“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. "
Martin Luther King, Jr. Strength to Love
This quote is true on many levels and seems most fitting now.
Winter is a time for amazing light. Painters understand that the long shadows are cast as the sun "moves south” creating this wonder. We long for the light during those long winter nights and celebrate with feasts of light.
I love to paint outdoors, but even on a dull or chilly day, I have hundreds of photos from local hikes and travels to provide creative sparks! Left to right: our daughter along Hadrian's Wall; Montfort, France; this afternoon's walk!
I am very grateful that Zoom has provided weekly meetings with friends and workshop participants! In fact, during the past two years I have met wonderful people and made good friends online-often turning long distance acquaintances into good friends.
I have been fortunate to have books and art supplies delivered to me.
And, like so many, I am clearing out, discarding what no longer serves me and creating comforting spaces where I can write or paint. My favorite writing spot is still the kitchen table!
I am nurturing treasured friendships —and I am learning that, as Julia Cameron says in Transition: Prayers and Declarations for a Changing Life (1999),
“Connections are alchemical. Friendships are not static. They are living entities that grow and change. Sometimes my friendships become strained, undergoing mysterious seasons of estrangement. I allow my friendships to alter and grow. I allow them to fall fallow and rest quietly until the season comes for them to bloom again….”
I am learning the benefits of clearing our paths, allowing some to walk a spell with us, and to walk alone at times.
Maintaining good healthy habits, nurturing one’s soul, mind and body is crucial.
OK – did I take a dose of Pollyanna tea? Am I keeping my head in the sand? On the contrary. I am an avid follower of what we used to call “current events.” In fact, I feel better knowing, rather than ignoring.
However, for art, family, health, attitude, I am focusing on what I can do, not what I cannot, for the moment.
Creatively speaking, I have several projects going---and like friendships, some fall fallow and others bloom in season.
This year I changed the name of my Etsy online shop from FRENCH PRESS to FRENCH PRESS & MOJAVE INSPIRATIONS—to include art inspired by the mazing desert in which I live.
Many of my paintings this year reflect the landscape which has nourished me.
I continue to be immersed in learning about French culture, creating watercolor sketches and paintings that honor my travel memories. I am currently preparingg new Valentine cards and am not above approaching the owners of my favorite European and French restaurants as I dine alfresco. (Cards and calendars are currently available at Il Sogno and French Corner, both in Palm Desert.)
Leading a weekly group on an Art Zoom adventure – or as we like to call it Art Zoom Oasis—keeps my brain stimulated, preparing lessons about artists or techniques. We all share - tips on materials, supply resources, exhibits. In early December, we ventured out on our first “field trip” to our fabulous Palm Springs Art Museum for the Helen Frankenthaler exhibit.
What are you doing to keep your “art spirit” alive? In fact, that’s a great place to begin. If you have never read Robert Henri’s The Art Spirit, I recommend it. He was an inspired teacher with an extraordinary gift for verbal communication. The book is a compilation of observations and teaching notes of Robert Henri (1865-1929).
What creative directions are you pursuing? Allow yourself to indulge in new art forms and techniques as they beckon. Be patient with yourself and know that in season, one may bloom and another may remain inactive.
Seek the company of others and, in turn, seek solitude. Encourage one another, yet know your spirit needs quiet.
Practice kindness and patience. Joy is to be nurtured, even in difficult times.
Books that have inspired me:
In no order! This is simply a list of my favorites, casting citation format aside!
Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain Betty Edwards 1979
The Art Spirit Robert Henri 1923
The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity Julia Cameron 1992
The Creative Habit Twyla Tharp 2003
The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women: A Portable Mentor Gail McMeekin 2000
Linnea in Monet’s Garden Christina Björk 1985 (for children and adults)
The Gift from the Sea Anne Morrow Lindbergh 1955
The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris David McCullough 2011
A Year in Paris Janice MacLeod 2017
I believe everyone can be creative!
My next in-person OUTDOOR one-day workshop, "Capturing Joshua Tree Landscapes with Acrylics" will be Saturday, April 16th, 2022 through the Joshua Tree National Park Association Desert Institute. Beginners welcome! Click for Class Description/Registration and for be sure to click the blue link to download class details and the materials list.
Please leave a comment about what you are reading, recent inspiration and your path to creativity!
Wishing you so much!
January 2023 marked 5 years of blogging about creativity, well-being and encouragement. Thank you to the many who have visited my website! I welcome comments and questions.
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