Sunday, October 18, 2009

Checking in from the digital salon

Leslie had an entry on her blog back in August called Bring back the Salon and I’ve thought about it nearly every day since. With a certain wistfulness, Leslie mentions how wonderful it would be to just lounge around—I believe she uses the word languish—just talking, reading and socializing regularly with like-minded people.
In a way, that’s what happens online. When you go to other people’s blogs you get to catch up with their news, and you’re usually stimulated, refreshed, entertained and inspired. But there’s nothing like this actually happening person-to-person. If you’ve ever watched the TV show Lie to Me, you can see how important visual and verbal queues are to communication, and how much they add to it.
Of course not all groups provide the right atmosphere. My parents belong to a book club they really enjoy, but I know other people who say all the members in their group do is to argue about the choice of books and/or what is in them—which kind of defeats the purpose of having a club, doesn’t it?
I’ve never belonged to this kind of group myself mainly because I don’t want to have to read certain books. Then again, if I got to choose all of them that might work! One month it could be science fiction, next month Wayne Dyer and the month after that, a romance—and what about the Photoshop WoW book just to drive everyone completely crazy? The problem with having a jackrabbit mind like mine is that you’re always on your own trajectory, which doesn’t necessarily intersect with anyone else’s.
I do have a fantasy of winning the lottery and buying an island in Muskoka or Georgian Bay with sunset views, fireplaces and a beautifully appointed guesthouse. I’d invite all my friends like Leslie up for weeklong salon/spa experiences and fly in interesting people to entertain them. I imagine Nick Bantock himself might even be tempted to come to if the price was right.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Creating from the Inside Out

For those of you who have been asking about my book, you can order a copy now.
I’ve called it Creating from the Inside Out: Motivational Strategies for Artists & Writers.
It’s filled with inspiring quotations, mini essays on the creative process, and black and white digital collages.
Creating from the Inside Out is 177 pages: 6.5 x 6.5" and coil bound.
Each copy is $25 (Canadian) plus postage.
To order: email me at

So how do you review your own book? If I had a promotional turn of mind I’d probably come up with a list of five good reasons why you should read it. But I have to be honest. The main reason I wrote Creating from the Inside Out was because I had to.
For years I felt like I was hovering around the edges of my own creativity. I could never seem to access it with any kind of consistency, and this frustrated me. I became convinced that if I only had more—more time, more money, more talent, more opportunities, more support from the universe, more recognition from others (etc.)—then I’d be able to enter the magic kingdom/queendom of creativity and proceed full speed ahead.
I thought to myself: if there’s a system to creativity, I’m going to find out what it is and then tell everyone else. And if it turned out there wasn’t one …well, I was going to invent my own!
But I soon discovered that you can’t control creativity. It’s huge and it’s fluid, and all you can ever hope to do—and the only thing you should do—is to align yourself with it. You’re an individual reflection of something greater than you are, and your task is to get down to the business of expressing who you really are.
This can’t be done by wishing your circumstances were different or by waiting for ideal conditions. No. You need to act—and you need to act now. I suggest you begin by examining your thinking because the way you view the creative process will influence the action you’re likely to take—or not take, as so often happens.
Let me give you an example. Time was the first topic I tackled when I started working on my book. I’d always felt that not having enough of it was responsible for holding me back. But the more I thought about this, the more I realized I spent more time being annoyed about my lack of it than actually using what I had! I also believed that unless there were several free hours available to paint or write, there was no point in starting anything.
While it’s true we don’t ask for many of the challenges life hands out to us, we have to take responsibility for them anyway—and once I recognized it was up to me to use what time I did have wisely, things really began to open up for me.
Self-motivation is crucial to anyone who wants a happier and more fulfilled life, and it’s my hope that people who read my book will be inspired to take action towards realizing their own creative dreams. Making even small changes to the way you engage in your creative process can deliver big results down the line. I firmly believe that if I can write and illustrate a book—and have a solo art show—you can achieve what you want to do as well. You probably won’t accomplish this with Zen-like serenity and immediate results because I know I didn’t. But don’t let that hold you back. Just go for it. Not tomorrow, next week or next year but right NOW!

Monday, October 05, 2009

When Destiny Calls

What I really wanted to do today was to stay in bed reminiscing about the opening of my art show on Saturday and how much fun I had. But I needed to finish writing a long freelance article I’d been assigned before indulging.
Now it’s early Monday morning and I’m sitting here at the computer grinning. Maureen, who was in charge of hanging and coordinating my show at The Whitney Gallery, told me not to be discouraged if only a few people made it to the opening because sometimes this happens.
But I wasn’t worried. One of the good things about having a large family is that you know they will always support you whether or not they’re in the mood, so at least 12 of them showed up plus a boyfriend and a fiancée, along with a ton of friends, neighbors and art buddies. Okay, so I don’t know how much a ton is, but it was a heartwarming number. Mary, Lennie, Nancy, Cori, June, Lanre, Cherri and Karen all stopped in to visit along with Bill, Andrea, Yvonne, Peter, Steve, Al, Peggy, Doug, Carolyn, Kim, Diana, Dave, Susan V and husband, Rosemary and Jeanette—if I’ve forgotten to mention you, I apologize. At one point Maureen told me that 118 people had been in to look at my work, so there were obviously lots of people I didn’t know, but I enjoyed meeting quite a few of them.
Naturally I had a great time gabbing to everyone and signing copies of my book Creating from the Inside Out. (Speaking of my book, I’ll have more to say on that subject very soon). There were several highpoints including meeting Lennie (my online pal and Photoshop guru), and being taken out to a big family dinner afterwards by my sister Pam and brother-in-law Brian.
John is putting together a slide show of the event which he plans to put on the website he’s working on for me. In the meantime, here’s a 16 x 20” mixed media canvas, When Destiny Calls, which will be heading for its new home when the show is over on November 15th.