Saturday, February 16, 2013

What is 'Creativity'?

I want to share something with you. Something  I read from  Max Lucado's book: 'No wonder they call him the Savior'.

He was talking about God creating the earth, to help us understand how much God loves us;
      because he created us!

This is what he had to say:

"Creating is something far different than constructing. The difference is pretty obvious. Constructing something engages only the hands, while  creating something engages the heart and the soul.

When you create something you are putting yourself into it. It's far greater than an ordinary assignment or task; its an expression of you!"

I like that. It is simple.

It takes the scary out of it. It puts the freedom in.


Here is my belated valentine to anyone who is following me.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Artist block? Well.....sort of

Artist block? Well..... sort of.
It's not that I don't have ideas, it is just that once I finish a series I go into 'limbo' for awhile. Since I am not actually into a painting, the urgency is gone.
Once I start a project, there is nothing else I would rather be doing. It is the process and the excitement  of seeing the final result that is so much fun.
These past two days I have decided to face that dilemma face on. I brought out all of my sketchbooks and went through them with a fine tooth comb.  I rediscovered thoughts and images that I wanted to bring to life.  I found themes lying in the heaps of sketches and categorized them with large paper clips and laid them out . I couldn't use my kitchen counter tops for a few days but it was worth it.
Today I see paintings waiting to happen, I see a variety of techniques about to be experimented with.

Lets see what the future brings!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

I will be back

My expectations for writing posts in December was not realistic. I didn't think it through.

I am just like the rest of  you, we don't even need to talk about it. Every year is the same.

 Today Minneapolis is getting its first big snow of the season and I have to admit it is pretty exciting.
Exciting to be trapped inside a nice cozy, warm place, a place where the world stops for awhile and you  are forced to take that big breath and enjoy the quiet.

I am enjoying it but taking advantage of the time to 'create'.

I will resume this blog in Jan. and will continue where I left off; connecting children to my art.

Happy Holidays!


Monday, November 26, 2012

Imagination is the key!

Art in a child's room should be cheerful and pleasant but I am going to go one step farther :

As I continue to paint images with children in mind, I am going to focus on paintings that spark their imaginations.

A painting on their wall could be a starting point to a bedtime story. Your child could begin by telling his interpretation of what he sees. Others could join in and a story begins.

On the Curious Jungle Animal series in the Print Gallery I look at each of the animals and wonder what they are looking at. Are they afraid, are they surprised, are they curious?  Think of the possibilitys.

Here is the beginning of my next series (still untitled)  I am so excited about it, and hope it turns out as great as I am imagining. Hopefully I will be able to show it to you soon.

On my next post I am going to tell you about a drawing game my Grandson and I invented.

Here are two ways that you can make a difference to this blog:
   1. Tell a friend (share the link)
   2. Add a comment
Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Think like a child.

If there is one thing that I am an authority on, it is CHILDREN. I have raised 4 of my own  and have been a strong presence in the lives of my 7 grandchildren. In addition to that I taught Sunday school to 5th graders for 10 yrs and was an Art teacher for 14.

 I have a clear memory of something I said to myself when I was a child.   I promised myself that when I was a grownup I would never forget how children think and feel. I am proud to say that I have kept that promise.

 Children are little people who need to be heard, understood and respected. They need to be loved, they need to have fun and they need to feel safe.

That shouldn't be hard to understand, but it is sometimes  hard to remember, especially when the child is being naughty. I think 'being naughty' is directly connected to boredom, hunger or being too tired.

If the problem is Hunger the answer is simple: FEED HIM.   Trust me, an unhappy child is not going to want  broccoli.  Even though a nice warm meal would be best, I guarantee you that will not work.  Usually a small  snack plate  will work. Crackers and cheese, small slices of apples with peanut butter  are good choices, but my secret weapon is 'The bribe' My little Leo loves chocolate. I buy Hershey candy bars (the ones sectioned into little rectangles).  I will put one rectangle on his plate and tell him he can eat that  too but must take turns with it. (one bite of hershey and one bite of the cheese).  That gives him some choices and always a bite of candy is a good choice. Once he gets the taste of the healthy food in his mouth, chances are he will start to eat that.

If the problem is being overly tired taking a nap may not come easily. Some choices could be taking a nice long walk in the stroller, with the 'blankie' and 'pacifer' or bottle close at hand.   It may take some gentle rocking and snuggling  while telling a story, or the method that is probably (sigh) used most often is the making of a cozy little 'nest' in front of a favorite TV show. (LIMIT it to 1/2 hr ) Even if he hasn't fallen asleep, the quiet time should be enough to make the 'naughty' go away.

 In short: The caretaker has to find a way to make a 'naughty' child happy again.  A creative Nanny, Mother or Dad, or Grandmother can make everyones day go smoother.   I repeat: CREATIVE.
Children hate boredom but they don't really know how to 'fix' the problem.  I have several 'stand by' emergency activities ready. Depending on your child, your list may be different, but here are mine.

      It is only special if it is not out with the everyday toys. Clear off the kitchen table and get out the doh (each child must have his own Doh in front of him) Get out the plastic tools and let them start the process. It is perfectly fine if Grandma plays along for a while too.

     We have some nice small rocks that line the patio. When the weather is nice I give them some watercolor paints and brushes and they sit on the patio and have so much fun. Sometimes they fill a bucket with water and put the rocks in the bucket and the water becomes colored. Then it is very important to add grass and leaves to the water. DONT BE AFRAID TO LET THEM GET DIRTY!

     The markers and paint and scissors and glue are put  away until art time..  Little kids CAN use children's scissors. Don't be afraid of the mess, contain it to one table and let them discover and explore. ENCOURAGE!

Last but not least: KEEP TOYS ORGANIZED!
Before I go any further, imagine yourself getting ready to bake. The recipe book,measuring cups, measuring spoons and mixing bowl and mixer are ALL in a big basket along with magazines, old mail and books and clothes.  How inspired are going to be?
How do you expect your child to play with his blocks it they are thrown in a toy box with all other toys?
I sort toys by category: Blocks,Legos, action figures, doll and clothes, matchbox cars, large cars, trains and tracks...........You get the idea, right?  Even if the kids don't put them away, think how much easier it will be when you have the right box handy to put the toys in, and the Reward?.. they will play with their toys more often .

This post is a seque into my next series of paintings for children. That will be the subject of my next post and I am also going to share some great creative games that my kids and I love.

Please share this post if you like and leave a comment.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Finally these 3 little jungle friends are done. (that poor little elephant has been waiting for a long time).

I will get them scanned soon and add them to the print gallery on my web page. I planned to do that today but instead I took the day off to see an old friend. You have to do that once in awhile. All work and no play is...      Opps! I can't remember the last sentence.

Tomorrow it's back to work as usual.           

Monday, November 5, 2012

An Artist's dilemma: Making time for : 'Making Art'

I have been in the process of relocating for the last 2 months.  Saying "goodbye" to my family in Brooklyn was heart wrenching but joining my family in Minneapolis was  heart warming.

This is the first time in my life that I have been completely retired, able to 'create' on a full time basis. I find myself in a dilemma: I want people to see and purchase my work. To me and thousands of other artists, that means using Social Media, which is what I am doing right now. I Love Blogging and Face book and Pinterest and all of it, but it really takes time.

I have put 'creating' on the same level of importance as 'social networking' and I am feeling frustrated about that.

 Yesterday  I spent 3 hrs admiring the incredible work of 200 artists at 'ART- A -WHIRL' in  the NE Minneapolis Arts District. Those 3 hours reminded me that 'creating' must take priority over marketing.

Lets see how I do.

Here are  a couple of shots of my studio in my home. Pretty typical; desk overflowing with paperwork and notes and my drawing table waiting for the 3rd painting in my new series to get done.

Luke Langholz Pottery: Glazing, Firing, and Remembering

Luke Langholz Pottery: Glazing, Firing, and Remembering

Luke was my student in high school.  I was his Art teacher for 4 years. He was good at drawing and painting and design, but I am ashamed to say that my clay class was not that strong. I only say that because I get no credit for the clay work he is doing now.  I think his work is amazing.   Not only is he talented, he is a super nice guy.  Please check him out.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Who is taking care of YOU?

I found a great article in my 'in-box' today from 'Oprah' The title was 'Who is taking care of YOU? It caught my attention because I have been feeling a little 'Martyr-ish' lately. Oprah's article lists 4 key points: 1. The importance of Vit. D (the sun) Just 10 min a day in the sun will completely change your attitude. That is so true for me. A gloomy day drags me down, I feel tired with little energy. When the sun comes out,everything 'lightens up', not just the sky, but ME! 2.Talking to and petting a dog or cat will remove stress. True, everyone knows that. My little 'Sammie' has saved the day for me many times. When someone loves you like that, how can you Not feel good? 3. Massage: It is proven to reduce stress and maintain health. A one hr massage is a little bit of heaven to be sure, but it does cost money. As a substitute, a hot relaxing bath works miracles too. 4. Exercise: Stretching and deep breathing. The trick? Making time for it. The villain? Me. When I have a free moment I fill it with 'must-do' things.. Shame on me. 5. This one wasn't on Oprah's list but it is on mine. Quiet time, 15 min or more in the morning. This step is something everyone can do, it just means getting up early enough to do it. Preferably while the rest of the house is asleep.I confess, I don't do this everyday. In the past I was faithful to this practice, but now mornings come early in this house. I still do find the time at least 3 mornings a week, and believe me, it makes such a difference in my day. My 'Quiet time place' is a chair by the glass door looking out at the back yard. I read, pray, write in my journal and I meditate for a while. My friend Glen who has doctorates in psychology and wellness arts has a great video on YouTube that helps guide you into meditation. So in answer the question,'Who is taking care of you?' Guess who: YOU

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Change can be a good thing.

Change can be fearful,sad,exciting or any number of things, but for me, change has always been for the best and it has always been fearful and usually sad. Sound like an oxymoron? Let me try to explain. (it would be helpful to read my previous post) I loved the place I called home for 15 yrs. but I had recently retired from teaching and suddenly had nothing to hold me down. My Son and wife live in NYC and were expecting their 2nd baby, they needed help. What an opportunity! So yes,that 'change' was both sad (leaving my home) and good (Being close to my Son's family and experiencing life in New York) Now I am embarking on another chapter in this journey of life. I had planned to stay in New York for one year to help care for my two little Grandchildren, but that year turned into three. As the 1st year was drawing to an end I realized that was definitely not enough time. My montra became: "I will leave when I am ready." The primary reason I am 'ready' is that right now the children's energy levels are really high and mine is getting really low. Two things are working together to let me know this decision is right: My body and my desire to 'create' art full time. Will it be sad? It will break my heart! I love my New York family and I adore my little grandchildren, and life in New York is exciting! But I will also love living in beautiful Mpls. completely retired and ready to focus on myself and my three families there.(of course there will be many flights to NY and lots of Skyping.) Change can be a good thing. Every time I made a major decision to change something, it opened an entire new world to me: places,friends,and experiences. These changes never replaced my past, it is a part of my journey. My life is a book and there are many chapters in it. Each chapter has tears and joy. Don't be afraid to start a new Chapter if you are feeling a need to change something in your life.