Explaining Inspiration

This week I spent a little time exploring a new creative process that turned out to be a blast. I want to share it with you because whether you make art or not, we all have the choice to look at the world around us and see what peaks our interest and create a life that's beautiful.

This process was taught by Tracy Verdugo on Tamara LaPorte's "LifeBook 2016," an online course I have been taking for the past two years. As an artist I am often asked where do I get my inspiration. Usually, I respond with "I don't know" or the equally vague  "life, I guess." But really, inspiration is everywhere - you just have to be willing to pay attention to the details. 

In this process, Tracy teaches students to make inspiration bundles as a creative prompt. The task was to go through 6 or 7 books or papers you have collected and tear out a random image (don't over think it) so that you have a stack of about 7 to 12 pieces of paper. Taking each piece of paper one at a time see what appeals to you and incorporate that into your piece. Below is my finished painting that, in the end,  I was very happy with. BUT - like everything in life - there was a catch...


"Little Details" 9 x 12" mixed media


This is my first image and it is not hard to see where the figure is represented. What WAS hard and what you do not see is that underneath all the layers there was a beautiful, painstakingly  painted re-creation of this woman in black and white. Then I came to my next image and had to  decide what to lose and what to keep. What to paint over and what to incorporate.

In the end it turned out to be a much more interesting painting because of what was kept and lost. That is how I see life. We can try as hard as we can to be something we think we "should" be, to hang on tight to those images and stories we want to tell about ourselves. However, the real beauty is in the details. What we observe, discard and layer. That is how we take our world and create a life that is authentic and worth living.

Each image below is represented in the finished product. Can you spot the inspirational details?

Yes, even a #10 envelope can be inspiring if you really look at it.

Yes, even a #10 envelope can be inspiring if you really look at it.


My New Adventure

This week I started a five week odyssey as an elementary school art teacher, well, the long-term substitute anyway. Our regular art teacher is on maternity leave and she left some pretty big shoes to fill. 

Its been a fun week with only a few incidents... 

One awesome thing about kids and art: the younger they are the more creatively free they are. Children are so bold, decisive and liberal about their colors and their compositions. Kiddos are all about the process and what looks and feels good in the moment.

Unfortunately, I can see a lot of the older kids (4th and 5th graders) are starting to care more about their final product and less about the process.  

When their final product does not exactly match the picture in their mind, some of them get upset, melt down and give up. 

A lesson learned for everyone (especially aspiring artists)  *Don't skip ahead and fixate on the final product. Respect the process - focus on the process - enjoy the process! *Applies to all activities.

Living in the moment, minute by minute, that's how I'll make it through the rest of the year. Trying to appreciate each kid and where they are in each moment. 

Week one? So far so good!

p.s. I get it Mom, a full week of teaching art doesn't leave a lot of energy for personal art. 

Painting a flower garden. 

Painting a flower garden. 

1st Grade work. 

1st Grade work. 

Petunia the duck, thank you #deepspacesparkle #petunia

Petunia the duck, thank you #deepspacesparkle #petunia

Boxes of poems to plant in the park. 

Boxes of poems to plant in the park.