.  

Then I recalled puzzling through a similar conversation a couple weeks ago with Leslie, emailing back and forth about how to get oneself into that place where being creative can transcend the routine.   Like Elizabeth Gilbert, Joseph Campbell (Power of Myth, professor at Sarah Lawrence College, coined the phrase "Follow Your Bliss") also espoused the idea of artists occasionally reaching/existing on a metaphysical plane where one's soul listens to a voice other than one's own while creating.  My version of that feeling happens when I produce a painting that takes on its own momentum, not waiting for my direction (and it requires trust to let go).  That doesn't mean I give up my skills but that I let them service a larger energy. Unfortunately, I can't control the arrival of that blissful state, but I certainly value it when I recognize it.

Like so many artists, do you also wrestle with this delicate issue of how to stay creative, how to find time and energy to show up ready for the job?  Well, if you are like most of us, here's to recalibrating your creative energies and to finding your bliss!


Friday, February 06, 2009

anna griffin valentine retro layout


After a short break for the holidays, we're getting back on track with our monthly Anna Griffin layout class at Scrapbooks Plus in Chantilly. In March, we'll be using the new and eclectic Anna Griffin papers debuted last week at CHA in CA.

But for February's class, we are mixing it up with papers from last year, the year before, and way back. Since too many current papers were out of stock at the end of this release year, I decided at the last minute to have fun making a two-page layout with an old-fashioned feeling based on much earlier AG papers. For this Valentine month, one page features a Scandinavian woven heart pocket centered on a bed of pleated ruffles; larger photos slip into the pocket. The accompanying page arranges smaller photos within scalloped frames.

Class is scheduled for Sunday, February 15, at 10 a.m. You can call Scrapbooks Plus to sign up. Sure hope to see you there!

After-class edit: If you would like more photos of my layout, see below. :)